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Deep state bureaucrats giving media about a leak per day that jeopardizes national security
If America is collateral damage in the fight against Trump, so be it.
You know that line about how America is a nation of laws and not men? The implication is that it doesn't matter who you are. If you break the law, the power of the law holds sway over your status or position.
Turns out this is neither a nation of laws nor men. It's a nation of politics. And if a political agenda requires large groups of people to blow off the law, then politics wins the day. Never has this been more obviously true than in the case of illegal national security leaks, which are seeping out at an alarming rate this year to the alarm of virtually no one in Washington outside the White House itself.
Why? Because in spite of the fact that it's clearly illegal and puts national security in jeopardy, the Beltway culture widely accepts it as long as it's to serve a political agenda the Beltway crowd embraces. And the Beltway crowd embraces no cause more completely than the destruction of Donald Trump, so have at it everyone.
Just how out of control has it gotten? The numbers are stunning, and one of our favorite writers, the Wall Street Journal's Kim Strassel, puts them in context:
The first 126 days of the Trump administration featured 125 stories that leaked harmful information. Just under one a day. The committee staff judged the stories against a 2009 Barack Obama executive order that laid out what counted as information likely to damage national security. And as it chose to not include borderline leaks or “palace intrigue” stories, that number is an understatement.
For reference, the first 126 days of the Obama term featured 18 stories that met the criteria. Ten of those were actually leaks about George W. Bush’s “torture memo,” which Mr. Obama released.
The Trump leaks show the sweeping nature of this enterprise, coming as they have from “U.S. officials,” “former U.S. officials,” “senior U.S. officials,” “intelligence officials,” “national security officials,” “Justice Department officials,” “defense officials” and “law-enforcement officials.” One story cited more than two dozen anonymous sources. Alarmingly, the titles, and the nature of the information disclosed, indicate that many leaks are coming directly from the U.S. intelligence community.
What’s been disclosed? The contents of wiretapped information. The names of individuals the U.S. monitors, and where they are located. The communications channels used to monitor targets. Which agencies are monitoring. Intelligence intercepts. FBI interviews. Grand jury subpoenas. Secret surveillance-court details. Internal discussions. Military operations intelligence. The contents of the president’s calls with foreign leaders.
The analysis lays out the real and the assumed fallout. One clear example is the May stories hyperventilating that Mr. Trump shared classified intelligence with the Russians. Subsequent leaks suggested Israel provided the intelligence, about Islamic State. This revelation caused a diplomatic incident, and reportedly a change in the way Israel shares with the U.S. Even former Obama CIA Director John Brennan called the leak “appalling.”
How many foreign allies are pulling back? How many will work with a U.S. government that has disclosed military plans, weapons systems and cybersecurity tactics? What have our enemies learned? One March story divulged sensitive FBI data on U.S. border vulnerabilities, in hopes of undercutting Mr. Trump’s travel order.
The truly astonishing thing about this is that the White House is urging law enforcement to make this a priority, and law enforcement is resisting. Everyone thinks James Comey was fired because of the Flynn investigation, but missed in all the hulabaloo was that Trump believed the Russia stuff was getting way too much priority attention at the expense of time and attention to investigate the leaks.
The president, who is the FBI's boss and has the authority to give them orders in spite of what you've heard, correctly believes the leaks are an urgent matter and should be treated as such. Comey preferred to drag his feet on the matter, most likely because he could be quite the leaker himself if he thought it was in his personal interests to do so.
Official Washington yawns and shrugs its shoulders at this because everyone does it and has for some time. They know what the law says, but they routinely look the other way if they agree with the agenda that prompted someone to do it - even if the leak causes collateral damage in the form of weakened national security or a compromising of the nation's interests.
That is worse than situational ethics. It's situational law. Something may be illegal for anyone and everyone according to statute. But in reality, the authorities decide when lawbreaking is good and when it's bad - and partisanship plays a heavy role in that determination. When the Deep State thinks national security deserves to be dinged a little so the president can be harmed politically, the Deep State will simply do what it wants.
By the way, I do not join the view of the media's role in all this that says, "Well, it's illegal to leak this stuff, but once they have it you can't blame the media for publishing it." Yes. I can. And I do. For as much as they preen about how crucially important their role in society is, they have to exercise discretion and responsibility in what they publish. If they're also willing to harm national security in a quest to inflict political harm on the president, then they're just as responsible as those providing them with the leaks for the ultimate consequences.
But what you can take from all this already is that we can't trust our federal government to act in the best interests of the nation. Everyone only acts in their own partisan interests, regardless of who may get hurt when they do. If ever you had a reason to want to back Donald Trump in his battle against the swamp, this is it.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!