Democrats & Liberals Archives

Keeping the water pure: Not all leaks are the same.

“Criticism is prejudice made plausible” - H.L. Mencken

When the White House announced that President Bush formally requested a criminal investigation (link)regarding who leaked, to the New York Times, information about the covert surveillance of American citizens, the line was drawn in the sand about how far and wide this administration will go to stop the story.

It's not bad enough that President Bush called NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor, Bill Keller to the White House for a sit-down in hopes to squash the story before it was published. No. The White House now seeks to throw those responsible for the leak in jail for 'violating national security' and 'giving away America's secrets'.

Unless I'm mistaken, this story was the result investigative reporting. You know: tracking down, following-up and verifying multiple sources before publishing. And since the White House, in 2004, already verified the story as correct, the NYT had a responsibility to the American public to publish this story.

Much as Daniel Ellsberg (link) did with the Pentagon Papers and Woodward and Bernstein did with Watergate (link), this NYT article about the American citizen surveillance program (ACSP) was the result of investigative reporting. Whether you support the totalitarian actions of a single ruler or you oppose these actions, they are the result of good, investigative reporting. Once reporters begin to feel the pressure of prison doors closing behind them, trapping themselves and their sources, the very nature of our free press is reduced to a smoldering reminder of our liberties.

Where would we be without the people like Karen Silkwood (link) and Dr. Jeffrey Wigand (link)? Would the world be a better place if Silkwood didn't expose the secretive and destructive actions of the nuclear industry? If Wigand didn't blow the whistle on the Tobacco industry, changes might never have occurred.

Thomas Jefferson once said:
"The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure."

We must hold, as Jefferson suggests, that our press must act as a free and formless entity. The press mustn't be used as a tool for whichever political party is majority. It must stand separate and stay objective.

There are those that claim that the Valerie Plame story (link), where criminal investigations began surrounding the leaking of a covert CIA agent is the same as ACSP. A bit of tit-for-tat, if you will.

The differences between Plame and ACSP, however, are clear and distinct.

When the Plame story first broke it was because it was a planted, politically-motivated story. The Plame case wasn't the result of diligent, investigative reporting. No, the Plame event was a planned strategy, orchestrated from within the White House, to smear a former American diplomat for his opposition to the recently waged war on Iraq. White House people leaked the Plame information to carefully selected 'reporters'. The plan failed because those in charge of the operation didn't think about whether or not their actions were violating criminal laws. In many cases, the Plame case exposed a seedy underbelly of how stories are planted by the White House.

In the summer of 2003, while many inside and outside of the CIA were calling for an investigation, the White House stalled, stammered and stymied. They fought any hint of a criminal investigation every step of the way and in many cases, continued the smear (link) campaign against Joe Wilson, the former American diplomat. They, by their actions, thought that the interests of White House's political smear campaign superseded the National Security interests by outing an undercover CIA operative.

After months of pressure, in September of 2003, a formal criminal investigation began of who leaked the Plame information to the press. The results of this investigation are incomplete but resulted in one indictment of White House staffer, Scooter Libby.

One could ask: why did it take over three months before the FBI began investigating the Plame case and only 14 days for the eavesdropping case? Did the White House just become more efficient all of a sudden or was it that Bush and company just have a different agenda? Is this White House that transparent? Are there people in the White House more concerned about their image than what's better for this country?

As Mencken suggested during his time, when we criticize and disparage, we place more value on our own needs than the value of the damage inflicted onto those we condemn.

Posted by john trevisani at January 3, 2006 2:18 PM
Comments
Comment #109950

John,

I, and I don’t think many others, are questioning the reporting of the story. We *are* questioning the leak of classified information. If we are to have a sense of some information that should be kept private for national security reasons and that information is leaked at the whim of the leaker, the leaker should still be subjected to the consequenses of his treasonous action.

For example, in the Watergate investigation, the information leaked by ‘Deep Throat’ was classified information and the person who leaked should have paid the price for that leak. It was good that we found out what was going on and the result of the investigation, but we can’t just let violations like this to occur without penalty or no one will feel that the information that THEY deep necessary to release will be held to the proper standard and the eventual result of that is going to be information that should be out in the public domain making it there.

The other alternative is there should be no secret or classified information ever.

No, the Plame event was a planned strategy, orchestrated from within the White House, to smear a former American diplomat for his opposition to the recently waged war on Iraq.

I would have thought that the recent investigation would have cleared up this misconception. As I read the results of the investigation, Libby released the information in order to counter what HE felt was the attempt by the CIA to spin the intelligence failures of the Iraq WMD investigations to the White House and away from itself. There has yet to be any proof of anyone else involved in the story or a concerted conspiracy of any kind. If and when the investigation which is still continuing can prove this, then I will alter my views and possibly agree with your assessment.

However until that time I think it is irresponsible to make claims as fact that are not yet proven. At least couch your opinions as opinions in your future articles please?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #109951

John,
Excellent post. Something that is troubling me; why is there no call for this snooping to stop immediately? I watched as Pat Buchanan posed a Question to Chris Matthews on Hardball yesterday: “if what the president is doing is illegal, why hasn’t a single democrat called out for it to be stopped?” (I’m paraphrasing-I don’t remember the exact question) I sat and stewed as I realized he was correct.

A guest on a radio show this morning opined that the technology allows the government to monitor almost all phone calls and emails. The sophisticated program is able to detect changes in patterns that may indicate terrorist behavior.The calls and emails are kept private and only checked by humans when criminal activity is believed to be occuring. He thought that this is what they may be trying so hard to keep secret. What do people think about this?

None of the justifications the president has offered seem particularly compelling.
Article two of the constitution gives the president executive powers. I don’t think this means powers outside of the laws. Ditto with the Iraq resolution. The time constraint theory is laughable as soon as it is understood that a warrant can be retroactively granted. All the reasons seem to ring hollow in light of the fact that there are legal avenues to be pursued to achieve the ends that we’d all like to see achieved.

They may have waited 14 days after publication to investigate, but they have had knowledge of the leak for over a year. It seems that embarasment, rather than national security, is likely a factor in their investigation.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 3, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #109952

That first line should read ‘I am not questioning…’ Sorry.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 4:28 PM
Comment #109955

Rhinehold,
What exactly, besides the very existence of the program, was classified about the information in the story? Who was harmed by the information? How were they harmed?

You sound like Scott Mclellan feeding the press their daily talking points. Name one bit of classified info that was revealed.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 3, 2006 4:32 PM
Comment #109957

Some republicans have aked us to ponder the president’s motives in doing what he has. This is an excellent point. The same principles should hold true in the case of a leak(with certain notable exceptions). If the law has been violated the “leaker” becomes a whistleblower.

Had the leak actually put anyone in danger, or warned the enemy of an imminent attack, it could be construed as treason. But given the set of circumstances we have here, it just seems like an attempt at ” the best defense being a good offense”. A time honored republican strategy.

Back to motive. The law doesn’t, that I’m aware of, make allowances for the president knowingly breaking the law by going around the FISA court and ordering surveillance on American citizens without court oversight or a warrant. But it does allow for someone to call attention to those facts without fearing for their job- if national security has not been violated.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 3, 2006 4:55 PM
Comment #109958

A paragraph of my last post went missing between the time i hit the “post” button and the time it appeared on the site.

A radio show guest this morning opined that the government has, and is using technology that monitors most phone calls and emails. The program senses patterns that would indicate terrorist or criminal activity. Only then are the calls or emails monitored by humans (he thought).
What do people think about this?

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 3, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #109960

Seems to me it’s sort of a “whistle-blower” situation. If we didn’t have ‘leaks’ we’d never know what is or isn’t going on in Washington. On the other hand there is something to be said about ‘Confidentially’.

It’s a shame that it appears we have to depend on ‘leaks’ to hear what’s happening in our own government. It’s also a shame our government feels it is necesary to sneak around it’s citizens in order to work. There seems to be something very wrong with the entire situation. After all what is freedom anyway?

Posted by: Linda H. at January 3, 2006 5:07 PM
Comment #109966

Rhinehold-
The question here is whether people could deduce, through a simple set of questions, the same information as has been publically disseminated.

Oh, by the way, the newspaper says. Bush has been wiretapping people. Well, duh. People would expect wiretaps. That’s why there are so many people willing to let the president record conversations between foreign terror suspects and those who are citizens. Data Mining’s a new twist, but anybody could probably spitball that suggestion out of thin air, if they knew about the subject. al-Qaeda’s pretty computer literate, so I doubt they didn’t think about that.

The real story here, the terrible secret, is that Bush has been spying on Americans without the warrants required by law.

This administration is infamous for the excessive breadth of its classifcation. I think this is just to send a message to those who would reveal more dirty secrets about Bush’s dealings: We’ll get you, and your little dog, too.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2006 5:22 PM
Comment #109968

The leaker had many legal channels they could have gone through before publically disclosing classified information. Going to a newspaper was just plain wrong. (you can’t receive official whistleblower status by going through a paper)

Steve - “Who was harmed by the information? How were they harmed?”

The same could be said about the Plamegate non-affair that had so many Dems fuming. You don’t have a problem at all with this very public discussion going on about our classified intelligence gathering? I think it is pretty harmful.

Rhinehold - “I would have thought that the recent investigation would have cleared up this misconception.”

It did for most.

Posted by: THC at January 3, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #109969

Stephen
“The real story here, the terrible secret, is that Bush has been spying on Americans without the warrants required by law.”

Your leaving out the “Americans with suspected terrorist ties” part. You act like Bush is listening in on everyone’s conversations randomly. I’m not saying you are wrong for questioning what is going on, just try to keep it in perspective.

Posted by: THC at January 3, 2006 5:33 PM
Comment #109970

“just try to keep it in perspective”

Can’t, it’s an election year!

Posted by: kctim at January 3, 2006 5:37 PM
Comment #109971

The only difference in these cases between a “whistle blower” and somebody illegally leaking national security information is whether you share the leaker’s political aims.

Leaving aside whether anybody who spoke about Valerie Plame actually knew her identity was a secret, the reason for talking about her was to “blow the whistle” on Joseph Wilson’s lies and politically-motivated public distortions.

As others have already pointed out, there are avenues prescribed by law for “whistle blowers” with legitimate information they want to get into the public sphere, but the eavesdropping leaker(s) did not use them. Hence they broke the law.

It’s interesting to see that those who attacked the administration for potentially breaking the law (which, incidentally, a two year investigation never found to be the case) are now hypocritically saying that breaking this law doesn’t matter as long as the illegal activiity is part of a political attack on their own political opponents.


Posted by: sanger at January 3, 2006 5:40 PM
Comment #109973

Rhinehold,

I would have thought that the recent investigation would have cleared up this misconception. As I read the results of the investigation, Libby released the information in order to counter what HE felt was the attempt by the CIA to spin the intelligence failures of the Iraq WMD investigations to the White House and away from itself. There has yet to be any proof of anyone else involved in the story or a concerted conspiracy of any kind. If and when the investigation which is still continuing can prove this, then I will alter my views and possibly agree with your assessment.

What indictment did you read?

Libby’s indictment implicates Karl Rove as “Official A” in leaking Plame’s identity to Bob Novak. And we know from Novak that there was a second source who was not Libby.

So we know at the very least 3 administration officials leaked the identity of Valerie Plame to various members of the press. I guess that could have all happened by accident, but it seems unlikely.

Considering multiple administration officials were involved in spreading this information, it’s not unreasonable to assume that there was a conspiracy involved, and at the very least the Libby indictment in no way squashes that particular line of thought.

Posted by: Burt at January 3, 2006 6:12 PM
Comment #109974
Leaving aside whether anybody who spoke about Valerie Plame actually knew her identity was a secret, the reason for talking about her was to “blow the whistle” on Joseph Wilson’s lies and politically-motivated public distortions.

That’s the Bush administration for you and their disgusting lap-dog apologists. Don’t like what someone is saying about you? Attack their wife.

Grow a sack, Sanger and stop posting misinformation.

Posted by: Burt at January 3, 2006 6:19 PM
Comment #109983

Burt,

Ok, fine, please tell me in the indictment where it states that Official A leaked information ‘to’ Novak and did not say ‘yeah, I heard that too’ when asked about it.

In other words, where does it state that Official A outed Plame to Novak?

Because I’ve done a search through the indictment again and I just don’t see it. I would appreciate that you point out since it’s something that ‘we all know’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 7:25 PM
Comment #109986

Rhinehold-
I think your defense of the Plame Leak falls flat. You’re shaking your head about whistleblowers sharing information in one paragraph, and then giving a thumbs up to Libby because he revealed Classified information to set a news story straight as part of a political debate. To counter another person’s perspective. How?

Think about it for a moment: Does her CIA connection for one moment make the White House right about the Sixteen Words? In one word, no. Libby and the others suggested nepotism, suggest inter-agency rivalry (perhaps true, but not necessarily germane to the correctness of the information) In short, This was an Ad Hominem attack using classified information.

