Washington D.C. leaks like a sieve. So badly in fact, the Justice Department has made a decision to determine where the leaks are coming from concerning highly classified information. I have a sneaking hunch the sales of Depends just skyrocketed in certain areas. This investigation, which emanates from D.O.J., and not from President Bush, is an indication of just how serious this leak is to our national security.
The intercepted phone calls, were not from just any U.S. citizen, as you’ve heard the President explain. But were authorized when information made it apparent, a terrorist entity was on the other end of the call. How the information was gathered is classified, and should remain so. For we are engaged in a global war, against a highly intelligent set of enemies.
Fisa Court statutes contain these very germane subsections, which were brought to my attention by someone:
Without a court order:
The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, the surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is only for surveillance of foreign intelligence communications between or among agents of foreign governments, factions of foreign governments, or entities controlled by foreign governments and there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party
Even if a ‘citizen’ was on the other end of the line, FISA allows this ‘spying’. Most of the naysayers have ignored Subsections 1801 (as well as 1821 & 1822) which define the section 302 of FISA.
Sub Section 1801, (a) (3) and (4) defines ‘Foreign Power’ as:
(3) an entity that is openly acknowledged by a foreign government or governments to be directed and controlled by such foreign government or governments;
(4) a group engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore;
Therefore it could easily be read (as how Clinton used this in the Aldrich Ames case) that if someone is controlled by a foreign government or is engaged in terrorism, he is defined as a Foreign Power and not defined as a protected citizen.
..and just to add one more point of clarification also from ss 1801..
(i) “United States person” means a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (as defined in section 1101 (a)(20) of title 8), an unincorporated association a substantial number of members of which are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or a corporation which is incorporated in the United States, but does not include a corporation or an association which is a foreign power, as defined in subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this section.
They also fail to recognize Executive Order 12949, signed by President Clinton, February 9, 1995, allowing warrantless searches pursuant to section 302 of FISA (and accounting for subsections 1801, 1821 & 1822 which define 302’s terms
If, as the New York Times states, they had possession of this information for a year, but held on to it, at the urging of the President, and… felt it was somehow illegal, why did they not go directly to the Justice Department? They didn’t. Yet on the day the Patriot Act was on the Senate floor for vote, in an apparent crisis of conscience, they released it. The only reasonable explanation is, it was held onto that long for a specific purpose-to impede the final passage of the Act.
Now, after the announcement by the Justice Department, that it intends to fully investigate what is a serious federal offense, the leaking of classified material, we are offered a new defense-whistleblowing! This would fall under the Oxley-Sarbanes Act which defines whistleblowing and it’s attendant definitions and regulations.
There are many federal and state whistleblower laws. Most, effectively, make it illegal for an employer to fire an employee for whistle blowing on the employer’s illegal conduct. In general, to prove a violation of a whistleblower law, the employee must show that 1) her or she engaged in statutorily-protected conduct; 2) the employer took adverse action against him or her; and (3) there was a causal connection between the protected activity and the adverse action.
Under the laws of most states, whistleblowers are entitled to emotional distress and punitive damages. Now under federal law, specifically the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, any person who “interferes with” the employment or livelihood of an employee for providing any truthful information to legal authorities relating to the commission or possible commission of any federal offense, can be imprisoned for up to 10 years, and pay a fine up to $250,000.”
To offer this up as a plausible defense for disclosing highly covert operational information, after possessing said information for a year is absurd and demeaning to most intelligent people. The New York Times knows full well that it could have consulted in total privacy with any D.O.J. attorney, at any time. Yet they apparently didn’t.
The real question is who is doing the leaking, and why? The motive here is critical in ascertaining the nature of the offense. If it’s political, aimed at harming rivals, that must be addressed and perhaps stringent Congressional action amongst its own membership should be undertaken. The other motives would be either money or secret anti- American leanings, or both. For I’ve noticed something that truly worries me. Amongst those who are anti-Administration/anti-Iraq, there are people who appear incapable of rational dialogue.
Some of them are in Congress. I’ve watched them on T.V., read their thoughts, blogs and more, and am extremely worried, that this administration has created such an atmosphere of mistrust and vitriolic hate. Much of which is not worthy of even remarking on. Contrary to what many might discern from my writing, I’m very much a middle of the road person, willing to vote for the best man, rather than along party lines.
Though I disagreed with our going to Iraq, based solely on what I believed to be a diplomatic disaster, once our men and women were over there, I supported them 100%, and still do. At home, we have not had a major attack since 9-11, because of the fine work of our intelligence gathering community. Given the tools to become as fluid and adaptable as the enemies we face, they have performed superbly. For this many Americans are so deeply grateful. The Patriot Act and all the other weapons need to keep America safe are in the right hands.
To demean and denigrate the long arduous hours of sacrifice and worry over protecting our country, by implying we are being spied on by the men and women sworn to protect us, is sickening. Most rational people recognize that in order to remain free of other potentially more lethal attacks, that we ourselves must put up with certain inconveniences, and losses of privacy. Airport screenings are one example. And many of us have said emphatically, better that than another 9-11.
I hope the resolution to the issue of leaks is looked at in depth, and severe penalties handed down. Every time one of these leaks occurs, Al Qaida is handed a carte blanche menu of our clandestine plans. For those that think otherwise, explain to the rest of us how you would go about handling this situation? We are all partners in the War On Terror. We need much more in the area of constructive reasoned compromise, and much less of criticism without solution. Aiding and comforting our enemy by providing them with vital information is a crime and makes me ashamed for those responsible.