Sunday, January 01, 2006

Schumer proves he doesn't get the concept of security clearances (Updated)

The investigations into the leaks at the CIA and NSA aren't a month old yet and the Democrats, led by Chuck Schumer, are trying to provide cover for the leaker already. Schumer wants the investigation to focus less on the objective question about whether or not the leaker knowingly broke the law and concentrate instead on the subjective question of the motive of the person doing the leak.

::::::::The investigation into who leaked information about a National Security Agency secret wiretapping program on potential terror suspects needs to focus on the motivation behind the leak, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Sunday.

"There are differences between felons and whistleblowers, and we ought to wait 'til the investigation occurs to decide what happened," Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told "FOX News Sunday."

I am well familiar with the conditions of holding a clearance with the US government to view and work with classified material of exactly the nature that's being discussed. Schumer wants us all to view this situation as no different than the people who blew the whistle on the tobacco industry or the Enron scandal. It's not the same thing at all, especially when you consider that the program in question - the NSA wiretaps - were done with the approval of the Attorney General's office and the Intelligence Committees of both houses of Congress. All of those people were briefed, repeatedly, and anyone working on the project would know that. To suggest that someone decided that the program didn't sit well with their ethics and that bit of honest personal morality absolves them of following the law is something argued only by people who don't understand the stakes of classified information. Schumer apparently qualifies.

The investigation needs to focus on the matter of law: did someone knowingly share classified data with persons who were not authorized to see it? If yes, who? That person broke the law and has proven themselves untrustworthy with this nation's security. The consequences of those actions need to come home to that person in spades.

Update: Michelle Malkin has a good post on Schumer's actions and notes, correctly, that she predicted this particular turn of events.