How is that comparable to revealing a constitutional meltdown involving thousands of citizens spied on without warrants? How is that comparable to revealing that the president was covering up felonies and election tampering? He was leaking information to counter a talking point? When debate becomes more important than the rule of law, we are well and truly lost in the wilderness.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2006 7:46 PM
Comment #109987

Thc,
The question at issue is; what classified material (other than the existence of the program itself) was contained in the NYT article?
And who was harmed? What operation was endangered? What did any terrorist learn that he or she didn’t already know?

Are you trying to make a comparison between these two cases? One happened because an administration tried to get back at someone who was questioning the handling of intel and the administration’s using it to justify an unjustifiable war.

The other came out as a result of numerous officials having knowledge of an extralegal surveillance operation put in place by executive order, when it would have been just as easy to obtain a warrant (even AFTER the fact). These officials had a problem with the ILLEGALITY of this program. I’m betting that many of them will turn out to be republicans.

Sanger,
The difference between being a whistleblower and being a leaker is that the laws tend to be with the whistleblower. Ie, the person divulging the information knows that laws are being broken and is trying to rectify this. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; had it been Bill Clinton pulling this stunt, I would be in the front of the line of people calling for his impeachment.

The bushies love to question the patriotism of those that question the Iraq war or the “patriot” act. Where is the patriotism of those who not only sit by, but actually defend the man who wipes his ass with our constitution?

Nobody has answered the question posed as to what classified information or intelligence has been revealed.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 3, 2006 7:51 PM
Comment #109992

John,

Thanks for the excellent article. I also like what Steve Miller pointed out, which is that the Bush administration knew about this leak for a year and did not triger an investigation until after they were embarrased. This leaker is clearly a whistle blower but perhaps he did break the law - so investigate. Still it seems intuitively obvious that this investigation is a cheap political slap back at the whistleblower and the NYT. This will force the NYT to spend thier treasure to protect thier reporter and his source and that will teach them to mind thier manners around King George in the future. There is a clear and obvious distinction between a snitch blowing the whistle on King George for breaking the law and the Kings men breaking the law to plant a story. In both cases the Bush Administration - King George and his Men - are the primary law breakers. They oppose investigations that will expose them and demand investigations that will help to cover them with a smoke screen.

Bush and his apoligist keeps repeating the lie about the need for speed. But FISA is instantaneous and retroactive for three days - so speed cannot be the reason for these wiretaps. So what is the real reason. I think that we will find that these wire taps are much more wide spread than the Bush Administration lets on. I think that we will find that they are so wide spread that even the FISA Court - which is practically a rubber stamp - would not allow them. They probably do have the ability to scan huge volumes of phone calls and emails with computer voice and syntax recognition and they probably are scanning huge volumes of soccer Moms - and maybe they even needed to - but if they needed to - then they needed to go to Congress and get the legal authorization.

Lets consider another hypothetical here. What happens if you are an administration official and you think that a news reporter may have some seedy terrorist contacts in Bagdad. Should you tap his phone - certainly - even FISA would allow that. But what if in the process of tapping his phone you discover that he is about to file a damaging story for your administration on Abu Ghireb - a story that threatens to politicaly undermine your strategic goals. Will you use advance knowledge to your political advantage and prepare your political spin. Well certainly I would. The point of thought experiment is that even innocent spying on Americans becomes a slippery slope leading to abuses and the subversion of the American political process. That is why we must get to the bottom of this.

Posted by: Ray G. at January 3, 2006 7:59 PM
Comment #109997

Sanger-
You’re arguing things both ways, and not even doing a good job of it. You talk about their being legitimate directions for whistleblowing, and yet step out to defend somebody who leaked classified information merely to correct a reporter’s story, an act you call whistleblowing.

Whistle blowing is revealing information superiors or associates that indicates illegal activity. Wilson fits that bill, not Libby.

As far as Wilson goes, he might have gotten certain facts mixed up (scoff, scoff, scoff) but he got the central point correct and Bush did not. As far as political motivation goes, he seems a dedicated centrist right up to the point somebody reveals that his wife was a spy.

Rhinehold-
Where does it say that Official A said “yeah I heard it too”? If that were the case, then they probably would have phrased something like “Both Libby and Official A…” instead of rendering their actions as distinct.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2006 8:20 PM
Comment #109999
You’re shaking your head about whistleblowers sharing information in one paragraph, and then giving a thumbs up to Libby because he revealed Classified information to set a news story straight as part of a political debate. To counter another person’s perspective. How?

Stephen? Surely you know me better than that, I would have thought. I’ve stated repeatedly on here that if Libby did what he was accused of, and from the indictment it did, he should go to jail.

Where did I defend Libby? I simply stated that it did not prove a conspiracy to get even with Wilson, it was clear in the indictment that Libby’s motivation was to deflect his perceived injustice of the CIA against the administration. That it no way supports what he did, it was deplorable if what the indictment details is accurate.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 8:25 PM
Comment #110001

THC-
You haven’t been paying attention if you think whistleblowers are rewarded in this White House. You haven’t been paying attention if you think that people can always handle corruption and abuses internally within a government. There’s a reason this country needs a press.

Of course, you gloss over that for the first time in over 130 years, a White House official has been indicted while still in office. You gloss over that the whole purpose of that “whistleblowing” was to discredit a White House Critic, who turned out to be right, even if he wasn’t entirely clear on where he got his information. Additionally, that recent investigation is not over yet, not by a long shot.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #110002

Rhinehold-
I’m sorry. Brain pun. The words concerning the investigation clearing up things. I apologize.

Having not covered the Plame matter for a few months, I failed to recall your position. You don’t do much to dispute his rationale, though, so I assumed you took on his view.

Regardless, I hardly think Libby is a Whistleblower, given that Wilson was a former underling. The whole point is that a whistleblower has to fight against the establishment to be heard. What did Libby have to act against? Other than the law?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 3, 2006 8:44 PM
Comment #110004

No, but IMO a ‘whistleblower’ needs to go through the process of being one, not just leak the information they obtained through their security status to the press.

I heard someone today call the person who leaked the information about the wiretaps a ‘patriot’. That’s just disgusting IMO. Patriots are ones who are not afriad to stand up and say what is right. Hiding your identity and leaking information does not make you a patriot. The patriots who founded this country signed their name to a document knowing that if they didn’t pull it off they were going to be executed. THAT is a patriot. Leaking classified information, ala Deep Throat, the way this person did calls into question the motives. Was it someone who wants to make political points or act in a revengeful manner?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 8:53 PM
Comment #110008

OK… so tell me this very simple point: How is this story discussing ‘classified information’? Did the terrorists think that maybe we would not be trying to intercept their calls? Or did they simply not know that illegal methods would be used? Hell, Bush gave them more useful information by tell everyone that the program only focused on calls when at least one point was outside the US. Now THAT’s some information I can run with.

The issue is the illegal spying on Americans… and what made this program illegal - not that any classified information was breached. Now someone could’ve and probably did break the law by going to the press with this story - but this also fits the spirit of our Constitution that discusses fixing or removing a government that is not ‘of the people, for the people and by the people.’

Or maybe you are suggesting that the sole reason someone went to the press with this story is to politically damage Bush…???

Just realize – if you try to change this diaper, you might end up with S_it on your hands as well. Bush filled the diaper, let him try and change it himself. (What do politicians and diapers have in common? Both need to be changed regularly, and usually for the same reason.)

Posted by: tony at January 3, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #110010
The issue is the illegal spying on Americans… and what made this program illegal - not that any classified information was breached

Actually… There are two stories. They are not the same one. One does not invalidate the other.

Imagine that!

Someone can be upset and concerned about the abuses of the Bush administration AND ALSO be concerned about the releasing of classified information.

I know, I know, it’s hard to do when the prevailing mindset is pitting one group against another group, any ‘deviation from the talking points’ is viewed as bad because it takes away from scoring political points. Which is, of course, the main focus of politics in the 21st century…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 9:47 PM
Comment #110011

Rhinehold,
Man, are you going to feel foolish if any of these people who gave information are republicans. BTW, I guess we have now settled to our satisfaction this notion of classified info being leaked. The silence tells the story.

As for real patriots…. do they just sit around doing nothing while the constitution is threatened? I don’t think so. More silence on this issue, You seem decidedly reluctant to stand up and say what is right. The constitution is right. You fail to defend it at our mutual peril. I challenge you to stand up and be a patriot……what do you say?

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 3, 2006 9:50 PM
Comment #110013

OK - and a point you did not cover: What classified information was leaked? The existence of a program to listen in on the terroist’s conversations? (duh?) The only people who might be surprised that their conversations were being tapped are people who were innocent. The existence of this type of program is not ‘classified’ in the sence that no classified information was leaked. No specifics on who was being targeted, what would trigger a person to be targeted, who was doing the targeting, how it was being done (other than some very general concepts.) So, the only potential damage is to the President who authorized this program. How was National Security at risk by this leak? How was the program itself put at risk (or the people working within the program? Other than a potential pink slip.)

Posted by: tony at January 3, 2006 9:59 PM
Comment #110023

Terrorists and other bad guys probably guess that they are being watched, but they don’t know how, where or when. If you supply them hints on those things, they can design better counter measures. They were probably unaware of the latest developments in data mining. Now they know to check into it.

What the President authorized is not illegal because the controlling law is in dispute. The Constitution gives the President broad power and every president has used them in times of war or emergency. How they will be used is part of the dynamics of our system of checks and balances. The Congress can make laws designed to restrict the President, but those are subject to judicial review and political considerations.

That is why we have politics and law and that is why they are not the same things.

No branch of the government can make a rule that the any of the others are bound to obey except after the process of the law AND it is not a final decision.

There is no other job like the President’s. His just powers are defined by interpretations of the Constitution and by precedent. As far as I have heard, no court has spoken on this particular permutation of presidential power. Many of you might think what he did is unconstitutional. I don’t believe the courts will agree with you and that is the opinion that will count. Most prominent Democrats are also very unsure of their case. Why else do they pursue it only through the media?

The only person who almost certainly broke the law is the one who leaked to the NYT. If you want to reveal information that will harm your country, you have a few options. You can meet with enemy agents, which is very risky. You can do a dead drop, which is a little less risky but much more uncertain. Or you can leak to the press. If you are detected, you claim patriotism and freedom of the press.

If you hold a security clearance, there are various avenues available to dissent. The one not available is to place your personal judgment above those of your colleagues and superiors and reveal that information.

During the Plame case, I said many times that IF we determined a law had been broken, the person should be punished. I apply the same standard here. Legal cases produce legal results. Let’s see what this one produces. I wouldn’t expect a happy fitzmas here either. Politcally this is a loser for the Dems and most of them know it.

One more thing. We don’t know many of the details of what happened, but these seem to be the outline. None of the calls monitored originated and ended in the U.S. Most of the calls monitored were between foreigners. They just happened to be switched in the U.S. And most of the activities were not calls at all. They were network activities -attempts to connect the dots and prevent future attacks. Who wants to stand in the way? At about this same time there was another case of alleged Pentagon monitoring of anti-war groups. This is NOT the same story.

Posted by: Jack at January 3, 2006 10:36 PM
Comment #110025

Steve Miller,

Man, are you going to feel foolish if any of these people who gave information are republicans

Why do you figure that?

As for real patriots…. do they just sit around doing nothing while the constitution is threatened? I don’t think so. More silence on this issue, You seem decidedly reluctant to stand up and say what is right. The constitution is right. You fail to defend it at our mutual peril. I challenge you to stand up and be a patriot……what do you say?

Wow, dude, you just don’t know when to stop do you? I’m a LIBERTARIAN. I’ve been fighting the fight for the constitution against republicans and democrats alike. As I have said many times on this blog, if the administration has done anything illegal, they should be held accountable. I fought against the democrats pushing their agenda past the 2nd, 9th and 10th amendments for decades, just as I have been fighting against the pushing against the violations of the 1st amendment by the republicans.

Just for once I would like to see someone on here from either the red or blue column (it seems to happen more infrequently in the middle column where I write) just agrue the merits of the argument and not jump straight into the ‘your side is stupid’ line of crap. And I even thought I made that view clear in my previous post with Stephen.

Patriot? What on earth does hiding behind an ‘anonymous source’ tag and violating the law by releasing confidential information (yes, it was confidential information whether you want to admit it or not) to the press have to do with Patriotism? Stand up and be accounted for, for pete’s sake.

I’ve run for office in this country, I’ve been involved in politics since I was in high school in the seventies. I’m a disabled veteran who has given from his BODY for the constitution and what it stands for just to see idiots who claim to want to provide for everyone and give security to everyone sit and erode our daily rights away in a constant tide of condescending speeches, talking points like your little blurbs and back room hand jobs furthering their own political power while doing nothing for anyone but themsevles.

Before you get back on your high horse and attempt to accuse ME of anything, you better know what the hell you’re talking about punk. Yes, I will probably get a warning from the Watchblog Manager on this one, but damnit you’ve went and called my PATRIOTISM into question and I will not stand… well, sit for it!

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 3, 2006 11:04 PM
Comment #110026

“They were probably unaware of the latest developments in data mining. Now they know to check into it.”

Seriously? Everything discussed so far was being discussed as new tech 5 years ago. Get real… this was a known program even if no one ever put a name to it. The only surprise is that Bush gave the go ahead to wiretap without a court approval…

So, stop trying to white wash this as a National Security issue… it’s not one. It’s a simple breach of American Civil Liberties.

