Sunday, November 26, 2006

The faux captain falls for a faux leak

Shorter Special Ed: I have no clue as to the actual responsibilities surrounding the security of classified information but, since I dislike the New York Times it's easy to call them wrong. And, since they've published the contents of a document marked SECRET, it's now alright if I spread that same document all over the internet without being labelled treasonous.

Here's a short lesson in the physical security of documents for Ed:

1. It is not the responsibility of newspapers to know, understand nor comply with government regulations regarding operational, physical or communications security;

2. It is the responsibility of the authorized holders of classified information and documents to properly secure such material and prevent unauthorized access or reference;

3. It is illegal to transmit classified information to any individual who does not possess the "need to know" regardless of the security clearance that person may hold.

In short, trying to blame the New York Times for a security breach in this case is about as smart as blaming a seagull for crapping. The fault, if there really is one, lies with the "government official" who handed over the document.

Of course, Morrissey finds the NY Times article terribly convenient. It, in his own mind, lets him off the hook. Now he can blather on about a SECRET classified document and warn all who will heed to take cover because here come the islamofascists to get you from that well-funded terrorist breeding ground - Iraq.

Interestingly, Morrissey then criticizes the NY Times for "pouring water" on the document when they go looking for other opinions on the funding of the Iraqi insurgency. It doesn't support his Islamofascists behind every tree meme. Hell, if you're going to report on a leaked SECRET document, don't try to water it down - stick with the theme! The turbans are coming to get you - elect a Republican president in 2008 to prevent it.

Oh, you didn't catch that part?! Let me explain:

The New York Times runs this article: (All emphasis mine)

The insurgency in Iraq is now self-sustaining financially, raising tens of millions of dollars a year from oil smuggling, kidnapping, counterfeiting, connivance by corrupt Islamic charities and other crimes that the Iraqi government and its American patrons have been largely unable to prevent, a classified United States government report has concluded.
That the insurgency in Iraq is reasonably well-funded is hardly in question. Instead of fizzling out, it's growing stronger. And, of course, that report gains credence when it comes via a classified US government document.

A copy of the seven-page report was made available to The Times by American officials who said the findings could improve understanding of the challenges the United States faces in Iraq.
Something smells a little here.

This isn't the illegal wiretap bombshell. That information was acquired when someone with a conscience realized the US Constitution was being violated by the very people who were sworn to protect it.

What we're seeing in this latest leak of a SECRET document is something quite different. This report, if true, supports the Bushco position for staying in Iraq and defeating the insurgency. It says that the insurgency in Iraq will find its way beyond Iraq's borders.

“If accurate,” the report says, its estimates indicate that these “sources of terrorist and insurgent finance within Iraq — independent of foreign sources — are currently sufficient to sustain the groups’ existence and operation.” To this, it adds what may be its most surprising conclusion: “In fact, if recent revenue and expense estimates are correct, terrorist and insurgent groups in Iraq may have surplus funds with which to support other terrorist organizations outside of Iraq.”
Ah yes. We have to fight them there, or we'll end up fighting them here.

The NY Times sought out opinions on the report. This is a pretty standard practice, but it also suggests that the report was obtained by the NY Times with far too much ease.

Some terrorism experts outside the government who were given an outline of the report by The Times criticized it as imprecise and speculative. Completed in June, the report was compiled by an interagency working group investigating the financing of militant groups in Iraq.

A Bush administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the group’s existence. He said it was led by Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, and was made up of about a dozen people, drawn from the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, the Treasury Department and the United States Central Command.
An imprecise and speculative report written by a group led by a Bushco appointee. And, to add a little flavour... Bushco has its very own "deep throat".

Then there's this little kicker:

“They’re just guessing,” said W. Patrick Lang, a former chief of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency, who now runs a security and intelligence consultancy. “They really have no idea.” He added, “They’ve been very unsuccessful in penetrating these organizations.” He said he was equally skeptical about the report’s assertion that the insurgent and militant groups may have surpluses to finance terrorism outside Iraq. “That’s another guess,” he said.

“A judgment like that, coming from an N.S.C.-generated document,” he said, is not an analytical assessment as much as it is a political statement to support the administration’s contention that Iraq is a central front in the war on terrorism. “It’s a statement put in there to support a policy judgment,” he said.
What this boils down to is another rationalization for continued war in Iraq. While the report may be authentic, the subterfuge of its finding its way to the offices of the NY Times looks to be very much contrived.

Of course, Morrissey sees it completely differently. He feels that if Bushco wanted to leak information they would just declassify an executive summary and release it.

Morrissey just doesn't get it, does he? The Bush administration is reknown for fabricating any and all manner of lies. Letting a SECRET NOFORN document slide out of the West Wing gives it all that much more power and the effect would be total acceptance of the contents as true.

The only thing is, the distribution of such a document would be very limited. Receivers of the information would be on a particular distribution list. If this document wasn't supposed to find its way into the NY Times, the series of grillings the people on the distribution list would undergo would make the Spanish Inquisition look like a grammar school sports day.

The fact is, Morrissey swallowed the bait whole on this one. Unable to accept the skepticism painted throughout the NY Times article, he writes this:

We're seeing the beginnings of a terror-exporting state in Iraq. We need to stop it now, rather than engaging in a retreat that will only force us to return later at greater loss of life.
I couldn't have run that one better myself! The leakers of the report not only got a solid bite, but they also got some free faux outrage for having the NY Times publish classified information.

And, if Iraq does become a terror-exporting state, whose fault is that?!

It makes Ed one of these.

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