Aug 23 2006

Classification Of Secrets Useless With Media Leaks

Published by at 9:10 am under All General Discussions,Leak Investigations

A judge has pushed forward in a landmark case to prosecute people for leaking and publicizing classified national security information. The media and many other people are shocked that we actually try and enforce laws that are intended to keep our most valued secrets to inly those who need to know what is happening because they are implementing and manageing the secret effort. Here is a sample of this strange view:

A federal judge has ordered an investigation into how reporters learned that two pro-Israel lobbyists were under federal investigation before they were formally charged, creating even more scrutiny of the media in a case with broad First Amendment implications.

The order by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria came in the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, who are charged with receiving and disseminating national defense information. Legal experts say the case could lead to criminal prosecutions of reporters or newspapers that print information the government has classified.

The case has alarmed First Amendment advocates and some lawyers, who say it criminalizes the type of information exchange that happens every day among journalists, lobbyists and others in Washington. Prosecutors have argued that disclosing sensitive defense information could harm national security.

Just because people in DC break the rules doesn’t mean the rules are important. In fact, typically those who had the information only publicized it to stop something serious. But what has happened since Bush has been in office is leaking for partisan purposes. But the idea people can leak to the media under the guise of a whistleblower is ludicrous. While leaking today is rampant or partisan reasons, what happens if a terrorist sympathizer is in a position to dismantle our defenses one media leak at a time?

I have worked on classified programs and it irresponsible to leave wide open back door for classified information to become public and therefore be transferred through the media between source and consumer. What is to stop anyone from exposing information in return for some form of compensation? How would we know if a NY Times reporter is not getting some exclusive information from a commercial entity in return for exposing telecom companies’ NSA relationships?

We cannot allow these information brokers, whose power is based on what controlled information they have in hand, to dictate how exposed the rest of will be terrorist attacks.

19 responses so far

19 Responses to “Classification Of Secrets Useless With Media Leaks”

  1. MerlinOS2 says:

    In the security community, military and agencies, security access is based mainly on the “need to know” to limit access to classified information to those who require it to effectively do their assigned jobs.

    A top secret designation does not mean you can troll all information labeled top secret or below.

    The MSM has another view of “need to know” that totally contradicts the former.

    Of course we all understand the congress has designated them as a properly certified classification authority.

    Guess I missed that somewhere in the Federal Register.

    When I was in the military you had to have a “burn before read” cleareance just to know the name of the clearence I had to do my assigned job.

    Actually the only reason I obtained this clearence is that I was a member of the Skull and Bones and also a Bildiburger and a 135th degree Mason.

    Fooled ya the last part is troll bait!

    Point to ponder

    At the NSA an extrovert is defined as someone who looks at your shoes when the walk down the hall!

  2. MerryJ1 says:

    What this judge is looking for, I think, is the leak which must’ve come from within the prosecutor’s office. The same thing seemed to happen with predictable regularity out of Fitz’ office during the Plame thing, and it’s apparently SOP in criminal cases when the prosecutor’s office wants to “dirty up” a defendant to help clinch an indictment and/or guilty verdict when the case goes to a jury, either grand jury or trial jury.

    I’d like to see some of these leakers get a little vacation time in a penitentiary — if only to force some of the Fox News programs to cover news stories instead of the Scott Peterson and etc. stuff.

    Facetiousness aside, it’s a nasty little game.

  3. MerlinOS2 says:


    I draw you attention to the fact that the “fact finding truth be told” media was not the source of exposure of the latest “fly and die” plot we have seen. Obviously their leakers have been “chilled” by potential prosecutions.

    Has anyone besides the few of us realized that the MSM has had the agenda of “kill the messenger” instead of “kill the killers”.

    I know this is not PC, but reality is a hard taskmaster.

    All I hear from the left is calls for immediate or near term withdrawl from Iraq.

    What is the followup step??

    How is this supposed to achieve success?

    Even Jessie Jackson ain’t touching this one with a ten foot pole.

    Obviously we need the Jason Leopold/Cindy Sheehan speak to power alternative to give us the straight skinny of what we should believe, after all we are in that “quagmire of reality” between the departure of “Bill Moyers leaving PBS” and “Katie Coutic taking the New American Reality”.

    Note to her network..way to long a break putting her in place.
    Can’t wait to see her on the piano singing!

  4. granitroc says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but… did I read the judge ordered the FBI to investigate? I’m all for investigating this thing and prosecuting the treasonous swine, but isn’t this the responsibility of the Executive Branch of government?

    I am pertubed that the Judicial Branch has taken over this role and I am extremely angry the Executive Branch has been sitting on this matter.

    I keep hearing the S**t will soon hit the fan this summer. Summer is almost over. I really think the Justice Department or the President, don’t have the cajones to pursue this matter and I really don’t know why. If they really fear the MSM that much, we have the wrong people in charge.

  5. Retired Spook says:

    What is the followup step??

