they can polish their medals and sharpen their smiles

Wow.

A small private intelligence company that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden
video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on
Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition.
It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials
not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun
downloading it from the company’s Web site. By midafternoon that day,
the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from
within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast
worldwide.

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this
premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed
a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to
intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings
of suicide bombings from the terrorist group’s communications network.
"Techniques that took years to develop are now ineffective and worthless," said Rita Katz, the firm’s 44-year-old founder.

In recent years, those of us who
question our leaders, want to preserve our Constitution, and believe
supporting our troops is more than a bumper sticker slogan have been
vilified, attacked, and consistently called "traitors" by this
administration, their supporters, and their allies in government and
media.

But when powerful Bush administration officials leak
classified information to further their own personal political agenda,
the self-appointed defenders of the American way of life fall
conspicuously silent.

I used to be outraged by this sort of
thing, but now it just makes me sad. What happened to my country?

(via Propeller)

46 thoughts on “they can polish their medals and sharpen their smiles”

  1. That is very, very sad. What happened to the U.S? Sept 11th 2001. I swear that is the day that I saw your country change. Canada is not much better, I am sorry to say.

  2. The sad thing is that they haven’t (and it seems like they won’t) learned from their mistakes. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. And while I’d like to say that Canada is much better (ok, it is!), the truth is this sort of thing happens around the world. It’s just more public in the USA. Which is a good thing, democracy-wise. It’s just too bad that these types of decisions more often than not lead to the loss of lives… on all sides.
    Montreal is a nice place to live… and the only controversies here are predictable: language laws, separatism, and taxes.

  3. Un-farking-believable. Actually, I can completely believe it. It just makes me sad. It’s hard to get mad anymore. It’s hard to know what to do other than wait until it’s over. For now. Sadness.

  4. As I have noted before (perhaps here?) this is the difference between statesmen ans politicians. They had to know this would compromise their source, but it was just too sweet to keep it under their hats. They should be arrested for treason.

  5. I agree, it is past anger for me. I just shake my head now.
    What are the details for the HB stop tomorrow?
    Luckily I don’t have to work.
    Will you have “The Happiest Days” with you also?

  6. I’m just numb to it all now. My main concern is these days hedging my finances against the danger of massive US dollar devaluation.

  7. ***I used to be outraged by this sort of thing, but now it just makes me sad. What happened to my country?***
    What happened to our [We The People(s)] country Wil???…

  8. I agree that the current administration has certainly put our country in a downward spiral, and I can’t wait for Obama to take over. That said, I don’t understand why a small private intelligence company would assume the video was “theirs” to control. What gives them the authority to lay down conditions on it’s use? I would assume that as soon as they received the tape, they would immediately turn it over to the Feds, to do with as they see fit. Which in this case, right or wrong, was an early release. Am I missing something?

  9. It is sad. And after 7 years of this I have become almost apathetic to the whole damn thing! It’s like it is never going to end no matter what we say and do.
    Remember, the Big B is SUPPOSE to step down in 2009. That doesn’t mean that he will. Any number of events could happen and he could claim national security and stay in office. All he has to do is declare martial law and that’s the end of it.
    Sounds far fetched? In early 2001, yes. In 2007, no.

  10. Sadly it’s nothing new Sandy Berger took classified documents out of the archives in his pants and destroyed them, but then we will never know what those said. Personal agendas get into politics, it’s nothing new, just sad to see in all occasions.

  11. “……what happened to my country?”……We elected(oops)George Bush stole the election. Do we really expect anyone who would do that, to be honest and trustworthy in anything else? Sigh.

  12. This shows the complete incompetence of the people who we are supposed to trust with our safety, you know occasionally democracy has it downsides… don’t get me wrong I think democracy done right is great, but when it comes down to a simplified popularity contest, where the current guy gets to use anything at his disposal to keep himself and his group popular at the expense of our safety it’s just all wrong.

