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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

More Idiocy From The Old Gray Lady

It's been a couple days since we've beat the Times like a bongo drum, but I saw this yesterday, and never got around to dealing with it. The editorial board decided to try and explain the differences involved in the recent leaks surrounding United States classified programs. Needless to say, they still don't get it, folks.

Given the Bush administration's appetite for leak investigations (three are under way), this seems a good moment to try to clear away the fog around this issue.

Clear the fog? Doubtful. And there is no appetite for investigating leaks, but there is a cause for concern when classified, top-secret programs are being revealed by our vaunted press; their excuse being that everyone has a right to know. There is no such right in the United States, anywhere, and it's certainly not rooted in our laws. There's a reason why certain things are secret, or did the Times forget the "loose lips sink ships" mantra from World War II?

A democratic society cannot long survive if whistle-blowers are criminally punished for revealing what those in power don't want the public to know - especially if it's unethical, illegal or unconstitutional behavior by top officials. Reporters need to be able to protect these sources, regardless of whether the sources are motivated by policy disputes or nagging consciences. This is doubly important with an administration as dedicated as this one is to extreme secrecy.

First of all, these people aren't "whistle-blowers." They're leaking classified material. A "whistle-blower" is someone who brings to light illegal activities. The NSA surveillance program, the CIA rendition flights, and the radiation monitoring of certain Muslim sites are well within the confines of the Constitution. The president has this power because we have a declared war going on. In wartime, there are certain things the government will do. I don't hear them bringing up the illegality of FDR ordering mail coming home from soldiers in World War II to be opened and read. This was done in an effort to ensure no correspondance was going to and from the battlefield that could reveal the movements of our military. The Times also refuses to address the fact that Carter and Clinton both utilized the NSA to keep tabs on individuals in the United States.

The longest-running of the leak cases involves Valerie Wilson, a covert C.I.A. operative whose identity was leaked to the columnist Robert Novak. The question there was whether the White House was using this information in an attempt to silence Mrs. Wilson's husband, a critic of the Iraq invasion, and in doing so violated a federal law against unmasking a covert operative. There is a world of difference between that case and a current one in which the administration is trying to find the sources of a New York Times report that President Bush secretly authorized spying on American citizens without warrants. The spying report was a classic attempt to give the public information it deserves to have. The Valerie Wilson case began with a cynical effort by the administration to deflect public attention from hyped prewar intelligence on Iraq. The leak inquiry in that case ended up targeting the press, and led to the jailing of a Times reporter.

A Times reporter that the Times ripped up. The musings of Maureen Dowd against Judith Miller were beyond the pale, and it seemed to me that Ms. Miller was good for the times the day she went to jail, but she quickly wore out her worth. Secondly, the Plame investigation is garbage. You can't blow the cover of someone who had none at the time her name was printed in a lousy column. The White House didn't leak a damn thing to Novak, and I find it ironic that the Times--as they breathlessly go over their talking points--fails to note that Bob Woodward (hardly a right-wing operative) knew of her identity before Novak even wrote about her or her lying husband. Third, according to administration officials, they stated that the NSA was watching "foreign agents" in the United States. There was no spying on American citizens. As a matter of fact, the technical aspects of the program centered around computers programmed to "listen" for key words and phrases in phone calls coming from abroad into the US, and vice versa. And how did we connect these dots, some might ask? Anyone remember the third-in-command of al-Qaeda killed late last year? The man's laptop was captured intact. Any cell we break up, we try to keep all the intel found intact so we can use it to track these fools. I don't blame the Times for their inability to figure out the "connect the dots" game. One must have a rudimentary knowledge of numbers to be able to do that.

When the government does not want the public to know what it is doing, it often cites national security as the reason for secrecy. The nation's safety is obviously a most serious issue, but that very fact has caused this administration and many others to use it as a catchall for any matter it wants to keep secret, even if the underlying reason for the secrecy is to prevent embarrassment to the White House. The White House has yet to show that national security was harmed by the report on electronic spying, which did not reveal the existence of such surveillance - only how it was being done in a way that seems outside the law.

Are they serious? Mainstream America had no idea that the NSA had such a program in effect, and the report the Times ran on it DID reveal the existence of the program. It's their speculation (elementary in nature,and stupid in reality) on how it was illegal. Noted Constitutional scholar Cass Sunstein (again, not a right-wing operative) has confirmed that the president does indeed have this power. It is rooted within his inherent authority during wartime under the provisions of Article II. Mr. Sunstein, it should be noted, has authored several legal textbooks used in law schools addressing Cnstitutional Law, it's nuances,and ethics. This sort of reporting is a threat to national security because the very revelation of these programs causes our enemies to adjust their tactics. If the Times thinks that we're facing a bunch of farmers with singleshot rifles that don't have the foggiest notion which end the round comes out, think again. These people have the ability to plan and execute devastating attacks. Today, over 100 Iraqis were killed in bomb blasts in Ramadi. They also have the ability to adapt to our tactics, and with the revelation of this NSA program, that they will most assuredly do.

Leak investigations are often designed to distract the public from the real issues by blaming the messenger. Take the third leak inquiry, into a Washington Post report on secret overseas C.I.A. camps where prisoners are tortured or shipped to other countries for torture. The administration said the reporting had damaged America's image. Actually, the secret detentions and torture did that.

Clinton also authorized rendition flights, and used them for quite some time, but I don't seem to recall the Times bringing that up back then. And what is their definition of "torture?" I disagree with John McCain's definition of torture. We can't humiliate them because some nutty shrink said it will leave lasting damage to their psyche? Please, people. I'm sick of this. We have an enemy that goes well beyond the definition of torture as outlined by the Geneva Convention. To date we haven't engaged in torture. We've abided by the Geneva Convention rules in regard to the treatment of prisoners. We're the most benevolent country on the face of the planet. the Times and other cage-liners would like the public to believe that we're as bad as nations like North Korea, China, and pre-liberation Iraq. We do no such things. Panties on the head is torture? If that's the case someone let Uncle Teddy know, and get him down off the table and the girl.

Illegal spying and torture need to be investigated, not whistle-blowers and newspapers.

The Times can back up Risen all they want, but he wasn't representing a "whistle-blower." He was involved with someone that leaked classified material to the press in an effort to hurt the administration in a time of war. If such a thing had occurred to FDR, he would've found out who that leaker was, and probably would have demanded treason charges be brought against them. My bet is that when the investigation is done, we're either going to have someone in Congress facing an indictment, or officers for the CIA and NSA being indicted.

When someone is recruited into the CIA and NSA is aware of the Espionage Act that affects their lives. USC 18, 793, 798 is quite clear on what is considered illegal in the release of classified information. The Times obviously missed the day at law school when Title 18 was discussed. Whoever opened up their yaps committed a crime, and it doesn'tr matter whether the Times believes it to be dangerous or not. It was classified for a reason. This isn't some wacky conspiracy theory. These morons in the government aren't rambling on about Roswell or the Kennedy assassination as they sit in their cubicles with a tin-foil hat on. These people revealed a classifed program that is a tool in our war on terrorism. That's a crime, and they should be punished accordingly. Further, the Times would be smart to drop this issue. It's a dog, and it's been run over a few times by people far more intelligent than the Times editorial staff.

Publius II


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