    How is this supposed to achieve success?

    Merlin, these are two questions that aren’t asked nearly enough of those who would leave prematurly. Either they have no understanding of the seriousness of the threat we face or they haven’t thought beyond their next sound bite/talking point (or a combination of the two).

    Ref. your first comment. Haven’t heard that “burn before reading” phrase for a while — LOL.

  6. MerlinOS2 says:

    Retired Spook

    That is because it dates from the time you handwrote classification headers on documents or did it with a typewriter. It was well before they decided to use “approved section whatever rubber stamps” to do the deed.

    Question ? Do I need to define typewriter? GRRRRRR

  7. MerlinOS2 says:

    Retired Spook

    Bet ya can decryt the following oldie but goodie

    Confidential, Restricted Data, NOFORN

  8. AJStrata says:

    I can – and who you calling a “NOFORN”!

  9. MerlinOS2 says:

    Ah the good ole days

    I can remember when you could tell you were in a real high classification program when you had to eat the contents of your IBM Selectric cartridge at the end of watch, since we wouldn’t trust em to the burn bags.

    To this day I am still trying to find a good Italian resturant that makes quality mylar spagetti.

    And I totally refuse to reveal what we did with the typewriter balls!

  10. roylofquist says:

    I, too, come from the “burn before reading” era. I believe that the title of my clearance is still code-word material after 40+ years.

    “Loose lips sink ships”? Intelligence can change the course of history. Think Midway and the assasination of Isoroku Yamamoto. These were world changing events in WWII. The breaking of the Enigma cipher system used by the Germans is estimated to have shortened the European war by two years.

    “U.S. Navy officials were stunned to read the Chicago Tribune story by Stanley Johnson that the Battle of Midway was won in part due to the breaking of the Japanese naval code. An investigation disclosed that Commander Morton T. Seligman, the former executive officer of the Yorktown, had shared a cabin with Johnson on the transport Barnett and permitted Johnson to see classified documents. To preclude further publicity, no criminal charges were made but Seligman was barred from further promotions. Fortunately, the Japanese did not have access to the Chicago Tribune. Apparently, they were only interested in the New York Times, Washington and West Coast newspapers.”


    As President Lincoln and Justice Jackson said: “The Constitution is not a suicide pact”.

    We can not, must not allow people, for whatever motive, to endanger our lives and our posterity.

  11. pull says:

    The left has always used the media. They view themselves as superior to the masses, yet servants to them. Ultimately, their rulers, but that is another matter. Propaganda figures highly in their world view.

    The rules are the rules are the rules. You either are one of them that follows them, or not.

    I find it hard to not justify some leaks, such as with the Watergate situation. As much as I hate the media, they do have an important place in this society and help keep the government in check.

    But, we now know Watergate was exposed through the result of an FBI investigation. These guys really had to jump through hoops to do that. It was important stuff. Partisan, yes, but also important.

    I do not think those hoops are in place today. I really don’t. The treasonous spy cases in these past two decades show that. These guys almost all could have been found by trivial financial sweeps and a little forensic accounting. And that pattern remained static — it isn’t like it should have been creative or unusual to do effective accounting sweeps on these guys.

    The good guys are willing to jump through hoops to talk to the media if such a horrible need ever does arise. These leakers? They pick up a phone and give them a call. They have these reporters on a virtual rolodex at their office. They espouse their views internally before ever making them public.

    I mean, seriously. We check to see if someone smoked a joint seven years before but not if they are fans of Lenin and think Che is really cool. We are terrified of being “non-partisan”… truth is we just don’t have a lot of good people. True believers.

  12. Retired Spook says:

    Question ? Do I need to define typewriter? GRRRRRR

    No, I learned to type on an old LC Smith manual typewriter in the mid 50’s. Still typed on a manual Underwood in the NSG in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In the civilian world I actually sold typewriters up until the early 90’s.

    And I totally refuse to reveal what we did with the typewriter balls!

    Come on, Merlin; you can tell us — we’re all adults here.

  13. Retired Spook says:

    Confidential, Restricted Data, NOFORN

    No decryption necessary. this explains it pretty well.

    Man, you are bringing back some good memories, although most of my experience was in signals intelligence.

  14. MerryJ1 says:

    I think it’s time to call some retired spooks back to work, and put all those “Gentlemen (who) do not read another gentleman’s mail” types to work in a coffee shop or shoe store.

    Fullon, the Watergate “Deepthroat” leaker was 2nd-from-top guy at FBI, ticked off because he was being passed over when J Edgar died (his good fortune — J. Ed would’ve sunk a hatchet in his head for what he did).

    The suggestion that that skank had to “leak” to the Post is a joke. He had access to anyone and everyone in the legislative and judicial branches, as well as to Ford and/or Cabinet members who could’ve invoked the Constitutional provision to remove Nixon if it came to that.

