.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Democrat Staffer Suspended, Denied Access To Classified Material

UPDATED AND BUMPED FROM YESTERDAY! The leaker comes from Harman's office--Publius II

This story is burning up the blogosphere. Charles @ LGF, Michelle Malkin, Allah @ Hot Air, and Captain Ed all have posts on this story. It is a bombshell as it appears a Democrat staffer connected to the House Intelligence committee appears to have been the one who leaked the NIE to the New York Times:

Democrats say the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee had no grounds to suspend a staff member who's come under scrutiny for the leak of a secret intelligence assessment.

The unidentified staff member, a Democrat, was suspended this week by Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and is being denied access to
classified information pending the outcome of a review, Hoekstra's spokesman, Jamal Ware, said Thursday.

The Intelligence Committee's top Democrat,
Jane Harman of California, wrote to Hoekstra that she was "appalled" by his action, which was "without basis."

The leak to The New York Times of a
National Intelligence Estimate on global terror trends caused a political uproar last month. In the assessment, completed in April, analysts from the government's 16 spy agencies concluded that the Iraq war has become a "cause celebre" for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that probably will get worse before it gets better.

President Bush, who suggested the document was leaked for "political purposes" weeks before the midterm elections, later made public four pages of the estimate's key findings.

In a letter to Hoekstra dated Sept. 29, Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., a committee member, said the Democratic staffer requested the document from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before a Sept. 23 story by the Times on its conclusions.

"I have no credible information to say any classified information was leaked from the committee's minority staff, but the implications of such would be dramatic," LaHood said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. "This may, in fact, be only coincidence, and simply 'look bad.' But coincidence, in this town, is rare."

In her letter, Harman demanded that Hoekstra "immediately reinstate the staffer's access to classified information."

The Department of Justice is currently looking into the various leaks that have occurred from within Washington. The NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program, the CIA prisons abroad, the CIA rendition flights, and the revelation of the SWFT financial tracking program have all had their covers blown over the course of the last year, or so. These are all classified programs, or they were until their secrecy was blown. Leaked information like this is a danger to us at wartime. These programs were designed to go after and deal with our enemies around the world. And many of our allies thank us for the tireless job we do in this realm.

But a leak is a leak, and undtil the review is complete, this staffer should not be allowed access to any further classified intelligence. Furthermore, I believe that the review panel should also see what else the staffer was privy to, and compare it to the other leaks that have occurred. At the very least, cross-referencing would give the reviewers a head's up as to whether this person might have been connected to the other stories.

NO ONE is saying DEFINITIVELY that this is our leaker. They are suspected of leaking the NIE to the Times, and that is that. It is speculation on our part, and others, that there may be a connection to the other leaked items, as well. And Justice and the reviewers would be remiss in not cross-checking and comparing.

Captain Ed rightly points out that up until now, many have speculated that these leaks originated from within the programs themselves; merely disgruntled people who disliked the orders they were given. We believed that this was a non-partisan issue. (Though there were many--us included--that had looked at Rockefeller on the SSIC as the one doing the leaking, or someone from his staff. Accusations were never made, but the digging continued regardless. A good detective leaves no stone unturned.)

Worse, because it seems that this was not someone from within those programs, and a Democrat Congressional staffer, the implications switch from non-partisan sniping to out-and-out partisan games with our national security and covert activities against our enemies. It ceases to be something that would likely be swept under the rug, and alleviated once the person was let go (granted, they would still face charges for the revelation of that/those program(s) to the media), but this goes deeper.

There is supposed to be trust in Washington that the people we sent there have the best intentions of serving and protecting this nation. This sort of politics is not supposed to be done when it comes to matters of national security. Call us naive for thinking that these men and women in conbgress should have known better. The leaks that were made were clearly intended to hurt the administration. If this person is found to have been the source of the NIE, and possibly the other leaked programs, then this has become a partisan issue.

I agree with Captain ed that this should not become a focal point with eighteen days left in this election. And even if the House review can get to the bottom of this quickly, it should be mentioned by candidates briefly. We know the press will be all over this. A Democrat stands accused of breaking the law. They will line up in typical fashion to defend them. I am sure Bill Keller will personally pen a not-so-brilliant opinion piece praising the bravery and attention to "the public's interest" for releasing the programs, and the KosKiddies will blog about how this is little more than a with-hunt with political implications. That is why this cannot be an issue in the run-up to the election. Let Congress handle this, and if the review feels that a crime was committed, let them refer the staffer to Justice, and let them handle it from there.

And, in closing, I would like to address Rep. Harman's demand. Not no bu H*ll no. The person stands accused of passing off a classified report to the New York Times. Until their name is cleared, they may not have access to any further sensitive materials. The House leadership is operating appropriately for this matter. And they are following rules siumilar to those within the intelligence community when they discover such things. I am certain that the CIA did much the same thing when they discovered Mary McCarthy had been talking to the press. According to the CIA, Ms. McCarthy failed a polygraph test, and admitted to them that she had shared some classified material with members of the press, including Dana Priest of the Washington Post. Ms. Priest, we will remember, penned the columns on the CIA prisons and rendition flights. It still remains to be seen if Ms. McCarthy was the source of that information, and to date, no charges have been filed against her.

But charges might be down the road for this staffer. And if that is the case, then good for the House and Justice. It is about time that these leakers were found and plugged, permanently. And by permanent I mean they are going to go away for a long time. Ten years in prison is a long time to contemplate the iumplications of actions like this. If the staffer did do this--if they did release this information to the press--then I hope he/she faces charges, and is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


UPDATE: 21 October 2006-- Over at Hot Air, Bryan has confirmed the suspicions we had yesterday as to who the leaker works for. Know why Jane Harman threw a fit and made demands to have this staffer reinstated? Because Larry Hanauer, the staffer in question, works for Rep. Jane Harman! That's right, his boss is the one with the fit, and Mr. Hanauer has some 'splaining to do now.

Dan Riehl has more details, including a a link to this story from TIME which shows some ties between Rep. Harman and AIPAC.

Did a Democratic member of Congress improperly enlist the support of a major pro-Israel lobbying group to try to win a top committee assignment? That's the question at the heart of an ongoing investigation by the FBI and Justice Department prosecutors, who are examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, according to knowledgeable sources in and out of the U.S. government.

The sources tell TIME that the investigation by Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which has simmered out of sight since about the middle of last year, is examining whether Harman and AIPAC arranged for wealthy supporters to lobby House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Harman's behalf. Harman said Thursday in a voicemail message that any investigation of — or allegation of improper conduct by — her would be "irresponsible, laughable and scurrilous." On Friday, Washington GOP super lawyer Ted Olson left voicemail messages underscoring that Harman has no knowledge of any investigation. "Congresswoman Harman has asked me to follow up on calls you've had," Olson said. "She is not aware of any such investigation, does not believe that it is occurring, and wanted to make sure that you and your editors knew that as far as she knows, that's not true... . No one from the Justice Department has contacted her." It is not, however, a given that Harman would know that she is under investigation. In a follow-up phone call from California, Olson said Harman hired him this morning because she takes seriously the possibility of a media report about an investigation of her, even though she does not believe it herself.

One thing is certain, folks--this is just the tip of a very big and very nasty iceberg that just struck Rep. Harman, and one that she should have seen coming.

Publius II


Post a Comment

<< Home

weight loss product