teisipäev, mai 04, 2004

Secret, Not So Secret

An issue that's been discussed both here and elsewhere quite a bit recently is the Bush administration's tendency to declassify documents for purely political reasons. As you could probably guess from my "Fuck John Ashcroft" post a couple weeks back, I'm not a big fan of this. And with Bush accusing Kerry of allowing politics to influence his decisions, it's just shameful that this blatant hypocrisy isn't being highlighted more in the "liberal" media.

This Boston Globe story finally gives the issue some mainstream attention.

It's not a bad piece. It points out the sudden flip-flop on the PDB so secret only two 9/11 commissioners were allowed to read it, then had to have their notes checked before they could report back to the rest of the group on it...until the White House declassified it because people were criticizing Bush because of its contents. There's also the Ashcroft-Gorelick incident. But I'll let an actual expert take over:

Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive project at George Washington University, said the rising wave of national-security classifications, coupled with disclosures of formerly secret information that "doesn't pass the guffaw test," jeopardizes the protection of legitimate secrets, such as the names of covert operatives or the designs of weapons systems.

"If people inside the system see dubious secrets being placed into the security system or see strategic declassifications being done for purely political reasons, they are less likely to be bound by their own oaths," he said. "It undermines the credibility of the system from both the inside and the outside. To the extent that we are all American citizens and agree that there are real secrets that need to be protected, then this is bad. This is damaging to our national security."

Gee. Sounds pretty bad. Good thing Bush has his former associate White House counsel Brad Berenson to stick up for him:

He also said the disclosures have followed "political pressure" on the White House by Congress, the 9/11 Commission, victims' family groups, and the public.

"To call this strategic or political, I think, is unfair," he said. "It's not as though the administration is proactively seeking to seed the market with information helpful to it. It's that the administration is being forced by political pressure to reveal or disclose things that, left to its own devices, I'm sure it would rather not."

Silly critics. It wasn't political. It was just done in response to political pressure.

No, really. This is his defense. Bush doesn't want to release classified documents. But he's so weak that he gives in to political pressure. Now, there's a campaign slogan for you: "Bush/Cheney '04: Endangering National Security Because of Political Pressure."

Also, that Gorelick leak can be described as nothing but "the administration proactively seeking to seed the market with information helpful to it."

God, I hate these people.

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