Also, if this Administration could not even muster a passing grade on the basic proposals of the 9/11 commission - why do they get the assumption of innocence when they suddenly claim to be ‘spying’ to protect us. They don’t care enough about our security to inact anything we could possible see or use… but hey, if that ‘security’ excuse can buy them some uncontrolled spying on Americas, then what the heck… go for it.

When does the pathetic appologies for Bush end and the serious questioning begin? When a Democrat in is the White House?

As far as the last paragraph in the above post - it seems mostly to say: we don’t any details about what has gone on, but let’s assume the best for our President.

read this and tell me what it says:

Warrantless ”National Security” Electronic Surveillance .—In Katz v. United States, Justice White sought to preserve for a future case the possibility that in ”national security cases” electronic surveillance upon the authorization of the President or the Attorney General could be permissible without prior judicial approval. The Executive Branch then asserted the power to wiretap and to ”bug” in two types of national security situations, against domestic subversion and against foreign intelligence operations, first basing its authority on a theory of ”inherent” presidential power and then in the Supreme Court withdrawing to the argument that such surveillance was a ”reasonable” search and seizure and therefore valid under the Fourth Amendment. Unanimously, the Court held that at least in cases of domestic subversive investigations, compliance with the warrant provisions of the Fourth Amendment was required. Whether or not a search was reasonable, wrote Justice Powell for the Court, was a question which derived much of its answer from the warrant clause; except in a few narrowly circumscribed classes of situations, only those searches conducted pursuant to warrants were reasonable. The Government’s duty to preserve the national security did not override the gurarantee that before government could invade the privacy of its citizens it must present to a neutral magistrate evidence sufficient to support issuance of a warrant authorizing that invasion of privacy. This protection was even more needed in ”national security cases” than in cases of ”ordinary” crime, the Justice continued, inasmuch as the tendency of government so often is to regard opponents of its policies as a threat and hence to tread in areas protected by the First Amendment as well as by the Fourth. Rejected also was the argument that courts could not appreciate the intricacies of investigations in the area of national security nor preserve the secrecy which is required.

The question of the scope of the President’s constitutional powers, if any, remains judicially unsettled. Congress has acted, however, providing for a special court to hear requests for warrants for electronic surveillance in foreign intelligence situations, and permitting the President to authorize warrantless surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information provided that the communications to be monitored are exclusively between or among foreign powers and there is no substantial likelihood any ”United States person” will be overheard. “

Posted by: tony at January 3, 2006 11:05 PM
Comment #110027

Here’s the link for the above post and the restatement of two very important points made by the courts and Congress directly addressing this issue. Doesn’t it seem appropriate that before a President assumes he can defy such specific language that he at least discuss this option with Congress (officially, not just over a few casual meetings.) Congress is, after all, the branch charged with keeping the President’s power in check…

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment04/05.html#6

- This protection was even more needed in ”national security cases” than in cases of ”ordinary” crime, the Justice continued, inasmuch as the tendency of government so often is to regard opponents of its policies as a threat and hence to tread in areas protected by the First Amendment as well as by the Fourth.

- permitting the President to authorize warrantless surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information provided that the communications to be monitored are exclusively between or among foreign powers and there is no substantial likelihood any ”United States person” will be overheard.

Posted by: tony at January 3, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #110028
Sanger- You’re arguing things both ways, and not even doing a good job of it. You talk about their being legitimate directions for whistleblowing, and yet step out to defend somebody who leaked classified information merely to correct a reporter’s story, an act you call whistleblowing.

Stephen, that is completely false.

In the Plame case, I questioned and still question whether a leak even took place, and if it did take place, that it was deliberate or that Karl Rove in particular was responsible for it. Not even Scooter Libby has been accused of leaking anything—not after a two year investigation to find out just that.

I have always maintained that a knowing and deliberate leak of national security information should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law—even if it was done by a high administration official and for whatever reason.

Despite the special procecutor’s findings, you, however, still believe (don’t you?) that the administration deliberately leaked Valerie Plame’s identity. You clung to this accusation for a very long time, and if you’ve revised your opinion I’m sure that a lot of the regular posters here would love to hear about it.

I’ll grant—and I’m eager to grant—that if a deliberate and malicious leak of an undercover operative’s identity really did take place (despite the prosecutor’s lack of making this charge) then those doing the leaking SHOULD have gone through the proper channels provided for “whistleblowers” and should be punished for not having done so. Whatever their motives, even if they believed their motives to be honorable, they should have followed the proper procedures.

Let’s summarize.

1. Posters here on the left believe—still—that a leak took place of Valerie Plame’s idenity.

2. Do they not also believe that a leak took place concerning secret eavesdropping on terror suspects? They must. It would be ridiculous to claim that no such leak took place. Jim Risen, the NYT reporter who broke the story, has said in plain English that it occurred and that he’s determined—like Judy Miller—to protect their identities.

So who is trying to have it both ways here? Who are the hypocrites?

To relieve any doubt, let me just say this in response to Steve Miller: if it was a Republican who leaked this information, then I’ll be among the first to call for his head. Let him spend a couple of decades in the federal pen.

THAT is taking a consistent position. I wish that Democrats would be as consistent and nonpartisan, but I’m not holding my breath because I know that fairness and consistency rarely if ever enters into the Democrat’s game of “get Bush.”

Frankly, I care very little about Bush or the current administration. I care about national security, without which the civil rights and freedoms I value will be destroyed by popular demand after the next terrorist attack.

Posted by: sanger at January 3, 2006 11:15 PM
Comment #110032

I don’t know if this will make people feel better or worse about this subject, but for some background on the situation, NPR has a good article.

The commentators are not qualified to speak re whether what happened was legal or not, but they do a good job of explaining some of the technical aspects.

Posted by: Jack at January 3, 2006 11:33 PM
Comment #110037
Ok, fine, please tell me in the indictment where it states that Official A leaked information ‘to’ Novak and did not say ‘yeah, I heard that too’ when asked about it.

In other words, where does it state that Official A outed Plame to Novak?

Because I’ve done a search through the indictment again and I just don’t see it. I would appreciate that you point out since it’s something that ‘we all know’.

Rhinehold,

I guess you’ll have to wait for the Rove indictment to read those details. Just be patient for another few weeks.

In the meantime, am I being ridiculous in thinking that it is common knowledge that Rove has admitted to leaking the name to Matt Cooper?

There has yet to be any proof of anyone else involved in the story or a concerted conspiracy of any kind.

I don’t know how you can honestly say this. Is your standard for proof so high that you must have personally heard Rove leak the information first hand for you to believe it? Or do you simply subscribe to the jbod theory of opinion making which is simply to not form one until the government tells you what your opinion should be?

It’s common knowledge that Rove has admitted to speaking with Matt Cooper about Plame. He has also admitted to speaking with Novak. And Novak has said that an additional administration source, neither Rove nor Libby, also provided information on Plame to him. I really don’t see how any of this is debatable.

Posted by: Burt at January 4, 2006 12:15 AM
Comment #110040

Rhinehold-
I am posting a link to the article for the benefit of this discussion.

Frankly, I think the worst possible move has been to try and justify this in this way. What Bush needed to do was legitimize counterterrorism, not legitimize military rule. Instead, he has gone ahead and created another headache for the American people.

I think in talking about deviation from the talking points, you should ask yourself how far you’re straying from the GOP talking points. It seems the bad habit of Independents in this country not to exercise their independence of thought when confronted with two different set of talking points. I would wish that when you’re confronted by two such talking points, that you do your best to come up with the gem of a new perspective that is sorely lacking, not merely echo the other side.

Jack-
If you look at my latest entry, you will find that courts have spoken about electronic surveillance, and they have found that warrantless searches are not only not permissable under these circumstances, they are even worse, because the secrecy of such programs can allow them to be used in efforts to interfere with rights to assemble, to speak, and to bring grievances before the government in petition. If no warrants need be issued, then by extention, no examination of the scope, direction and target of the investigation is required. This opens up a can of worms in terms of interference with political processes.

I think your legalistic standard for when to start being outraged is doing your party no end of mischief. How much control do you have over these people, if you will not admit their problems until they’re wearing orange jumpsuits? You need to be sensitive to the right and wrong of these folk’s behavior long before their misdeeds push us into some kind of crisis.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2006 12:26 AM
Comment #110041
If you want to reveal information that will harm your country, you have a few options. You can meet with enemy agents, which is very risky. You can do a dead drop, which is a little less risky but much more uncertain. Or you can leak to the press. If you are detected, you claim patriotism and freedom of the press.

Jack, you often come across as one of the most reasonable people in the red column, and then you’ll occassionally spout off with a bunch of nonsense like the above. Absolute drivel.

Do you really believe that the person who leaked that information to the NYT was trying to harm the country? What a load of crap. Why not just call for a trial of treason for the publishers of the New York Times like some of the other wing nuts on the right? Or follow the lead of your buddy O’Reilly and encourage Al Qaeda to bomb the New York Times offices?

Although you make a royal proclamation yourself that the Bush activities were legal, you may be aware that some people may disagree. In fact, I’m sure you’re aware that a number of people on both the right and the left feel that the program is dangerous and ill-advised whether or not it can be proven legal. So why stoop down to the level of the mouth-breathing talk radio pundits?

None of the calls monitored originated and ended in the U.S. Most of the calls monitored were between foreigners. They just happened to be switched in the U.S. And most of the activities were not calls at all. They were network activities -attempts to connect the dots and prevent future attacks. Who wants to stand in the way?

Jack, this information flies in the face of everything I’ve read on the subject. Please provide a source. Thanks.

Posted by: Burt at January 4, 2006 12:29 AM
Comment #110043

Sanger,

In the Plame case, I questioned and still question whether a leak even took place, and if it did take place, that it was deliberate or that Karl Rove in particular was responsible for it. Not even Scooter Libby has been accused of leaking anything—not after a two year investigation to find out just that.

Wow! Wowie-wow-wow! Is it possible to cram more misinformation into one tiny paragraph? You still question whether a leak even took place? How do you breathe with your head crammed so far into the sand? What possible fiction have you deluded yourself into to be able to believe that a leak did not even take place?

How can you claim with a straight face that not even Scooter Libby has been accused of leaking anything? Have you bothered to read his indictment or listen to the prosecutor’s public statements? Hell, ever pick up a newspaper? My head is spinning!

Frankly, I care very little about Bush or the current administration. I care about national security, without which the civil rights and freedoms I value will be destroyed by popular demand after the next terrorist attack.

Why wait for the next terrorist attack? Those rights and freedoms that you supposedly value are already being destroyed - by popular demand - by this administration and its apologists such as yourself. Congrats.

Posted by: Burt at January 4, 2006 12:43 AM
Comment #110044

Sanger-
Scooter Libby, in the indictment, is said to have provided a number of people with the classified information of Plame’s identity. What qualifies as a leak here, if not that? Hell, what was Scooter indicted for lying about, if not the fact that it was he who was telling the press things, and not the other way around?

As for the deliberate nature of the leak, we can establish it was deliberate in that it was repeated, that it was done by multiple persons in the presence of reporters. That’s a whole lot of accident to get to a whole lot of leaking.

I can’t seem to get my mind around how you folks manage to torture the facts into these kinds of far-fetched interpretations. Plame’s identity, according to our common, definitive source, was classified, and known by few.

The leak is about the existence of a program that people could easily imagine existing in this day and age. The only surprise is that American citizens have been spied upon by their own government without warrants.

The only problem here is that this hurts Bush, and whenever something hurts Bush, his supporters distract, deceive and browbeat until people no longer believe what hurts Bush. This isn’t about getting Bush. It’s about getting those who won’t be a part of his cult of personality, jumping on those who speak of alternatives, who call for changes. If it happens to be Republican, you’re willing to call for blood, because to you, the loyalty matters more than anything else.

I don’t care about getting Bush as much as I care about ending the damage he’s been doing. You don’t get that by allowing such avenues of investigation, you create the justification for the splitting of hairs that ultimately leads to the destruction of civil liberties. Your easy path of defense, is the one that sabotages everything, though I hardly believe you want things sabotaged like this.

I’m sick of being told that my concerns are merely political. My concerns are practical.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2006 12:44 AM
Comment #110045

Burt, please. We’ve heard this for so long now that it’s becoming parody.

“Just you wait! Any minute now, Karl Rove is going to be served up on a silver platter for Fitzmas dinner!”

Give me a break.

Fitzgerald realized long ago that he was never going to indict anybody for the reasons he was originally appointed to investigate—knowing this, he sought permission to indict on totally unrelated charges in order (probably) to salvage his career.

And all he’s achieved so far are some incredibly lame perjury charges against Scooter Libby that even the farthest to the left legal scholars at places like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia say are essentially impossible to prove since they depend on he-said she-said contradictions in testimony between Libby and reporters.

Anything else Fitzgerald might choose to do at this late stage will look like nothing but sad and pathetic desperation on his part to save face, which actually isn’t necessary unless he cares less about justice than how he plays in the New York Times.

The Fitzgerald investigation jumped the shark months ago.

Anyone waiting for it to deliver their Fitzmas dreams will have better luck waiting for the space-ship behind the Hale-Bopp Comet to snatch them up and make them Emperor of the Andromeda Galaxy.

