The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Sunday, June 22, 2008
UPDATED Mind Numbing Sedition: al-NYT Reveals Name of KSM's Chief Interrogator (AND our Allies)--Against CIA Wishes
For those with short memories, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is the man who was:
- Al Qaeda's Operations Chief, in charge of all terror planning for AQ
- The mastermind and organizer of the 9/11 plot
- The mastermind behind numerous other attacks on US assets, including the African embassies, the USS Cole--and who knows what other attacks
- The man who personally sawed off Daniel Pearl's head with a knife on videotape
As many are no doubt also aware, the CIA admitted that during the interrogation of KSM--during which KSM revealed details about numerous AQ operations which in turn allowed the US and other countries to shut down these plots/cells down before they happened, saving arguably thousands of lives--was one of the few cases where waterboarding was used to extract information; and (I remind you) was used WITH the full knowledge of the Democrat leadership at the time, including Nancy Pelosi..
All of these facts should be kept in mind as we begin to discuss the latest outrage from the very same New York Times which previously published details about America's secret banking operations that the US had been using to shut down terror financing, and which have over time published a number of other National Security secrets which assisted the enemies of Civilization in adjusting their tactics to avoid detection--each time despite the vociferous argument and disapproval of the Bush Administration, Intelligence agencies and Justice Department to keep these matters secret. Our blood-lusting jihadist enemies could not possibly have done a better job of counterintelligence than NYT has performed on their behalf, even if Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, or Hamas had their own versions of the CIA operating clandestinely in our country.
And now the Times has done it again.
In a story which revealed (among other things) the "human side" of KSM, and which provided details of the interrogation of arguably the highest value enemy asset we have captured in this war, the NY Times today has also revealed the name of the CIA's Chief Interrogator--despite loud and heated calls by the Agency that to do so could endanger his own life (and/or his family's) and otherwise subject him to relentless hounding and persecution (naturally, by the Left, Democrat witch-hunters, and their media allies like the NYT...).
If this were not enough, the Times also revealed today which US ally--Poland--allowed this interrogation to be conducted on its soil. No doubt our good friends the Poles were not counting on having to answer to their NATO counterparts or the EU or the UN for assisting in a "controversial" interrogation--even if it did prevent attacks in Europe and saved countless numbers of holier-than-thou Euro-utopians' lives (I am not trying to disparage all Europeans here--only the ones with their utopian "we are the world" heads in the sand...).
I am certain that as a result of this story, our enemies may well now decide to consider Poland as a "target"--if that were not already the case. I am sure that these facts will assist the Poles in being even more eager to assist us in other high-value interrogation efforts in the future...or any other friendly country for that matter; after all, what country doesn't want to receive such great publicity from the seditious American press?
All thanks to the New. York. Times. Unspeakable.
Other NYT "greatest hits" here and here. And of course here.
Too bad, because an otherwise fascinating story about the scramble to build a counterterror apparatus after 9/11, the merits of coercive vs. non-coercive interrogation, and the stings that nailed Abu Zubaydah and KSM is going to be submerged in a debate over their decision to publish the lead interrogator’s name against his wishes and those of CIA chief Michael Hayden. Here’s the obligatory editor’s note justifying the decision. Quote:
After discussion with agency officials and a lawyer for [the interrogrator], the newspaper declined the request, noting that [the interrogator] had never worked under cover and that others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news stories and books. The editors judged that the name was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article.
The Times’ policy is to withhold the name of a news subject only very rarely, most often in the case of victims of sexual assault or intelligence officers operating under cover.
Read the piece and you’ll see that credibility and completeness have nothing to do with it. It’s not a story about him; he’s just the springboard to explore the themes I mentioned earlier. They could have as easily used his initials, an alias, or no name at all and the article wouldn’t suffer a bit. As for credibility, that’s easy: Just make a deal with Hayden that in return for withholding the name he’d agree to go on record and vouch for the fact that the identity of the agent as known to the Times was correct. Did they even offer? Doesn’t sound like it. The real motive here in disclosing his name, quite obviously, is to avoid setting a precedent by which they’d feel obligated to withhold names every time a government agency asked them to. That’s fine in the abstract, but it can be handled on a case by case basis. If your subject is known to be an antagonist of some of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and his former boss is telling you he has reason to believe it’d be better if his name wasn’t divulged, why not give him the benefit of the doubt?
Funny though, the NYT certainly was "concerned" about Scooter Libby's revelation of (non-covert) Valerie Plame's identity--I seem to recall their raising quite a stink about the ghastly "outing" of this Vanity Fair cover girl and her hard-Left husband....
