When it comes to national security matters, I’m pretty cautious, maybe even conservative. During the Bush administration, I wasn’t one to second guess and dismiss out of hand the likelihood that the government knows more than I do about what’s out there. I didn’t scoff at alert levels, even when they turned out to be empty threats, and even though I hated the hysteria. Unlike most left-liberals I know, I don’t even think national ID cards is a bad idea. I don’t think Wikileaks should be doing what it’s doing any more than I thought Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA agent should have been exposed.
This is some serious business:
To be clear — such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government. These documents also may include named individuals who in many cases live and work under oppressive regimes and who are trying to create more open and free societies. President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, Wikileaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals. We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.
The men and women who devote their lives to national security and their associates in other countries should not be in this danger. We should be keeping them safe.
While transparency and curtailment of freedoms always has to be a concern and they need to be protected from government abuse, we do have enemies and they are out to get us.
So. I give President Obama the benefit of the doubt with the stricter airport security measures, for example, and hope they can find ways to ensure our safety that are less damaging to our civil liberties. I just don’t think he would back something like this so firmly without good reason. Still, this is all so icky, I can’t feel good about it, and I want to vomit when children are the receivers, even when most of it didn’t happen.
On the other hand, the arrest in Oregon of a would-be bomber in a sting operation, and the first reports, which have yet to be proven out in a court of law, tells me our government is doing what needs to be done:
The FBI alleged in court documents that Mohamud found a location to place the bomb and mailed bomb components to the undercover operatives, who he believed were assembling the device. He also mailed them passport photos, as part of a plan to help him sneak out of the country after the attack. In addition, Mohamud provided the undercover operatives with a computer flash drive that contained detailed directions to the bomb location and operational instructions for the attack.
On Nov. 4, Mohamud and the undercover operatives traveled to a remote location in Lincoln County where they detonated a bomb concealed in a backpack as a trial run for the upcoming attack. Afterward, on the drive back to Corvallis, undercover FBI operatives questioned Mohamud as to whether he was capable of looking at the bodies of those who would be killed in the upcoming attack in Portland. According to court documents, Mohamud told them: “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”
The FBI alleges that Mohamud recorded a video of himself with the undercover operatives in which he read a written statement that offered a rationale for his bomb attack.
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