Posted by: sanger at January 4, 2006 12:52 AM
Comment #110048
What possible fiction have you deluded yourself into to be able to believe that a leak did not even take place?

How can you claim with a straight face that not even Scooter Libby has been accused of leaking anything? Have you bothered to read his indictment or listen to the prosecutor’s public statements? Hell, ever pick up a newspaper? My head is spinning!

Utter and laughable nonsense. I’ve read the entire indictment sevaral times, and you’ve clearly not read it even once. Not even a single count accuses Libby of leaking a damned thing, and EVERY COUNT relates to alleged perjury based on inconsitencies between Libby’s testimony and the testimony of reporters. If you won’t or can’t read it yourself, I really don’t know what’s left to say.

From Stephen:

Scooter Libby, in the indictment, is said to have provided a number of people with the classified information of Plame’s identity.

Baloney. Libby is said to have discussed how and why Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger with reporters, and inconsitincies in the time-line and testimonies have led to relatively weak perjury charges. If Fitzgerald wanted to say that this consituted providing unauthorized “classified information,” then why, pray tell, didn’t he issue an indictment for just that? He didn’t.

Do you really want to completely discredit yourself by denying what is there in plain English? There is NO indictment for leaking.

No spin, no obfuscation, no partisan talking points, no revisionist history, no distortions, no anything will change the inarguable fact that nobody has been indicted for leaking anything. Ballgame.

I’m sorry if some don’t want to accept this, but those are the facts. Deal.

Posted by: sanger at January 4, 2006 1:22 AM
Comment #110068
“They were probably unaware of the latest developments in data mining. Now they know to check into it.”

Seriously? Everything discussed so far was being discussed as new tech 5 years ago. Get real… this was a known program even if no one ever put a name to it. The only surprise is that Bush gave the go ahead to wiretap without a court approval

Capital Hill Blue did an article on DARPA’s TIA data mining operation in June of 2004. Where Big Brother Snoops on Americans 24/7

The only way that I can see that national security was harmed by this leak is one of Bush’s own making. It seems to me that the case against those arrested in connection with this program will be on shaky legal ground. I believe that evidence collected without a warrant is inadmissible in a court of law. Without that evidance will there be enough to convict them? will these terrorist just be set free? I guess Bush could label them enemy combatants, but the Supreme Court has ruled that they still have a right to due process. It seems to me that the easiest way to avoid all this, would have been to just get a warrant, even a retroactive one. Not getting one just seems foolish and lazy to me.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at January 4, 2006 5:36 AM
Comment #110074

Sanger – this is your argument?

“No spin, no obfuscation, no partisan talking points, no revisionist history, no distortions, no anything will change the inarguable fact that nobody has been indicted for leaking anything. Ballgame.”

OK - so lying under oath to prevent the prosecution from finding out the facts/being able to indict you on the original charges is all well and good. Break all the laws you want to, just lie good enough to keep from getting busted? Is that the Ballgame you want to play in?

This argument is the biggest talking point/spin/distortion out there right now. These people want you to believe that just because he lied to prevent answers from being known that there was no real crime committed - just a simple ‘technicality.’ (The same technicality that YOUR side felt good enough to impeach Clinton on…)

Wow. Is that really the America you want to live in? Does this make you proud? Can you never find fault with those on YOUR side?

Put it this way - if a ballplayer lies about taking steroids, does that make him innocent? Even if, because of his lies, he can not be proven guilty? As some point you have to make an assumption of guilt based on dishonesty.

Posted by: tony at January 4, 2006 8:04 AM
Comment #110075

Rhinehold:


If we are to have a sense of some information that should be kept private for national security reasons and that information is leaked at the whim of the leaker, the leaker should still be subjected to the consequenses of his treasonous action.

I’m not so sure you have evidence of the leaker’s ‘whim’.

I could make a similar assumption that the source must have felt that what was going on was illegal and wrong and therefore justified their actions because the violation was much bigger than their personal opinions. (ref: Ellsberg) In fact, I believe, if you’ve followed the story recently you noticed that people within the administration felt it was illegal also and voice opposition. So maybe the source felt that they needed to stop something that they felt was wrong.

Besides, the NYTs sat on this story for a year. They were in routine communication witt the White House and the White House confirmed the story by their requests to kill it. Doesn’t that mean that they are a source too? When Bush called the publisher and the editor to his office to request the newspaper to squash the story, isn’t he just another source?

For example, in the Watergate investigation, the information leaked by ‘Deep Throat’ was classified information and the person who leaked should have paid the price for that leak. It was good that we found out what was going on and the result of the investigation, but we can’t just let violations like this to occur without penalty or no one will feel that the information that THEY deep necessary to release will be held to the proper standard and the eventual result of that is going to be information that should be out in the public domain making it there.

Whistleblower-friendly legislation was passed to allow for citizens to do just that; speak out against what they feel is wrong. The legislation was created to protect the citizens and promote citizens to speak freely. In fact, if you’ve ever driven near D.C. you’ll read displayed on the electronic traffic signs: “Report Suspicious Activity”. Essentially asking everyone to keep their eyes open and turn in their neighbors.

You can’t support one act and not support another; it’s inconsistent.

Unless you feel that there should be different rules to whistleblowers if they are in the working in the public sector rather than the private sector. Because I see many that liberally throw the phrase “National Security” as if to say, it’s a catch-all for whatever I feel necessary. National Security can be defined in many ways; laws and the support of our laws and our constitution is a form (and I feel a valued form) of National Security.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 8:06 AM
Comment #110092
Frankly, I care very little about Bush or the current administration. I care about national security, without which the civil rights and freedoms I value will be destroyed by popular demand after the next terrorist attack.

Sanger, may I ask what about the civil rights and freedoms you don’t value but others americans may do? Do you care protecting all of them, not only the ones you actually value?

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at January 4, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #110096

Burt

Listen to the NPR article I linked. It is not pro-Bush by any means. It just explains what the surveillence was and was not (probably).

Re leaking. I take security clearances seriously. If you leak top-secret information you are betraying your country. If we find a law was broken in the Plame case, we should punish the offender. If we find it was broken in this case, the same thing goes.

And yes, one way spies weaken their targets is to publicaly leak. I don’t know anything about the leaker (nor does anyone else) but his/her motivation may not have been pure.

Posted by: Jack at January 4, 2006 9:39 AM
Comment #110098
14. On or about June 23, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. During this meeting LIBBY was critical of the CIA, and disparaged what he termed “selective leaking” by the CIA concerning intelligence matters. In discussing the CIA’s handling of Wilson’s trip to Niger, LIBBY informed her that Wilson’s wife might work at a bureau of the CIA.
17. On or about the morning of July 8, 2003, LIBBY met with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. When the conversation turned to the subject of Joseph Wilson, LIBBY asked that the information LIBBY provided on the topic of Wilson be attributed to a “former Hill staffer” rather than to a “senior administration official,” as had been the understanding with respect to other information that LIBBY provided to Miller during this meeting. LIBBY thereafter discussed with Miller Wilson’s trip and criticized the CIA reporting concerning Wilson’s trip. During this discussion, LIBBY advised Miller of his belief that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
24. On or about July 12, 2003, in the late afternoon, LIBBY spoke by telephone with Judith Miller of the New York Times and discussed Wilson’s wife, and that she worked at the CIA.

sanger, these are passages right out of the indictment. You are correct that he is not charged with a crime for leaking this information, but to say that he isn’t accused of leaking Plame’s name or that even perhaps that unbelievably a leak never even occurred is the height of insanity.

From Fitzgerald’s presentation of the indictment:

Valerie Wilson’s cover was blown in July 2003. The first sign of that cover being blown was when Mr. Novak published a column on July 14th, 2003.

But Mr. Novak was not the first reporter to be told that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Wilson, Ambassador Wilson’s wife Valerie, worked at the CIA. Several other reporters were told.

In fact, Mr. Libby was the first official known to have told a reporter when he talked to Judith Miller in June of 2003 about Valerie Wilson.

Posted by: Burt at January 4, 2006 9:44 AM
Comment #110104

“I fought against the democrats pushing their agenda past the 2nd, 9th and 10th amendments for decades, just as I have been fighting against the pushing against the violations of the 1st amendment by the republicans”

Some people just can’t see the hypocrisy of it all, can they Rhinehold. They believe theres just no way somebody can support ALL of our rights and freedoms and not just the ones we agree with.
I love the way so many people are willing to quote our founders when it supports their agenda but yet are willing to totally ignore the quotes that contradict their agenda.

Philippe
“may I ask what about the civil rights and freedoms you don’t value but others americans may do? Do you care protecting all of them, not only the ones you actually value?”

I’ve been asking that question here on WatchBlog for years and the answer is NO.
(I am not answering for or about what Sanger may believe. My response is not meant to include his views on your questions.)

Posted by: kctim at January 4, 2006 10:10 AM
Comment #110112
You can’t support one act and not support another; it’s inconsistent.

John, I wasn’t aware that the person who leaked classified information to the NYT utilized the ‘whistleblowing’ legislation in place, that’s sort of news to me. Can you provide a link?

If he/she didn’t, then just as Deep Throat did decades earlier, I can only conclude that his person has performed a cowardly act by leaking sensitive information anonymously, and since legislation does exist to protect someone who is legitimately attempting to ‘blow the whistle’ that they must have done so for personal reasons having nothing to do with any honerable motivation.

In fact, if he/she had held a news conference and stood up to face the people and stated what they knew, they would still have broken the law but I would have had more respect for them and their motivation.

The same goes for Libby, btw, by cowardly leaking the information he had to the press for PERSONAL POLITICAL reasons, he should be scooted off to jail.

How am I not being consistent?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #110113
The silence tells the story.

Indeed it does, Steve. Not a peep from you since you accused me of being unpatriotic. Apparently you don’t have the guts to stand up for your own accusations.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #110115

When I bought up the term “whistle-blower” I was actually wondering why “our” government would have to sneak around the backs of judges, congressmen, and citizens of the U.S. This reminds me of the ‘Tricky Dickie’ attitude many of our leaders adher to.

I was thinking in particualr of the wire-tapping scheme that the current administration has admitted doing. I realize that ‘whistle-blowing’ is also a way to jusitify a reporter’s source.

I was merely observing that while it appears that the need for ‘whistle-blowers’ in our government appears to be a terrible I guess that as long as there are secrets, we the people need someone to tell us the truth. I still think it’s a shame.

Absolute power will corupt absolutely and all that…

Posted by: Linda H. at January 4, 2006 10:57 AM
Comment #110126

Sanger-
I’m pleased to see that you have developed psychic powers that allow you to peer into the mind of Patrick Fitzgerald and glean even his most secret fears from him. Do share these supernatural insights with us on occasion. When these powers fail you, please feel free to back your arguments with something more than just speculation about unprovable states of mind.

The charges could put Libby, who is in his fifties, in jail for the rest of his natural life. They are felony charges. If you think felony charges and prison time of that potential length are lame, I invite you to commit some sort of crime and see for yourself what facing such charges means.

As for leaking? leaking is a word we non-lawyers apply with careless abandon. You will note that in several parts of the indictment, Fitzgerald asserts that Libby gave the information, which he believes was not common knowledge, to reporters who were not previously aware of it. To leak is to disseminate information not publically known to the press and from there to the public. That is precisely what Fitzgerald describes.

As for why Fitzgerald did not get an indictment on disclosure of classified information, He explained quite plainly that Libby’s lies so mangled his examination of Libby’s motives and the circumstances around the leak, that he wasn’t able to determine the facts necessary to get the indictment. Don’t you remember the analogy he presented about an umpire getting sand thrown in his eyes?

I read the indictment, read and watched Fitzgerald’s press conference. So don’t tell me I’m ignorant on this count. I know what the facts are. The facts indicate that both Libby and Rove leaked this information. You want to make this all into a game of subjective accounts, but the fact is, the White House accounts, including Libby’s have not been synchronizing with the facts. It’s not merely the White House officials against the reporters, but reporters and other witnesses, and sometimes the conflicting accounts of the officials themselves.

I think it’s time you start trying to deal with the facts instead of shaping them. You keep on insisting that this is all politics, that the only controlling factor in what you might believe would be the politics. Unfortunately for you, that’s not the case. The Facts speak for themselves, and Fitzgerald has been unusually scrupulous in establishing the facts. At some point, you cannot control what people will think simply by repeating the same story. You will not win this.

Jack-
The pursuit of pure motivations runs into two problems:

One, We can get it right, but there’s a lot of room for interpretation (and misinterpretation). What we think a person’s motivations are might be tied very much to the extent of our ignorance, and that of our partisanship. The Republicans have been unceasing in their tendency to ascribe negative motivations to those who frustrate Republican aspirations politically.

Two, there’s rarely a such thing, especially when getting to a level where you can learn this information requires you to be part of a culture. Mark Felt’s time as Deep Throat was in some way motivated by the politicization of the FBI’s management, and the attempts by Nixon to use the Bureau to his own ends (such as getting in the way of their investigation of how far up the connections went from the burglars to the President.

