Patterico's Pontifications

12/24/2005

Where Is the Special Prosecutor?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:07 am

The more I become convinced that Bush’s secret surveillance program is legal, the more I want to know: when will a special prosecutor be appointed to investigate this damaging leak? This one blows the Valerie Plame thing out of the water.

I want to see someone to go to prison for this.

46 Responses to “Where Is the Special Prosecutor?”

  1. Alas Prison not likely with MSM closing ranks on anything that can be cooked up anti-Bush. Prison would be too good, though. Let’s have an all-expense paid one-way trip to Iran for the perps.

    Mike Shockley (cac836)

  2. Things that make you go, hummmm

    Ever wonder what song MSM would be singing if the 9/11 hijackers flew into the NY Times building instead of the Twin Towers?

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  3. It would be ironic if Wilson was one of the leakers. But I think that Jay Rockefeller is the main suspect.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  4. Why not assign Patrick Fitzgerald? He has the staff and they ought to know the relevant laws by now, plus they already have most of DC’s leakers (and their attorneys) in their database. At the rate things are going, he could make a career out of chasing down Washington DC leakers.

    DRJ (15ed57)

  5. Patterico:

    Special prosecutor? Why — is Alberto Gonzalez’s hand broke?

    Dafydd

    [We don’t know who leaked. Might have been someone in DoJ. — P]

    Dafydd (6e94cd)

  6. Well, while I agree with Mr ab Hugh on this one, it will be interesting to see just how many Democrats call for a special prosecutor to investigate the leak.

    Yeah, I know: there’ll be some who call for a special prosecutor to see if there were any laws violated with the surveillance, but they won’t want anyone investigated about the leak.

    Dana (a9eb8b)

  7. A leak is when someone spills the beans for their own purposes. But if someone is breaking the law and that information is leaked, it is called whistle blowing.

    Merry Christmas!

    Tillman (1cf529)

  8. Mr Tillman wrote:

    A leak is when someone spills the beans for their own purposes. But if someone is breaking the law and that information is leaked, it is called whistle blowing.

    Merry Christmas!

    If, then, it turns out that the program was not in violation of the law, it’s disclosure of classified information, correct?

    Dana (a9eb8b)

  9. Dana, I suppose it depends on what the person thought was illegal. They may have believed that it was illegal and it turns out that it is not. In that case, the person was trying to be a whistle blower in good faith, but in the end was just a leaker. (Heh. Heh. Heh. I said “leaker” heh heh)

    Tillman (1cf529)

  10. BTW, the Republicans have the majority in Congress. Why fuss at the Democrats to demand a special prosecutor? I think that most of the Democrats are against Operation Super Snoop, so I don’t think you should expect them to go after the whistle blower.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  11. When? When it can be reliably determined that a chap named Lucifer has ordered several billion ice skates. At least if the Liberals who plague our days have anything to say about it.

    Seriously, we are nowhere near far enough along in our counter-revolution to expect a leak to the press against a conservative President to be investigate seriously. The Courts are hostile, the Left sees no reason, the Republicans in Congress are too used to losing, and Bush has better things to do with his time.

    C. S. P. Schofield (f6fa25)

  12. Tillman,

    I suppose it depends on what the person thought was illegal

    Bush never thought what he was doing was illegal. By your own logic: case closed.

    Patterico,

    The leaks need to be investigated. The more recent leak that the police in DC (and other cities) are scanning for nuclear radiation as a means to head off an attack are even more serious.

    Surely even the Left isn’t gonna cry about the civil liberties aspect on that one. I mean, I’d love to see ’em try, but….

    “Officer, that man in the green mask is glowing!”

    “Sorry, sir, we’re not allowed to investigate. And turn that damn Geiger counter off; I can hardly hear myself think.”

    ras (f9de13)

  13. Well I wouldn’t balk about scanning for radiation. Everyone needs to talk on the phone and hopes that no one is listening in (as Clam noted, unless you’re an exhibitionist). But no one needs to radiate. If I’m radiating, do me a favor and tell me. :^)

    As far as the “case closed,” I was kind of vague about that; but what I meant was if the whistle blower believed that said activity was illegal, then they are not just leaking, they are trying to notify the public of a crime. I wasn’t talking about Bush.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  14. Black Jack: Had the 9/11 hijackers flown into the N. Y. Times building, the MSMniks there would now be singing with the heavenly choir.

    dchamil (dab634)

  15. Mr Tillman suggested:

    I suppose it depends on what the person thought was illegal. They may have believed that it was illegal and it turns out that it is not. In that case, the person was trying to be a whistle blower in good faith, but in the end was just a leaker.

