Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On Leaking Intel: Watch for the "Meaning-of-is-is" Defense

As usually happens in US political scandals, the important matters are getting drowned in a wave of legalisms, hair-splitting, and all around lawyer talk. The real issue is not whether the information leaked by the White House, and that's almost certainly from whence it came,  was "classified." The issue is whether putting into the press critical information about US and other nations' ongoing counterterrorism and couter-Iranian programs damages our national security by imperiling the lives of human assets, trashing millions of dollars in programs, and undermining our ability to work against our enemies.  The lawyers are all ready to note that the President, technically, cannot be accused of "leaking" classified, since he has the power to declassify information.  If the President says something is not classified, it is not classified.

Those of us concerned about the cavalier attitude of this misadministration toward issues of national security, must not let a "techno-legal" argument allow this cynical President and his hack National Security Advisor escape responsibility for damaging our national security. I fear that the special prosecutor route is a dead end. The scandal must be handled politically. In my view a good model is the effort by Darrell Issa to hold the evasive Attorney General accountable.

1 comment:

  1. It is a very slippery slope we find ourselves on. The idea that congress can/will do anything is wishful thinking - if Boehner gets involved. Issa and Grassley have been working non-stop for months, all the while dragging Boehner along as he kicks and screams. I know it looks like Boehner has finally gotten on-board. I will believe he is moving in the right direction when I see it.
    The administration's attitude is (I think) more calculated than cavalier. Obama puts a lot of things into motion at once - knowing the media will obscure the worst of it. Which is worse, the national security leaks or the attempt to block Florida from cleaning up the voter rolls? If Obama thinks the house of cards is about to come down he is most likely going to use misdirection. Some democrats are voicing concern over the security leaks thereby helping shift the focus to this new issue.
    Obama's only concern will be to get re-elected. He uses security leaks to make himself out the hero. He pushes Justice at Florida to block action that would verify and validate election rolls. Obama send Justice after Arizona to deflect the attention the sheriff has drawn regarding Obama's sketchy past.
    The attention of the country is scattered and easily drawn to the latest 'scandal'. Misdirection? I think that a real possibility.