  13. Wil,
    Please do not fall pray to the oldest canard of all, the straw man. What benefit is it to the Bush admin to leak this info? In fact, it works against them to leak it because they want to show victories in the battle against terrorism.
    Also, what if some of the very tools used to gain access to this terrorist network in the first place were those that you rail against?
    I am with you, I want the power of the federal government to be limited, and for our freedoms to be expanded, but there will always be those who are willing to exchange their freedom and liberty for safety. It is done each day when people accept a dependent hand-out from their government rather than living by their own labor and effort.
    Let us agree to join together to truly LIMIT the power of our Federal Government in all things great and small!
    I received your newest book today and will read it tomorrow…you are right about the tight fit on the envelopes.
    Regards from one who I am sure stands on the other side of the isle from you

  14. Just to play devil’s advocate, but in NO WAY support or justify the current administration:
    1) SITE posted this “classified” information on a public server, without any security/authentication? They could have put filters on who had access (IP masks, etc) They might as well have put it on YouTube
    2) I can see why they would have wanted to alert the administration early, if the video contained any new useful information, especially specific threats to US interests. Seeing as how it was just more propaganda bullshit, it seems more like SITE was saying “neener neener, look what we found first”
    3) Having said that, I can just imagine the big-wigs in the administration, MSNing their minions at CIA/NSA/ABC/NBC/CNN going “omgomgomgomg look at this, but don’t pass it along *wink*”

  15. It’s actually very simple. “What happened to my country?”
    Evil men (and women) happened to our country. They had bad intent for personal gain from the start and nothing else matters to their Machiavellian souls.
    I’m still mad and hope to see them in jail in my lifetime – and won’t be surprised if worse happens to them.

  16. I have to say something on this. With the knowledge people have nowadays to the way the man works why would any security firm hand over anything that would or could harm a project. If I had info that could save lives I would use this info to help not give it to somebody. Surly that goes against basics of security. People could die who have risked their lives for years just so some freak can get further up the ladder. Makes me think, where are the terrorists we need to worry about.

  17. This is believable, and sad. It really makes me sad and embarrassed for my country which for most of my life I’ve loved. I still do love it, I just hate what this administration has done to it.

  18. I’m not annoyed at the “war-mongering nature” of the government, I just wish thay were more skilled at it. A bunch of traitorous fuck-ups.
    They’re all tough talk and no brains. Or Integrity.
    Stupidity is just too popular.

  19. I think it’s naive (sp?) to blame this on the current administration or on Sept. 11th.
    Blame it on the two party system, and the entrenched nature of power in Washington (which lives only to feed the beast that is itself and nothing else) for creating the environment which allows this administration, and the people who — on both sides of the aisle — feel justified in a “win at all costs and damn the people, they don’t matter” attitude.
    Until tools like the Electoral College and unrelated bill riders and unfettered lobbyist access and the whole “with us or agin us!” attitudes are purged out of your politics, the downward spiral looks to continue.

  20. The country I grew up in and loved no longer exists.
    Even with the talk of a Democratic victory, I’m still feeling very pessimistic. I think Bush did so much damage to this country that it will never recover. We’ve already reached the point of no return. Nobody can fix it now.

  21. 1. Why is this kind of work being outsourced to private companies in the first place? Does the Bush administration have such a bad relationship with the CIA that….ohhh, right.
    2. It’s pretty much impossible to keep digital information from spreading. (*cough*riaa*cough*)
    3. And if they try to break down your disguise with their questions you can hide, hide, hide…

  22. Not to say the administration is good and all, but from what I read in your post (and the link), it didn’t say WHO leaked the info. It could have been some underling trying to do what they thought was right, or someone trying make brownie points with someone, or some higher up person patting their buddy on the back, “Here, this is for you but you have to promise not to show it yet.” Or just someone who feels the people have a right to know about this regardless of the consequences. Whatever happened, it is sad, but not surprising anymore. I could go on, but that’ll just bring me down and I’d to be in a good mood today. ;)

