[Intelforum] Bush's Warrantless Wiretaps
cybrcollectinc at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 30 10:50:26 EST 2005
Leaking of classified information is an illegal act and in certain cases where national security is compromised should be prosecuted under treason. There are other venues for people to visit in cases of suspected wrong-doing by government.
I suspect that some of this "leaking" could be traced to oppositional, political ties.
IntelForum Mailing List <intelforum at lists101.his.com> wrote:
From: DLVinvest at cs.com
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2005 15:02:28 EST
Subject: Re: Bush's Warrantless Wiretaps
To: intelforum at lists101.his.com
In a message dated 12/26/05 8:02:54 AM Mountain Standard Time, LevinMJ at aol.com writes:
A whistleblower is a person who reveals unclassified information concerning official wrongdoing, waste, fraud or abuse.
This type of revelation is legal; it is in fact protected by law. Often
whistleblowers are proud to provide their identification.
i.e., not Karl Rove or Scooter Libby -- but Mr. Levin's definition is deliberately too narrow: Many cases of "official wrongdooing" involve improper use of classification as a legal cover for illegal executive activity -- as in the case of by-passing FISA's already lax requirements (72 hours, even retroactively) for presentation of a basis of "reasonable suspicion" to a secret court , thus forcing the "whistleblowers" to expose themselves to the kind of prosecution and imprisonment that Mr. Levin recommends, hence:
In the case at point, an individual with access to classified national security information leaked information to the press. This action was a criminal violation of the law. Anyone who further disclosed this information publicly should be considered an accessory after the fact. Note that in this case the leaker hides under a cloak of anonymity.
The problem with this formulation is that Mr. Levin the accuser/defender of presidential prerogative argues casuistically that the anonymous whistleblower violated an unnamed law (presumably the Classified Information Procedures Act) by exposing the violation of the law by the President, who claims "inherent authority" as military commander-in-chief to secretly surveill and imprison, even torture, not only whomever he declares to be an "enemy combatant" but US citizens without the judicial review required by the constitution's 4th and 5th Amendments protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and self-incrimination.
Now, to the issue of damage to the national security. The surveillance program involved one of the intelligence community's most sensitive and fragile sources; signals intelligence. History has shown us that each time the press has a field day, such as the current one, on SIGINT operations, ---target individuals, groups, or, countries will review their communications security and make necessary changes. Often the changes made may eliminate a critical intelligence source and blind us to an incoming attack.
Mr. Levin then leaps to the conclusion that "national security" has in fact been damaged. He accepts on faith that the President is telling the truth when he says that he ordered this program to be targeted only against individuals, groups or nations engaged in support of terrorism under the authorization for use of military force granted by Congress, and that the program was implemented with the usual sensitivity to the right of privacy long exhibited by NSA and DoD. Sen. Daschle recently described how the administration belatedly asked the congressional conferees to add language to that bill allowing such action within the US, but they were denied, so Bush went ahead and did it anyway, rounding up the usual suspects (Yoo, Gonzales, Dinh) to provide legal cover. Whether his power-grab protected or damaged the "national security" -- and the civil liberties which make it worth protecting and defending -- is the factual question Mr. Levin begs, along with the unsupported assertion
that exposure of this program forced changes in the targets' security and counter-measures and thus -- again presumptively -- eliminated a "critical intelligence source." History has shown many things, indeed.
Douglas L. Vaughan, Jr.
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