Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Sunday, January 23, 2005

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

posted by Jazz at 1/23/2005 09:24:00 AM


And over at the print edition of Faux News, the rag better known as the Washington Times, Tony Blankly has just committed ritual seppuku with a ballpoint. After reading Seymour Hersh's recent article about Bush snooping around for good bombing targets in Iran, Blankly praised him for his brave dissemination of government information to the public accused him of being a traitor.
18 United States Code section 794, subsection (b) prohibits anyone "in time of war, with intent that the same shall be communicated to the enemy [from publishing] any information with respect to the movement, numbers, or disposition of any of the Armed Forces ... of the United States... or supposed plans or conduct of any ... military operations ... or any other information relating to the public defense, which might be useful to the enemy ... [this crime is punishable] by death or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life."
On the face of it, the story obviously looks like silly, partisan hackery. But in fact... it's worse. Blankly explains his qualifications and how he thinks this should be handled.
I am not an expert on these federal code sections, but a common-sense reading of their language would suggest, at the least, that federal prosecutors should review the information disclosed by Mr. Hersh to determine whether or not his conduct falls within the proscribed conduct of the statute.
Well, the fact that you're no expert is fairly obvious. We could go into a long winded discussion of this, but why bother when Orcinus has already done it for us? It seems that Hersh was only following a fine old tradition established by..... guess who? That's right... the Washington Times.

Recall, if you will, that it was the Washington Times that, back in the fall of 1998, published a little tidbit of information that let Osama bin Laden slip through our grasp.

I've mentioned this a couple of times before, most recently here. As I wrote then, this information appears in Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon's The Age of Sacred Terror:

According to Benjamin and Simon, the turning point when al-Qaeda became America's greatest enemy was not on Sept. 11, 2001, but rather on Aug. 20, 1998 -- the day President Clinton launched missile strikes against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda operations in Afghanistan and the Sudan, the latter being a pharmaceutical plant at al-Shifa that was being used to develop chemical weapons.
Exactly. An even better question remains - where was Mr. Blankly when Bob Novak was outing Valerie Plume as an undercover spy? (You'll notice that Bob is still walking around, free and sassy, fat as ever, and showing no signs of heading for prison.) Blankly is curiously silent on that. It might seem, as viewed by the casual observer, that Blankly's patriotic vision of law enforcement suffers from a bit of myopia.

Roger Ailes has more on this:
I urge Tony to turn himself over to authorities without incident, save the taxpayers the cost of an unnecessary trial, and cooperate with prision officials as they try to find a vein.