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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hunter of “leakers” accused of “leaking government secrets”

Presidential prerogative or prosecutable offense
Editing, brief comment by Carolyn Bennett

The Sedition Act of 1798, which expired on March 3, 1801, criminalized publication of “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or certain officials. Of course, government reserved the exclusive right to define and decide “false, scandalous, malicious.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton two years ago and consistently since has said: “publication of private diplomatic communications represents an attack on the fabric of responsible government.” [Treason by an Australian? Is she nuts?]

A White House representative said, “The Obama administration was considering (and has since carried out this threat of) legal action against WikiLeaks”

This government continued and increased its witch hunts, abductions, harassment, imprisonment and assassination without charge, counsel or trial.

The entrenched status quo in the United States has driven the country backward two centuries and at least as far back as the dirty-tricky Dick Nixon era, with only a cosmetic respite in the years immediately following “Tricky Dick.”

But it seems the two faces of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s favorite son are coming undone.

A president (together with his secretaries) who hounds leakers and reporters of unfiltered, discordant information is allegedly leaking for its own purposes. And while he is not yet in the dock, he is coming under some serious scrutiny for his alleged leaks.

Former constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald addressed the dangerous duplicity of this government in an article published yesterday in the Guardian (UK).

Whose leak or news story is legal: White House approved?
Shane, Sanger “legal”
Riser, Assange illegal

New York Times reporter Scott Shane in early 2012 granted anonymity to a ‘senior’ Obama official to smear the Bureau of Investigative Journalism as al-Qaida sympathizers. This came, Greenwald reports, “after the BIJ documented the significant under-counting by Obama officials of civilian deaths from drone strikes as well as the Obama administration’s horrifying and possibly criminal practice of targeting rescuers and funerals with drone attacks.”

Shane and Jo Becker were then provided the scoop about President Obama’s “kill list.”

New York Times “senior writer” in national security and Chief Washington Correspondent, long criticized “for uncritical dissemination of misleading U.S. government claims about the threat from Iran” also always approves “the shield of anonymity.”

Sanger was rewarded with the valuable scoop about Obama’s ordering of cyber-attacks on Iran (a scoop he is using to sell his new book), an article in which he used flattering language to describe “Obama’s role in this operation.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist and author of State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration, James Risen got a different response from the Obama government, Greenwald says.

James Risen has produced scoops that are embarrassing to rather than glorifying of the U.S. government and “the Obama justice department has relentlessly pursued Risen in court, serving him with subpoenas in an attempt to compel him to reveal his source for the Iran infiltration story.” This process, Greenwald says, “could send [Risen] to prison if, as is likely, he refuses” to reveal his sources.

In books, Risen exposed the Bush administration’s illegal NSA eavesdropping program in 2006 and exposed a highly inept and harmful CIA attempt to infiltrate Iran’s nuclear program.

Quoting Associated Press Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Matt Apuzzo, Greenwald summarized the lesson of a dangerous duplicity of tainted press-government collusion, White House-approved reporting:

Sanger [writing] on successful Iran operation gets wide access.
Risen [writing] on botched Iranian operation gets subpoenaed.

Do as I say do, not as I do?
Though the White House denies feeding classified information to reporters, not all in government agree with this position.

The FBI is investigating the source of a story in the New York Times about the joint U.S.-Israeli assault (codenamed Olympic Games) on Iran’s nuclear program,  using a computer virus known as Stuxnet, Greenwald reports, “and revelations about a CIA sting operation in Yemen that blocked an attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight.”

The ranking Republican on the armed services committee, Senator John McCain, “has accused the White House of ‘an intentional breach…

These leaks clearly were not done in the interest of national security or to reveal corrupt or illegal actions about which the public has a right to know, as in the case of legitimate whistleblowers.…

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that these recent leaks of highly classified information, all of which have the effect of making the president look strong and decisive on national security in the middle of his re-election campaign, have a deeper political motivation.

In the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein and Mike Rogers, chairs of the Senate and House of Representative intelligence committees, said they will write legislation to curb unauthorized disclosures, limiting the number of people who have access to classified information because “leaks ‘jeopardize American lives.’” 
Mike Rogers is a former FBI agent and, in the U.S. House, a Republican representing Michigan since 2001. He serves on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.  
Dianne Feinstein is a former mayor of San Francisco and, in the U.S. Senate, a Democrat representing California since 1992. She sits on the Select Committee on Intelligence. 
 John Sidney McCain III is a former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination (2000 and 2008) and has served in the U.S. Senate representing Arizona since 1987.  
Rogers: “There should be an independent probe because it ‘appears sources of these leaks could be in position to influence these investigations.’”

Feinstein: It is “‘very, very disturbing… dismaying to our allies; and puts American lives … our nation’s security in jeopardy.’”

Administration press secretary Jay Carney: “‘Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible.’”

New York Times managing editor Dean Baquet: “questioned whether politicians were missing the point in focusing on the leaks instead of on the substance of information revealed.”

White House end-runs, counter punches?

The Guardian reports the president saying yesterday that his administration “would root out those responsible for the revelations because,” the president is reported saying, “‘in some cases it is criminal – these are criminal acts when they release information like this—and we will conduct thorough investigations, as we have in the past.’” The president continued is defense.

