Mar 04 2006

Administration Is Cleaning House

Published by at 11:54 pm under All General Discussions

** Update at the end **

The purge of partisan leakers who expose national security programs, meant to provide us all protection from terrorists, is going on in earnest it appears, from a Washington Post article:

The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI’s Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA’s warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.

Numerous employees at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department and other agencies also have received letters from Justice prohibiting them from discussing even unclassified issues related to the NSA program, according to sources familiar with the notices. Some GOP lawmakers are also considering whether to approve tougher penalties for leaking.

In a little-noticed case in California, FBI agents from Los Angeles have already contacted reporters at the Sacramento Bee about stories published in July that were based on sealed court documents related to a terrorism case in Lodi, according to the newspaper.

Some media watchers, lawyers and editors say that, taken together, the incidents represent perhaps the most extensive and overt campaign against leaks in a generation, and that they have worsened the already-tense relationship between mainstream news organizations and the White House.

It’s about damn time. These leaks are not about whistleblowers – there is a process for that which, surprisingly, doesn’t involve becoming rich off media stories, book deals with media conglomerates, and speaking fees that triple or quadruple the annual income of your typical mid-level bureaucrat . If you don’t think these people are selling us all out for money, then you don’t know DC. There are plenty of ways to deal with illegal acts which, unfortunately for the media, don’t pay a dime and don’t make the news.

“We need to protect the right to free speech and the First Amendment, and the president is doing that,” said White House spokesman Trent Duffy. “But, at the same time, we do need to protect classified information which helps fight the war on terror.”

Those who cannot see the difference are blinded – by money. The reporters make more money if they can crack open sensitive information and spin it to make national headlines. The leakers are paid for their efforts by the party most likely to gain from the leak. Don’t let these people tell the lie this is about truth and the American way! It is about money.

Bush administration officials — who complain that reports about detainee abuse, clandestine surveillance and other topics have endangered the nation during a time of war — have arguably taken a more aggressive approach than other recent administrations, including a clear willingness to take on journalists more directly if necessary.

Gee, I wonder why? You think it worries this administration that the leaks, which tip off the terrorists on how we try to detect and catch them before they can act, may be of concern since someone may DIE! And all the while the media is worried about getting awards and scoops and bonuses. How craven can you get?

“We’re at the end of this paradigm where we had this sort of gentlemen’s agreement where you had leaks and journalists were allowed to protect the leakers,” Rivkin said. “Everyone is playing Russian roulette now.”

Exactly. But the gun the journalists are clicking the trigger on is always pointed at the American people and not themselves. Sort of ruins the whole effect it seems. And all this irresponsible behavior is resulting in new laws to treat people accordingly – as if they cannot now be trusted with these great responsibilities:

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said last month that he is considering legislation that would criminalize the leaking of a wider range of classified information than what is now covered by law. The measure would be similar to earlier legislation that was vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 2000 and opposed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft in 2002.

No surprise there either. People want to believe the media and bureaucrats will be responsible and use the power of the First Amendment when it counts, when it is needed. Not as a knee-jerk way to spin every story against the Reps to win votes for the Dems. The NSA story has gone from the NSA bypassing FISA to FISA refusing to consider Al Qaeda suspects here in the US based on NSA leads. There never was a bypass of FISA – there was an attempt to engage FISA. So how is that a whistleblowing story? It isn’t – unless you lie about what is going on simply to create another fake-but-accurate story like Rathergate.

Sadly, the information about our security programs, and what Al Qaeda needs to do to avoid detection, are always accurate in these stories while the erroneous parts are always what the Bush administration was doing. Somehow the stories never screw up the critical, classified details and get the policy issues right! Wonder why that is?

Simple, the Democrats and their media enablers are the ones in the sights of the investigators:

As evidence, Rockefeller points to the case of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose identity was leaked to the media.

Any wonder Rockefeller is trying to point to the Plame idiocy when it is becoming well known he was part of the leaking of the NSA details? The Dems and the media have a problem. They need to spin a tail of wrong doing in the administration, but it needs some anchor in truth. So they anchor it with national security information useful to our enemies and spin lies on top of that.
Oh, and the attempts to stem the leaks is apparently working. The crack down is having the necessary effect of locking those loose lips:

Executive Editor Rick Rodriguez said last week he could not comment based on the advice of newspaper attorneys. Representatives of the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, which is conducting the inquiry, also declined to comment.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise Dyck declined to discuss details of the leak investigations there but said they were being conducted independently of the White House and were not aimed at pressuring journalists.

update: I meant to address this comment by Leonard Downie Jr., executive editor of The Post, as well last night.

“We do not want to inadvertently threaten human life or legitimately harm national security in our reporting,” he said. “But it’s important . . . in our constitutional system that these final decisions be made by newspaper editors and not the government.”

