Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Can Leak Classified Information?

Probably not you or me. But anonymous DOJ officials - that's different.

Several months after President Obama ordered Anwar Awlaki killed by the CIA, the Obama DOJ — specifically lawyers within its Office of Legal Counsel — produced a memorandum legally authorizing this action. Despite multiple requests, the Obama administration refuses to release that memo to the public. Several DOJ officials, hiding behind anonymity, have apparently refused to leak the memo, but have now selectively described parts of it to The New York Times‘ Charlie Savage – presumably the parts they wanted him to know about .

  Glenn Greenwald

[Given] that [...] anonymous DOJ officials appear to have been on a mission to justify the President’s assassination order [for Anwar Awlaki] as legal and just, it’s probably inadvisable to hold your breath waiting for the criminal leak investigation to begin.


As Marcy Wheeler noted, “What was leaked to [Charlie] Savage is MORE classified than anything Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked.”


If a government employee leaks classified information that exposes wrongdoing on the part of the President or his aides or otherwise embarrasses them, he is prosecuted without mercy; at the same time, the President and his aides constantly leak bits of classified information (which remain classified) in order to benefit the President politically. Thus, when it suits them, they dole out snippets of information about how the Tough, Strong President killed the Bad Guy with brutal efficiency and bravery — and how his lawyers said it was permissible — but all the details necessary to assess the accuracy of those claims and any information which contradicts them remain suppressed, and if anyone exposes them, they face lengthy prison terms.


The Most Transparent Adminstration Ever refuses to provide even this basic information about the Awlaki killing, it manipulates its secrecy powers to ensure that the only information that is known is information that can be used to venerate the Leader. The same thing happened with the bin Laden killing: the Obama administration has resisted efforts to declassify and disclose videos, documents and photographs regarding the raid that killed him — requests motivated by the administration’s multiple inconsistent and ultimately false statements about what took place and lingering questions about what happened — but then oh-so-mysteriously showed little interest (i.e., none) in discovering and punishing those who orally fed The New Yorker supposed details of the raid that produced an uncritical hagiography of those, including the President, responsible for the bin Laden killing.


Using secrecy powers to propagandize the citizenry this way is infinitely more harmful than any of the leaks the Obama administration has so aggressively prosecuted.

  Glenn Greenwald

The Greenwald post is replete with embedded links to reference his statements if you’d like to have a look.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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