    So, ignorance of the law is an excuse, right?

    Assuming that this program is legal, the “whistle blower” just destroyed a legal program that was, supposedly, obtaining valuable results. Why shouldn’t Senator Rockefeller the “whistleblower” be prosecuted for that.

    Dana (a9eb8b)

  16. Just one quick comment, given the day, then it’s back to the din:

    Please note the precise phrasing in the NYT, and now other, descriptions of the NSA program: i.e. that there is lots of traffic analysis in support of a listening-in program.

    Well, sure. Doesn’t mean there’s a lot more listening going on, though. In a program that dates back to at least WWII, I would expect that there’s actually less listening now than previously.

    The reason is not politics, it’s info technology. With better pattern analysis of who’s calling whom, there is simply less need to waste time following up second-rate leads by listening in on gobs of calls, the needle-in-a-haystack approach. There are better initial filters than that now, by which to reduce the full haystack to a handful or less.

    Which, I think, is why we see the NYT’s need to so-carefully phrase its lede to imply, though technically not state, that actual listening-in activities have risen.

    ras (f9de13)

  17. To argue that the President, as Commander-In-Chief, does not have the power, especially during wartime, to use the military and intelligence assets of the nation to spy on the enemies of this nation and those who have contact with that enemy, is ludicrous on its face.

    Revealing classified information is a violation of the law, and is certainly a form of espionage, and even perhaps treason.

    I agree, an investigation should be started, and a federal grand jury should be formed to hear the evidence, and appropriate charges should be filed and arrests take place.

    Kilo Echo 4 (dfb3c0)

  18. But for a brave few in an airliner flying over Pennsylvania, I wonder how many Senators would be left to decry the loss of Civil Liberties?

    Paul Albers (7494b1)

  19. Correct me if I’m wrong, but “giving aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war” in the interests of exposing an illegal intelligence operation is still treason. If the intel program is, in fact, illegal, then there should be two prosecutions; if not, there should be one. Therefore, a “whistle-blower” defense of the leaker(s) doesn’t hold water. It seems to me that the defense of anyone who leaked this info must be on the basis that the leak didn’t give “aid and comfort.” Personally, I believe that the NYT should be held to the same standard; freedom of speech does not (yet) mean freedom from the consequences of speech.

    Scott Crawford (9e7d2b)

  20. No correction necessary, Scott, you got it right. Our Lefty friends just can’t seem to step back and take a sober look at themselves. They refuse to see their own hypocrisy, or are so drunk with hate for GWB, that even if they do see it, they ignore the danger signs, and like drug addicts who can’t help themselves, rush into bizarre public expressions of self destructive ignorance and arrogance. They not only make fools of themselves, they insist everyone watch and take note. Well, it works for me.

    First it was the Plame Game and how really, really bad it was to expose undercover agents and secret foreign operations, and now, guess what? It’s really, really OK to expose undercover surveillance of terrorist communications with accomplices here.

    What numbskull nonsense. It’s yet more proof that the Democrat Party simply cannot be trusted with either America’s foreign policy or national security. These people are hard at work showing us they are unfit to lead, and the message is getting out, loud and clear.

    Hell, I’d be tempted to call for GWB’s head if he was fool enough let Dem idiocy prevent him from using electronic surveillance. I say, Three cheers for America’s Great Leader in the War on Terror, George W Bush!

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  21. Mr. Tillman,

    Leaks of classified information are not protected under the Whistleblower Act.

    opine6 (656aee)

  22. Opine6, you and others assume that Operation Super Snoop was legal – but that is debatable. No one has ever done anything quite like this before; it is unprecedented.

    You may not realize it, but to an extent you are splitting your own party by being so extreme about this issue. There are a lot of republicans out there who will not gladly sacrifice their privacy. Not everyone likes the idea of Big Government looking over their shoulder at every turn. So go ahead, flame away.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  23. Tillman, I hate to be difficult but I’m just not in agreement with your contention that …no one has ever done anything quite like this before; it is unprecedented.

    Then again. No one has attacked us in quite this way before either so I suppose that even if your contention is accurate …

    I’d also take exception with the assertion that to support this type of “foreign to US” monitoring is somehow extreme. It may just be not only entirely legal, an assertion yet to be demonstrably proven false, but wise as well. I suppose we’ll see as events unfold. It’s just a shame that yet again we’ll be thrashing this about in the public square for the benefit of both friend and foe.

