Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Associated Press & The Intelligence Leak Stink

Wah, wah, wah...

Did you hear that? It's the sound of the Associated Press crying the blues because the Department of Justice seized their phone records to find the source of an intelligence leak--one that reported on the successful CIA operation in Yemen that helped avert a terrorist attack. An intelligence leak that put both American operatives and foreign sources in danger. Now they're upset because the DOJ is doing its job and trying to find the source of the leak. And as a double-edged sword, they've blasted the investigation all over the press which in turn has caused the intelligence leaks to seal up...because the sources don't want to go to jail.

Does anyone else see the irony here?

For anyone who doesn't know, cleared government employees sign sheets of paper called Non-Disclosure Agreements. When they sign them, they AGREE to keep their mouths shut and they agree not to share classified intelligence with anyone who is NOT properly cleared AND who doesn't have a need-to-know. Both of those things, not one or the other. They also affirm their understanding of the fact that if they do disclose classified information, they are breaking the law and will be prosecuted if caught. While the press might dispute the "need-to-know," there is no disputing the "properly cleared" part.

Reporters don't have security clearances.

Disclosing intelligence to them is illegal.

There is no murky legal line.

The DOJ (via the FBI) has every right to investigate. They can go to the Attorney General and ask to obtain access to phone records, not necessarily to spy on editors, but to catch the intelligence "leakers" speaking to the press. It's legal. It's justified. And the more the AP cries about it, the more irritated I get.

When a government employee with a clearance leaks information to the press it's not only ILLEGAL, but it puts the lives of our covert intelligence and military personnel at risk----as well as the lives of critical sources who put their own lives as risk to tell us information that keeps our country safe. If the Government can't protect the identities and reporting of its sources, then those sources will stop telling us information...including the kind of information that saves American lives every day. They won't trust our Government because blabber mouths with clearances run to the press. 

What I find utterly ironic here is that the Justice Department and the AP are making the same exact argument--they both want to protect their sources. The government's sources break laws to save American lives and the AP's sources break laws to give the press ratings and headlines.

If I have to choose which I'm going to support, I'm going for door number 1.

When intelligence personnel leak information to the AP, they put our National Security at risk and endanger the lives of our intelligence and military personnel. That's not only illegal, it's shameful! I hope the Bureau catches the S.O.B. leak and punishes them to the fullest extent of the law--and I'm glad those intelligence leaks are sealing up.

My novel The Seven Year Itch, in addition to giving readers a great mole hunt, shows what can happen to our sources if we fail to protect them. Yeah, it's ugly...and why I'm so passionate about this topic.

I wish I had won the $600 million lottery. Maybe I'd have enough money to buy the Associated Press CEO a clue. 

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