Loose Lips

By GotDesign
Yesterday, the New York Times published an article about a supposed Presidential order signed in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency -- whose mission is to monitor international communications -- to monitor calls originating inside the United States with international destinations. Now, I could spend some time discussing the ramifications of such a move, or the legal merits of the order, or even the methodologies involved. However, there is a more pressing issue -- the leaking of classified information to the press and the presses insistence on publishing these leaks.

This article is just another in the recent series of leaks that have come out in the MSM and I find it despicable. The press was all up in arms about the supposed leak of Valerie Plame's identity though it was not classified information, but they have no compunction against venting any classified information that may portray President Bush in a bad light or damage his foreign policy positions. And the MSM has no problem publishing this information although its disclosure may lead to the death of American intelligence assets in the field.

Something has to be done to staunch the flow of classified information to the MSM and to halt its publication. I would be in favor of enacting a new component of the Patriot Act that would make it a criminal offense to publish classified information. Now I fully understand that the MSM can play an important role in being a whistle blower against legally or morally repugnant activities by the intelligence communities, but I think that such whistle blowing should be vetted through the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. As the Senate is required to provide oversight on intelligence matters, it should be the clearinghouse for such leaks in order to safeguard national intelligence assets.

I also think that DCI Porter Goss needs to throw out the baby with the bath water in order to clean house at the CIA. Stronger measures need to be taken to find and stop leaks of intelligence information. In Tom Clancy's novels, CIA analyst (and future US President) Jack Ryan is credited with creating a method of subtly altering documents so that their specific text and wording will point to that document's origination. Clancy called it a "Canary Trap." We need to be rounding up the loose canaries at the CIA and throughout the intelligence community.

Now, regarding the NYT article, I have no problem with the NSA listening in on demostic calls with an international destination. The NSA would monitor all of these calls and run them through search algorithms using certain keywords -- words or codewords synonymous with terrorist plotting. If these keywords are found then these calls are further scrutinized. When the United States is faced with a non-national enemy -- read "terrorists" -- who has infiltrated the territory of the US and seeks to destroy the government and its people, a greater degree of security is necessary.

UPDATE: Drudge has just posted that this NYT story was released in conjunction with an upcoming book release by an NYT national security reporter. So now we're endangering national security and foreign policy in order to hype book written by a staff reporter? That's a wonderfully moral use of the power of the press. I was listening to Laura Ingraham earlier when said that the NY Times has had this story for over a year without disclosing it. Now we see what they were waiting for -- a chance for one of their own to make some money. Sickening.

More on this from PowerLine.

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