    I can only conclude that if we had fought WWII as we are doing now that we’d all be posting in German or Japanese.

    Harry Arthur (b318a5)

  24. If the letter written by the Assisant AG regarding the intel. leak is any clue it looks like the DOJ is preparing to prosecute the leaker to the fullest extent of the law.

    Chris A (7fb0c8)

  25. Legality and Necessity:

    Michael Barone, December 26, 2005, has got it right:

    “Let’s put the issue very simply. The president has the power as commander in chief under the Constitution to intercept and monitor the communications of America’s enemies. Indeed, it would be a very weird interpretation of the Constitution to say that the commander in chief could order U.S. forces to kill America’s enemies but not to wiretap — or, more likely these days, electronically intercept — their communications. Presidents have asserted and exercised this power repeatedly and consistently over the last quarter-century.”

    But what happens if the court declines to approve a President’s requests. What happens when a court denies a President the means to fight America’s enemies? UPI (on Drudge) is reporting GWB’s requests were being changed and modified by the court.

    That’s why GWB bypassed the court, and he was well within his rights to do so.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  26. Tillman, the legality of the operation may be debatable, but there’s only one reasonable side in the debate, and that’s on the side that supports the President. Legal scholars from across the political spectrum have come down on the “yes it’s legal” side of this one. The few who say “no, it’s illegal” are forgetting that the President is a co-equal branch of of government, with powers arising under the Constitution directly, rather than just those that Congress chooses to delegate.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  27. TNugent, my understanding is that Bush issued an Executive Order to do the secret spying. I’ve often wondered where a President’s Executive Order powers ended. What is to keep a President from going off the deep end and really abusing that power? For an absurd example, can he declare all people who are left handed to be enemy combatants and have them incarcerated? Are there any limitations on an Executive Order? If so, what are they?

    I haven’t compared other presidents, who might have issued as many or more, but it looks like Bush is very fond of this power. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/orders/ for a list of Executive Orders issued during his presidency.

    Also, what about the balance of power among the 3 branches of government? Isn’t there supposed to be some oversight each has on the other to keep them honest? I believe that our Constitution was written explicitly and wisely with that principle in mind.

    Actually the idea of Operation Super Snoop doesn’t bother me quite as much as the idea that our President is, in effect, THE KING.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  28. Executive orders are simply directives to the components of the executive branch (all the various agencies) to do or not do something.

    As the President is the head of the executive agencies, it is within his power to do that. Interestingly, the Supreme Court has ruled that Congress may not, once it has delegated these rulemaking authorities, exercise oversight other than by revoking the authority in the first place. See INS v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 (1983) for the leading case holding this.

    This is what you get from the modern regulatory state.

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  29. Mr. Tillman wrote:

    Also, what about the balance of power among the 3 branches of government? Isn’t there supposed to be some oversight each has on the other to keep them honest? I believe that our Constitution was written explicitly and wisely with that principle in mind.

    Our Constitution certainly wasn’t written explicitly with that in mind; judicial review is not mentioned in the Constitution at all, but is an outgrowth of Marbury v Madison, about 45 years after the fact.

    Dana (3e4784)

  30. I don’t think a special prosecutor would be required. The DOJ could investigate this themselves without appointing one.

    Clearly, what the NYT did was an act of treason. I think that it may be possible to have some of the reporters involved declared as enemy combatants and tried by a tribunal rather than a court. That would expedite the punishment of those on 43rd St. who wish to harm our national security.

    DougJ (141684)

  31. That’s fascinating Clam; you have me trying to decipher legalese over here. (I need the Cliff Notes version.) I did look it over and all I can say is that I tentatively believe that I agree with White’s dissent more than the actual decision.

    DougJ, I believe that Al Qaeda knew that we would listen in on their phone conversations. They quit using cell phones in Iraq and Afghanistan because of that didn’t they? There’s no treason there.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  32. The reason Al Qaeda quit using cell phones is because American newspapers and broadcast media reported that we were listening. And, that’s clearly treason in my book.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  33. I agree with White’s dissent more than the actual decision.

    Bearing in mind of course that the decision itself is what’s binding, whether or not you agree with it…

    McGehee (5664e1)

  34. Cliff’s notes version: Congress passed a law giving itself oversight review of deportation decisions of the INS/Attorney General. Basically, they claimed the power to, by a vote, overturn the INS’s decision to/not to deport someone.

    The Supreme Court said no dice to that. If Congress wants to delegate authority to the Executive branch, it cannot, under the separation of powers, maintain ultimate control over the agency.

