June 26, 2006

Prosecute Them

I just sent the following email to,

Dear Mr. President,

I strongly urge you to listen to the request from NY Rep. Peter King, and instruct the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute editor Bill Keller, and reporters Eric Lichtblau,and James Risen of the New York Times under Title 18 > Part I > Chapter 37 > ยง 793. Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information, and any other applicable crimes.

I also ask that you request that the Justice Department seek out the identities of those who have leaked the existence of this program to the NY Times, and prosecute them as well.

I recognize that this is an extraordinary request, but we all recognize that we live in extraordinary times. A major newspaper has deemed itself the ultimate gatekeeper of national security information, and it then disclosed information about a specific program, hence destroying it's effectiveness.

Investigating and aggressively prosecuting these crimes will hopefully reign in those who seek to profit from disclosing classified information, and it will hopefully spare the lives of Americans such disclosures put in jeopardy.

Thank you respectfully and sincerely,

Bob Owens
Confederate Yankee Blog

If you, too feel that the New York Times went over the line, I'd suggest sending along an email of your own.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at June 26, 2006 12:10 PM | TrackBack

I love reading your blog. As a wife of an Active Duty soldier, it seems all too much the truth is swept under the rug as to what is REALLY going on, and all too often these days our men and women in uniform are being used as a scapegoat for deeper problems at hand. I support our troops and those like yourself who do not sit quietly in the shadows and allow the Liberal media (or drive by media as stated by Rush Limbaugh) to be the only source of information available. God bless and I hope you can enjoy this link i received, as I believe THIS is what American's need to see but are being denied.

Lindsey A Gile
wife to SPC Brandon Gile

Posted by: lindsey gile at June 26, 2006 01:48 PM

I don't know if this will have an impact, but consider that an effort be made to obtain a list of those who adverstise on the Times and boycott them. This would likely hurt more than anything.

Posted by: David Caskey at June 26, 2006 01:49 PM

I have written the President, as well as my other elected officials. The continuing exposure of classified material puts America in jeopardy. Yet the government as yet to act.

I fear if we continue to ignore the law concerning the release of claasified material, the framework in which that law is applied will become moot. I don't want my grandchildren under islamic law or the bhurka. It is plain that the Times would prefer it.

Posted by: MCPO Airdale at June 26, 2006 01:54 PM

I generally don't like to stereotype (I leave that to the conservatives. Oops!) but this is typical wag-the-dog rhetoric. I hate to revoke your poetic license, CY, but every day since the birth of the US has been extraordinary times. I don't recall any era of US called the "ordinary times". There will always be an enemy of the US wanting to "destroy" everything we hold dear and we will always live in extraordinary times. The rhetoric is historical. pre-911 thinking? What about pre-civil war thinking? pre-pearl harbor thinking? pre-industrial revolution thinking? Pre-US Cuban Missile crisis thinking? The list can go on. The problem for conservatives is that general public is finding out that the conservative solution to the problem isn't working. The program has been in existence for almost 5 years and we just got zarcowi (mis-spelled on purpose) thru Iraqi intel and we still can't find Osama or his direct reports.

So let's attack the free press. Its the only branch of the republic the conservatives don't control (the 4th estate). Its blatantly obvious that this administration feels no compulsion to inform Congress of what it is doing or adhere to laws that the Congress passes. Congress has long given up the right to oversight which is its express responsibility so it becomes the press's obligation to make sure that what the executive branch does doesn't go over the line. So polls out say most of the public is fine with wire tapping. Good. But of course, the public is also fine with knowing what their govt is doing.

The problem with the argument of "fill-in-the-blank" endangers the US is that it assumes not saying anything makes us any safer. You don't think the bad guys don't know that we are monitoring every signal/transaction in and out of the middle east? I mean its not to hard to put 2+2 together when terrorist A calls from a safe hole in Afgan/Iraq and 3 minutes later he is eating a 500 lb bomb or that after hitting a couple of ATMs, that terrorist B is wondering why he can't withdraw money from his phony accounts.

Its almost like you want to believe that we live in some pseudo-James Bond plot where if the bad guys had been tipped off by the London Times that 007's watch was also a laser beam, they would have taken that away and Sean Connery (my fav) would still be locked away in some dungeon.

The only people that aren't aware of what the US govt is doing, is the citizens of the US.

Posted by: matt a at June 26, 2006 03:06 PM

matt a - Your lack of insight is only outweighed by your verbosity.

Freedom of the press does not include the right to put American lives in danger. The power of the Executive is not derives soley through Congressional approval. It derives from the Constitution. Having said that, the current program under discussion was briefed and nobody in that congress has objected.

As for your assertion that conservatives create crisis in order to gain power. . . it's laughable.

Posted by: MCPO Airdale at June 26, 2006 05:39 PM

All of Matt a's rhetoric aside, I sent a note to the President's office too.

It is not a matter of attacking the so-called free press. It is a matter of keeping the free press from freely divulging national secrets that harm this nation's ability to deal directly and forcefully with terrorism, terrorists and their financing.

Having spent more than 36 years protecting America's most secret of secrets, I think I know just a wee bit more than the likes of Matt A.

