Obama personally approves all Assassinations – NYT giant expose’

May 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Americas

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will

 

STAGED PHOTO: President Obama in the Oval Office with Thomas E. Donilon, left, the national security adviser, and John O. Brennan, his top counterterrorism adviser.


 

NYT

WASHINGTON — This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high schoolyearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.

A Measure of Change

The Shadow War

This is the third article in a series assessing President Obama’s record.

Pool photo by Brennan Linsley

A picture of President George W. Bush is replaced with one of President Obama at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.

“How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”

It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.

Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.

“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”

Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve.

In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.

They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”

His first term has seen private warnings from top officials about a “Whac-A-Mole” approach to counterterrorism; the invention of a new category of aerial attack following complaints of careless targeting; and presidential acquiescence in a formula for counting civilian deaths that some officials think is skewed to produce low numbers.

The administration’s failure to forge a clear detention policy has created the impression among some members of Congress of a take-no-prisoners policy. And Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the C.I.A.’s strikes drive American policy there, saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people,” a colleague said.

Beside the president at every step is his counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, who is variously compared by colleagues to a dogged police detective, tracking terrorists from his cavelike office in the White House basement, or a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.

NYT Insults Intelligence in Latest Syrian Op-Ed

April 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Commentary

Dear New York Times, It Takes Two to Tango.
an editorial by Tony Cartalucci

April 10, 2012 – In New York Times’ (NYT) latest, anonymous editorial, they berate the Syrian government for not making good on Kofi Annan’s alleged “peace deal,” openly admitted by US policy think-tanks as a rouse to buy time for a floundering NATO proxy force and to be used as leverage to justify a partial invasion by NATO-member Turkey into northern Syria.

More specifically, the Fortune 500 funded Brookings Institution think-tank, in their latest report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change” stated (emphasis added):

“An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.” -page 4, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.

And now that is exactly what the UN, NATO, and its massive network of propagandists are attempting to sell the public – including the New York Times’ anonymous editorial board.

While the NYT unprofessionally throws around adjectives like “despicable” “brutal” and describes the events unfolding in Syria as “slaughter,” even by the Syrian opposition’s own admissions and throughout reports by “top rights groups” like Human Rights Watch (HRW), they are fighting just as “despicably,” “brutally,” and committing “slaughter” just as readily. That is because it takes two belligerents to conduct an armed uprising – a fact of reality the NYT attempts to sidestep in their desperate appeal to what they must assume is an infinitely ignorant readership.

 

Photo: The “Free Syrian Army,” whose composition consists of not only Syrian extremists, but Libyan terrorists from the US State Department listed “Libyan Islamic Fighting Group” led by Abdul Hakim Belhaj, are far from the “hapless, helpless” victims the New York Times portrays them as – nor is the current conflict in Syria as one-sides as the Times portrays.

….

The HRW report titled, “Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses,” is broken into three parts in regards to the rebels forces; kidnapping, torture, and executions. And while the report attempts to focus mainly on atrocities carried out against security forces and government supporters, the mention of civilian victims is made as well. The report states:

“Abuses include kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha. Human Rights Watch has also received reports of executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians.”

Under the title “Kidnappings,” it is stated:

“Abuses include kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha. Human Rights Watch has also received reports of executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians.”

“Human Rights Watch also expressed concern about FSA [Free Syrian Army] kidnappings of Iranian nationals, some of whom the group has confirmed are civilians.”

Under “Executions,” HRW’s report describes the Syrian opposition’s practice of rounding up suspects and killing them without trial, generally on the grounds of confessions coerced through torture. Other executions are simply carried out as reprisals with no apparent offense beyond suspected affiliations being cited.

What responsible government would allow overtly armed factions to carry out such crimes within its borders? What responsible journalist would omit these documented crimes during a discussion over how to end the bloodshed in Syria? Clearly both sides are armed, both sides are fighting one another, both sides are alleging the other is committing atrocities while declaring their own hands clean.

What the NYT also conveniently fails to mention is that the rebels they are so adamant in defending, have outright rejected Kofi Annan’s “peace deal,” in effect rendering the entire deal null and void, declaring their intentions to continue fighting the Syrian government with the constant torrent of cash and weapons pledged to them during the last “Friends of Syria” summit – a summit that disingenuously supported the “peace deal” while openly making provisions to continue the bloodshed. How could President Bashar al-Assad withdraw troops then, even if he wanted to?

