Sunday, February 12, 2006

You Jail Mine, I'll Jail Yours

Now we know one of the things the Republicans threatened the Mainstream Media with if it didn’t ballyhoo the reckless war in Iraq with the proper enthusiasm and lies: The GOP would mount a prosecution against the uncooperative newspapers for violations of the Espionage Act and claim they were compromising the war on terrorism. Back in GWB’s first term, this would have been a formidable threat. People hadn’t figured out yet that the President, the Vice President, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, most Generals, the head of the CIA and the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) lied every time they opened their mouths. It wasn’t until Bush and Co. began losing favor that the MSM found the ca-jones to oppose the GOP and to start exposing the truth. The NYT reports this morning: “Federal agents have interviewed officials at several of the country's law enforcement and national security agencies in a rapidly expanding criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding a New York Times article published in December that disclosed the existence of a highly classified domestic eavesdropping program, according to government officials… People who have been interviewed and others in the government who have been briefed on the interviews said the investigation seemed to lay the groundwork for a grand jury inquiry that could lead to criminal charges.” The Prez says the NYT leak was a "shameful act." And CIA director Porter J. Goss says he hopes “reporters will be summoned before a grand jury and asked to reveal the identities of those who provided them classified information.” When Goss spoke at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on February 2nd, he said, “I believe the safety of this nation and the people of this country deserve nothing less." So, truthtellers and whistle-blowers are treasonous scum who are endangering the populace and they must be found and rooted out. What a crock. Whether this ploy is going to work or not depends on whether it can be proven that revealing the existence of illegal wiretaps has put the US in peril. In trying to show that the government has been stopping terrorist acts in the US, the Prez made a ridiculous claim the other day that a planned attack of the Library Tower in LA had been thwarted. Which was immediately shot down as silly and untrue. But the government’s main argument is that you can’t prove a negative. As in, we haven’t been attacked again because illegal wiretapping has nipped the plans in the bud…go prove otherwise. It sounds like the old wombat joke: There aren’t any wombats roaming New York City because a sorcerer in the South Bronx put a hex on wombats. But wombats only live in Australia. See….the hex worked. The NYT reported that Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., who has represented The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine, said: "There is a very strong argument that a federal common-law reporters' privilege exists and that privilege would protect confidential sources in this case. There is an extremely strong public interest in this information, and the public has the right to understand this controversial and possibly unconstitutional public policy." How well this tit-for-tat ploy will work for the Bush administration is up for grabs. Fitzgerald has a grand jury, the GOP is getting a grand jury. The Dems say Cheney committed a criminal act by telling Libby to go forth and leak information. The GOP says the NYT committed a criminal act by leaking wiretap info. Sounds childish? It is. But nobody ever said the government is run by intelligent adults.

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