Right Wing Nut House

7/8/2006

BOMB PLOT LEAK DAMAGES OUR SECURITY

Filed under: Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:50 am

Glenn Greenwald is almost never right about anything. He is an hysteric, a red meat partisan Democrat (who piously rejects that label despite being outed recently as a member of the partisan Democrat email list “Townhouse”). He can be acerbic, cranky, and a serial exaggerator of laughable proportions. He is also smart, passionate, and a dyed in the wool defender of our civil liberties, one of the most articulate in the blogosphere.

If you get the idea that I have mixed feelings about Greenwald, you would be correct. I generally find his critiques of conservatives unbelievably shallow, almost grotesque in the cartoonish and simple minded way he paints the right. He natters. He takes forever to make a simple point (something I’ve been guilty of more than once). And to top it all off, he’s popular and gets tons of traffic, thus awakening the green monster of jealously in me and stimulating the id to take over my unconscious mind, forcing me to imagine all sorts of foul things that could befall his blog.

But today, I’m agreeing with him:

One Bush follower after the next who has been furiously protesting the publication of leaks by the NYT and other newspapers — almost all of whom has accused the NYT of treason, of providing aid and comfort to their Al Qaeda friends, etc. for reporting leaked classified information — have written today about this leaked story. But all of them are ecstatic over this story, celebrating it as a great and heroic blow for the Bush administration and as proof that The Terrorists really are the Epic Threat they’ve been claiming. And almost none of them are protesting the unauthorized leak, let alone calling for the reporters and editors at the Daily News to be sent to gas chambers or put in federal prison for the rest of their lives.

Their celebratory reaction to this leak is particularly noteworthy given that the Daily News article itself acknowledged that its source told it that the leaked law enforcement investigation “is an ongoing operation.” And the FBI claims that this leak has jeopardized foreign intelligence sources.

Before I pat Greenwald on the back, let me bash him over his pointy head. The only debate about the efficacy of the press publishing secrets in wartime is occurring on the right. The question of whether or not to arrest and try the reporters and editors who publish these stories has been a topic of heated debate only among conservatives. As usual, Greenwald’s critique is shallow and off target.

The left, as with almost every other issue involving national security, has failed to engage in any kind of serious colloquy, even among themselves, as to the national security implications of these leaks. Instead, all we get is the ridiculous notion that the information shouldn’t have been classified in the first place because al-Qaeda already knows everything we’re doing to track them so publishing stories that detail our methods is perfectly alright because the government is violating our civil liberties. The fact that we don’t know enough about how these programs actually work to make that kind of determination doesn’t stand in the way of the left when their on a roll politicizing national security.

No one can take their argument that al-Qaeda is in the know about all of our tracking methods seriously. Which is why despite the many sins committed by Republicans in managing the government, the Democrats are by no means assured of taking over Congress in November. As much as the American people dislike Republicans, they simply don’t trust the Democrats on national security matters. Nor will they until the left begins to engage Republicans on the issues and not the politics of keeping the country safe.

But Greenwald has made a point that many on the right cannot dispute today. The fact of the matter is that publishing details of this investigation has harmed our ability to keep the United States of America safe and we shouldn’t be ignoring this fact in order to make cheap political points at the expense of the left.

The damage done in impairing our ability to prevent another attack on this country was severe:

Disclosure of the bomb plot coincided with the one-year anniversary of a terrorist bomb attack on London subways and a bus that killed 52 and injured about 700. Authorities said they hadn’t intended to release details about the plot this early and that whoever leaked the information had compromised the FBI’s relationship with some foreign intelligence services.

The person who leaked the details is clearly someone who doesn’t understand the fragility of international relations,” Mershon said. “We’ve had a number of uncomfortable questions and some upsetment (sic) with these foreign intelligence services that had been working with us on a daily basis.”

Whether the leak came from the Administration or from a foreign source doesn’t matter. Cooperation with other intel agencies is absolutely vital to ferreting out the possibility of a terrorist attack on the United States and any diminution of that cooperation is a blow to our security. It is clear that the New York Daily News should be placed in the same boat as the New York Times and other publications that use unauthorized leaks to either sell newspapers, make political hay, or both.