    (This is also why a congressional budgeting official was declared unconstitutional in a different case- the job he was performing was an executive, not a legislative, function)

    Angry Clam (fa7fff)

  35. Tillman, the political check and balance system has already worked with regard to the intelligence gathering “controversy.” That has occurred over the 3-1/2 years since the President authorized the intercepts, during which time he has kept members of the House and the Senate (from both parties) informed regarding those activities, without any meaningful objection being raised by those members (Jay Rockefeller’s recent silliness notwithstanding). What we’re seeing now is merely the Democrats in Congress again revealing themselves to be more interested in damaging the President than protecting the nation’s security. There are a few honorable exceptions, of course, but they’re not the ones holding the party’s megaphone.

    TNugent (6128b4)

  36. From what I’ve read TNugent, Congress members were sworn to secrecy about what they were told about the spying and only given sparse details. So even if they objected to it, there wasn’t really an avenue to do anything about it (except to complain to the Executive branch, which in this case is of course basically useless). But that’s from the congress members who were against the spying.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  37. “…there wasn’t really an avenue to do anything about it…”

    Gee, Tillman, you mean it never occurred to Dems they might actually do something useful to persuade a majority of American voters to put them in charge of the Executive branch?

    And, of course Dems are against spying on America’s enemies. Dems only want to spy on Bill Clinton’s ex-girlfriends.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)

  38. Mr Tillman wrote:

    From what I’ve read TNugent, Congress members were sworn to secrecy about what they were told about the spying and only given sparse details. So even if they objected to it, there wasn’t really an avenue to do anything about it (except to complain to the Executive branch, which in this case is of course basically useless). But that’s from the congress members who were against the spying.

    Senator Pat Roberts, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said this about Senator Rockefeller’s whining that he was powerless to do anything in objection:

    A United States Senator has significant tools with which to wield power and influence over the executive branch. Feigning helplessness is not one of those tools.

    If Mr Rockefeller had objected that strenuously, he could have:

    1- Gone directly to the President;
    2- Gotten a closed session of Congress to introduce
    legislation to ban the program or stop the finding; or
    3- Told the President that if his concerns were
    not addressed, he’d make it public and damn the
    consequences.

    Senator Roberts said, in as civil a way as possible, that Senator Rockefeller either did not object all that much until it became politically wise for him to do so, or that he lacks the testosterone-producing glands normally found on the human male.

    Dana (3e4784)

  39. Dana, you have a point that a closed session of congress could be called. But if it is true that only the sketchiest of details were provided to some in congress and they really weren’t informed of the scope of the spying, then one problem remains: in that case, there would be no reason to object to the program in the first place.

    Also, Senator Pat Roberts should be of less concern to you than republican Senator Arlen Specter, who plans to have hearings on Bush’s domestic spying next month.

    Tillman (1cf529)

  40. That link didn’t take, but it was the right color. Here’s the link about Specter: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,179861,00.html

    Tillman (1cf529)

  41. Tillman:

    No one has ever done anything quite like this before; it is unprecedented.

    Clinton enacted an actual physical search without a warrant in the case of Aldrich Ames. He also enacted electronic surveillance of white supremacists after Okl City. He even proposed searches with no probable cause of public housing to fight drugs. Please don’t rewrite history.

    GM (c6b650)

  42. But if it is true that only the sketchiest of details were provided to some in congress and they really weren’t informed of the scope of the spying, then one problem remains: in that case, there would be no reason to object to the program in the first place.

    Yes, I am sure that Democrats on bipartisan oversite commitees would simply sit back and accept sketchy details. They are all so deferential. Of course you have to call both Pete Hoekstra (R) and Jane Harmon (D) wallflowers or liars to continue your arguement.

    GM (c6b650)

  43. GM…
    Rewriting history is what BDS is all about. Clinton used spy satellites to look into American’s back yards and track the movements of the people who lived in the houses. Let’s prosecute the living Presidents in order from Ford till the present. By the time we get to the current President it will be 2093.

    tyree (b2fade)

  44. “This one blows the Valerie Plame thing out of the water.”

    Its hard to see the damage done here: shocker — the US listens to phone calls and emails!

    actus (3c21a8)

  45. “Its hard to see the damage…”

    Yes, I know what you mean. It was hard to see all that terrible damage to national security Dems were going on and on about when they wanted to “frog march” old Scooter out the WH door even before he was charged.

    I never could see how pointing out that Joe Wilson’s wife was behind his trip to Niger could put us all in such danger. Yea, it sure was hard to see the damage there.

    Black Jack (ee9fe2)


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