The question is, do you want your CINC succeeding in obstructing justice? Do you want your president working operations to undermine opponents in elections? If you don’t, then whatever the motives that Mark Felt had, he did you a favor.

kctim-
There are seven other admendments that need equal attention. The Second Amendment is valid in my mind, but applied too absolutely. Even the First Admendment is not absolute in its protection of speech, assembly, and religion.

Does the right to bear arms mean the right to bear military arms, fully automatic arms, arms in spite of a Felony or mental health record, etc?

As for the 9th amendment, I’m not really sure what you mean, so you’ll have to elaborate.

In terms of the 10th Amendment, I believe there should be limits and delegations of power to the states, but that there is a limit to what the states should be expected or allowed to do.

I don’t believe in a federal government that has authority over everything, but when disputes range across state lines, as they often do in our commerce-saturated culture, should the ICC not be brought into play to enable the public to properly govern these issues?

kctim

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #110127


Rhinehold:


I wasn’t aware that the person who leaked classified information to the NYT utilized the ‘whistleblowing’ legislation in place, that’s sort of news to me. Can you provide a link?

i’m not sure how you came up with that particular statement, as I did go back and re-read my post. It appears that you combined the answer pertaining to one comment with the answer of another to create a sort-of hybrid answer.

But maybe you were taking the phrase ‘you’ to mean you personally. Really I didn’t mean ‘YOU can’t support one act…’ I meant, for clarity purposes, “you” in the regal way.

I can only conclude that his person has performed a cowardly act by leaking sensitive information anonymously, and since legislation does exist to protect someone who is legitimately attempting to ‘blow the whistle’ that they must have done so for personal reasons having nothing to do with any honerable motivation.

Am I misreading this? You feel this person (or persons) is a coward that leaked this information as a whim?

Since the White House was cited by the Times article to confirm the story both a year ago and a month ago, they would go down as a source also. But I wouldn’t describe them as cowardly.

You didn’t answer my question: do you think that the whistleblower legislation should be applied differently in different sectors?

Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 12:01 PM
Comment #110131

So the whole Bush Administration should go to jail for leaking infromation of National Security about Valerie Plume. But no should go to jail for leaking information of National Security on wire taps.
Gotta love the warped thinking of the Left.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 4, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #110134

Rhinehold:

According to the actual NYT article:


“Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation’s legality and oversight.”

This sounds very different from ‘Deep Throat’. It sounds like a journalist tracking down a story, having multiple sources and verifying the story. It doesn’t sound like a rogue coward that did this as a whim.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 12:35 PM
Comment #110136

Rhinehold:

According to the actual NYT article:

“Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation’s legality and oversight.”

This sounds very different from ‘Deep Throat’. It sounds like a journalist tracking down a story, having multiple sources and verifying the story. It doesn’t sound like a rogue coward that did this as a whim.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #110148

SD
“There are seven other admendments that need equal attention”

I support every one Stephen, not just parts of one or another that make me feel good.
I worry most about the 2nd because it affects me directly and because I know without it, the others will fall.

I personally think its beneficial for the govt to listen in on suspected terrorists here in the US, but guess what, when the FACTS ARE KNOWN and it was a violation of the 4th, then I’m right there with you on this.

(I think you were wanting to know how the orginal poster was fighting for these.
I cut and pasted Rhineholds quote of him fighting for the 2, 9 and 10 rights since the 70s.)

Posted by: kctim at January 4, 2006 1:46 PM
Comment #110155

John,

Of course I don’t think the whistleblower laws should be applied differently. I’m a little curious though how the laws are brought up in this context since there were never utilized…

You feel this person (or persons) is a coward that leaked this information as a whim?

Well, that’s an extreme simplification of what I said. What I said was : Since the person has released this classified information anonymously, there is no way to know their true motives, so I have to assume that they were not ‘for the good of the people’ and more likely personal revenge, political reasons or some other personal reason. And I find that someone releasing this information illegally while not doing making their identity known is indeed acting cowardly.

I would think that this is an obvious conclusion, but I admit that it may be a personal perception and that some may find skulking around behind the scenes and releasing information that was classified anonymously is a heroic thing to do. I just don’t think it falls under the definition ‘heroic’ especially since we now know that this person STILL has access to the same level of access that he had when he violated the trust given to him to begin with.

But, like I said, perhaps that’s me.

And to Steve, I read in another blog that you had a security classification and you were more than willing to make the information you garnered with this classification public anonymously to the press if YOU felt it was necessary and I find that the most reprehensible thing I’ve ever heard. At least have the guts to stand up and say what it is you have to say publicly and take the heat for it if you feel it is that important. Doing it anonymously means that you will breach your oath much more easily. And yes, I had a clearance too and I know from what I’m talking about.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 2:07 PM
Comment #110159

Stephen

I don’t know if he/she did us a favor or not. We don’t currently know enough about the costs and the benefits or even what really happened. I do know that he/she broke the law and violated his/her oath and security clearance. It takes a pretty big compensation to make up for that.

Posted by: Jack at January 4, 2006 2:15 PM
Comment #110160

Jack,

The worst part IMO is that they STILL HAVE THAT SAME SECURITY CLEARANCE right now. Because they are anonymous and protected by the media we can’t ensure that they have their clearance removed while we investigate the accuracy of the information and legality of the actions, etc.

Simply amazing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 2:18 PM
Comment #110163

Rhinehold:

The worst part IMO is that they STILL HAVE THAT SAME SECURITY CLEARANCE right now. Because they are anonymous and protected by the media we can’t ensure that they have their clearance removed while we investigate the accuracy of the information and legality of the actions, etc.

Simply amazing.


Yes! I AGREE! Karl Rove should have his access revoked!
(sorry; couldn’t resist)
Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 2:22 PM
Comment #110165

Rhinehold:

The worst part IMO is that they STILL HAVE THAT SAME SECURITY CLEARANCE right now. Because they are anonymous and protected by the media we can’t ensure that they have their clearance removed while we investigate the accuracy of the information and legality of the actions, etc.

Simply amazing.


Yes! I AGREE! Karl Rove should have his access revoked!
(sorry; couldn’t resist) Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #110166

John, If he leaked classified information, then I agree.

Can you prove that he did? I know that Fitzgerald hasn’t been able to do that yet… If we learn that he did, then he should have more than his security clearance revoked, he should be in jail, just as Libby is going to be doing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 2:26 PM
Comment #110168

Rhinehold:

The worst part IMO is that they STILL HAVE THAT SAME SECURITY CLEARANCE right now. Because they are anonymous and protected by the media we can’t ensure that they have their clearance removed while we investigate the accuracy of the information and legality of the actions, etc.

Simply amazing.


Yes! I AGREE! Karl Rove should have his access revoked!
(sorry; couldn’t resist) Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #110169

John, If he leaked classified information, then I agree.

Can you prove that he did? I know that Fitzgerald hasn’t been able to do that yet… If we learn that he did, then he should have more than his security clearance revoked, he should be in jail, just as Libby is going to be doing.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #110170

Rats, sorry, a connection error caused me to repost the comment. :/

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 2:29 PM
Comment #110176

Rhinehold:

John, If he leaked classified information, then I agree.

Can you prove that he did? I know that Fitzgerald hasn’t been able to do that yet… If we learn that he did, then he should have more than his security clearance revoked, he should be in jail, just as Libby is going to be doing.

i really posted it (Karl Rove) as a little bit of humor. Sorry…. i’ll stop now.

But, we’re really not that far off. When the Plame investigation was heating up and Fitzgerald was pulling Rove back before the grand jury and saying that Rove is not yet cleared of wrongdoing, it’s time for someone to put ‘loyalty’ aside and recognize, just what you said: revoke the clearance. But as far as i know now, Bush has switched his story from saying: Anyone involved will no longer be working in the White House to Anyone convicted of a felony… blah blah blah.. It’s no wonder why everyone questions the President’s intentions.

But if the staffers that spoke to the NYT (not the rogue person that you seem to think they are) have their clearance revoked during the investigation, so be it. i’ll sleep at night.

Posted by: john trevisani at January 4, 2006 2:43 PM
Comment #110188

Rhinehold,
I was at WORK, something I do every day. There is no computer at the construction sites I work on. You did get it a little wrong in your first flaming of me; I didn’t question the patriotism of your side. It was your personal patriotism that was in question, as you yourself said “patriots are ones who are not afraid to stand up and say what is right”. If you are saying that surveillance in effect on American citizens, WITHOUT AN EASILY OBTAINIBLE (even retroactive) WARRANT is ok and you won’t stand up and say what is right here, then I feel your position is morally bankrupt in the context of our constitutional debate.

Oh. I see from a later post of yours that you do understand i was referring to you, and not just your side. Good. As far as your side, wouldn’t they all be proud of you calling me a punk?. Totally typical republican/conservative “bash the messenger”. You say you’re a libertarian???!!!???!! Wow!There! you did it!! I am speechless…..

As for divulging classified info; that’s what the “silence” reference was about, remember? Since you are unable to answer the many questions directed at you by myself and others, I think that your claim of classified info having been leaked is pretty much consigned to the trash bin where it belongs.

Yes I did hold a secret clearance while in the military. Yes, bet your life that iwould stand up and say what is right if my superiors were knowingly breaking the law. Wouldn’t you? As a libertarian and patriot, that is? Unfortunately, sometimes the realities of revenge being exacted by superiors requires good generalship in the form of a somewhat more covert form of divulgance. than, say, a press conference. I am sure these people are fully aware of the penalties they may face. Once again I say, I will be very surprised if the patriots (inasmuch as they were willing to stand up and say what is right, even if YOU didn’t approve of it)who revealed the existence of this extralegal snooping are determined to have been motivated by partisanship. I would pretty much say that this makes them patriots in my eyes.

I’m glad that you listed some of your patriotic credentials. All of those who served deserve the respect and gratitude of the nation.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 4, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #110190

Ron Brown-
The Warped thinking of some on the Right is that it’s justified to leak classified information about a clandestine agent to settle a political score, while it’s a terrible sin for there to be a non-specific revelation about an illegal wiretapping program.

We are a nation that lives by more than just the letter of the law. The laws on classified intelligence weren’t meant to protect constitutional abuses.

If it is established by the investigation that these people committed a crime in revealing the programs existence, then they should call a press conference, give their reasons for what they did, and then turn themselves in and plead as they will. Then all the laws involved will be satisfied.

What would you suggest, Ron? That our system is just a pleasant fiction, true most of the time until our CINC decides a person constitutes an enemy of the people? I would rather believe that this nation has greater integrity than that.

kctim-
Did you know that in Iraq, many families owned guns? Despite this right to bear arms, though, Saddam stayed in power. Why? Because nobody was free to speak their mind. Without that freedom, all other freedoms do not exist. That is why the First Amendment is the First. The other Civil Liberties ensure that it is agreement and not executive fiat that makes laws what they are, and that the laws must be, to the best of the government’s ability, enforced in such a way as to target and punish the guilty, and weed out the innocent from amongst them.

Rhinehold-
Focusing on motives will get you nowhere. Motives are cloudy things at best to establish. If the information is false, then the motives are plain enough. Otherwise, the motivation that’s important is your own.

Bush has been infamous for his willingness to shape agencies in his own image. He is infamous for his willingness to punish and harrass leakers. I think the people who told the reporters about this did not want to give Bush the excuse to clean house and entrench what they see as a counter-constitutional culture.

As for the Libby matter: According to the indictment, he revealed Classified information to a reporter who did not yet know this material. How do you define a leak, if not along those lines?

Jack-
What is the compensation for keeping an illegal program like that going? It could prevent an attack, but because of the warrantless nature of the searches, we don’t know whether the system is being abused, with the consequent loss to us of manpower, resources, and tax dollars for legitimate terrorist monitoring.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 4, 2006 3:25 PM
Comment #110203

“Freedom is Slavery!”

Posted by: Mental Wimp at January 4, 2006 4:05 PM
Comment #110206
You did get it a little wrong in your first flaming of me; I didn’t question the patriotism of your side. It was your personal patriotism that was in question, as you yourself said “patriots are ones who are not afraid to stand up and say what is right”.

Yes, a patriot is one who stands up PUBLICLY and does not hide behind the scenes or release classified information to a news reporter.

If you are saying that surveillance in effect on American citizens, WITHOUT AN EASILY OBTAINIBLE (even retroactive) WARRANT is ok and you won’t stand up and say what is right here, then I feel your position is morally bankrupt in the context of our constitutional debate.

I’m not saying that and have REPEATEDLY said that I have a problem with what occured and if it was indeed illegal and I have all of the fact to make that assertion you will hear me do so. But as I pointed out in my recent blog post about ‘Crying Wolf’, I will make sure I know the facts.

And *IT IS IRRELEVANT* regarding the leaking of classified information. If the person who originally leaked this to the NYT reporter had just held a press conference detailing the information, it would have been a) public a year earlier and b) we would know who the person was and be able to determine the person’s motive. By doing it in this cowardly way, we cannot determine these aspects of the story.

And it is STILL ILLEGAL to do so. And yes, if it wasn’t classified information, why were the senators who were informed of the situation told that it was classified and why did they not fight that designation of the information? Are you SERIOUSLY trying to make the argument that the information was NOT classified? Please…

Oh. I see from a later post of yours that you do understand i was referring to you, and not just your side. Good.