Greenwald makes another point that needs to be aired here; the rank hypocrisy on the right when it comes to the issue of national security leaks in general. As he points out, this isn’t the first time that there have been leaks showing the Administration on the ball that has had the right celebrating the government’s watchfulness. Consistency may be “the hobgoblin of little minds” as Emerson said but it should also be a faithful friend in politics. One can’t pick and choose which leaks are efficacious and which are detrimental. You and I are simply unqualified to make such judgements.

All of this being said, I can’t resist linking to this article in Raw Story that seeks to downplay the plot, thus re-enforcing the notion that the left is unserious about our security:

One former intelligence field officer says, and two other CIA officials confirm, that the alleged plot by Muslim extremists to bomb the Holland Tunnel in New York City was nothing more than chatter by unaffiliated individuals with no financing or training in an open forum already monitored extensively by the United States Government, RAW STORY has learned.

“The so-called New York tunnel plot was a result of discussions held on an open Jihadi web site,” said Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer and contributor to American Conservative magazine, in a late Friday afternoon conversation. Although Giraldi acknowledges that the persons involved – “three of whom have already been arrested in Lebanon and elsewhere - are indeed extremists,” their online chatter is considerably overblown by allegations of an actual plot.

“They are not professionally trained terrorists, however, and had no resources with which to carry out the operation they discussed,” Giraldi added. “Despite press reports that they had asked Abu Musab Zarqawi for assistance, there is no information to confirm that. It is known that the members discussed the possibility of approaching Zarqawi but none of them knew him or had any access to him.”

There is every reason to take any plot, or “chatter,” or fantasies like this seriously. Even the article admits these perps are extremists with the desire to carry out such an attack. As we have seen to our endless sorrow, couple that desire with a fanatical determination to succeed and you get Mohammed Atta and 9/11. And the fact that Raw Story and most of the left would, in the aftermath of such an attack, skewer the Administration for not believing the extremists were serious only shows how truly frightening the prospect of the Democrats having their quaking hands on any of the levers that control our national security would be.

UPDATE

Pundit Guy has a perfect counterpoint to the left’s downplaying of this threat:

Have we become so far removed from that day in September of 2001 that we now criticize the very people who work 24/7 to protect us from being killed? Isn’t this the kind of complacency that the terrorists hope will spread through America, just so they can once more catch us asleep at the wheel?

In their eagerness to score political points about “fearmongering,” liberals have once again demonstrated that they are unfit to command. The American people will not elect those who have either forgotten 9/11 or who believe it didn’t change much.

4 Comments

  1. BOMB PLOT LEAK DAMAGES OUR SECURITY

    Right Wing Nut HouseGlenn Greenwald is almost never right about anything. He is an hysteric, a red meat partisan Democrat (who piously rejects that label despite being outed recently as a member of the partisan Democrat email list “Townhouse&#822…

    Trackback by Radio Left — 7/8/2006 @ 8:15 am

  2. I criticized the News yesterday for exposing the plot while operations were still ongoing.

    Twice, in fact.

    Comment by Allah — 7/8/2006 @ 9:18 am

  3. I’m having some trouble getting past the phrase “not professionally trained terrorists”. I know what Raw Story means, but it still seems very strange. It isn’t as though there were a professional organization, degree programs, and a licensing authority.

    Reminds me of the FBI insisting that shooting up LAX “wasn’t a terrorist act” because the terrorist apparently wasn’t a formal member of al Qaeda, or other reassurances that such-and-such a bombing was nothing to worry about because the bombers had never met bin Ladin, therefore Never Mind, There’s Nothing to See Here.

    Comment by jaed — 7/8/2006 @ 6:44 pm

  4. Another great post — you are magnificent — yesterday on Fox, I think, I heard a fiction writer talk about a book or something that had the same subway flooding plot and he went on to explain what they’d need to do and the intervew went on to compare this guy as helping the gov’t prevent attack.
    I know I am a blonde woman and all but am I that dumb, he was actually givin em ideas, I just don’t get it.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 7/9/2006 @ 8:04 am

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