Saturday, March 04, 2006
Sat Mar 04, 2006 at 05:59:15 PM PDT
Because the only way this administration can deal with the truth is to stamp it out wherever it may fester:
The Bush administration, seeking to limit leaks of classified information, has launched initiatives targeting journalists and their possible government sources. The efforts include several FBI probes, a polygraph investigation inside the CIA and a warning from the Justice Department that reporters could be prosecuted under espionage laws.
In recent weeks, dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI's Washington field office, who are investigating possible leaks that led to reports about secret CIA prisons and the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, according to law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with the two cases.
The CIA, DOJ, and NSA all received letters forbidding them to speak of the NSA President--this AFTER the President has disclosed more details about the program than were originally disclosed in the New York Times. The campaign to shut down info fed to the media is widespread:
"There's a tone of gleeful relish in the way they talk about dragging reporters before grand juries, their appetite for withholding information, and the hints that reporters who look too hard into the public's business risk being branded traitors," said New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in a statement responding to questions from The Washington Post. "I don't know how far action will follow rhetoric, but some days it sounds like the administration is declaring war at home on the values it professes to be promoting abroad."In an administration that prides itself on keeping secret even that which must, in the name of justice and truth, see the light of day, this latest assault against those compelled to disclose the crimes of this administration is yet another evisceration to our democracy. Leaking of classified information is--and should be--a crime. Our national security depends that certain secrets be zealously guarded. However, when the secret being concealed is one about how the government has betrayed its own citizens, when the leak is done in the interest of national security, in the interest of the rights of the citizenry which are being abrogated by the government, then this war against those whistleblowers becomes that much more repulsive. Notice that this campaign to maintain secrecy was not launched in response to the Plame leak, which was a true issue of national security. Rather, it was only after the leaks of the illegal spying program and secret prisons that the Bush administration decided to launch this campaign.
Plugging up the pinpoint rays of light that shine through this administration's black shroud of secrecy is the lastest step in Bush's war against truth. Secrecy such as this, a forced secrecy which conceals the festering sores this administration has wrought upon this nation, has and should be rejected.
As the court in Doe v. Gonzales observed:
In general, as our sunshine laws and judicial doctrine attest, democracy abhors undue secrecy, in recognition that public knowledge secures freedom. Hence, an unlimited government warrant to conceal, effectively a form of secrecy per se, has no place in our open society. Such a claim is especially inimical to democratic values for reasons borne out by painful experience. Under the mantle of secrecy, the self-preservation that ordinarily impels our government to censorship and secrecy may potentially be turned on ourselves as a weapon of self-destruction. When withholding information from disclosure is no longer justified, when it ceases to foster the proper aims that initially may have supported confidentiality, a categorical and uncritical extension of non-disclosure may become the cover for spurious ends that government may then deem too inconvenient, inexpedient, merely embarrassing, or even illicit to ever expose to the light of day. At that point, secrecy's protective shield may serve not as much to secure a safe country as simply to save face.
Saving face, indeed, while our democracy suffers.