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Outing Valerie Plame? Bad. Giving photos of CIA agents to Al Qaeda? That's, er, okay?


Pangloss
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It just boggles the mind the reasoning people will stoop to sometimes in an effort to uphold a single, narrowly-defined ideological principle. In this case, the allegation is that the ACLU is involved in a concerted and deliberate effort to photograph CIA agents and provide those images to terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why? Defenders say it's to protect their "right" to know who their potential torturers are so that they can avoid them.

 

No, really.

 

And yet the left went bonkers over the outing of Valerie Plame, the worst-kept secret in DC. Do you guys really wonder why conservatives get frustrated with liberals? Seriously?

 

Some articles for background:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/06/former-cia-lawyer-gitmo-ids-graver-than-plame-leak/

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/05/four-journalists-banned-from-gitmo-coverage-for-outing-an-interrogator.html

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/05/21/guest-blogger-congressman-jeff-miller-r-fl-on-investigating-the-john-adams-project/

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I'm curious, as forum moderator, why did you decide to spi*cough* ahem, frame this thread in such a skewed manner? Nobody's even responded and you're already at:

 

Do you guys really wonder why conservatives get frustrated with liberals? Seriously?

 

To add a little perspective here, the outing of Valerie Plame was done by the Bush Administration. You know, the people running the country.

 

I take it you've been watching Fox.

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Right, she was "outed" by the Bush administration, and the left had a problem with that.

 

I would hope that anyone concerned with the security of this nation would have a problem with the presidential administration outing an undercover CIA operative, regardless of their political background.

 

But now that it's the left doing the outing, suddenly it's okay.

 

If you find any members of the "left" on this forum who think it's "okay", let me know. Until then, your argument is based on the association fallacy.

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Have any CIA agents actually been outed?

 

If the photos were of the agents that interrogated the defendants then showing a photo of them to the defendant wouldn't out them, as the defendant would already know their appearance.

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Would anyone care to discuss the outing of CIA agents to terrorists by the partisan left?

 

I thought it was the ACLU that outed them, who on the left are supporting their decision? I'm sure their member base are for the most part pretty far left in a general sense, but who is supporting them on this? To me, it sounds a lot like that time they tried to sue for a Muslim woman who was denied a driver's license because she wouldn't show her face for the photo. They claimed it was religious discrimination despite the obvious fact that photo identification is not photo identification if you cannot identify the person from a photo. Last I heard that was not exactly embraced by "the left" or anyone else really.

 

I support the raising of the question with regards to what a prisoner has rights to information wise, facing their accuser and all that. I definitely condemn the passing of information directly to the prisoners without having that discussion and settling exactly where the law lies.

 

I am curious who is supporting their actions though, it's not like the ACLU has any implicit stamp of "left approval" to do as they please.

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I think there's a huge difference between the government leaking secrets to private citizens figuring out who works for the CIA. People with clearances sign specific agreements not to disclose the information, above and beyond any laws regarding classified information. The classified information they get is marked as such.

 

If those involved got their information from government sources, then those sources should be prosecuted. Otherwise, I have to wonder how the ACLU found out. That's not discussed anywhere.

 

There's also the matter of spin. The reporting and the headline make it sound like the information is being routed to the organization (giving photos to al Qaeda), rather than being given to someone in custody.

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If those involved got their information from government sources, then those sources should be prosecuted. Otherwise, I have to wonder how the ACLU found out. That's not discussed anywhere.

 

People on trial in civilian court have a right to know who is testifying against them. The process is called "discovery".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_%28law%29

 

That's a common opinion, though, and it's disturbing to me that people don't understand the consequences of using the civilian court system to prosecute terrorists. The people demanded it, but it doesn't seem to me that the people understand its ramifications.

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In this case, the allegation is that the ACLU is involved in a concerted and deliberate effort to photograph CIA agents and provide those images to terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

It sounds like the ACLU is coming to the defense of the individual accused, not that this was directly instigated by the ACLU.