Posted by: Retired Spy at June 26, 2006 05:39 PM

Shouldn't the other newspapers like the WSJ, LA Times, and other publications also be prosecuted.
Didn't the WSJ break the story?

Posted by: downeastbeach at June 26, 2006 05:47 PM

Prosecute the media for letting me know what my government does in my name?

No thanks.

Posted by: Robert at June 26, 2006 05:56 PM

So I guess it would be ok for them to publish the identity of a CIA operative who acts in your name?

Oh wait. That's a crime too.

What about nuclear secrets? Also a crime? Who'd have guessed?

If you really see things in such simple terms... well, such words aren't usually considered polite.

Posted by: Dawnfire82 at June 26, 2006 10:14 PM

The WSJ didn't "break" the story. They were the second wave after the NYT broke it. It was already out of the bag at that point.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at June 27, 2006 04:28 AM

MCPO - No one has the right to put Americans in danger. Not even the President("bring it on!" -- to the terrorists). The sad part is you definitely in to at least the third cup of the conservative kool-aid philosophy. NYT isn't putting us in danger, its the terrorists out there that are putting us in danger. NYT doesn't want to kill anyone. But GWB with God, Congress and the Supreme Court on his side can't seem to find them so lets divert the public's attention by focusing in on the messenger of their inneptness...

As far as conservatives needing a crisis to gain power, where did these slogans come from? "War on Drugs", "War on Marriage", "War on Christmas", "War on Values", "War on terror". If you can't find a real crisis to leverage(911, Desert Storm, War in Iraq/Afgan), invent one. When did we declare "Mission Accomplished" on the War on Drugs??? Oh yeah, that's right...How many times has Cheney/Bush invoked 911 in order to justify the War in Iraq?

Retired - Unless we've been introduced formally, don't presume you know a wee bit about anything. I've worked the majority of my life in classified environments. There are probably many reasons why we haven't caught the bad guys yet but it isn't because the NYT publishes these operations, its because the terrorists are smarter than most give them credit for. They know where and when the orbits of satellites are, how to get around electronic monitoring, and financial transaction tracking. They've been doing it for decades.

Have you ever thought that maybe this is another "spin the media" from the govt? These programs have been in existence for years and no leaks about them until AFTER the second election? Seems if someone had a beef with this and wanted to leak it, it would have happened long before this. We can't find these guys using these programs, so it gets leaked to the press in hopes that the bad guys will learn about it and change their methods so they do become visable to us? Maybe I've missed it but other than some "off-the-record" statements and the usual election year chest thumping from some "elect GWB for Pope" US Congressmen, have you notice that while Bush/Cheney both denounced the article, neither stated that the need for an investigation into how it got leaked...hmmm...

Posted by: matt a at June 27, 2006 07:34 AM


Trying to follow you. If there is a crisis and war is declared, that means you are battling the crisis. We will continue to battle drugs and addictions forever.

The President doesn't have the right to put us in danger, he has the responsibility to try to keep us safe. He is attempting to do that with the (Actual) War in Iraq.

If you worked in Classified information, (I have) you should know that leaking it has consequences. Usually bad ones. It was wrong to leak it, it was wrong to print it. Freedom of the press carries responsibilities to the public. This tool is no longer valuable to combat terrorist activities. There have been too many leaks during this war on terror. This is just the latest one and main stream america is getting upset (finally). They may think things are being watched, now they have confirmation and can switch tactics. Simple question, why should we let the likes of the Liberal News broadcast all the ways we are trying to track terrorists? It helps only the terrorists and hurts our efforts.

Posted by: Retired Navy at June 27, 2006 08:42 AM

Navy - The key word is "if". Declaring a crisis and there actually being one are two different things. Having our politicians grandstanding every 2 years about some "threat" to our nation is what main stream american is finally getting tired of. I forgot War on illegal immigration in my last post. Boy that went somewhere...

Actually, we all have a responsibility to keep US safe. I contend the president isn't interested in keeping us safe, otherwise we would have found Bin Laden by now and dismantled Al-queda. He needs a bad guy to make everyone afraid and keep the current "crisis" alive. What? Can't get social security reform passed when you control all of congress...uh...Duck, Zarcowi sighting! For all the moaning and groaning they do about the media's attention to the car bombings in Iraq, the adminstration doesn't want them actually showing any progress or the calls to bring the troops home would be that much louder. How do you think the nightly car bomb footage shows up on your TV? The military escorts them to and from every attack because it too dangerous for news crews to go out by themselves...

Yes, having worked in a classified env, I know the penalties for unauthorized disclosure. However, those penalties apply to the individual(s) that disclosed the information, not NYT. As soon as it became "public" knowledge (i.e. to those not cleared to know it), the Karl Rove defense becomes available (I disclosed classified info but wasn't the first one to spill the beans). But with this administration, depending on the govt for defining what is classified and what is not is a joke. Things that have been de-classified for years are now re-classified (US archives) and of course, any time he likes, the president can decide to disclose under-cover identities when ever he likes (which ought to make all of our under covers feel warm and fuzzy unless your spouse says something to annoy the pres).

