Monday, July 10, 2006

When in Doubt, Publish When in Doubt, Publish

WaPo article yesterday titled: When in Doubt, Publish by five J-school deans tries to draw the line on when papers should publish classified or sensitive information. Unfortunately for them, they give away the game by stating that one example of when a paper shouldn't publish was when Robert Novak disclosed that Valerie Plame helped get her husband, Wilson, his junket to Niger, after which he stated that Saddam Hussein had not acquired yellowcake there. Of course, that was never the issue, nor was that what he told his CIA debriefers. Instead, he told them that Saddam had talked trade with Niger, and their only relevant export was uranium. In other words, his report supported the position that Saddam was attempting to get yellowcake. Everyone knew that he had not succeeded.

Somehow though, this disclosure that Plame worked a desk at Langley impaired national security. Of course, no one has come up with a credible reason why. Nevertheless, these deans take it as proven. And never mind that the "backstory" behind Wilson's trip to Niger was significant news, in and by itself, implicating Plame and others at the CIA in an attempt to discredit the President and swing the 2004 presidential election towards his opponent.

On the other hand, apparently it was ok for the NYT, et al., to disclose highly classified, productive, NSA surveillance programs, as well as the covert assistance of allies in providing secret prisons for captures prisoners of war. Despite the obvious harm that all of these disclosures have caused to national security, apparently the public's right to know trumps the Administration's drive to protect the American people against another 9/11 type of terrorist attack.

The one thing that can be garnered from their attempt to draw the line here is that it is apparently ok to disclose highly classified or sensitive information as long as it harms the Administration, even if it impacts national security, but it isn't if it aids the Administration, even if it doesn't impact national security.

Both Cliff Kincaid in an article titled: The CIA Is Still After Bush and Christopher Hitchens in an article titled: Full Disclosure: Bring on the press revelations make the same point, only much more eloquently.

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