 

Or at least, that's what I gather from the ABC/Washington Times articles you linked. The Heritage Foundation article, unsurprisingly, paints a different picture.

 

For the record, here's what the ACLU has to say about the "John Adams Project":

 

http://www.aclu.org/national-security/john-adams-project-american-values


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That's a common opinion, though, and it's disturbing to me that people don't understand the consequences of using the civilian court system to prosecute terrorists.

 

By extension, this is what happens when you capture foreign civilians and bring them back to US soil with no real plans for how to prosecute them, like the previous administration did. As far as I can tell, their plans were "indefinite detention" and "torture", both of which are unconstitutional (cue someone claiming that it's still okay to torture non-US citizens because the Constitution doesn't apply to them).

 

After the cacophony asking for trials got loud enough, the previous administration wanted to bend the rules, trying civilians as if they were members of a foreign military. They're terrorists, after all! Never mind that terrorists are civilians by definition.

 

The overwhelming ignorance and miscomprehension of the consequences of their actions falls on the previous administration. If you don't like terrorists-who-are-by-definition-civilians being tried in civilian courts, blame the previous administration for bringing them here in the first place.

Edited by bascule
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By extension, this is what happens when you capture foreign civilians and bring them back to US soil with no real plans for how to prosecute them, like the previous administration did. As far as I can tell, their plans were "indefinite detention" and "torture", both of which are unconstitutional (cue someone claiming that it's still okay to torture non-US citizens because the Constitution doesn't apply to them).

 

I agree. Though I don't know that it's so much the current administration that's changed this as it is the Supreme Court.

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People on trial in civilian court have a right to know who is testifying against them. The process is called "discovery".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_%28law%29

 

That's a common opinion, though, and it's disturbing to me that people don't understand the consequences of using the civilian court system to prosecute terrorists. The people demanded it, but it doesn't seem to me that the people understand its ramifications.

 

Discovery does not seem to be consistent with "papparazi-style" surveillance photographs. If the defendants have a legal right to the information, how can this be a leak?

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So, let me see if I understand the timeline of events... correct me if I'm wrong anywhere:

 

  • US kidnaps foreign citizens who are suspected of terrorism
  • Suspects are idefinitely detained in Guantanamo bay
  • Suspects are tortured
  • After Bush leaves office, ACLU secures trials for Guantanamo detainees
  • Torturers identities are made part of the public record through these trials
  • Journalists publicize the identities of the torturers and make them available to Al Qaeda
  • Individuals responsible for revealing the identities of the torturers are defended by the ACLU
  • Heritage Foundation / Fox allege liberal conspiracy involving ACLU et al

Does that about sum it up?

Edited by bascule
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You forgot the part where people like Pangloss buy into the narrative and disseminate it across the internet like good little foot soldiers, only to be shown mistaken after 2-3 days of rebuttal.

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So you feel I'm redistributing partisan narrative, and that I'm the only one around here who does this, iNow?

 

Would you like to discuss that point in detail?

 

Well, you started the thread with...

 

Do you guys really wonder why conservatives get frustrated with liberals? Seriously?

 

...which gave it a rather polarized tone to begin with.

 

But now, I'm unsure of how to interpret this story any other way than inevitable fallout from the unconstitutional indefinite imprisonment and torture techniques used by the previous administration.

 

But clearly, you want to spin this so the evil liberals are at fault. Framing the whole thing in the context of something the previous administration did wrong, ostensibly as an attempt to show "hey, this thing Bush did wrong isn't so bad, cuz the evil liberals are doing something similar now" seems to be a common tactic among Fox and its ilk.

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The New York Times confirms that it happened, and that the lawyers defended their actions as legal in this article:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/us/politics/26gitmo.html

 

The lawyers have defended the legality and propriety of their efforts. They contend that the detainees were illegally tortured in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, and they want to raise that issue at trial. To do so, they need to identify potential witnesses to the interrogation sessions.