  23. Unless you know something you have not posted, there is noting that says “this administration” leaked the information?
    Will, I greatly enjoy your writing, you come across as a great husband and father but at what point do liberals take a step back and cease the mud slinging?
    Do I agree with everything this administration does? No. Do I think it is/has been the right administration for the job? Yes. Do I support what they are doing with the war? yes.
    If you think a liberal like Hillary or Obama are the people to protect Americans, the west coast is even more out of touch than I thought.
    The left is so polarized and full of hate they are sacrificing America as payback for blow-job Bill being impeached.
    Personally I am quite proud to be a right wing conservative christian.

  24. @ C_Doc:
    This argument is not, in any way, shaped by the facts at hand. SITE specifically has said that they shared a copy of the information to Michael Leiter, the Head of the National Counterterrorism Center. SITE then said that within hours multiple government agency computers were downloading the material from SITE’s server. This does not indicate a public server, but rather it is SITE’s server.
    From this you have absolutely no way to deterimine:
    A.) Protocol used to download the information.
    B.) Authentication/Authorization controls in place to safeguard the information.
    Hell, you don’t even have the IP/URL of the server in question.
    Basically, your argument (I understand you are only playing Devil’s Advocate) amounts to, don’t pay attention to the boobs behind the curtain. Instead we must attack the messenger.

  25. ” Blame it on the two party system, and the entrenched nature of power in Washington (which lives only to feed the beast that is itself and nothing else) for creating the environment which allows this administration, and the people who — on both sides of the aisle — feel justified in a “win at all costs and damn the people, they don’t matter” attitude.
    Until tools like the Electoral College and unrelated bill riders and unfettered lobbyist access and the whole “with us or agin us!”
    True
    Example
    ” Do I agree with everything this administration does? No. Do I think it is/has been the right administration for the job? Yes. Do I support what they are doing with the war? yes.
    If you think a liberal like Hillary or Obama are the people to protect Americans, the west coast is even more out of touch than I thought.
    The left is so polarized and full of hate they are sacrificing America as payback for blow-job Bill being impeached.
    Personally I am quite proud to be a right wing conservative christian. ”
    No middle ground.
    Liberal vs Conservative
    ad nauseum.
    I’m sick to death of it.
    Thats IS why things will
    never get better.

  26. Dreddsnik wrote:
    No middle ground.
    Liberal vs Conservative
    ad nauseum.
    The reason it is Liberal vs. Conservative is because that is what we are stuck with. I am all for a 3rd party, 4th party, 5th party, etc., it’s not going to happen. We have other views as we have Guiliani running as a Republican (and he is far from it), you have Thompson as a Conservative, Hillary is practically a Socialist, Obama is Liberal, etc.
    There are many voices within the 2 major parties. By lumping them together as simply conservative and liberal you do a disservice to propagating the false belief that Americans have no choices.

  27. buildersent – before you critisize Dreddsnik for lumping the two parties “as simply conservative and liberal”, I think you need to examine your own characterizations. Earlier you posted that liberals were responsible for the mud slinging,(how do you spell Rush Limbaugh??) and that the west coast liberals were out of touch. Generalizations of any kind lessen the relevance of your message.
    Both parties are guilty of transgressions against the others. We do have choices, but to what end. More of the same? I am always hopeful, but I’m not going to blow smoke up anyone’s ass either.

  28. ” Generalizations of any kind lessen the relevance of your message. ”
    And that was my point, though I put it badly.
    ” The reason it is Liberal vs. Conservative is because that is what we are stuck with. ”
    No,
    That s what others insist we are stuck with, by folks
    that continue to propogate it.
    ” Both parties are guilty of transgressions against the others. We do have choices, but to what end. More of the same? I am always hopeful, ”
    Change comes slowly.
    As it becomes more and more apparent that the two major parties are
    really the same, more voters will start to
    seriously consider other options.
    It will happen, but not likely in MY lifetime.

