Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Freedom Fighters or Terrorists?
I thought about using "Leakers or Whistleblowers?" as a title for this post, but that title isn't nearly as interesting. If I had an editor, I'm sure he or she would make me change it. Oh wait, I forgot - according to the MSM, I write this stuff in my pajamas.
Much has and will be made about those sources cited by New York Times columnist James Risen in his deliberate unmasking of a classified intelligence gather operation being managed by the National Security Agency under the direction of the President of the United States. In an effort to plug the book associated with his NYT column, he went on NBC's Today Show. Video available here.
In this interview, he refers to his "sources" as "truly American patriots" and "whistleblowers". Who grants unto Mr. Risen the authority to define his anonymous sources as "patriots" and "whistleblowers"? Why, Mr. Risen does, of course.
The Washington DC media establishment lives and feeds off leaks. It has since this nation was formed. Reporters who live and die by the front page byline require information leaks more than they require food and water. Sadly for the MSM, especially those in the Washington Press Corps, the W Administration has been largely devoid of unauthorized leaks. Mr. Risen's sources, operating on their own volition, provided him information on a classified national security program - the revelation of which has damaged the program by bringing it out from the shadows where it was most effective.
The MSM considers these "sources" to be the epitome of patriots because they have undermined the dreaded W Administration. This assumption, like many made by the MSM, is wrong. The leaking of classified information to people and entities who a) do not have a security clearance and b) do not have a need to know is a crime.
You don't have to take my word for it. Unlike the MSM, the Senate Jackass Caucus, and Kos, I cite sources when I make statements. If you'd like to look up the law on this subject, you'll find it at U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 37, Section 798. No allowance for personal feelings, creeds, or political leanings are made here. Cox and Forkum say more than a thousand words with this cartoon.
Time Magazine, in a review of Risen's book, states:
Risen's reporting isn't bulletproof. Like most intelligence reporters, he relies heavily on anonymous sources, and several anecdotes in State of War are attributed to a lone leaker. That makes some of the book's claims difficult to verify, while leaving Risen open to charges that he is being used by partisan ax grinders.The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into this leak. The New York Times has already let one reporter sit in an Alexandria jail cell to protect her sources in a case that, in the end, dealt more with political gotcha than national security.
There is a difference between Freedom Fighters and Terrorists - that difference is the fact the Freedom Fighters win and thus write the history. The difference between Leakers and Whistleblowers is much the same, except for the fact James Risen is not the sole judge of who falls into which category.
One has to wonder if James Risen, or his co-author Eric Lichtblau, are willing to go to prison to protect their sources (or source as the case most likely is). Personally I think a few days in Sing Sing or Riker's Island may change their minds.
Here endeth the lesson.