Roger L. Simon had an interesting conversation with Dana Milbank at the Washington Post, posted at Pajamas Media on 1 NOV 2006. In this interview things turned to the New York Times now being called to account for their 'secret sources' that leaked National Security information to them. Now this is a problematical thing as the entire culture of Washington, D. C. has apparently decided that flouting National Security for personal or political or industrial gain is *not* a problem.
Now, we had actually known this, as a Nation, but it is quite an ugly fact that the law set up to *protect* the Nation's secrets from falling into the hands of enemies of the Union is overextended to too many damn things. By extending it to cover trivialities, the entire idea of secrets has become diminished to the point where it is now the standard process to leak information. Here is the requisite quote on Mr. Milbank speaking on the NYT leak investigation:
"Well that certainly is the Administration's position to enforce the 1917 Espionage Act, where it is generally a crime... it is generally accepted to *leak* National Security Information, classified secrets but even to possess it... uh... pass it on to another even if you're not a government official. That, basically, if we were to take that seriously, means that what most journalists, lobbyists, lawyers and others do in this town is inherently illegal."Which is precisely the POINT, Mr. Milbank. And, when these folks set themselves up to abuse the law in that leaking they are, indeed, setting themselves up *above* the law itself. Individuals who see wrong-doing have a multi-method set of ways to get problems redressed with INTEL programs, starting with their Office or Line Supervisor. That moves upwards to Division Chiefs, the Heads of Directorates, the Head of the Agency at which point *that* particular path can end if the Head of the Agency does not agree with the individual.
Next up is the General Counsel for a given Agency or Department, which can and does indeed review the legality of programs so that the Government stays within the laws set by Congress. These folks have the mission of continuing the integrity of their mission and the Agency or Department they represent.
But there is *further* means set forth by the structure of government via the Inspector General's Office for a given Agency or Department or *both*. While smaller Departments may not have more than a single Agency, the Department of Defense has a slew of the and additional layers of IGs to seek a hearing.
And, finally, there is the entire Whistleblower's program setup by Congress so that individuals within the Government can get *directly* to Congress if trying to meet an individual Congressman or Senator is taking too long and something *vital* is going wrong.
So, for those saying that *they could not get a fair hearing* from their Chain of Command, they have multiple alternatives, including going directly to Congress. This is why those who are *retiring* from the Armed Forces and then turning around to *grouse* about what they saw are not to have weight put behind them: if they aren't smart enough to *listen* to their annual Ethics Briefing and *understand* their multiple lines of communication, then they are too damn lazy to actually try and *fix* the problem from the INSIDE. Further, especially in the military, they are still a PART of the Chain of Command even after they retire. They STILL have obligation and duty to uphold the Chain of Command and go through proper channels on things military. That is why I do NOT LISTEN TO THEM no matter how earnest and forthright they are. They are *deserting* their comrades-in-arms with a problem that they saw and did not continue to try and get it addressed via the multiple channels available to them.
Especially in the Armed Forces the Inspectors General have wide and deep powers to hold the entire structure accountable for misdeeds and a visit from the IG is something to be *feared*. The entire civilian and military portion can be reviewed by the Inspectors General and brought to account either through the UCMJ or via Federal Law and the FBI. They do *not* play patty-cake, they play for *keeps* because there duty is to ensure the integrity of the complete structure of the Armed Forces and keep it from illegal and criminal behavior. The General Counsels give guidance on what they know or think is lawful via their training. They can even bring prosecutions if needs be. But the IG is *above* them. And only if the entire, lawful Executive Branch fails when and individual sees wrong doing and addressing same, then that individual has a duty and responsibility to GO TO CONGRESS.
Do you see *any* mention of newspapers or the media in this chain of reporting wrong doing?
It is not present because that is *not* an established channel for the decision on what information can and cannot be given out by Government. That is *why* Agencies HAVE General Counsels and Media Affairs Officers and Classification Officers. At no point does a secret in this chain of reporting get put out for public consumption unless it first passes muster with those three parts inside of a Government Agency.
By going around those things an individual is placing themselves *above* the Just Laws set by Congress and enforced by the Executive. Such individuals see fit to decide what is and is not fit for the consumption for the Public going outside all lawful and legal channels. They are knowingly committing a felony that can have an individual wind up in a place where they will turn big rocks into small rocks for hours on end every day for years if not decades. Encouraging this concept makes the Nation far *less* safe as a whole. And no matter how bad the wrong has been, we have seen that this system, like the Millstones of the Gods, grinds slow, but fine. That is the concept enshrined in this Nation known as 'Due Process of Law'.
Individuals leaking information are setting themselves up *above* 'Due Process of Law' and becoming a law unto themselves.
Is it clear *now* why so many folks in Washington, D.C. should be helping in the National gravel production program?
Or do you really enjoy the idea of fellow Citizens acting like God over the Laws of the Republic?