Yeah, I understood from the very beginning that you were calling me unpatriotic for not ‘standing up against the tyranny of government’ which not only was an insult to me and the workd I’ve done over the past few decades it also confirmed to me that you are not willing to wait for evidence or facts before you go off kilter and make your accusations in a levelheaded and even manner, instead adding your voice to the deafening and often ignored cacophony of those who Cry Wolf.

As far as your side, wouldn’t they all be proud of you calling me a punk?. Totally typical republican/conservative “bash the messenger”. You say you’re a libertarian???!!!???!! Wow!There! you did it!! I am speechless…..

Well, I’m still puzzed at what the hell you’re talking about here. You’ve constantly called me a republican, based I assume on the illogical conclusion that I am ‘parroting their talking points’ or some other ignorant reason. The reality is that you should really know what someone’s views are before you accuse them of having those views in the future.

As for divulging classified info; that’s what the “silence” reference was about, remember?

Yeah, I remember you posting a question for someone to point out the obvious to you and you waited, what, 2 hours for someone to respond to claim that since no one countered your insane argument that you were right. THEN you get indignant when I wait 12 hours for you to counter the accusation of me being unpatriotic personally because you were away from the blog for work. I’ve got a good enough memory in my old age to remember the last 24 hours, not that far gone yet.

Since you are unable

Or chose not to answer your irrelevant question

to answer the many questions directed at you by myself and others,
Mmm, no, I think it was just you. And again, it is an irrelevant argument.
I think that your claim of classified info having been leaked is pretty much consigned to the trash bin where it belongs.

So, here’s a question. The Democratic congressmen who were on the panel and were told about the wiretappings have stated that they were not allowed to say anything about it because the information was classified and the people who ordered the wiretaps claimed that the information was classified but YOU now say that the designation of the information as classified is ‘cosigned to the trash bin’ simply because you didn’t get a rise out of someone on a blog about your argument? I just want to make sure we agree on your viewpoint before we go any further.

Yes I did hold a secret clearance while in the military. Yes, bet your life that iwould stand up and say what is right if my superiors were knowingly breaking the law. Wouldn’t you?

Yes, but holding a press conference (after consulting a lawyer) and accepting that once I did I would be tried for releasing classified information against my oath and agreement with the government in order to obtain the classification, giving up access to further classified information until the matter had been fully investigated. NOT by leaking the information to a NYT reporter anonymously and continuing on with my life as if nothing ever happened.

What about you? Would you cowardly call up the NYT reporter to get the ball rolling on the investigation?

As a libertarian and patriot, that is? Unfortunately, sometimes the realities of revenge being exacted by superiors requires good generalship in the form of a somewhat more covert form of divulgance. than, say, a press conference.

Right, you’d cover your own ass. I understand.

I am sure these people are fully aware of the penalties they may face. Once again I say, I will be very surprised if the patriots (inasmuch as they were willing to stand up and say what is right, even if YOU didn’t approve of it)who revealed the existence of this extralegal snooping are determined to have been motivated by partisanship. I would pretty much say that this makes them patriots in my eyes.

And it makes them cowardly traitors in my eyes. The founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independance with their names publically knowing that they could be EXECUTED becasue of their actions, THEY are patriots.

And yes, the whole point is that we need an investigation to find out what classificied information was released, by whom, and at least remove their access to further information until the investigation is completed. Something that is very hard to do because they are hiding.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 4:07 PM
Comment #110207

Hit the post button too fast. A lot of this hue and cry about finding the leakers did not come from the same quarters when the Plame leak was revealed. Whose ox is being gored now? It’s plain and simple, but a lot of fast talking is taking place in order to make it seem plausible that one leak is bad, the other good. But, of course, if one were to split hairs, one would have to agree that leaking to reveal secret spying on communications forbidden by law without a warrant would be on a higher moral plane than leaking to discredit a political gadfly. I guess. Unless there’s a rationale for moral relativism that depends solely on “your side” winning. I guess.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at January 4, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #110211

Mental Wimp,

Or, we could all agree that both actions are wrong and should result in punishment that those actions require.

That would be the most reasonable course of action IMO.

Are you willing to do that?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 4:26 PM
Comment #110213

SD
Fine, I have no problem with you believing freedom of speech is more important. I believe you must have a way to protect that right though. No big argument there.
But you see, it is the 1st AND the 2nd which was meant to keep govt in check and in fear of the people.

Now, back on topic.
“because of the warrantless nature of the searches, we don’t know whether the system is being abused”

Or is NOT being abused. That is why it is important and fair to know the facts before automatically assuming the worst.
And this idea that the person who leaked the plame info should be hung and the one who broke the law and leaked national secrets is a hero is ridiculous.
Nothing but politics as usual.

Posted by: kctim at January 4, 2006 4:27 PM
Comment #110220

Stephen Daugherty
A breach of security is a breach of security. It doesn’t matter who breaches it.
I don’t condone either breach of security. Who ever leaked the information in both cases needs to be sent to prison.
I haven’t seen or heard anything that indicates that the wire taps were against US citizens. So I don’t see any violation of Consitiutional Rights as non US citizens ARE NOT subject to these rights.


Mental Wimp

A lot of this hue and cry about finding the leakers did not come from the same quarters when the Plame leak was revealed.

No it hasn’t. But I’ve also noticed that the same folks that were screaming for head to roll over Valerie Plume are strangly quite now. In fact if they’re saying anything at all they’re defending the leaks.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 4, 2006 4:37 PM
Comment #110221

I do not see the parallel between the NSA case and the Plame case. I do think both should be handled in a court of law, and even if the person leaking the NSA information is uncovered to be a hero rather than a weasel, that person(s) should be willing to face jail time - not all hero actions are legal. The Plame case seems to be based solely on political motives (I’ve not seen any other motives presented.)

As far as the 1st & 2nd Amendments - if we state that one of the most core responsibilities of a US citizen is to overthrow the government if needed - can you not see the potential for the NSA leak to be fitting into this type of action?

I, for one, am never comfortable giving the Government the benefit of the doubt when it comes to power or privacy, it’s not in their interest to respect those. If Bush wanted to ignore prior legal rulings, or to make assumptions that he had rights that were not directly expressed, why didn’t he discuss this and clear this with Congress before taking action?

I know many people will lean towards believing that this was all done for National Security - but keep in mind that this is a Government who has complete failing grades when it comes to taking action to protect us - what have they done to gain the automatic trust?

Posted by: tony at January 4, 2006 4:41 PM
Comment #110234

Rhinehold,
I wish you thought the matter of bush’s snooping was as cut-and-dried as the matter of the “leaking”. I think that’s our main area of disagreement. You must be the only libertarian I’ve ever spoken with that doesn’t hold with the fourth amendment. I didn’t mean my first question to you last night to be an insult, rather an offer to justify sitting around while the president was abusing the rights of U.S. citizens. I know it’s not PC to say on watchblog, but I am one who believes that when one side of an argument resorts to pesonal insults it often reveals that they don’t really have much of an argument to offer.

You feel the actions of those who bring lawbreaking to public attention are despicable cowards? Where I come from, it is felt that those who would HIDE same are despicable cowards. Having said that, I WILL say that I realize the president is motivated by wanting to keep the country safe. I do wish he would keep the activity within the bounds of the law, as the rest of us must.

Now you say whether or not the info was classified was irrelevant? It has some relevance. For instance, if the people divulging the existence of the program knew that the program was illegal. My initial question did ask ” aside from the program itself” I ask you again…. what, aside from the existence of the program itself, was classified about the information divulged? It’s a red herring to say that classified info was revealed. None was. The democratic congressmen & women did not and are not revealing any classified info. you mention this yourself. How many times does it have to be brought to your attention. Consignment to the trash bin stands. It’s just an intellectually dishonest argument. Irrelevant seems to stand for “I have no real answer for you on that point”. Not to worry, no one else has answered with ONE SINGLE CLASSIFIED ITEM. But keep parroting it long enough, half the country will believe it.

Go back and read the posts again. At least one other person posed the question of whether or not classified info had been revealed. (Tony at 9:32 last night) Are you not one of those who continually tries to justify the leaking of a (covert) CIA operative by an administration bent ot pouty revenge?

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 4, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #110237

In this case I see a lot more consistency among the conservatives than the liberals.

If you look back on what we all posted during the Plame affair, most of us red side guys (I know I did often) would write something like, “IF someone is guilty of breaking the law by leaking classified information, he/she should be punished”. Our caveat was the “if” not the result and our complaint was that the blue side wanted to jump to the punishment stage before clearing up the “if” stage. That is why they were so disappointed by the results of the actual investigation.

As with the Plame affair, we should not skip right to the punishment stage before we determine the “if” part, but I hope the blue side can be consistent. IF someone is shown to have violated the law by leaking classified information, don’t you agree he/she should be punished? And should we not also demand an investigation to find out?

Tony

Al Qaeda attacked on the World Trade Center twice. The second time on 9/11 destroying it completely. They bombed two of our Embassies. After 9/11 we expected many more attacks on American soil. So far there have been none. The 9/11 Commission gave failing grades on the potential security threat, but actual record is good. Maybe one reason is the steps the President has taken.

The other options would be that our enemies have given up attacking us, or maybe they are fighting us in Iraq and not in America.

Posted by: Jack at January 4, 2006 5:14 PM
Comment #110240

From the law I have read with regards to this - National Security does not trump a citizen’s right to privacy. SC Opinion even says that in cases of National Security, rights to privacy should be held in even higher regard than in those of domestic issues.

Also, the President does not have the right to warrant-less wiretaps on it’s face – but making some assumptions, he only can work with these so long as ‘no American citizen it at risk of being listened in on.’

That’s the opinion of our courts right now. The way you go about changing the law (legal opinion) is through Congress. For Bush to simply assume he has these rights under any given situation is wrong. Law states that what he is doing is illegal - and no Congressional resolution may undo a law or limit a law. The way to alter or change the President’s authority in these matters is for Congress to change the laws. (btw - the last part was directly related to people who feel that the resolution to authorize use of military force in the war on terror. That was a resolution - not a law.)

Posted by: tony at January 4, 2006 5:25 PM
Comment #110243

Steve,

Go back and read the posts again. At least one other person posed the question of whether or not classified info had been revealed. (Tony at 9:32 last night) Are you not one of those who continually tries to justify the leaking of a (covert) CIA operative by an administration bent ot pouty revenge?

Well, since I am not ‘one of those continually trying to justify the leaking of a covert CIA operative’ I must have read over that question since it was not directed at me. Which was your claim, that I ignored a question directed at me.

As for the classified information, the program was illegal. Someone who knew the classified program existed gave that information to the NYT reporter to get this investigation going. That person was leaking classified information.

Beyond that, I’m doing my own investigation into the matter just as I am to determine if the wiretaps were indeed illegal, etc. There is some DISPUTE to that claim so until I know for sure I am not about to start claiming things that I don’t know to be true. That was the whole point of my Crying Wolf post in the middle column last week.

I’m not sure how you can ignore the leaking of the classified information (telling someone without the proper clearance something labelled as ‘classified’, ‘secret’ or ‘top secret’ is a crime, I’m sure you know that).

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #110245

Argh,

As for the classified information, the program was illegal

should read ‘As for the classified information, the program was classified.’

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 5:31 PM
Comment #110251

Rhinehold-

You tell the exact point that needs to be made. The program was classified, and as a result of that even members of congress were not permitted to talk about it, and any protest they had to the program could go only in one direction, back to the administration and the NSA. The response to questions were that the administration has the right to proceed. So what then? If it is illegal, you can’t talk about it, what are the options? WhistleBlow to the fourth branch of our democracy, the Press. I think we will find that this program is definitely illegal.

Posted by: john at January 4, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #110252

Rhinehold,
See; steve miller, 4:32 pm yesterday. MY question read “beside the existence of the program itself”. Where’s the beef? BTW, telling slip on the “illegal operation” thing.

Look, you have been downright wrong at every step of the way on the classified info thing. You said classified information was revealed. It was not. You saaid I did not ask you specifically. I did. You said no one else brought it up. They did.

The reason I have such a problem with your position is that you seem to give much more weight to the leak premise than to the rights premise. You think it is a crime to disclose criminality, but not a crime to act criminally. Or at least, to stand up and scream when there exists the strong possibility of such. I am agog at your claim of not being a conservative republican. It is always a conservative position to take rights away rather than to preserve them. You say you aren’t a republican, so you aren’t. But, man, it sure mirrors all the conservative arguments I hear.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 4, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #110268
Look, you have been downright wrong at every step of the way on the classified info thing.

Actually, I haven’t.

You said classified information was revealed. It was not.

Yes, it was. The existence of the program was classified. Someone made the existence of the program public knowledge. That was an illegal act and a revealing of classified informaiton.

You saaid I did not ask you specifically. I did.

No, I did not. I said I chose to ignore your question. Please provide the statement that I said that you didn’t ask me specifically.

You said no one else brought it up. They did.

No, I said that they did not direct it at me. If it was directed at me, they didn’t a) use my name or b) use any semblance of my position on the matter to identify me. In fact, their position that you pointed out as I have shown is completely opposite of my position so I didn’t read further into the comment since it didn’t pertain to me.