I contend that these tools weren't that valuable to begine with (these tools have been available for years and even pre-911, FBI/CIA could go to FISA and get anything they wanted) and it was intentionally leaked to the press. From the spin group put together to rationalize the Iraq war (WHIG) to the whole Plume affair, we know that this administration has no problem leaking information to the press and then spinning it to their advantage. Frankly, I'm wondering if the NYT editors aren't feeling a bit stupid in realizing they got played. The administration has got them in a catch-22, if NYT responses by naming the leakers to show this was an orchestrated leak, they in effect blow their creditability forever with future leaks. If they don't expose the leakers, they in effect give the administration the platform to rally against the "liberal/communist/terror-loving/red-hating" media...

Posted by: matt a at June 27, 2006 10:17 AM


I just reviewed the Non-disclosure agreement and applicable U.S. Codes.

The one that gave up the information origionally is at fault but the Times was in violation of Title 18 United States Code Sections 793, 794, and 798 at least. They obtained the information and was told it was classified and not to print it, they did anyway and that constitutes a violation of National Security.

Plame wasn't OUTCONUS and wasn't for over 5 years, she doesn't fall into the statute anyway.

As far as a crisis is concerned, "IF" is a judgement call. I see a problem with all those things you mentioned and more. If the govt wants to call a war against them and it helps every day citizens combat the problems that plague our society, I'm all for it. The problem isn't in what it's called, the problem is when people don't recognize there is a problem.

Any advantage that gives us any edge over someone trying to do us harm is valuable. Each system was helping us to gather information on terror cells around the world and actually stopped some. They have also been using them for years (even under Clinton). The problem is with the Bush-haters that are trying to poke holes in the dam. The idiots don't realize they are on the wrong side of the dam and there is a lot of water coming.

As far as spin goes, well, thats politics and it's spun everywhere. I prefer to use the cautious method. I believe in keeping America safe first, Allies second, then the rest of the world.

There are bad guys out there no matter how you slice it, Trying to lump the President in with them is idiotic.

Posted by: Retired Navy at June 27, 2006 11:36 AM


You're assuming NYT signed a non-disclosure form and signed THAT particular non-disclosure form (I've signed dozens at different times never the same one twice). Even if all of that, the Rove defense still can come into play (we didn't "KNOW" it was classified). But even if all that is true, great! Where is the Bush/Cheney/WH team public outcry to prosecute NYT???? They are the executive branch. They execute the laws.

As far as Plame goes, it was the President's decision to declassify her, so by default everyone involved saw her as still "classified. even so, if it was that cut and dry, there wouldn't have been as much "cloak and dagger" BS with Rove, Cheney, and his chief of staff playing the press off each other. If she wasn't "leaked" why wouldn't the president or VP come out and say, she wasn't classified anymore. End of story.

Crisis - I see problems with alot of things in the US that declaring war on won't solve. The stop light by my house stays left green way longer in one direction than the other side, but I don't declare war on stop lights. The govt did not declare war on terror but on those responsible for 911 and for Iraq. War on terror is a political slogan used as a rationale for an agenda. Like War on Marriage.

I haven't seen any evidence that any of these programs stopped anything. Of course, if they have been going on for decades, then their record isn't very good considering the number of attacks that succeeded (embassy bombing, USS Cole, the 1st WTC attack, 911, London subway attack, Spainish trains, etc). Would the govt admit that they hadn't or simply classify the results?

I didn't lump the president in with the bad guys. Bad guys want to do us harm, blow things up and generally cause bad things to happen. I never said GWB wanted to do any of those things. Its just not in GWB's best interest to catch the bad guys. What would have happened if Osama was caught 2 weeks after 911? To Kerry's point, why did we pull back from capturing Osama and rely on local warlords to do it? Would we still have gone to war with Iraq if Osama had been captured? What if 911 never happened? Do you think Bush with his failed SS reform, Medicare fiasco, illegal immigration, Hariet Myers, sky rocketing deficits, soaring gas prices, record ear-marks, etc gets re-elected? 2004 election was all about National security because Osama was still out there. If he wasn't, Bush would have joined his Daddy as a one-hit wonder...

Posted by: matt a at June 27, 2006 02:39 PM

"If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter."

Thomas Jefferson

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."

Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: TJ at June 27, 2006 08:06 PM


Title 18 doesn't have to be signed, just aware of classified information, you can be in violation of it, they are.

Again, Plame wasn't out of the country, wasn't for over 5 years and didn't fall under the statute.

I never said YOU lumped the President in with the bad guys, but a lot on the Left do.

They found cells in Saudia Arabia, Afganistan, England, France, U.S. all using the tactics mentioned. I agree that during the Clinton years (When he slashed, slashed, slashed the national defense budget) things went bad, I see Bush as trying to change that track record. At least he's doing something. I don't agree with everything like you are alluding to, I don't agree with Harriet Miers, illegal immigration and agree something should be done with Medicare. I think his SS plan would have worked well if the Democrats didn't set up to block it. (TSP is a great investment), He has nothing to do with gas prices, that's supply and demand and private organizations (gas companies).

Posted by: Retired Navy at June 28, 2006 05:20 AM