This is pure arrogance, and a power ‘we the people’ have never bestowed upon the media. The leaking has been tolerated because it was suppose to unearth serious issues, possibly crimes. During the Bush administration the leaking has only damaged our national security, it has not once uncovered a crime. The Plame fiasco is the perfect example. Fitzgerald ran those leaks down and now we know nothing happened and the prosecutor and press are on a fishing expedition for partisan dirt.

The media had a power that was never made permanent through statute. They have been misusing it through the Rathergate con-job, through the NSA tip off. And even while the media continues in court to try and expose all the details of our information on Al Qaeda activities here an abroad, they have the audacity to claim they have a right to do this? The right to protect our laws is not given to the media. The right to defend this country is not given to the media. the right to protect classified information and decide when to make it public is not given to the media. The media has been given the right to free speech – that is all. So far they have even abused that right. But that is all they have a right to – nothing more.

It is about time people started being serious about our national security and letting the partisan chips fall where they may.

update: Tom Maguire links to this ealier story on the leak investigation in the Atlantic.

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Administration Is Cleaning House”

  1. LEAKS – Administration Is Cleaning House…

    HT Strata-Sphere

    Strata-Sphere has an extensive commentary of these “leaks” in time of war.


    Administration Is Cleaning House

    The purge of partisan leakers who expose national security programs m……

  2. mary mapes says:

    As evidence, Rockefeller points to the case of Valerie Plame, a CIA officer whose identity was leaked to the media.

    I just can’t believe the dumb statements he keeps making, but this one is incredible.The Plame investigation. An investigation in which the President ordered everyone on staff to cooperate with like no other Admin in recent history, which included waiving any right to confidentiality to reporters.

    Apparently Rockefeller doesn’t realize he set his own bar too high. So we can all be sure when the investigators come a knocking Mr. Rockefeller will cooperate to the fullest and request his staff to do to, right?

  3. wickedpinto says:

    AJ!!!!!! First Summarize before you go into you’r “summary” WTF IS THAT?

    Anywyas. . . . . My problem with your post? The Administration HAS cleaned house, based on media, and congressional demands. . . .and with the Brown situation? I think the Pres has EVERY right, to chose who he pleases, and the CONGRESS and the PRESS has proven themselves completely incompetant.

  4. Time for a Washer…

    Ever since the press wrote, “Caesar to appear at the Senate on the 15th,” leaks have been a part of the news. Many times they are innocuous. Often they are on purpose — the infamous trial balloon. We have come to expect them and are seldom surp…

  5. Retired Spook says:

    Great post, AJ, and the following statement realy summerizes what we are up against:

    “We do not want to inadvertently threaten human life or legitimately harm national security in our reporting,” he said. “But it’s important . . . in our constitutional system that these final decisions be made by newspaper editors and not the government.”

    I bolded this because it should be emphasized beyond a “blockquote”. This is what I began referring to during the 2004 presidential campaign as a “Kerryesque” statement. “We don’t want to (fil in the blank) – BUT…………..” . The Left has turned this sort of rationalization into an artform.

    During the over 2 decades I spent in signals intelligence, I never even discussed my work with my wife, much less a reporter. You’re right, however, that it’s about money in the case of the press and about political power in the case of people like Senator Rockefeller, neither of which seems to have even the slightest notion of the stakes involved.

  6. Sierra Faith says:

    We The People Decide…

    Did you know you elected the Washington Post and the New York Times to manage our national security?

    I do not jest. . . ….

  7. Snapple says:

    The Post story says this:

    “The Justice Department also argued in a court filing last month that reporters can be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act for receiving and publishing classified information.”

    I read that this 1917 law was updated in the 1950s but has never been applied to a reporter.

    This was news to me. I always thought that only the leaker could be prosecuted.

  8. docdave says:

    I’ll believe that things have changed when I see some indictments. Until then…

  9. Crackdown On Leakers Has MSM Panties In A Wad…

    … Oh, my, my! All anyone did was break a few laws and pass a few Top Secret defense secrets on to our nation’s enemies, and now they might (gasp!) end up in jail! Well cry me a frickin’ river! ……

  10. Oldcrow says:

    Rockefeller is scared out of what passes for his mind that is why he keeps doing and saying stupid things, I firmly believe along with many others he is one of the leakers of the NSA story. As DOCDAVE said though I will believe things are changing when the first criminal indictment is handed down hopefully it will on Rockefeller thatwould definately show it is serious.

  11. petefrt says:

    The arrogance of the media is surpassed only by its own sense of self-importance.

    The recent media flap, if nothing else, has demonstrated that the media must be accountable for veracity, and that proposals for a “shield” law are inviting irresponsible and wilfully false journalism.

  12. WH cracking down on leaks…

    The Washington Post reports today that the White House is focusing its attention on media leaks:
    The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government s…

  13. Links and Minifeatures 03 05 Sunday…

    Carnival of Insanities Recommended: American Thinker