Finally, the NYT shamelessly cites hearsay over an alleged “cross border” incident admittedly unconfirmed and involving conflicting reports in an attempt to further demonize the Syrian government and provide the impetus for Turkey, a NATO member since the 1950′s, to establish Wall Street and London’s prescribed “safe havens” and “humanitarian corridors” from which to continue their attempts to topple the Syrian government. As a matter of fact, Today’s Zaman literally announced verbatim that Turkey’s next step would be indeed to implement this very strategy, conjured up not from within the halls of the Turkish government in Ankara, but within the pages of a Fortune 500-funded Washington “think-tank.”

An informed citizen would recognize NYT’s editorial as just another mouthpiece of a singular Western agenda of premeditated violence with predetermined prescribed courses of action prepared to topple the government of Syria – a plan decades in the making. It is not that conditions on the ground have coincidentally converged to justify these plans – it is that professional liars like the NYT, the TV networks and the governments of NATO are creating and/or lying about the conditions on the ground when they otherwise would not exist to justify these plans.

Recognize that we are once again being lied to by the New York Times, just as we were by “Curveball” and Donald Rumsfeld regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the admittedly false “humanitarian” claims made by the Libyan opposition, or most recently by the US government-funded Kony 2012 propaganda campaign. How many more times must we be lied to by the exact same shrill voices before we, as a rule, doubt, question, and challenge everything they say?

Pat Robertson Says Marijuana Use Should be Legal

March 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Americas

 

NYT

Of the many roles Pat Robertson has assumed over his five-decade-long career as an evangelical leader — including presidential candidate and provocative voice of the right wing — his newest guise may perhaps surprise his followers the most: marijuana legalization advocate.

Clem Britt/Associated Press

Pat Robertson, center, has taken a surprising stance after his long career as an evangelical leader.

“I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol,” Mr. Robertson said in an interview on Wednesday. “I’ve never used marijuana and I don’t intend to, but it’s just one of those things that I think: this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

Mr. Robertson’s remarks echoed statements he made last week on “The 700 Club,” the signature program of his Christian Broadcasting Network, and other comments he made in 2010. While those earlier remarks were largely dismissed by his followers, Mr. Robertson has now apparently fully embraced the idea of legalizing marijuana, arguing that it is a way to bring down soaring rates of incarceration and reduce the social and financial costs.

“I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said.

Mr. Robertson’s remarks were hailed by pro-legalization groups, who called them a potentially important endorsement in their efforts to roll back marijuana penalties and prohibitions, which residents of Colorado and Washington will vote on this fall.

“I love him, man, I really do,” said Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of current and former law enforcement officials who oppose the drug war. “He’s singing my song.”

For his part, Mr. Robertson said that he “absolutely” supported the ballot measures, though he would not campaign for them. “I’m not a crusader,” he said.

That comment may invite debate, considering Mr. Robertson’s long career of speaking out — and sometimes in ways that drew harsh criticism — in favor of conservative family values. Recently, he was quoted as saying that victims of tornadoes in the Midwest could have avoided their fate by praying more.

But advocates of overhauling drug laws say Mr. Robertson’s newfound passion on their issue could help sway conservative voters and other religious leaders to their cause.

“Pat Robertson still has an audience of millions of people, and they respect what he has to say,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for more liberal drug laws. “And he’s not backtracking. He’s doubling down.”

Mr. Robertson, 81, said that there had been no single event or moment that caused him to embrace legalization. Instead, his conviction that the nation “has gone overboard on this concept of being tough on crime” built up over time, he added.

“It’s completely out of control,” Mr. Robertson said. “Prisons are being overcrowded with juvenile offenders having to do with drugs. And the penalties, the maximums, some of them could get 10 years for possession of a joint of marijuana. It makes no sense at all.”

Such talk was welcomed by some other religious leaders, especially those in African-American communities who have long argued that blacks are unfairly targeted in drug cases.

Iva E. Carruthers, the general secretary for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, the Chicago group that represents hundreds of black clergy members and lay leaders, said Mr. Robertson’s remarks suggested that he recognized that “if you’re a Hollywood exec with money, you’re treated differently than if you’re a poor kid getting off public transportation and get arrested.”

“I would hope and think that it would move the needle for the large constituencies of evangelicals he represents,” Dr. Carruthers added.