  29. “The left is so polarized and full of hate they are sacrificing America as payback for blow-job Bill being impeached.
    Personally I am quite proud to be a right wing conservative christian.”
    The very definition of fallacy.

  30. “The left is so polarized and full of hate they are sacrificing America as payback for blow-job Bill being impeached.”
    I would like to point out that he was not impeached. He underwent the process of being impeached, but as he was not removed from office, he was not impeached.
    Thankyew.

  31. That is precisely why you do not release intelligence information outside of the intelligence community until it has been sanitized (all information that reveals the source is removed). There are all sorts of rules in classification marking and such that deal with situations just like this.
    Though there will be no accountability, someone’s head should roll.

  32. elleemmiss: I would like to point out that he was not impeached. He underwent the process of being impeached, but as he was not removed from office, he was not impeached.
    Sorry, but you’re incorrect. Impeachment is akin to the indictment in criminal court, and stands whether or not the person impeached is then removed from office (which Clinton was not, as you point out).

  33. And another thing:
    “If you think a liberal like Hillary or Obama are the people to protect Americans, the west coast is even more out of touch than I thought.”
    Dude-The Bush Administration has like a 30% approval rating. So, either 70% of the country lives on the west coast, or YOU’RE the one that’s out of touch. You do the math.
    Sorry all for the double dose of indignation. Idiocy pisses me off, but self-righteous idiocy REALLY burns my biscuits.
    (and yes, Clinton was impeached, and no, he was not removed from office)

  34. Hey Wil, I sent you an email to tell you about a great website for voters looking for information about politicians and political candidates. It’s http://www.vote-smart.org.
    It’s like an imdb for politics. Check it out. Real, verifiable information about every major politician.

  35. elleemmiss wrote: I would like to point out that he was not impeached. He underwent the process of being impeached, but as he was not removed from office, he was not impeached.
    Actually, if you knew what you were talking about Blow Job Bill was impeached, he was not convicted. being impeached is the first step of the process, being convicted and tossed out is the second portion of the process. Blow Job Bill was an impeached President who was not convicted in the Senate.

  36. … and constantly referring to him as “Blow Job Bill” fosters less division between conservatives and liberals how exactly?
    I know you’re trolling, but if you want to understand why “the left” (ohhhhhh, scary!) is pissed at “the right” … look in the mirror.
    The arrogance and “rules and consequences are for lesser mortals” has filtered down to their consituency like a plague.

  37. Just to clarify some points:
    Regarding people who should be charged with “treason”: You can be tried for treason for unlawfully disseminating classified material. However, a video secured by a private corporation from public facing web sites isn’t classified. Information gathered from sites hosted on the internet are considered open source.
    That said, information pertaining to the collection methods (the “source”) of any intelligence may be classified even if the intelligence produced is not classified. Ditto the analysis of the intelligence gathered.
    As for the Classification header markings on documents. Classification markings have no bearing on the redacting of the source of the intelligence, they simply state the overall classification of the document. Documents which have had all source information removed can still be classified.
    To add my two cents to the useless, but entertaining, speculation on the possible reasons why the video was released to the media, I’ll go with the lowest common denominator: some 19 year old Navy IT3 (might as well take a dig at the Navy to go with the Administration/Two Party System/etc. pot-shots) who was told to download it for his boss thought it would be cool to get his name in lights and leaked it.
    On the bright side, the company can now try to sue the government for lost income since their paid subscription service has been hurt…

  38. fairnhite451 wrote
    … and constantly referring to him as “Blow Job Bill” fosters less division between conservatives and liberals how exactly?
    I am not interested in less division between the right and the left. I want the right to fight as hard as they can and give in as little as possible when laws and policy are passed. I want the left to do the same thing. Only by each side fighting as hard as thy can for what they believe in will you be able to make a democracy work.
    As for calling Billy Boy Blow Job Bill, it will be the only thing he is remembered for. Other than Jimmy Carter and FDR he was the worse President of the 20th century.

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