The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never Face Prosecution

Search form

The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never Face Prosecution

The Government Leakers Who Truly Endanger America Will Never Face Prosecution
Mon, 10/7/2013 - by Robert Scheer
This article originally appeared on Truthdig

Secrecy is for the convenience of the state. To support military adventures and budgets, vast troves of U.S. government secrets are routinely released not by lone dissident whistle-blowers but rather skilled teams of government officials. They engage in coordinated propaganda campaigns designed to influence public opinion. They leak secrets compulsively to advance careers or justify wars and weapons programs, even when the material is far more threatening to national security than any revealed by Edward Snowden.

Remember the hoary accounts in the first week of August trumpeting a great intelligence coup warranting the closing of nearly two dozen U.S. embassies in anticipation of an al-Qaida attack? Advocates for the surveillance state jumped all over that one to support claims that NSA electronic interceptions revealed by Snowden were necessary, and that his whistle-blowing had weakened the nation’s security. Actually, the opposite is true.

The al-Qaida revelation, first reported August 2 by Eric Schmitt in The New York Times, came not from the classified information released by Snowden but rather from leaks deliberately provided by U.S. intelligence officials eager to show that the NSA electronic data-gathering program was necessary. A week ago Sunday, Schmitt co-wrote another Times article, similarly quoting American authorities, conceding that the officially condoned August leaks had caused more damage than any of the leaked information attributed to Snowden.

That’s because the government leak, which revealed that the United States had intercepted messages between two top al-Qaida leaders discussing a pending attack, resulted in a sharp decrease in their use of the communications channel that was being monitored by U.S. authorities, leaving the U.S. officials to try to find new avenues of surveillance.

According to the story,

“As the nation’s spy agencies assess the fallout from disclosures about their surveillance programs, some government analysts and senior officials have made a startling finding: the impact of a leaked terrorist plot by al Qaeda in August has caused more immediate damage to American counterterrorism efforts than the thousands of classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.”

Schmitt and his New York Times editors have stressed that the original Times story did not go as far as one in the McClatchy newspapers two days later, which identified the “senior operatives of al Qaeda,” as they were referenced in the Times story, as being the terrorist group’s reputed top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, and Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who is said to head al-Qaida in Yemen. The Times, which was leaked those names, kept them out of the first story at the request of “senior American intelligence officials” but printed them when those officials granted permission after the McClatchy story appeared.

The Times and McClatchy stories, along with another on CNN, were based on the deliberate leaks of highly classified information intended to advance the case for extensive government data surveillance at a time when the NSA program was being widely criticized in the wake of Snowden’s revelations. U.S. officials, who were operating in an approved manner when they provided the pro-surveillance but still highly classified material, will not be prosecuted for violating the Espionage Act. Not so Snowden, whose revelation of the historically unprecedented intrusion into the private communications of American citizens as well as of foreigners who are supposed to be U.S allies, proved so embarrassing.

The material released by Snowden does not represent a threat to legitimate U.S. national security interests but rather reveals the arrogance of government power. As the Times cited Sunday in an example of the damage of Snowden’s disclosures: “Diplomatic ties have also been damaged, and among the results was the decision by Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, to postpone a state visit to the United States in protest over revelations that the (NSA) agency spied on her, her top aides and Brazil’s largest company, the oil giant Petrobras.”

Embarrassing indeed! It mocks the claims of those in both political parties who are ever eager to justify the antics of the surveillance state, like Rep. C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger of Maryland, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who told ABC’s “This Week” that the “NSA’s sole purpose is to get information intelligence to protect Americans from attack.” Or Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, quoted on CNN following its breathless report on the August intercept of an impending Yemen attack that never occurred. “Al Qaeda is on the rise in this part of the world and the NSA program is proving its worth yet again,” he said.

Rubbish. Al-Qaida is hardly on the rise anywhere in the world, with much of its leadership now dead and the remaining elements barely able to communicate. But until a more vigorous enemy turns up, the overblown terrorist enemy used to justify the vastly profitable surveillance state, with selective scary news leaks, is all the military-industrial complex has got.

Article Tabs

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, community bill of rights, Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhoods

Across the country, battles are raging as communities attempt to protect the air, soil and water within their borders and the safety of their residents.

prison divestment campaign, criminal justice reform, Columbia Prison Divest, Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, Dream Defenders, incarceration rates, Student Alliance for Prison Reform

Columbia Prison Divest pressured the university to dump $8 million in Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison company, as well as shares in other behemoths of the private security industry.

Barnesville, Gulfport Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Antero

A tiny town in eastern Ohio is being sued by an Oklahoma-based oil and gas company that bought more than 180 million gallons of water from the town last year.

History shows that liberals need radicals.

American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC, BP, climate change denial

Oil company BP said on Monday it has stopped supporting conservative political group ALEC, becoming the latest corporation to end its membership in a group critics say works to deny the existence of climate change.

Until the federal government gets serious about bailing out America’s students and instituting free, public higher education for all who apply, America’s student debtors should refuse to make any further payments.

Posted 5 days 22 hours ago
fracking studies, anti-fracking movement, fracking ban, Real Media, Debt Resistance UK, Anti-Daily Mail week, WailOnline, Blockupy, Occupy Rupert Murdoch

Imagine a world where the 1% doesn't have a monopoly over science and news – but where we can instead think for ourselves.

Posted 6 days 19 hours ago

Indigenous women make up 4.3% of Canada's female population – but represent almost half of the number of women murdered in the country.

Posted 3 days 13 hours ago

In this week’s episode of Act Out!, Eleanor talks clowns, burning cars and the riots against austerity in Europe, while looking at the role of art in activism and giving you some tools to get started.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago
money in politics, Citizens United, Edward Snowden, kleptocracy, surveillance programs, NSA, whistleblowers

Welcome to 1% Elections, the privatization of the State, a fourth branch of government, and the demobilization of "We the People."

Posted 5 days 21 hours ago

A report that Rahm Emanuel’s administration invested money from the city teachers’ union in private equity funds run by some of the mayor’s biggest campaign donors is adding fuel to the charges that he neglects all but his wealthy backers.

fracking studies, anti-fracking movement, fracking ban, Real Media, Debt Resistance UK, Anti-Daily Mail week, WailOnline, Blockupy, Occupy Rupert Murdoch

Imagine a world where the 1% doesn't have a monopoly over science and news – but where we can instead think for ourselves.

healthcare privatization, National Health Service, Cancer Not for Profit, 38 Degrees

Last week saw the biggest leak in the history of the U.K. National Health Service, with the publication of a document that revealed clinical commissioning groups were looking for a private company to accept a £1.2 billion contract for cancer care.

Indigenous women make up 4.3% of Canada's female population – but represent almost half of the number of women murdered in the country.

prison divestment campaign, criminal justice reform, Columbia Prison Divest, Corrections Corporation of America, GEO Group, Dream Defenders, incarceration rates, Student Alliance for Prison Reform

Columbia Prison Divest pressured the university to dump $8 million in Corrections Corporation of America, the country’s largest private prison company, as well as shares in other behemoths of the private security industry.

Sign Up