We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The simple truth why there are so many national security leaks is that the prime actors -- government officials, Congress, the media -- want them or are unwilling to stop them.
The current spate of serious leaks is not the first time this has occurred. There were major leaks during the Bush administration damaging to the post-9/11 ramping up of anti-terror activities, with no punishment of the offenders. By comparison, the leak of Valerie Plame’s not-so-secret CIA employment became the subject of a Special Prosecutor, and abuse of that process. These two examples revealed that prosecution and follow-up on leaks depended on whose political position was furthered and whose political ox was gored rather than the actual damage to national security.
There are laws on the books, federal agencies with the responsibility, and contracts signed that can be used to find and bring leakers to justice. Justifiably, national security professionals and front-line Special Operations forces have protested the lack of enforcement. Self-servingly, media has demanded even more impunity via a federal shield law. Partisanly, Congress has abdicated its oversight role. Avoidingly, Presidents have mouthed platitudes or claimed innocence.
The abdication of responsibility by those responsible or who should be deeply concerned about national security during the Bush administration has been taken to blatant new depths by the Obama administration’s re-election campaign.
The obvious truth is that these and other leaks are rarely the result of independent investigative reporting. Rather, someone in power secretly goes to the media with the damaging details, either to obstruct policy or to garner support for their own political ends.
Former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey writes...
in today’s Wall Street Journal(behind subscription wall) that “accountability is the key,” and that “The imprudent release of secrets has become a hallmark of the current administration,” going into details of the damages done to our national security and the cooperation or safety of allies. Mukasey points out:
Assuming the information in these articles is true, it is of a sort that is closely held, known only to a few and treated with the strictest of confidence. That includes, among other things, conversations in the White House Situation Room—conversations that occurred only among people who hold the highest security clearance known to our government, and in a place open only to such people. Documents setting forth such information may not be taken out of secure facilities even by those people, who are finite in number….
But those bent on concealment can assure that even diligent investigations are prolonged for months (even past a certain November election). Independent counsels proceed no faster. The time needed to set up and staff the office of an independent prosecutor can itself delay an investigation.
But there is every reason why this inquiry should proceed in Congress, where oversight authority resides. If the bipartisan outrage is genuine, Congress is peculiarly well suited to investigate and disclose what went on here, and who is responsible. An informed electorate would be grateful….
The president, too, has a role. For one thing, he could order any of the finite number of public officials who had access to this information and who is summoned for questioning to waive any assurance of confidentiality that might have been received from a journalist. Thus the journalists involved would be free to testify without offending the rules of their craft. An official who refused to sign would be justly suspect and could be dismissed, serving as he does at the pleasure of the president.
Holding people to account is far more useful at this time and in this situation than putting people in prison, and it avoids the difficulty of proving a conventional crime.
If there is truly bipartisan shock and anger about the current leaks, Congress and the President could and would almost instantly spring into action to plug leaks and demonstrate to future leakers that they will not do so without exposure and penalty. Otherwise, Uncle Sam will go pantsless in the dangerous world.
"The president, too, has a role. For one thing, he could order any of the finite number of public officials who had access to this information and who is summoned for questioning to waive any assurance of confidentiality that might have been received from a journalist. Thus the journalists involved would be free to testify without offending the rules of their craft. An official who refused to sign would be justly suspect and could be dismissed, serving as he does at the pleasure of the president."
Doesn't that parallel what President George Bush did in the Valerie Plame investigation? Didn't Bush order officials in the White House to co-operate with the investigation of the Special Prosecutor, US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (who turned out to be a Democrat operative) or else face dismissal? I sure wouldn't expect a similar openness from the obsessively secretive FauxBama who now occupies the Oval Office.
i'm short of time and will forget to do this, so unedited thus context hinky i'm pasting a few para (and a stunning 2009 link) from a nearby Maggie's --the gunwalker post:
Re today's headline 'securitygate' --here's the guy Panetta made news telling him to STFU --note the date here, then find your current National Security Adviser ref'd a few paras down. Search the net with the keywords, and note he also was prime behind-scenes protection for Fannie Mae during its blow-off phase, the several years before it bellied up as prelude of the 2008 crash opening act. Note that Vlad Putin came to power on the swing vote that moved to him on the basis of the Bosnia War peace deal and the NATO expansion eastward after the fall of USSR, and that this guy, NSA Tom Donilon, mechanic'd BOTH those initiatives --and if he did so with Russian policy vs USA in mind, and if he is as he appears to be the swing vote on a war with Iran, that everything in his record has severely damaged the USA --and yet he keeps getting higher and higher profile taskings regardless of what in the non-bizarro world would've sent him packing the very day the commandant of NATO inexplicably jumped way down the chain of command and ordered a British field officer to have his unit open fire on a company of Russian paratroops who had landed at a NATO controlled Yugoslav airport.
More on that later, including comment on how the middle-aged British professional soldier retired soon after, and became a British chart-topping pop singing star, and ditto retired the NATO boss, Wesley Clark of Arkansas, who then was invited by the DNC to make a run for president; how like Elliot Spitzer's CNN show biz career, all three instant-start at the top, soon after mildly disgraced yet arguably semi-humorous exits from previous chains of causation (Spitzer's cases, which cleared several nodes vital to building the financial crash, tossed out afterwards, in very short order, by the courts), then have a year of mystery credit to make the new career stick if they can (they couldn't).
IOW, re Iran, A hundred million Americans technically eligible for the job and without Tom Donilon's long 'insider heavyweight of the Dem party' record of creating catastrophic failures for USA, and HE is our attached-to-the-ear-of-the-president National Security Advisor? Are we on the verge of deliberately doing what is LEAST in our interests, and MOST in --to be perfectly frank --Russia's? Or Russia/China's?
I must remind you that these are emphatically NOT national security leaks.
It is considerably worse than that. British agents in the field have been identified through leaks from the White House. These people (and their families) "have not fared well". As such these are international security leaks, with implications.
The British, have been the only consistent allies of the USA in Europe (ok, since 1945) and now American politicians are exposing our agents to gain domestic ratings.
Do not underestimate American transience in the Middle East.
Nor should you underestimate British influence in Arabian Countries. (e.g. Britain is that largest foreign investor in Egypt and there are an estimated 250,000 British citizens in the Emirates. They do 90% of the managerial/administerial functions. There still remains substantial influence in Pakistan etc...)
My point is that Obama has made himself very unpopular in the UK by directly undermining British interests. There is talk in the taverns generally towards a return to 1920's distrust of America - such feelings have not been heard for a generation at least. Outside of the taverns, the security services are unlikely to share any information with the USA again, at least in the short term.
The Brits always talk, but I think now that most are now keenly awaiting for the present occupant to be cast out.
If he survives a second term it would actually be better for the UK.
Obama has made us clear that to him we are nothing special. As such, we could get on fine by leaving the EU and forging a better relationship with Canada, Australia, New Zealand as we should have since the 1960s and never exchange anything with the anti-British USA.