Killing the Messenger
Gotta love, love, love that Bush White House. The Double Secret Presidency again demonstrates that liberty is good, civil liberty is overrated and nothing, nothing is more important than the code of omerta.
When The Washington Post revealed earlier this year that the U.S. runs clandestine torture prisons in other countries, it inevitably followed that Congressional Republican leaders would call for an investigation into who blabbed to the newspaper, not so much on the propriety of the world's greatest superpower taking its lead from the KGB.
Now we have a similar response from the White House, where officials have been throwing a temper tantrum ever since The New York Times broke the story (after a year of sitting on the information, mind you) that the National Security Agency has conducted warrantless surveillance of Americans on behalf of the administration.
An honest and open debate on the legality of performing illegalities? Nah.
An upfront "oops, our bad" and follow-up apology? What? Are you f-in' outta your mind? This administration doesn't make mistakes, Hoss.
Instead, the Bushies are vowing to track down and prosecute the whistle-blower -- or "leak," if you're in the Beltway and receiving daily talking points faxed by the RNC.
As the U.S. Justice Department has announced it will investigate the source of the leak, The Washington Post's Dan Eggen reports that the White House denies any involvement in the DOJ probe:
"White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy told reporters in Crawford, Tex., ... that the department 'undertook this action on its own' and that Bush had only learned about it from senior staff earlier in the day.
"But Duffy reiterated earlier statements by Bush, who had sharply condemned the disclosure of the NSA program and argued that it seriously damaged national security.
"'The fact is that al Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page One, and when America's is, it has serious ramifications,' Duffy said, reading from prepared remarks. 'You don't need to be Sun Tzu to understand that," he added, referring to the ancient Chinese general who wrote The Art of War."
First of all, Trent Duffy is a tool, but not a tool in the way that most tools are useful and perform a specific function. No, Duffy is a tool in the way that a tongue depressor is a tool after it's been smeared in fecal matter for subsequent lab testing. This is the guy who defended the NSA's illegal spying with this patronizing claptrap: "This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner. These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches."
"Calls from very bad people to very bad people?" Does the bottom-line rationalization to the American people necessitate talking to them as if they're 10 years old and still wetting the bed? As long as the president and his cronies are intent on patting our little heads and asking us to move along, they might as well pack us a lunch (preferably a PB & J with the crust cut off, just in case the NSA is reading this).
Anyway, back to Trent Duffy's latest nothing-to-see-here warble: When did America's "playbook" in the War on Terrah involve illegal spying on Americans? Should all "playbook" maneuvers be exempt from scrutiny by virtue of their ostensible use in this modern-day war?
Doesn't that pretzel logic pretty much lend itself to justifying anything? And isn't that the ultimate danger here?
And seriously, wouldn't you suspect that real, honest-to-Allah al Qaeda operatives assumed that Uncle Sam was already monitoring their phone calls and emails? What they probably didn't know -- or give much of a shit about, to be honest -- was whether such monitoring is allowable under the United States Constitution.
The folks who probably didn't think their calls and emails are fair game are non-al Qaeda terrorists who perhaps didn't realize the Bush administration is beyond the rule of law.