… [M]y attitude [while in office] has been zero tolerance for these kinds of leaks and speculation.

So, fast and furiously, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder launches “two criminal inquiries into the suspected disclosure of national security secrets” and announces that the investigations will be led by “two federal prosecutors, Ronald Machen Jr. of Washington, D.C., and Rod Rosenstein of Maryland.”

Insiders Rosenstein and Machen 

President Barack Obama on December 24, 2009, nominated Ronald C. Machen Jr. to serve as United States Attorney for the District of Columbia.  United States Senate on February 11, 2010, confirmed the Machen appointment.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rod J. Rosenstein is the United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland and a former nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. He was the subject of a controversy over an attempt to appoint him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. 

President George W. Bush on November 15, 2007, nominated Rod Rosenstein to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which had been vacated by the death in 2000 of Francis Dominic Murnaghan Jr. However, as Rosenstein was a resident but not a native of Maryland but of Pennsylvania, Senators Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin blocked Rosenstein’s confirmation on the grounds that he did not have strong enough legal ties with Maryland.

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy therefore did not schedule a hearing on Rosenstein during the 110th Congress and the nomination lapsed.

Barbara Mikulski (Democrat) is a former University of Maryland professor, a social worker and Baltimore City Council member; and has served in the U.S. House of Representatives then the U.S. Senate representing Maryland since 1977. 

The problem with 1600 Penn (and Capitol Hill) is that it is incestuously entrenched, beholden to narrow interests, carrying out corrupt precedent. 

As such, Washington lacks credibility. Whether executive, legislative or judicial branch, none can be trusted; and that amounts to a sad state of affairs not only for the domestic United States but for the broader context of U.S. relations in the world.

People of the world often see this, but Americans refuse to see. 

Sources and notes

“The U.S. Embassy Cables,” guardian.co.uk, November 30, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2010/nov/30/hillary-clinton-wikileaks-us-embassy-cables-video?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Editor's note: the article originally made reference to ‘cyber-attacks on Iraq,’ where the author’s intention was Iran; this typographical error was amended later on June 8, © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

“How the Obama administration is making the US media its mouthpiece—Spoonfed national security scoops based on anonymous official leaks – did we learn nothing from Judith Miller's WMD reporting?”

Caption in article: New York Times reporter Judith Miller testifying before the Senate judiciary committee, in 2005; in 2004, the New York Times issued a mea culpa about Miller's use of Bush administration anonymous briefing on WMD intelligence before the Iraq war. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters


Glenn Greenwald is author of How Would a Patriot Act? (critiquing the George W. Bush administration’s use of executive power); A Tragic Legacy (examining the George W. Bush legacy); and With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful He is a contributing editor at Salon dot com and former constitutional lawyer. http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/glenn-greenwald

James Risen

James Risen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New York Times who previously worked for the Los Angeles Times. He is author of the books State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration; with Milton Bearden The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB; with Judy L. Thomas Wrath of Angels: The American Abortion War; and has authored and coauthored many articles focused on U.S. government activities [Amazon.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Risen]

Scott Shane

Scott Shane is a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times (2004- ) where he writes about national security and a range of other subjects.

In this role, Mr. Shane has written about the nature of the terrorist threat, the reorganization of intelligence agencies, the government’s secret effort to reclassify historical documents, the explosion in federal contracting and the Justice Department’s secret legal opinions approving harsh interrogation techniques. http://www.nytimesknownow.com/index.php/scott-shane/

David E. Sanger

David E. Sanger is a “senior writer” in national security and Chief Washington Correspondent for The New York Times. He is author (while a writer in residence at the Center for a New American Security) The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power. He is also a “National Security and the Press fellow” at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University, http://www.cnas.org/node/339

“Senators plan legal crackdown on Obama administration leaks — White House faces accusations it endangered American lives by leaking information that would show the president as powerful”  (Chris McGreal in Washington, guardian.co.uk), Thursday June 7, 2012,
© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Chris McGreal is the Guardian’s Washington correspondent, previously posted in Johannesburg and in Jerusalem. McGreal is a former BBC journalist in Central America and merchant seaman.

“Justice department launches dual inquiries into national security leaks — Federal prosecutors head two criminal inquiries as Obama calls allegations of deliberate White House leak ‘offensive’”  (Staff and agencies,guardian.co.uk), Saturday, June 9, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/09/us-justice-department-leak-inquiry?newsfeed=true


Website for this image,26.04.07: Steve Bell on the row over leaks of anti-terrorism operations

no_leaks.jpg (64531 bytes), mgf.ultimatemg.com

Intelligence Committee Members Discuss Leaks Of Classified Nat'l Security Information
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), (2nd-L), speaks to the media while flanked by U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) (R), U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) (2nd R) and U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) (L), after a closed door joint Senate and House Intelligence Committee meeting on Capitol Hill, on June 7, 2012 in Washington, D.C.. The joint Intelligence committee met with James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence to discuss administration leaks of classified information, (June 6, 2012 - Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America) http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/oR44YFXUAjv/Intelligence+Cmte+Members+Discuss+Leaks+Classified/uV8ppUWnJPR

US journalists targeted over government leaks, menwithfoilhats.com


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