The Pouting Spooks unleashed today their latest salvo against the Bush Administration. This intelligence leak concerned the National Security Agency, was released via the NY Times, and featured a civil liberties scare story. The leak was carefully timed to compete for attention with headlines of the election in Iraq, and to assist Senate opponents in preventing a vote on the renewal of the Patriot Act.
The Times informed its readers breathlessly that:
Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying.
And then went on to source the story:
Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation’s legality and oversight.
Oh sure, they’re so anonymous. The pouting spooks behind this leak, and all the others, are a collection of Intelligence community and State Department doves, operating above-ground as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS, which ought to be Vipers), mentioned here previously:
Ray McGovern, in a 2004 interview with the leftwing journal Mother Jones, stated that VIPS was organized in January of 2003.
We established our group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, in January of last year. Before that several of us had been writing op-eds, and we had been giving each other sanity checks, because the conclusions we were coming up with were pretty far out — that the President and the Secretary of State were lying through their teeth.
According to McGovern, VIPS, at the time of the interview (March 2004), had 35 members consisting of retired and resigned officials from the FBI, Defense Intelligence, NSA, Army Intelligence, and the State Department, and also boasted of the existence of active members of the intelligence community working with VIPS, but “not as members.”
NY Times promises of anonymity have already been demonstrated to be valueless in the face of criminal investigations, specifically as the result of the efforts of the same pouting spooks to criminalize policy differences. It seems inevitable that sooner or later the Administration is going to get tired of passively serving as a punching bag for an endless series orchestrated media attacks, and will decide what’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander, and begin prosecuting obvious breaches of federal law. The federal prison system is large enough to accomodate 35+ Vipers.