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The ACLU’s domestic surveillance program

Posted by Richard on August 28, 2009

No one has ever overestimated the hypocrisy and willingness to hide behind situational ethics of the American left. Michelle Malkin:

Savor the silence of America's self-serving champions of privacy. For once, the American Civil Liberties Union has nothing bad to say about the latest case of secret domestic surveillance — because it is the ACLU that committed the spying.

Last week, the Washington Post reported on a new Justice Department inquiry into photographs of undercover CIA officials and other intelligence personnel taken by ACLU-sponsored researchers assisting the defense team of Guantanamo Bay detainees.

According to the report, the pictures of covert American CIA officers — "in some cases surreptitiously taken outside their homes" — were shown to jihadi suspects tied to the 9/11 attacks in order to identify the interrogators.

Where is the concern for the safety of these American officers and their families? Where's the outrage from all the indignant supporters of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose name was leaked by Bush State Department official Richard Armitage to the late Robert Novak?

Lefties swung their nooses for years over the disclosure, citing federal laws prohibiting the sharing of classified information and proscribing anyone from unauthorized exposure of undercover intelligence agents.

Now, caught red-handed blowing the cover of CIA operatives, they shrug their shoulders and dismiss it as "normal" research on behalf of "our clients."

But don't you dare question their love of country. Spying to stop the next 9/11 is treason, you see. Spying to stop enhanced interrogation of Gitmo detainees is patriotic.

Well, sure. Just like dissent is the highest form of patriotism when there's a Republican president, but with a Democrat in office, dissent is the stirring up of hate and a manifestation of dangerous extremism.


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9 Responses to “The ACLU’s domestic surveillance program”

  1. Hathor said

    As you say.

  2. David Bryant said

    [i]”… proscribing anyone from unauthorized exposure of undercover intelligence agents.”[i]

    I think that M. Malkin has a poor grasp of the law. The laws against disclosure of classified information generally apply only to people who have security clearances. Ordinary citizens definitely do have the freedom of speech guaranteed by the first amendment. Governmental operatives with security clearances voluntarily waive that right (and others, notably fourth amendment protections against unreasonable searches) when they apply for the clearances.

    I agree that the ACLU program is in bad taste. But it’s definitely not illegal. dcb

  3. rgcombs said

    David, I believe you’re wrong about who the law applies to (whether it’s constitutional is a different question). IIRC, the current law prohibiting the “outing” of intelligence agents dates back to the Reagan administration and was prompted by some left-wing publication (Counterspy?) publishing the names of CIA agents in foreign countries, which led to at least one of them being assassinated. I’ve had one too many adult beverages to do the research right now. But I’m pretty certain it applies to anyone, not just those who have security clearances.

    In any case, my peeve is the hypocrisy and double standard that the left is applying. Of course, this is merely example #6379 of that…

  4. rgcombs said

    OK, I decided I could manage a couple of minutes of research, and I was right about the history. Wikipedia to the rescue — check out:


    Intelligence Identities Protection Act (the text of the act is linked there)

    The magazine was founded by former CIA agent Philip Agee, who later fled to Cuba.

  5. Hathor said

    I did not see your outrage when the civilian Robert Novak outed Plame. It seems that you went out of your way to defend Richard Armitage and Novak as not having broke the law. So how can the ACLU now be held culpable in your eyes. I would say it is hypocrisy on your part. I know this post is about other folks behavior.

  6. rgcombs said

    Hathor: I’m sorry to see that your memory has started to go. 🙂

    I did not defend Armitage (for whom I have nothing but contempt) or Novak. I defended Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the only person special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald actually prosecuted. Libby was railroaded on a stupid perjury charge, not for “outing” Plame. Fitzgerald never indicted anyone for “outing” Plame, and I suggested that maybe it was because Plame wasn’t covert, and thus the law hadn’t been violated.

    If she ”was” covert, then Fitzgerald utterly failed to do his duty, and Armitage should have been prosecuted. That would have brought a smile to my lips.

    See my post, Pardon Libby, and especially my comment #4 response to your comment #3.

  7. Hathor said

    I would have looked up the post, because I don’t like to rely on my memory, but I have never been able to find anything from your blog search engines. I guess if I’d remember the post name it would be possible.

  8. rgcombs said

    Sorry about the search functions. Technorati has always been a bit flakey, but the Google search usually works just fine. It’s basically the same as doing a regular Google search and specifying a site.

    In fact, since I had a tab open to Google, I found the post by entering the following string in it : armitage

    You can restrict a Google search to any domain name by adding “site:” to the search terms. A very handy trick.

  9. Hathor said


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