And you thought 2005 was fun politically!
The Justice Department has opened an investigation to discover who leaked the classified information regarding the formerly Top Secret NSA program in which warrantless surveillance was conducted on selected targets in the US.
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about President Bush's secret domestic [sic] spying program.I’m glad that it’s happening so quickly. However, we all can imagine the political firestorm that will be a by-product of this investigation, especially with the 2006 elections upcoming. No doubt there will be much political posturing on this matter from both sides of the aisle .
The inquiry focuses on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, officials said.
The Times revealed the existence of the program two weeks ago in a front-page story that acknowledged the news had been withheld from publication for a year, partly at the request of the administration and partly because the newspaper wanted more time to confirm various aspects of the program.
White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Justice undertook the action on its own, and the president was informed of it on Friday.
"The leaking of classified information is a serious issue. The fact is that al-Qaida's playbook is not printed on Page One and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Duffy told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where Bush was spending the holidays.
Another factor that may fill all of us with dread: the subpoenas of New York Times editors and reporters to whom the information was leaked. Without a doubt, some or all members of this group will be willing to go to jail rather than give up their sources. Certainly, this would be cast as a noble act of journalistic martyrdom.
However, an even nobler act would be for those who leaked the program’s specifics to come forward and save these editors and reporters the trouble.
Certainly this person/these people believed that, by leaking classified information to the public sector, they were doing right and, in addition, no person knowledgeable of handling classified material could have believed that such a public leak wouldn’t have resulted in an investigation from the Justice Department.
Would the leaker(s) allow the reporters and editors of the New York Times rot in jail for the former’s actions? I hope that the leaker(s) have more honor than that. Sometimes doing what one deems to be right has adverse consequences; the leaker(s) would at least be due some respect were she/he/they to shed the anonymity that has previously been their shield.
Of course, funneling information secretly is one thing; taking a public stand for one's beliefs and actions are another. It will be interesting to see what the leakers are made of.
Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive
(Thanks to Memeorandum)