She said that she personally supported marijuana legalization, as did a growing number of conference members. But whether Mr. Robertson’s endorsement would have a lasting impact was unclear, even to Mr. Robertson.

“I think they would agree if they understood the facts as I do,” he said of other evangelical leaders. “But it’s very hard.”

He attributed much of the problem of overpopulated jails to a “liberal mindset to have an all-encompassing government.”

Conservative groups that usually align with Mr. Robertson, meanwhile, were largely silent when asked for comment on his stance. For example, Focus on the Family — a Christian group whose disdain for same-sex marriage and support for family values are in line with Mr. Robertson’s — declined to respond beyond saying that the group opposes legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use.

For his part, Mr. Robertson said he was “not encouraging people to use narcotics in any way, shape or form.” But he said he saw little difference between smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, a longstanding argument from far more liberal — and libertarian-minded — leaders.

“If people can go into a liquor store and buy a bottle of alcohol and drink it at home legally, then why do we say that the use of this other substance is somehow criminal?” he said.

Mr. Franklin, who is a Christian, said Mr. Robertson’s position was actually in line with the Gospel. “If you follow the teaching of Christ, you know that Christ is a compassionate man,” he said. “And he would not condone the imprisoning of people for nonviolent offenses.”

Mr. Robertson said he enjoyed a glass of wine now and then — “When I was in college, I hit it pretty hard, but that was before Christ.” He added that he did not think marijuana appeared in the Bible, though he noted that “Jesus made water into wine.”

“I don’t think he was a teetotaler,” he said.

And while Mr. Robertson said his earlier hints at support for legalization had led to him being “assailed by those who thought that it was terrible that I had forsaken the straight and narrow,” he added that he was not worried about criticism this time around.

“I just want to be on the right side,” he said. “And I think on this one, I’m on the right side.”

Noted “Hacktivist” Turns Out to be an FBI Informer… (Tip of Iceberg)

March 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Sci-Tech

 

Arrests Sow Mistrust Inside a Clan of Hackers

NYT

For months, The Real Sabu, as he called himself on Twitter, boasted, cursed and egged on his followers to take part in computer attacks against private companies and government agencies worldwide.

“Don’t give in to these people,” he wrote on Monday, ridiculing “cowards” in the federal government. “Fight back. Stay strong.”

It turns out that Sabu had become an informant for federal law enforcement authorities. On Tuesday, in what could be one of the biggest breakthroughs in the government crackdown on a loose, large confederation of politically inspired “hacktivists,” he was unmasked and revealed to have helped the authorities catch several fellow hackers in Europe and the United States.

Four men in Britain and Ireland were charged Tuesday with computer crimes; a fifth man was arrested Monday in Chicago.

Court papers identified Sabu as Hector Xavier Monsegur, 28, of New York. He pleaded guilty last August to a dozen counts of conspiracy to attack computers. He had operated since then as usual — as The Real Sabu, instigating attacks and quoting revolutionaries online.

The prosecutions are part of a wave of coordinated efforts to rein in a leaderless, multinational movement called Anonymous, which has drawn attention for its protests against the Church of Scientology and in support of the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks. It has spawned spinoffs with different names and insignias, among them LulzSec, which claimed to attack computer security companies for laughs, or lulz, and of which Sabu was a prominent, outspoken member.

Just last week, Interpol announced the arrests of 25 people suspected of being Anonymous members in Europe. Sabu reacted to that news on Twitter by urging others to attack Interpol’s Web site.

Mr. Monsegur’s base of operations seems to have been his late grandmother’s sixth-floor apartment in a public-housing project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He was apparently self-trained, and he appears to have been equally skilled at hacking and deceiving his fellow hackers. His downfall, if nothing else, will sow even more distrust and dissension in the ranks of Anonymous.

“It is going to be very difficult for Anonymous to recover from such a breach of trust,” said Mikko Hypponen, a security researcher at F-Secure Labs in Helsinki. “You can see the Anonymous people now looking left and right and realizing, if they couldn’t trust Sabu, who can they trust?”

Whether this will temper the larger hacker cause remains to be seen. Anonymous is a decentralized movement that is, broadly speaking, opposed to state institutions and the companies that work with them, and its members have embraced an ever-shifting variety of causes, including animal rights and democracy in the Middle East.

The ranks are steadily replenished with people of varying skills. The targets have included Fox News, Sony, the government contractor HBGary and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Favored tactics are either to start brute-force attacks aimed at slowing or shutting down sites, or to break into computer systems and expose embarrassing communications.

