Tuesday, November 8

Frist: Gov Leaks must Stop

Yes, that's right Sen Majority Leader Bill Frist has finally got Religion on the leaking of classified information by government sources. Writing a letter to Senate Intelligence Committe Frist stated the following:
Dear Chairman Hoekstra and Chairman Roberts:

We request that you immediately initiate a joint investigation into the possible release of classified information to the media..

The purpose of your investigation will be to determine the following: was the information provided to the media classified and accurate?; who leaked this information and under what authority?;
Not only does he want to know who did it, but how much it may have hurt the U.S.
what is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the Global War on Terror.

what is the actual and potential damage done to the national security of the United States and our partners in the Global War on Terror?
He goes further to point out how such releases of information are dangerous to our own troops.
The leaking of classified information by employees of the United States government appears to have increased in recent years, establishing a dangerous trend that, if not addressed swiftly and firmly, likely will worsen. The unauthorized release of classified information is serious and threatens our nation's security. It also puts the lives of many Americans and the security of our nation at risk.
It's good to see he's returned from the Dark side, except for the fact that the leak he wants to investigate isn't the outing of classified CIA Operative Valerie Plame, nor are they requesting this investigation to find out who outed a Pakistani Double Agent by the name of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan in 2004.
Khan had been secretly apprehended by ISI in mid-July and persuaded to become a double agent. He was actively helping investigators penetrate further into Al Qaeda cells and activities via computer, and was still cooperating when the “senior Bush administration” figure told New York Times’ Douglas Jehl about him. ISI told Reuters, “He sent encoded e-mails and received encoded replies. He’s a great hacker and even the US agents said he was a computer whiz … He was cooperating with interrogators on Sunday and Monday and sent e-mails on both days.” This proves that the Bush administration just blew the cover of one of the most important assets inside Al Qaeda that the US has ever had.
But no, that's not it. Frist wants to know who spilled the beans on the U.S. Secret Torture Centers around the world, because clearly - we can't let anyone know about that. We have to keep torturing people, we got such great and wonderful information from Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (except for everything he said about Al-Qaeda working with Saddam Hussein being a lie).

But oh wait, the President just said this weekend -- "We don't Torture" while Dick Cheney is running around Congress doing his best to make sure we still can just in case we want to.

From the Washington Post: "Q Mr. President, there has been a bit of an international outcry over reports of secret U.S. prisons in Europe for terrorism suspects. Will you let the Red Cross have access to them? And do you agree with Vice President Cheney that the CIA should be exempt from legislation to ban torture?

"PRESIDENT BUSH: Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people. The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans. Anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture.

The absurdity of this is obvious to nearly everyone - except the White House

Republican Columnist Andrew Sullivan writes: "If that's the case, why threaten to veto a law that would simply codify what Bush alleges is already the current policy? If 'we do not torture,' how to account for the hundreds and hundreds of cases of abuse and torture by U.S. troops, documented by the government itself? If 'we do not torture,' why the memos that expanded exponentially the lee-way given to the military to abuse detainees in order to get intelligence? The president's only defense against being a liar is that he is defining 'torture' in such a way that no other reasonable person on the planet, apart from Bush's own torture apologists (and they are now down to one who will say so publicly), would agree. The press must now ask the president: does he regard the repeated, forcible near-drowning of detainees to be torture? Does he believe that tying naked detainees up and leaving them outside all night to die of hypothermia is 'torture'? Does he believe that beating the legs of a detainee until they are pulp and he dies is torture? Does he believe that beating detainees till they die is torture? Does he believe that using someone's religious faith against them in interrogations is 'cruel, inhumane and degrading' treatment and thereby illegal? What is his definition of torture?"
Frist has even gone so far as trying to have the Security Clearance for the Senates top two Democrats revoked in response to a Democratic attempt to have the clearances removed for any White House personnel who have shared it improperly (like Karl Rove who spoke both to Matt Cooper and Robert Novak about Valerie Plame). A measure which failed 64 to 33 when 20 Republicans joined all present Democrats in voting against it.
Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) acknowledged the blatantly political tone of the debate. "This is a sad and a disappointing afternoon here in the United States Senate," he said.
But wait, this story gets even worse... Guess who it looks like leaked the information about the Secret Detention Centers we don't really have, and where people don't really get tortured? Apparently according to Trent Lott - it must have been a Republican Senator, since the information we don't really have seems to have come from a closed door Republicans only session.
But Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., told reporters the information in the Post story was the same as that given to Republican senators in a closed-door briefing by Vice President Dick Cheney last week. "Every word that was said in there went right to the newspaper," he said, and added, "We can't keep our mouths shut." (Posted 5:04 p.m.)
So apparently 1) The of Secret Detention Centers Story is True (the CIA has already referred the leak to the Justice Deparment) and 2) yet another set of Republicans has apparently leaked Classified information after hearing directly from the Horses Ass...er, I mean Dick Cheney.

Oh and apparently Senator and sometimes Dr. Bill I-can-diagnose-that-disease-with-only-30-seconds-of-videotape-for-$149.95 Frist is livid. Good things do happen to patient people, don't they?

But then again on the subject of patience, while the Senate Intelligence Commitee is busy investigating other members of the Senate Intelligence Committee -- they probably won't have any time to deal with other big issue they were gonna work on -- what was that -- oh, yeah, just who cooked the Iraq WMD and Terrorism Intelligence and sent us into a misguided, unneccesary and illegal War?


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