...as in the imperative (i.e. you, youth, progress). This blog is updated by politically active young people. Issues that will be discussed are those which concern young voters and are of concern to young voters.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Maloney Catches the Bologna


While the right-wing throws a tantrum over the New York Times "leak," and virtually no one seems to question whether or not it's a leak, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, Manhattan, Queens, NYC) catches the Bologna.

In a statement in front of a House panel last week, she revealed that "It was public knowledge that wire transfers including SWIFT, CHIPS, and Fedwire transactions were being monitored by the US Government, [and that] multiple newspaper articles and testimonies revealed the existence of government searches for terrorist activity in SWIFT and similar wire transfer databases long before the New York Times article."

Her evidence for this was released in a 14 page document revealing 5 years of repeated international and national media coverage of the illegal, wire monitoring programs, which she claimed her interns had prepared in only one week. The first of these reports was by the Baltimore Sun on September 21, 2001. According to Maloney's office, the report included that "that the NSA was electronically intercepting wire transfers through SWIFT," and "that this wouldn't of caught the hijackers [of the 9/11 plot]." In addition, Maloney's press release points out that the "classified program" was mentioned in an unclassified Senate Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing by a Fed spokesman in January of 2002.

Maloney also provided convincing testimony that the revealed anti-terrorism program is ineffective: "It was no secret we were tracking wire transfers. Any terrorist with a DVD player and an interest in popular American television would have figured that out by now (She had previously a West Wing episode in which the president learns that the leader of Qumar was supporting terrorism with wire transfer through this type of program). In fact, they have – at least that is the conclusion of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind in his book, the One Percent Doctrine. Released two days before the Times story, this is an in-depth description of how the U.S. worked with Western Union to track international wire transfers through that company. Suskind concludes that by 2003 most suspected terrorists had wised up and were no longer using wire transfers at all."

So, the New York Times "leak:" Not illegal, not even detrimental to national security. That's not to say that there's not some stinky business afoot. There was a crime committed by the Bush Administration, the same one the Administration committed in the NSA Domestic Spying Scandal. Unfortunatley, we are so used to scandal by the Bush Administration that the media won't report on the real scandal because it's too mundane for its viewers...

The Hoekstra Letter:

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI 2, Central Lake Michigan Shore), Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote a "sharply worded letter" to the Administration reminding it that the "U.S. Congress should not have to play Twenty Questions to get information that it deserves under the U.S. Constitution.” Hoekstra has been a public supporter of the Administration and also supported the NSA Domestic Spying program. Some blogs have raised questions about the legitmacy of Hoekstra's desires, such as Talking Points Memo, which asked, "does Hoekstra really want to oversee what the Administration is doing or is he distancing himself from the nastiness that will eventually come out?"

One thing the Republicans do quite frequently is throw tantrums at liberal institutions or Democrats over things that they've done as well. Take sex scandals, for instance. Do you think their outrage over the Lewinsky Affair will stop Giuliani from being a major candidate in the national Republican primaries, despite his well-publicized sex scandals? Leaks are another instance of this. Take the Plame Affair, did you hear "treason" flying around when that broke? Let's go even further back - 1971 - to another New York Times leak:

The Pentagon Papers:

There are still those today who contend that the Vietnam War was winnable if not for liberal dissent. The only article that I nearly submitted to my high school's newspaper was written by a young sophomore who had obviously not taken US History yet. He contended that the liberal dissent of the Iraq War was dangerous for the same reason. He quoted North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin, who had told the Wall Street Journal in 1995 that similar dissent back in Vietnam was responsible for the arguable US defeat. Never trust your enemies.

Here is an excerpt from the rough draft of my article:

The “United States-Vietnam Relations, 1945-1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense,” which became known as the Pentagon Papers, was a series of top secret documents leaked by Department of Defense employee Daniel Ellsberg in early 1971 and subsequently printed in the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Papers were a comprehensive, 7000 page study instituted by Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense under Lyndon Johnson in 1967, and observed all aspects of the combat until the study’s public debut. The study was written not by politicians, but by military analysts and operatives within the Pentagon, the DOD, and Vietnam. The exposure of the Pentagon Papers all but forced then President Nixon to seek an end to the Vietnam combat. One of the study’s many conclusions was that American forces would have to kill 3700 NVA for every 2100 American troops: “On the most optimistic basis, 200,000 more Americans would raise their weekly losses to about 3,700, or about 400 a week more than they could stand. In theory, we'd then wipe them out in 10 years. But to bank on that, you have to assume that (1) enemy losses are just proportional to friendly strength, and (2) that the unusually favorable kill ratio of the first quarter of 1967 will continue. However, if the kill ratio should be no better than the 1966 average, their losses would be about 2,100--less than 2/3 of their sustaining capability.” As the war continued, the “kill ratio” became, in fact, less “friendly,” worse than the 1966 average.

The Papers also reported that the Viet Cong was running its operations from Laos and Cambodia. Though the extent of this is unclear, the Papers reported that the Viet Cong’s operations were vital to the North Vietnamese war effort, and thus winning the war would require the invasion of Laos and Cambodia. With the US and South Vietnamese militaries already exhausted, such an invasion would have been virtually impossible. Another study found that intelligence had determined that China was supplying the North Vietnamese effort with supplies and munitions. No doubt, the Chinese would have seen the defeat of North Vietnam as a threat to the spread of Communism, and would have enlarged the scope of their involvement. Bearing these facts in mind, it is utterly absurd to think that the US could achieve its goals in Vietnam.


Right-wingers would like you to believe that all "leaks," indeed everything reported that is negative towards the present policies of the US government, are treasonous and aimed at damaging US interests. The Pentagon Papers saved potentially millions of lives from a war doomed from the start. Perhaps the attention now cast on the Administration's illegal NSA programs will save our most precious civil liberties, or stop the executive office's erosion of checks and balances and law and order.

More Information:

Press Release - Rep. Maloney

More Information on the Hoekstra Letter:

Hoekstra: Administration Must "Keep the Intelligence Committees Fully Informed of What They Are Doing - Think Progress

More Information on the Pentagon Papers:

Wikipedia

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