Gabriella Coleman, an anthropologist who studies the Anonymous movement and teaches at McGill University in Montreal, said she expected the latest prosecutions would most likely have “a chilling effect” on their hacking tactics.

“These are moments of massive reflection — who are we, what do we want to be?” she said of Anonymous.

The group’s latest highly publicized breach was of the geopolitical analysis firm Stratfor. Its system was first penetrated last December, and the hackers exposed its customers’ names and e-mail addresses. Then, starting last week, its internal communications were released on the Internet by a new partner, WikiLeaks.

On Monday night, the F.B.I. arrested Jeremy Hammond, 27, of Chicago, in connection with the Stratfor breach. Mr. Hammond is charged with stealing credit card information and using some of it to rack up more than $700,000 in charges.

Mr. Hammond’s neighbors on Tuesday described him as a friendly man who dressed eccentrically, sometimes wearing mismatched shoes and, other times, suspenders. He sat on the front porch of the red brick house where he rented a first-floor apartment, and sometimes played the banjo and made up songs about the goings-on on the street.

Mr. Hammond’s eccentricities apparently involved previous run-ins with the F.B.I. In 2006, he was convicted of having hacked into a political group’s computer server and stolen credit card numbers. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison.

Also charged in a separate indictment were two Britons, Ryan Ackroyd, 23, and Jake Davis, 29. Mr. Davis, who was known by his nickname Topiary and was as loquacious on Twitter as Mr. Monsegur, was arrested last July in the Shetland Islands.

Also charged in Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York were Darren Martyn, 25, whose nicknames included Pwnsauce, and Donncha O’Cearrbhail, 19, who was known as Palladium.

All four men are accused of hacking into the computer systems of, among others, Fox Broadcasting, Sony Pictures Entertainment and PBS over the last year. (Fox News first reported the prosecutions on Tuesday.)

Mr. O’Cearrbhail is separately charged with breaching the personal e-mail account of an Irish law enforcement official and using it to covertly record a conference call in January in which authorities from several countries, including F.B.I. agents, were discussing investigations of Anonymous and other hacktivist groups.

Mr. Monsegur, for his part, was described as a smart, politically motivated hacker who had steered clear of trouble with the law — unlike his father, a Bronx resident who was convicted of selling heroin and spent seven years in prison.

A family member who did not want to be identified said that Mr. Monsegur was tall and heavy, and known for being into computers, video games and cars. He had been close to his grandmother, whose apartment in the Jacob Riis Houses became his home and his workshop. He has been living there with his girlfriend’s two children, a person in law enforcement said.

Online, Mr. Monsegur was generating international mayhem, according to the complaint, participating in an attack on PayPal, defacing the Web site of the prime minister of Tunisia and breaking into the government of Yemen’s computers. His role, court documents say, was to act as a “rooter,” identifying vulnerabilities in the target’s systems.

Some residents of the housing complex were shocked to hear of the charges. “I don’t believe it,” said Jaime Reyes, who said he had known Mr. Monsegur for many years, adding: “He was a good kid.” Mr. Reyes said Mr. Monsegur seemed to be off at work a lot, and when he was home he was busy taking care of the children. “The way I see him, if somebody was a hacker, they would be home all day,” he said.

As is common in cases involving informants, a federal judge will eventually decide whether Mr. Monsegur will be sentenced to jail or to what extent his punishment will be reduced in exchange for his cooperation.

In the days just before his guilty plea was announced, Mr. Monsegur — or Sabu on Twitter — was his usual bombastic self. “You think arresting my people will stop our idea? Our love and solidarity will not cease but will be empowered. We are stronger than the gov,” he wrote last week.

His last post, on Monday afternoon, was adapted from a quote from the Marxist activist Rosa Luxemburg, in German. “The revolution says I am, I was, I will be,” it said.

NYT: Obama using Espionage Act to ‘silence and prosecute federal workers’…

February 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Police State

 

Blurred Line Between Espionage and Truth

By
Published: February 26, 2012

NYT

Last Wednesday in the White House briefing room, the administration’s press secretary, Jay Carney, opened on a somber note, citing the deaths of Marie Colvin and Anthony Shadid, two reporters who had died “in order to bring truth” while reporting in Syria.

Thomas A. Drake, a former employee of the National Security Agency, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act last year.