The reason I have such a problem with your position is that you seem to give much more weight to the leak premise than to the rights premise.

No, as I have stated REPEATEDLY, I find them both seperate issues. I do not compare one with the other, there was a leak and I want to know who it was or an explanation as to why it was illegal. The FACT that the program was classified and we now know about it is proof that the release of classified information occured and the burden of proof on why it wasn’t a violation of known laws falls upon the defendant in this case unfortunately because we all agree that the program had a classified status.

You think it is a crime to disclose criminality, but not a crime to act criminally.

This a comletely assinine statement and bears no resemblance on anything I have stated in this column or any other post I have made.

Or at least, to stand up and scream when there exists the strong possibility of such.

No, I demand someone show me the violation. I have seen the argument on both sides and until someone can show me there the illegality occured I am not about to label the administration as being guilty on this event.

I am agog at your claim of not being a conservative republican.

That’s because you have no idea what the hell I believe and how a third view of this event could exist because you won’t listen.

t is always a conservative position to take rights away rather than to preserve them. You say you aren’t a republican, so you aren’t. But, man, it sure mirrors all the conservative arguments I hear.

Please, show me one instance where I suggest taking away the rights of americans?

Actually, don’t bother (since I know you can’t) I’ll do you one better. I am going to point out my position on the issue and I optimistically believe that perhaps you might see what I am talking about.

On the leak.

A leak of classified information occured. Someone made it public knowledge that a classified program existed, one that the congresscritters have stated was classified since the program was made public. I want that person found because that type of behavior must be made publically. I deplore anyone using anonymous means to release classified information to the public because it allows the person responsible to hide from the ramifications of what they have done. It is a serious thing and should not be done lightly, if you feel strongly enough about it you should put your name with the accusation. That gives credence to the information. This initial person, just like Deep Throat, is hiding to make an attack at a president without having the guts to stand up and say it publically. It must be investigated. Some charge that the investigation is politically motivated, and it may be since they could have performed this investigation a year ago when they first knew about the leak. But that does not excuse the action and argue against the investigation being taken now.

On the program itself.

If the administration has committed an illegal act, especially an act that violated the protection of US citizens against illegal search and seizure, that person to authorized it (and in this case the President has made public that he personally authorized it) should be held accountable. In this case I would say at minimum a censure and more likely an impeachment.

HOWEVER, we must first be shown that an illegality occured. There is a lot of disagreement on whether or not this action was illegal and I’ve seen news articles from 2002 detailing that this type of action was determined by a federal court as being legitimate. I want to know what the legalities are first before I start to accuse the president of violating the law. I don’t see that as a particularly ‘out of line’ view.

BUT, I hear you say, ‘Surely you are against the monitoring of US citizens in any regard without a valid subpoena, even a delayed one, etc.’ And YES I am most definately opposed to that. It does not help our security at all. In fact, I was opposed to it when it was made legal in regards to the RICO statues for drug dealers, mobsters and child molesters. We have been subjected to constant erroding of our rights for decades and I want to see it stopped and reversed.

HOWEVER, if the wiretapping was LEGAL it was because WE, the citizens of the united states, ALLOWED it to be legal. We gave up more and more rights to catch and punish those who we felt didn’t deserve protection and now that it affects us directly we are going to become indignant about it? Please! We can’t blame Bush for using methods at his disposal that we GAVE him! We have to look at ourselves and blame US. Only then will we possibly deflect the trend before us. Only THEN will we regain our rights, and I say all of them. That will cause a problem with Democrats, because it takes away a tool that they use to retain their power and it will cause a problem with Republicans for the same reason. THAT is why you are seeing this rabidness against Bush, because Democrats don’t want to see their own abuses of power taken away from them. They want to continue violating the constitution like they have done for decades in order to appease their constituants.

BUT, as I have stated over and over again, IF we find out that BUSH DID violated the law, we should hang him up by his thumbs. Now, prove that he did.

I hope that makes it a bit more clear to you and you can get off of your horse again. Maybe you will realize that there are other views than the two major parties on all issues and not just jump to the ‘if you don’t agree with me you must be one of them’ nonsense I keep seeing. The millions of Americans who are NOT one of the two major parties might just appreciate it a little bit more.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 4, 2006 9:12 PM
Comment #110296

Rinehold,
One more time..I never said the existence of the program was not classified. You continue to ignore that I have stipulated that the existence of the program was classified. (although it still strikes me as mighty funny that the president talks and talks about it) Apparently we BOTH need to go back and read what the other said. I totally misunderstood the reference to the question I asked not being directed at you. My bad. I still believe, based on the content of your posts, that you lean toward approval of the Plame leak more than you do toward the NSA leak.

My whole point to you is that a politically motivated leak is to be despised, an ethically motivated leak a whole different story. That you defend the one, while seeming to have a big problem with the other, suggests to me an affinity to the president. Am I wrong? So I take your righteous anger at the divulgance of the NSA snooping program as being sympathetic to the republican cause. Everyone I know who is bothered (REALLY bothered as you seem to be) by the NSA leak is conservative. Forgive me if I made the mistake of lumping you in with them.

You have never, ever, despite the vast quantity of words chucked my way, answered my original question. What classified information besides the existence of the program itself was revealed? Who did it hurt? What operations were compromised? When the president says, and you repeat, that the country was harmed, that this was a shameful thing, just saying it does not make it true. I believe it is a bald-faced lie. I believe that the only purpose this pseudo-outrage serves is a political one. To stifle dissent and to further the conservative agenda. If any other president had pulled this, I would still feel the same. Would you still not object if Hillary Clinton were president and tried to take these powers for herself? Me too.

Lets see if I have this right. Under the patriot act, roving wiretaps need a warrant. but otherwise, where the stricter rules of the patriot act don’t apply, where a warrant is MANDATORY, you’re willing to let it go without question? I’m not saying you said this; this is a question.

You have a point about accountability. However, where illegality and the constitution are concerned, I would much rather fall on the side of disclosure. ESPECIALLY in that, as you are no doubt aware, no covers were blown, no technologies revealed, no methods compromised, etc. It makes a big difference to me that nothing about our national security was actually threatened by the leak. As I said earlier, these people are all aware of the ramifications of their disclosing. I think it took a lot of guts to reveal the administrations misdeeds despite the danger to their livelihood and their personal freedom. Do you honestly think the leakers’ identities are going to remain unknown for very long? The courts don’t really go for the “protecting sources” plea these days. You do at least acknowledge the possibility that the investigation is politically motivated. Ive never said I’m against the investigation; I only said that I support the leaking of illegal activity by the govenment.

Do you think that impeachment is at all likely, given the makeup of the house and senate? I sure don’t.

What other legal avenues were available to the president? Other than the FISA court that is. I am unaware of any other way for him to eavesdrop electronically on U.S. citizens who are suspected of terrorist activity. How did we give him this right? It seems to me to be more a case of him TAKING the right. The argument that the loss of protections for other crimes or in other instances simply do not apply in this case. The FISA court has jurisdiction. It’s not about RICO or child molestation. But your point about the erosion is well taken.

All told, Rhinehold, I don’t think we are really all that far apart on some of these issues.Don’t forget, you were pretty high up on your own horse. My attempt to question your patriotism was a deliberate, if perhaps misguided attempt at “giving them their own medicine back”. I just got sick and tired of having MY patriotism questioned over the years every time I disagreed with the country’s “leadership”

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 4, 2006 11:18 PM
Comment #110301

Steve,

I still believe, based on the content of your posts, that you lean toward approval of the Plame leak more than you do toward the NSA leak.

What gives you that impression? I stated several times that I think Libby should go to jail for a long time. What part of that gives you the impression that I approve of the Plame leak more than the NSA leak? What would give you the impression that I approved of the leak at all? You mention that I ‘defend one while despise the other’ when I have not one time defended any leak of classified information made by anyone.

As for not answering your original question, I did answer it. I said that it was Irrelevant. Classified information was released and we need to find out who did it. Simple. The other aspects of the event that the ensuing investigation will bring out will give us the knowledge to answer that question better, if it is important at all.

Lets see if I have this right. Under the patriot act, roving wiretaps need a warrant. but otherwise, where the stricter rules of the patriot act don’t apply, where a warrant is MANDATORY, you’re willing to let it go without question? I’m not saying you said this; this is a question.

Without question? Who said anything about not questioning? I said that we should find out if the action was legal or not. A federal court determined in 2002 that similar action was legal. No one has been able to say if monitoring of US Citizens took place and further that if it did that it was illegal based upon the law.

As I said, if it was illegal, appropriate action should be taken. And yes, I think that it is definately possible to get an impeachment is possible. It depends on how much the US voter will raise hell about it. Considering how the US voter have put us in this position in the first place, I’m not particularly optimistic, but we will see, IF the proof can be provided. If it was legal, I hope that the reporting of the story gives people the incentive to try to change the law.

For example, from a former Clinton attorney:

Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0512210142dec21,0,3553632.story?coll=chi-newsopinioncommentary-hed

It all depends upon what is legal and what is not. That is what we should be trying to determine.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 12:10 AM
Comment #110302

Btw, I never questioned your patriotism, nor the patriotism of anyone who ‘questions the actions of the government’. I am not a straw man.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #110305

Another link:

http://archives.cnn.com/2002/LAW/11/18/spy.court.ruling/

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 12:27 AM
Comment #110333

Rhinehold
The President has the right to authorize them, as long as an American is not on the line. Then he has to go through FISA. That’s the law.

I think the Democrats are not being inconsistent. They have more sympathy for the people who leaked to tell them that Americans were being spied on without warrants, than the person who outs an agent to get back at her husband for blowing the whistle on them.

This whole debate about the legality of the leak is a diversion from two questions: One, was it the right thing to do, and two, was the subject of the leak itself legal?

The question is: would you break the law to keep this country free? That’s the question both people are asking, yet we’re talking about different laws. Both sets of laws are necessary, but each has its complications. The way the complications working out, though, is that one of these laws, the laws regarding secrecy, can be used to cover up abuses and failures to live up to the second set of laws: the constitution. It is my judgment, and I take responsibility for this, that the higher priority is to protect the constitution and the rule of law, than to protect the official secrets.

We should not neglect security violations, but we should not prefer to be kept ignorant of Constitutional violations just so no security violations ever occur.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 5, 2006 8:39 AM
Comment #110356

Rhinehold, the key concept in all those links is that the President can wiretap foreign agents to collect foreign intelligence. That obviously does not apply in the case of Bush wiretapping US citizens. He broke the law.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #110357

Stephen,

The President has the right to authorize them, as long as an American is not on the line.

According to a recent decision by a federal appeals court in 2002, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

“The government’s application for a surveillance order contains detailed information to support its contention that the target who is a United States person, is aiding, abetting, or conspiring with others in international terrorism,” Monday’s ruling said.

I don’t konw if this is the definitive answer, or there is some variation that was missed by the appeals court, but I think that there is enough contention about the legality of the action to say that the answer is unfortunately not as concrete as I would like for it to be in this case.

As for your other question, would I break the law to keep the country safe? Yes. I would even release classified information if I felt it necessary in my heart to do so. But I would do so publically and in full knowledge that I will most likely be arrested and put in jail for it.

I think we agree that the Constitution is above all else important. Especially given that I am a libertarian and Benjamin Franklin’s words concerning security and liberty are near and dear to my heart.

I feel that the arguments of the Republicans about how ‘we need to keep ourselves safe’ is assinine and completely out of wack. First and foremost we must keep ourselves free. What good is security from a foreign power if it leaves us under the rule of tyranny by our own government?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 10:34 AM
Comment #110360

Gee, AP, if its that simple why did an appeals court rule differently?

Of course, I agree, the laws in this country should be few and simple. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t need nearly as many lawyers so that is never going to happen. And even worse, it means that we aren’t sure about this law in question, leaving us to bicker amonst ourselves while people who would want to subvert the constitution to their own will are free to do as they wish.

So I hope you will join me in changing the laws and determining the legality of these actions, not just interpreting the law as YOU see it and calling for a judgement that may not be legally correct?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 10:38 AM
Comment #110418

Rhinehold-
The justification in that case came from an explicit act of congress, and the surveillance orders here sound like they were done with warrants, or at least profound probable cause.

What they are trying to justify here are warrantless searches not provided for under FISA or any other law.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 5, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #110434

I am reading on Bloomberg.com where Bush brought in a group of people who have been critical and of the oppostition to get their thoughts on Iraq!!!!

“The meeting, which included Colin Powell, secretary of State in Bush’s first term, and Madeleine Albright, secretary of State under Democrat Bill Clinton, marks the first time Bush has convened diplomatic and defense officials from past Democratic and Republican administrations to discuss Iraq. The president has been pressured by senior Republican lawmakers such as Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana to rebuild public support for the war by consulting with critics as well as supporters.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000103&sid=aYdzG9.cFJo4&refer=us

This has to be in direct raction to all these years of his being slammed for not listening to opposing views (Steadfast).

While some my hail this as Bush willing to accept that there might be people with vaild opinions and suggestions don’t hold your breath.

I believe that President Bush is physically incapable of understanding that he might be wrong.

