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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 20, 2014

 
Tailgunner Mike

by digby

This man should be nowhere near government power. Not even close:

Like Andrew P. Napolitano, I cherish the First Amendment and the freedom of the press (“Dozen members on Capitol Hill keeping Snowden NSA secrets,” Commentary, Feb. 13).

However, Mr. Napolitano, a former judge, would do well to remember the words of another distinguished jurist, Justice Robert H. Jackson: The Bill of Rights is not a “suicide pact.”

Our government keeps classified information secret for a reason — because its disclosure will endanger our national security.

The vast majority of the classified documents stolen by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden have nothing to do with civil liberties. The 1.7 million documents detail the vital operations of our Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.

The man who stole them fled to Moscow, where the Russian government is all too happy to shelter him. Our military and intelligence services already feel the impact of his thievery: Our enemies have been tipped off to our sources and methods, placing American lives at risk.

Authoring or publishing stories in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times or any other genuine news outlet is legitimate journalism that is protected by our Constitution, but those who simply sell their access to stolen classified government information for personal profit are not journalists just because the buyer includes some of that information in a newspaper article.

Hawking access to stolen classified information for personal gain is not journalism.

We celebrate the freedom of the press, a principle enshrined by our Founding Fathers in our Constitution. The same men who drafted the First Amendment also recognized that, in the words of the Federalist Papers, “secrecy and dispatch” are essential to a successful foreign policy.

Other countries around the world — including China and Russia — do not extend similar freedom to journalists. Foreign governments watch, jail and sometimes kill journalists in an attempt to control all news, including news on the Internet.

The authoritarians who run those states have no desire to balance the freedom of the press with the national defense. In America, we have always sought to do both.

REP. MIKE ROGERS
Chairman
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

The Bill of Rights doesn't have a little disclaimer that says anything about suicide pacts. And there's a reason for that. That little out allows Mike Rogers, for all his paeans to "freedom", to do exactly what he accuses his totalitarian Russkie and Chi-com enemies of doing. How convenient for him.

I don't think I have to explain again why Rogers' accusations about the enemy being "tipped off" by Snowden's documents are completely fatuous. Neither do I have to explain why his nonsensical claims that freelance journalism is "hawking stolen goods" (not to mention the fact that Greenwald was a paid employee of The Guardian when they broke all the earliest stories.)Mike Rogers is not the arbiter of what constitutes journalism and neither does he seem to have the vaguest clue about how these stories have been vetted, written and published. It's obvious that he is ginning up a case specifically against Glenn Greenwald, who he has decided is not actually writing his stories, apparently, but rather "hawking" the documents to highest bidder. When congressional committee chairman lose their composure to that degree, they can no longer be trusted.

His letter indicates such a high level of arrogance and delusion  that I think if there's any danger to our country, it comes from the fact that this loon has access to America's secrets.

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