Jake Tapper, the White House correspondent for ABC News, pointed out that the administration had lauded brave reporting in distant lands more than once and then asked, “How does that square with the fact that this administration has been so aggressively trying to stop aggressive journalism in the United States by using the Espionage Act to take whistle-blowers to court?”

He then suggested that the administration seemed to believe that “the truth should come out abroad; it shouldn’t come out here.”

Fair point. The Obama administration, which promised during its transition to power that it would enhance “whistle-blower laws to protect federal workers,” has been more prone than any administration in history in trying to silence and prosecute federal workers.

The Espionage Act, enacted back in 1917 to punish those who gave aid to our enemies, was used three times in all the prior administrations to bring cases against government officials accused of providing classified information to the media. It has been used six times since the current president took office.

Setting aside the case of Pfc. Bradley Manning, an Army intelligence analyst who is accused of stealing thousands of secret documents, the majority of the recent prosecutions seem to have everything to do with administrative secrecy and very little to do with national security.

In case after case, the Espionage Act has been deployed as a kind of ad hoc Official Secrets Act, which is not a law that has ever found traction in America, a place where the people’s right to know is viewed as superseding the government’s right to hide its business.

In the most recent case, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who became a Democratic staff member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged under the Espionage Act with leaking information to journalists about other C.I.A. officers, some of whom were involved in the agency’s interrogation program, which included waterboarding.

For those of you keeping score, none of the individuals who engaged in or authorized the waterboarding of terror suspects have been prosecuted, but Mr. Kiriakou is in federal cross hairs, accused of talking to journalists and news organizations, including The New York Times.

Mr. Tapper said that he had not planned on raising the issue, but hearing Mr. Carney echo the praise for reporters who dug deep to bring out the truth elsewhere got his attention.

“I have been following all of these case, and it’s not like they are instances of government employees leaking the location of secret nuclear sites,” Mr. Tapper said. “These are classic whistle-blower cases that dealt with questionable behavior by government officials or its agents acting in the name of protecting America.”

Mr. Carney said in the briefing that he felt it was appropriate “to honor and praise the bravery” of Ms. Colvin and Mr. Shadid, but he did not really engage Mr. Tapper’s broader question, saying he could not go into information about specific cases. He did not respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.

In one of the more remarkable examples of the administration’s aggressive approach, Thomas A. Drake, a former employee of the National Security Agency, was prosecuted under the Espionage Act last year and faced a possible 35 years in prison.

His crime? When his agency was about to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a software program bought from the private sector intended to monitor digital data, he spoke with a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. He suggested an internally developed program that cost significantly less would be more effective and not violate privacy in the way the product from the vendor would. (He turned out to be right, by the way.)

He was charged with 10 felony counts that accused him of lying to investigators and obstructing justice. Last summer, the case against him collapsed, and he pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor, of misuse of a government computer.

Jesselyn Radack, the director for national security and human rights at the Government Accountability Project, was one of the lawyers who represented him.

“The Obama administration has been quite hypocritical about its promises of openness, transparency and accountability,” she said. “All presidents hate leaks, but pursuing whistle-blowers as spies is heavy-handed and beyond the scope of the law.”

Mark Corallo, who served under Attorney General John D. Ashcroft during the Bush administration, told Adam Liptak of The New York Times this month that he was “sort of shocked” by the number of leak prosecutions under President Obama. “We would have gotten hammered for it,” he said.

As Mr. Liptak pointed out, it has become easier to ferret out leakers in a digital age, but just because it can be done doesn’t mean it should be.

These kinds of prosecutions can have ripples well beyond the immediate proceedings. Two reporters in Washington who work on national security issues said that the rulings had created a chilly environment between journalists and people who work at the various government agencies.

During a point in history when our government has been accused of sending prisoners to secret locations where they were said to have been tortured and the C.I.A. is conducting remote-controlled wars in far-flung places, it’s not a good time to treat the people who aid in the publication of critical information as spies.

And it’s worth pointing out that the administration’s emphasis on secrecy comes and goes depending on the news. Reporters were immediately and endlessly briefed on the “secret” operation that successfully found and killed Osama bin Laden. And the drone program in Pakistan and Afghanistan comes to light in a very organized and systematic way every time there is a successful mission.

There is plenty of authorized leaking going on, but this particular boat leaks from the top. Leaks from the decks below, especially ones that might embarrass the administration, have been dealt with very differently.

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