January 03, 2006

One Man's Whistleblower


From AP: Senators Differ on Leak of Domestic Spying Information.

Republican Senator Mitch McConnell agrees with President Bush that whoever leaked the details about a domestic spying program has "breached our national security and endangered Americans." And he says the Justice Department should "go after" that person.

But Democrat Charles Schumer says the leaker could just be a "whistleblower" trying to expose illegal activity.

Schumer tells "Fox News Sunday" that "there are differences between felons and whistleblowers."

The Justice Department is looking into how The New York Times found out about President Bush's secret program of surveillance, inside the U-S, done without warrants. Bush defends the program as part of the fight against terrorism, and says it will continue.

UPDATE -- Jan. 4: Michelle Malkin has much more here, including a new column on the subject: A leak is a leak is a leak.

If [NYT reporter James] Risen's good leak/ bad leak spin sounds familiar, that's because Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was plying it this weekend on Fox News Sunday. Asked about the Justice Department criminal investigation into the NYT/NSA leaks, Schumer sputtered: "There are differences between felons and whistleblowers, and we ought to wait until the investigation occurs to decide what happened."

Schumer, as I've noted previously, has some nerve pontificating about secrets and disclosures. Guess he puts his former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee staffers, Katie Barge and Lauren Weiner, in the noble "whistleblower" category. (I checked with the US Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C., last week, by the way, and the investigation into Barge and Weiner's involvement in illegally obtaining a credit report on Maryland's lieutenant governor Michael S. Steele is still ongoing.)

Contrary to the one-armed Democrat plumbers' wishes, you can't just selectively plug the leaks you don't like and let the other half flood freely. The law regarding disclosures of classified information does not grant an exception based on leakers' motives. See U.S. Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 37, Section 798. Nope, no Bush Derangement Syndrome exemptions there.

Posted by Forkum at January 3, 2006 07:26 PM