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Leaks

2004-02-15

Category: philosophies

I am a huge fan of Freedom of the Press. Hell, I like all the Constitution. I also like a couple of little things I call "Responsibility" and "Propriety". Apparently, some news people don't share my beliefs.

ABC News has released a story about the government's attempt to get a double agent embedded in Al Qaeda. (You can read ABC's original text here.) Don't get upset with them, they are reporting on the treasonous act that I'm writing about.

The FBI got hold of a Canadian fellow who had trained with Al Qaeda in the Middle East. They arrested him on the sly so they could try to convince him to become a double agent. (For those who have difficulties with the moral dilemmas of spying and related activities, grow up!) His ability to be a double agent hinged on no one knowing about it. Spying seems to require secrecy.

Naturally his arrest was carried in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

What sort of moron leaks a secret arrest of a trained enemy agent? What sort of idiot thinks that every little thing that our intelligence community does is to be shouted out to every corner? Why are we not shooting these people?

I'm sorry, but freedom of the press does not extend to state secrets. Even if it did, there are those two things I mentioned above. Responsibility says that you should do the right thing. Propriety tells you that hindering the common defense is not the right thing.

John Stuart Mill, in his book On Liberty., points out that contributing to the common defense is part of the price of living in a free society. Notice the word used? The word is "price". That means it's something you must pay. He goes so far as to suggest that it is one of the areas where the government is within its right to force you to do something. That must be important because he thought the government should do little but protect the citizens from foreign invaders and from each other.

I sincerely hope they find this leak. I want them to make an example of him. I want them to demand that he explain himself on national television. I want him to tell the American public why he thought it would be perfectly acceptable to release sensitive intelligence information that would clearly thwart attempts to defeat a clear threat to everyone's safety. Then I want him publicly executed.

Anyone who reads my assorted essays knows that I tend toward a "limited government" type of philosophy. I usually don't want the government to go around arresting people secretly. There is, however a point where you must allow some nastiness when fighting an enemy that doesn't mind killing you in an horrific manner.

This is one of those cases. The FBI arrested a foreign national. The man they arrested was not a citizen. The foreign national they arrested trained at the enemy's training camps. What was he trained in? He was trained in the art of killing you brutally. Not just you, of course, he also learned to kill your children and friends and other important people in your life.

Where they torturing him? Probably not, it's not something you expect. Does it matter if they were? Torturing a foreign agent of an active enemy is the sort of thing I'm going to let pass if it is for the purpose of gaining useful information of defeating that enemy. (And maybe if it's for my personal amusement, but I have to do it my self.)

According to the ABC article, the FBI was offering some nice things in trade for his assistance. For example, they were going to help insure the safety of his wife and daughter. Do you think the Al Qaeda has a "protect the family" plan? From what we've seen of them, they are more likely to shove explosives up your kids' behind and send him or her into a nursery to blow it up.

So please, those of you who are nitwits in the press or intelligence community, try to show some brains. Stop leaking everything that our government does to protect us. You are only helping the enemy and that makes you an enemy. And, finally, that makes you fair game for the old needle in the arm trick, which is how we deal with traitors these days.


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