How could he be wrong? He has surrounded himself with people who are scared to raise objections or air opposing opinions. He has said that God has directed his actions.

This is nothing more than a Publicitiy Stunt!

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 5, 2006 3:00 PM
Comment #110462

LOL Darren,

You claim that he should have been doing this, when he does do it you say it’s garbage that he did it. I don’t much like the guy myself but come on…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 5, 2006 4:45 PM
Comment #110474

Rhinehold-
Show me the pattern here, of changed ideas and changed policies. Is he simply going to these things because his advisers want to change appearances, or has he truly learned his lesson about being bubbled away in his own world?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 5, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #110487

The fudamental issue is not about terrorists, security [these are the excuses]; Warrants[thats what makes them legal or not]; Wiretaps[the result of the Crime]; the REAL ISSUE is the President authorized on his own authority theeby violating and negating the “Separtion of Powers” The “Separation of Poweres” is the most sacred and fundamental guarantor of the Constitution and its liberties and freedoms and definer of America. When the “Separation” is abridged then the Constitution becomes meaningless and just another piece of trash. That is why Bush’s action is the most serious CRIME that can be ever committed in America and why he must be summarily impeached and punished.

Posted by: Richard at January 5, 2006 6:59 PM
Comment #110529

Rhinehold,
After careful consideration, I have come to believe that my position vis a vis blasting bush for snoopgate without proof is not really defensible. I am not giving him the same chance that I would hope to be given. I still feel that he deserves to be vehemently, agressively questioned. Not to do so would be, darn it, unpatriotic. All you were really saying is that we should wait and see if he had broken the law.

I also think that I stooped a little low in my baiting of you after your flame post. I apologize for that. I let my anger get the best of me.

On the NSA leak itself, I still think your position is very weak. You refuse to concede the relevance of the motives(or at least, you cited irrelevance to avoid answering), or the possibility of definite knowledge of illegal actions on the part of the president. You just leave too much room for abuse by saying the leaks were unwarranted regardless of the situation. If the leakers are correct in their allegations of wrongdoing by the president, and these leaks were to be the only way to bring this knowledge to light, then a wrong will have been rectified. An especially egregious wrong. That is just SO worth the law having been broken. If it’s fair to wait to see if the president had any legal footing, so should it be to wait and see what the motives and political persuasions of the leakers are. There ARE sometimes justifications for breaking laws. There are instances where what is illegal is right. And still others in which what is wrong is called legal. I liken this to known criminals going free under a sometimes puzzling legal system, that the system of justice may stay pure. It is a sacrifice we make for our liberties. If you believe, as I and many others do, that it is better to let 99 guilty men go free, rather than punish one innocent man, then maybe you will understand my argument.

I’ll happily continue this disorganized argument of mine some other time when I’m less tired and more lucid. BTW, good on you for persuading me to change my position on the other issue.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 5, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #110531

Rhinehold,
After careful consideration, I have come to believe that my position vis a vis blasting bush for snoopgate without proof is not really defensible. I am not giving him the same chance that I would hope to be given. I still feel that he deserves to be vehemently, agressively questioned. Not to do so would be, darn it, unpatriotic. All you were really saying is that we should wait and see if he had broken the law.

I also think that I stooped a little low in my baiting of you after your flame post. I apologize for that. I let my anger get the best of me.

On the NSA leak itself, I still think your position is very weak. You refuse to concede the relevance of the motives(or at least, you cited irrelevance to avoid answering), or the possibility of definite knowledge of illegal actions on the part of the president. You just leave too much room for abuse by saying the leaks were unwarranted regardless of the situation. If the leakers are correct in their allegations of wrongdoing by the president, and these leaks were to be the only way to bring this knowledge to light, then a wrong will have been rectified. An especially egregious wrong. That is just SO worth the law having been broken. If it’s fair to wait to see if the president had any legal footing, so should it be to wait and see what the motives and political persuasions of the leakers are. There ARE sometimes justifications for breaking laws. There are instances where what is illegal is right. And still others in which what is wrong is called legal. I liken this to known criminals going free under a sometimes puzzling legal system, that the system of justice may stay pure. It is a sacrifice we make for our liberties. If you believe, as I and many others do, that it is better to let 99 guilty men go free, rather than punish one innocent man, then maybe you will understand my argument.

I’ll happily continue this disorganized argument of mine some other time when I’m less tired and more lucid. BTW, good on you for persuading me to change my position on the other issue.

Posted by: Steve Miller at January 5, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #110542
Gee, AP, if its that simple why did an appeals court rule differently?

Rhinehold, I’m telling you they didn’t rule the way you think they did. The court decision cited in that article only dealt with foreign agents and foreign wiretaps. It’s illegal to wiretap American citizens in the US without a warrant — which is exactly what President Bush did. He’s not denying it.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 5, 2006 11:36 PM
Comment #110557

Regarding the comparison between the leak that revealed the wiretapping and the leak that outed Plame:

The fact that Plame was an american operative seems to fall in the open secret category. She operated out of an office in a government facility that housed members of the american espionage community. Her ties were known to many individuals in Washington. Furthermore, she was largely inactive at the time that the leak occurred.

The wiretapping program was an actual secret on-going program in current use. Its existence was not commonly known.

The leaks are not the same critter. It is not up to one individual to decide which government secrets they should reveal, therefore both leaks were wrong, but I think the horse was out of the barn in the Plame case.

Posted by: good king ned at January 6, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #110569

Steve,

Thanks for your kind words, I am glad that though our initial conversation started out harsh that we were able to get beyond that and have a productive communication.

I did want to discuss one thing you stated:

There ARE sometimes justifications for breaking laws.

I comletely agree. And this may end up being one of those times. But it must be investigated and it is possible that even though it was right, the leaker will still be punished. That is the accepted cost of breaking such an important trust. It is also why I deplore breaking that trust anonymously, it just does more harm than good. There is no way to examine the motives, the validity is harder to verify and the person who broke the trust of the classification still has access to more material which they shouldn’t have whlie someone other than a ‘reporter’ investigates.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 1:33 AM
Comment #110570

No, AP, the court decision stated that US Citizens who were suspected of aiding and abetting those foreign agents were also open to unwarranted wiretaps because they were ‘reasonable’ and not unconstitutional because of that.

I think it is not as clear cut as many are making it out. I am trying to research both sides of this one and find out what the reality is, not just what people want the truth to be.

I have even seen an op-ed article by a former Clinton attorney that made a strong case that the actions were legal. He has better access to the details than I would so I am looking futher into it. I’m not ready to convict yet until I see more evidence, and yeah it would be helpful if an investigation by someone like Fitzgerald would examine the matter, except no one in power is calling for that, not even the Democrats, which makes me wonder if the op-ed was right on the money…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 1:37 AM
Comment #110571

BTW, the way our constitution is written, congress cannot limit the contitutional power that is given to a president. If the Supreme Court has ruled somewhere that the unwarranted wiretapping of US Citizens is within his power granted by the constitution because they are suspected of aiding an abbeting foreign agents, then the congress cannot pass a law saying he must go through any further hoops or a secret court, etc.

Is that the case? I don’t know, but these are the types of conversations about the actions that should be going on right now I believe. Instead we are seeing a lot of partisan bickering…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #110581
one in power is calling for that, not even the Democrats

They sure are calling for an investigation. They have been from the start.

And from the article you linked, I’m right about the legality, too — even though I disagree with the 2002 overruling of the FISA court:

“The government’s application for a surveillance order contains detailed information to support its contention that the target who is a United States person, is aiding, abetting, or conspiring with others in international terrorism,” Monday’s ruling said.

As far as I can tell, most of the thousands of people snooped don’t meet that criteria. They just happened to have their phone number in some circumstantial way connected to suspects or acquaintences of suspects.

The question remains, if the administration had any probable cause at all to tap these citizen’s phones, they could have easily gotten a warrant retroactively. Why didn’t they? If they didn’t have any good probable cause, why were they snooping?

Posted by: American Pundit at January 6, 2006 3:52 AM
Comment #110606

AP, good questions, ones I hope we can get satisfactory answers to through the investigative process.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 9:51 AM
Comment #110610

AP, good questions, ones I hope we can get satisfactory answers to through the investigative process.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 10:02 AM
Comment #110612

good king ned-
Her identity was not an open secret. Friends and family did not know. Patrick Fitzgerald, in his investigation, concluded that her identity was a classified secret. Even if she had been followed, there could only be suspicion, not confirmation of her status as an agent, and for her to be followed, somebody would have to be tipped off first.

Even though she was not out in the field, she did go out on occasion into the field to do jobs, and agents and others who she had recruited and managed were still out in the field. Revelation of his program meant assets in the field were endangered.

These are rationalizations, essentially, designed to distract from one central point: an agent’s classified identity as a CIA agent was blown wide open by political operatives of the president in order to defend the president’s public image.

In terms of the Wiretapping case, I think it takes more to compromise a program like that than mere disclosure of it existence. Even the revelation that data mining might be involved might have occured on its own to the people. If these folks had leaked technical details that would have allowed measures to be put in place to defeat the data mining, that would be one thing, but without such technical detail, I doubt the terrorists would know anything of what to look for that an education in computer science wouldn’t afford them. Again, this is a distraction from the point that Bush was spying on civilians without the court orders, legislation, or warrants necessary for that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 6, 2006 10:09 AM
Comment #110619

“LOL Darren,

You claim that he should have been doing this, when he does do it you say it’s garbage that he did it. I don’t much like the guy myself but come on…

Posted by Rhinehold “

Yes Rhinehold, I knew when I posted this that it put him into an impossible situation… damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.

That is the whole paradox of his “reaching out” to the opposition… when he has done it he has turned it around to deflect criticism from himself. Such as the Democrats supporting his decision to go to war with Iraq based on the “same” information he had.

I see this happening again. A political move to “spread the blame” later on down the line. “I DID listen to people with different views…” without us knowing what was said, who suggested what, what was caused to change and who will get the political capital out of any changes in the next election. My guess, the President and the Republican party.

Politics. Pure and simple.

Reminds me of the Rep. Congressman from AZ on C-SPAN a couple of weeks ago… he was trying to show how America has always been divided on issues and motivation but we have stood together and are a better nation for it.

The example he used was of Linclon and his decision to sign the “Emancipation Proclimation.” How we got into the Civil War to protect the Union and Lincoln was able to also issue the proclamation which had no legal weight on slavery and could even be devisive while we were still at war.

This Congressman talked at length about how Linclon polled each of his cabinet members, listened to the arguments for not signing. He then stated that he would sign it because he believed it was the right thing to do.

The Congressman’s point? Sometimes good things are a result not intentionally planned for in war.

My view? LINCOLN intentionally placed people with opposing views into his cabinet so he could make sure to see all sides of issues.

President Bush is doing this too late… too narrowly and, I believe, for the wrong reasons.

That is why I was upset about the news.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 6, 2006 10:32 AM
Comment #110683

You’re upset because he didn’t include Colin Powell in his administration from the beginning and is only now seeking out his opinion?

Hmmm

See, the whole argument seems silly to me. But, you’re entitled to your opinion I suppose. I just worry for your sake that you are opposed to anything Bush does and then trying to find a reason why it is bad instead of honestly evaluating what is said and done and then choosing those things that you actually disagree with to pin on him.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #110691

Rhinehold-
The reason folks from your direction use this argument is that it quite plainly inhibits further criticism, no matter how well founded, as irrational. Do better than that, please.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at January 6, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #110696

Stephen,

‘my direction’? I’ve pointed out the flaw in the argument, when the commenter admitted that he did put Bush in a no-win situation and I am just concerned that he is one of ‘those people’ who do indeed oppose anything suggested by a person or administration and THEN go off to find something wrong with it.

However, if you read I did try to debate the initial criticism when the poster admitted that he had made that argument. I think you will also find that I have attempted to debate anyone’s position as it stands and not argue that ‘because they are liberals’ or ‘since they are neocons’…

So, I am honesty wondering what your criticism is founded upon?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 2:58 PM
Comment #110712

Hi Rhinehold,

I don’t know if the part about Powell was intended for my comments because I didn’t specifically note him, though I have mentioned before in posts (maybe not here) that I though President Bush did a disservice by not using him.

I would not, however, count him as an opposing voice within the administration or out of it.

So, do you honestly believe that we are going to be seeing a new, more open to ideas President?

My point was too little, too late. It was for political points so the President can “appear” to be open to suggestions and differences as opposed to, say, President Lincoln that welcomed people with alternative opinions.

Purely political grandstanding and trying to get his numbers back up. For him to prove me wrong I would have to see more cooperation across the board… but we won’t see that.

So, am I cynical? Silly?

Why shouldn’t I be cynical? This administration wasn’t even able to develop our public’s energy policy in the open?

One instance does not make a trend. So unless he is able to open up more to the fact that other people have legitimate opinions… I will just call it a publicity stunt and keep it at that.

Posted by: Darren7160 at January 6, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #110734

I’m sorry, Darren, but he and Albright were the two people used in the part of the article you quoted in your comment to back up your argument.

That was what I based your view on since you chose to use that particular paragraph.

HTH

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 6, 2006 5:01 PM
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