    Which it shouldn’t have. Nixon had no awareness until after the fact on the Watergate break-in. He asked John Mitchell, when the arrest story broke, it they were “ours.” His stone-walling was to keep the “Plumbers” from being thrown under the bus.

    If it matters, they weren’t caught when they broke in to plant the bug on the DNC phone, they’d done that and left without alerting anyone. They were caught when John Dean sent them back in to get a phone list of hookers’ names, which included Dean’s main squeeze (according to Liddy’s autobiog). The bug on the phone, by the way, was to try to confirm/refute whether the DNC chairman was a leak source.

    And, there were and are “whistle-blower” channels to take evidence or knowledge of improprieties. NYT and WaPo are never contacted for patriotic or “valid” reasons. They’re called because some little snake wants revenge or sees an opportunity to gain a personal or partisan advantage.

  15. MerlinOS2 says:

    Well since ya asked so nicely RS

    Our disposal disposition reports always reflected that they were transferred to the custody of a mobile self protecting comsec security level container.

    However the regional NATO commanders always remarked how attentive, aggressive and intimidating our MP’s German shepered guard dogs were!

    Got us a lot of rounds bought by the MP’s due to their high security readyness evals.

  16. MerlinOS2 says:

    RS said

    Merlin, these are two questions that aren’t asked nearly enough of those who would leave prematurly. Either they have no understanding of the seriousness of the threat we face or they haven’t thought beyond their next sound bite/talking point (or a combination of the two).

    Tony Blankley takes a stab at it with his editorial commentary

    Be scared, Be Real scared!

  17. Retired Spook says:

    Merlin, I’m sure there are many on the Left who would suggest that Blankley is engaged in a cross between fantasy and hyperbole. Personally, I don’t think, given the scenario he suggests, that he’s all that far off. It is scary. Good article — thanks for the link.

  18. MerlinOS2 says:


    This is but one senario, but however you massage the variations on this theme, you somehow have to suggest that any wanderings in this path as a choice of action, is to be most generously described as a much lesser than optimal result.

    That choice of tactic will almost assuredly at least plant the seeds that could flourish into this or some mutated similar result.

    What is lost on most is that the whole region where Islamic influence is paramount, is not your lets talk it over with snide inuendo over a social game of bridge crowd. They are a society that overall respects strength thru resolve, and view any sort of lesser unity as a sign of weakness that signals blood in the water.

    If anyone thinks we have a lesser opinion of the UN or similar efforts, they would be shocked by the intensity with which the local opposition views these same venues.

    A correlary could be drawn with the meteoric rise of “respect” killings in our country being evidenced in murder statistics of black on black crime.

    You can only get someone to back off when you effectively create the environment that validates your position within the environment of their belief system, no matter how much it may differ from yours.

    Our perception may differ, but either you have to achieve concurrencey and compliance by them or you are just spinning your wheels and deluding yourself.

  19. pull says:


    Apologies, did not intend to offend on including Watergate as a hypothetical situation. I can only base my opinion on open sources. I haven’t seen many people justify that, who were in the position to know. Or who are in a position to know today. Maybe that was a bad case to use. I have an extremely bitter opinion about the Left of that period, but I do not think the conservatives who could have won that war did what they needed to do. So, I think, as a member of a later generation, I am bitter that we have to deal with that legacy.

    Bottomline point of concern here is valid to anyone:

    We have no definition of what is “patriotic” and what is “partisan” in government today — aside from the military. Even in the military we see a great deal of fuzziness.

    This was not the case in the “Great War” era, that is WWII. That is the case since the 60s. It is much more the case today.

    Where do the vast majority of these suits in the Federal Government come from? They come from our colleges. What are our colleges teaching?

    It is sickening to me that this is poorly understood.

    Is it partisan or patriotic to hate Communism? Is it partisan or patriotic to call our enemies “Islamo-Fascists”? Is it partisan or patriotic to stand behind the War in Iraq? Is it partisan or patriotic to be opposed to Nazism? Is it partisan or patriotic to be opposed to Leftist terrorists and Islamist terrorists alike?

    What do our colleges teach?

    What are our guys in government… who haven’t worked their way up from local police agencies or the military… thinking? Where are they on this spectrum?

    From my experience, they are partisan, just as I am partisan to them. They are bent far to the Left. They view me as bent to the Right.

    This, too, obviously, is a legacy of those hated times.

    Unless we can define properly what is “partisan” and what is “patriotic” within these agencies, I have little hope there. Maybe, if there is a clear situation, such as with the Great War, this line will once again be drawn ever so clearly. But, if 9/11 did not do this, what really will?

    This situation goes much deeper then mere government, though. Our country is deeply divided. There is one side of historical debate, and that side is to the Left. By my definition these people are liars, misinformed, and they hate this country. Yet, according to our modern definition of “patriotism” that is very “partisan” of me… and not the kind of thing which is acceptable to express in our non-partisan goverment agencies.