If only Abraham Lincoln were President today... (emphasis mine):
Today our international might may be at its zenith, but we as a nation have never been more vulnerable to debilitating and destabilizing attacks at home. As the U.S. ponders a largely hidden enemy, potentially armed with bioweapons -- anthrax, plague, even smallpox -- and perhaps a radiological bomb, one of the most important decisions the nation faces is how we balance the security measures we need to forestall future attacks with America's much-cherished doctrine of civil liberties.Thanks to internal enemies like the New York Times, measures such as Lincoln took during our existential war of the 1860's (including censoring certain newspapers considered to be acting against the interests of the Union) may one day become necessary again. We are at War, yet our government seems to still be riding the fence between that reality and a September 10 mindset so carefully cultivated by the Left and its allies in Big Media. In the meantime our Supreme Court has recently demolished any notion of the Constitutional limitations of its own powers in regard to the other branches.
It is commonly agreed that our greatest breakthroughs in this war will most likely come not from military strikes or careful diplomacy -- needed and important as they both are -- but from crucial pieces of information: a lead about a terrorist cell; a confession from a captured bin Laden associate; reliable intercepts warning that a new attack is going to take place. Indeed, one small lead could potentially save thousands or hundreds of thousands of lives -- perhaps millions.
But how we go about obtaining this information also raises crucial questions: When is detention going too far? When is the surveillance too much? Is e-mail fair game? Or is wartime censorship acceptable? (Already the administration has asked the media not to air the recent Osama bin Laden tapes, as well as to edit his transcripts.) And at what point are we giving government more power than is necessary, as well as unbridled access to personal information, thereby jeopardizing or perverting our precious democratic institutions?
But if history is any guide -- and it is -- we see that the Bush administration's proposals, even at the far end of the ledger, pale in comparison to what previous wartime administrations have imposed. Ironically, we may be the first generation of Americans to wrestle so intensely with this issue. Faced with the choice between security and civil liberties in times of crisis, previous presidents -- John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt -- to a man (and with little hesitation) chose to drastically curtail civil liberties. It is also worth noting that despite these previous and numerous extreme measures, there was little long-term or corrosive effect on society after the security threat had subsided. When the crisis ended, normalcy returned, and so too did civil liberties, invariably stronger than before.
[....] Abraham Lincoln's during the Civil War was considerably harsher. The president suspended the writ of habeas corpus and subjected "all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments" to martial law. To enforce this decree, a network of provost marshals promptly imprisoned several hundred antiwar activists and draft resisters, including five newspaper editors, three judges, a number of doctors, lawyers, journalists and prominent civic leaders.
Under these conditions--and if the nation truly is in an existential struggle--why then should the President stand by and meekly allow abuses like this to stand unchallenged? The publishing of National Security secrets during wartime which endanger all of us is not simply unconscionable, it is sedition. As for the rights of POW's to our courts: if Lincoln could (and did) ignore the Court during Wartime, why would that necessarily prevent a current day Executive from doing the same? When we are at War we are in an existential struggle for our country and all it stands for. Period.
So here is the deal: we either are in an existential war for our Civilization and our way of life--or we aren't. Only one or the other can be true--the two positions are mutually exclusive.
It is time for our leaders to get off the fence in this regard. The actions that our President has taken since the 9/11 attacks have arguably prevented another attack on our soil. NO ONE would have believed at the time that almost 7 years later, no other major attacks on US soil would have occured. But President Bush's actions--like them or not, agree with them or not--have achieved that result. The President deserves enormous credit for this--even as the Democrats, Courts and media attempt daily to unravel all the measures he took to protect us. In fact their very unraveling could lead to an even more catastrophic attack by our enemies.
Yet, in our laziness or stupor, we seem to once again have become a nation hypnotized into a mindset of "it can't happen here" again--or that something much worse isn't a distinct possibility, a mere 7 years after 9/11! In an age of unchecked nuclear proliferation by terror-supporting regimes (and the appeasement of "civilized" world in allowing this proliferation to occur), such complacency is not merely foolish, it is suicidal.
For our government, the media, and our citizens to take this existential War seriously, will it truly take America losing a city or hundreds of thousands of its citizens to a nuclear or biological attack? If 9/11--the worst unprovoked foreign attack ever on US Soil--were not enough to convince us that we are in a war for our existence, what will it take?
And once we have finally come to the grim realization (as presumably our President already has) that OUR lives are at stake, is it then too much to ask or expect our Executive Branch to force its will on the publishers of national secrets--or who otherwise aid and abet the very enemies who would kill us--in cases like this? The publishers of the Times who ignored the requests of the CIA and President in publishing secrets which have helped our enemies should arguably be rotting in jail right now, if historical precedent in wartime is to be considered-- and it should be considered.
The minute we lose a city to those who clearly want that result--sponsored by regimes like Iran who would gladly provide organizations like Hezbollah with that very capability--you can then flush your precious "Constitutional rights" down the toilet, and the very first to go will be the almighty First Amendment. Because at that point we will be under martial law, and nothing will ever be the same again.
Why would we allow it to come to that?
Is a real catastrophe necessary before someone finally has the nerve to put an end to what could arguably be considered treason by organs of our news media, acting without conscience or any regard for the damage they are doing to our ability to prevent such a calamity?
I don't know the answers to these questions, but they weigh heavily on me each time the media pulls a stunt like this. And at some point something has got to give--for the safety and protection of the rest of us.