Sunday, January 6, 2013

Scott Shane on the National Security State

Scott Shane has an important and readable story in the Sunday paper about Obama's national security state and the increased prosecution of leakers.  Shane chronicles the interesting narrative of how former CIA analyst and operative John Kiriakou ended up in DOJ crosshairs.

The plutocracy's renaissance in this country can be tracked to the administration of Gerald Ford.  Rumsfeld and Cheney traded off as White House Chief of Staff.  George H.W. Bush went from RNC Chairman during Watergate to Ford's Chief of the US Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China and then to Director of Central Intelligence, replacing William Colby.  The Agency was hemorrhaging from Seymour Hersh's "family jewels" revelation in the New York Times and the subsequent Church Committee investigations.  The goal was to get the genie back in the bottle.

Here is what Shane says about the Obama administration's attempt to rebottle the genie:
Mr. Obama has presided over twice as many such cases as all his predecessors combined, though at least two of the six prosecutions since 2009 resulted from investigations begun under President George W. Bush. An outcry over a series of revelations last year — about American cyberattacks on Iran, a double agent who infiltrated the Qaeda branch in Yemen and procedures for targeted killings — prompted Mr. Holder to begin new leak investigations that have not yet produced any charges.

The resulting chill on officials’ willingness to talk is deplored by journalists and advocates of open government; without leaks, they note, Americans might never have learned about the C.I.A.’s interrogation methods or the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping. But for supporters of greater secrecy, the chill is precisely the goal.
What does it portend?  Probably the maintenance and continued expansion of drone warfare (a judge ruled recently that even the administration's legal opinion justifying the drone killing -- a.k.a., assassination -- of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki could be kept secret); and in addition to that, continued terror strikes against Iran.

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