 

The lawyers chose not to hide this information from their clients. Why would they? The clients have a right to know this information, as far as the lawyer is concerned. The rights are extended to the DEFENDANT, not to the LAWYER of the defendant. In their view, the lawyer has no right to withhold that information from their client, and in fact have a duty to do so.

 

But as Representative Jeff Miller of Florida put it, "Attorney-client privilege doesn't give them the ability to break the law and compromise national security," and he's right, it doesn't. (source)

 

And apparently they went a step farther, this from a different article based on the claim of Representative Miller, who introduced a new bill last week to make the actions of these lawyers explicitly illegal:

 

In 2009 it was revealed that lawyers in this project stalked individuals they believed were CIA interrogators, surreptitiously took their pictures, and showed them to al Qaeda terrorists at Guantanamo Bay—placing the identities and the lives of these covert operatives and their families at risk. Photos of the CIA officials were reportedly found in the cell of al Qaeda terrorist Mustafa al-Hawsawi, the paymaster of the 9/11 attacks who was captured together with KSM in 2003 and interrogated by the CIA before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

 

Furthermore, these events have lead to conflicts between the Justice Department and the ACLU, and separately with the CIA, over such practices, with some in the Justice Department supporting the ACLU's actions, and others opposing. (source)

 

Are some on the right using this story to leverage a political charge against the left? Of course they are. Does the law suggested by Representative Miller (a Republican) go too far? It probably does -- the American Bar Association thought so when it stated its opposition, as did many other groups that had no iron in this fire. So be it. (I believe the bill failed in the House anyway.)

 

But as bascule and iNow are so fond of pointing out by means of their own submissions to this forum, with many instances of political smoke, sometimes there is real fire beneath the surface. Instead of insulting me and accusing me of "buying into the narrative and distributing it across the net", you could instead actually address the charge, show where it's incorrect, and discuss the issue politely and professionally.

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Instead of insulting me and accusing me of "buying into the narrative and distributing it across the net", you could instead actually address the charge, show where it's incorrect, and discuss the issue politely and professionally.

 

Have I been doing anything else during the duration of this thread, other than attempting to calmly understand the situation before casting judgment?

 

If my understanding of the situation is wrong, by all means, point it out. But my understanding is this is an extremely nuanced issue with improprieties happening on both sides of the aisle (except in the case of one side it involved the actions of a US Presidential Administration). If I'm accusing you of anything it's casting an extremely one-sided judgment far too quickly.

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In this case, the allegation is that the ACLU is involved in a concerted and deliberate effort to photograph CIA agents and provide those images to terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(emphasis added)

 

You've provided links that state the photos were shown to a detainee in Gitmo. Any evidence the above took place?

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So you feel I'm redistributing partisan narrative,

Yes, that is correct.

 

 

and that I'm the only one around here who does this, iNow?

No, that is not an accurate description of my feelings on the matter.

 

 

Would you like to discuss that point in detail?

No, not really. I've decided to avoid posting when these threads have such an "immune to evidence" tone from the get go. You'll notice my post count has been down pretty significantly lately for that precise reason.


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The New York Times confirms that it happened, and that the lawyers defended their actions as legal in this article:

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/us/politics/26gitmo.html

 

<...>

 

"Attorney-client privilege doesn't give them the ability to break the law and compromise national security," and he's right, it doesn't.

 

<...>

 

But as bascule and iNow are so fond of pointing out by means of their own submissions to this forum, with many instances of political smoke, sometimes there is real fire beneath the surface.

 

 

From your own article:

 

Mr. Miller characterized the John Adams Project as a “treacherous enterprise,” referring to accusations that its researchers took pictures of interrogators and gave them to military defense lawyers, who in turn showed them to detainees.

 

The lawyers have defended the legality and propriety of their efforts. They contend that the detainees were illegally tortured in the custody of the Central Intelligence Agency, and they want to raise that issue at trial. To do so, they need to identify potential witnesses to the interrogation sessions.

 

But Mr. Miller said the effort was “disloyal” and illegal.

 

<...>

 

The legislation is the latest attack on lawyers representing detainees. Although such lawyers have tended to espouse civil libertarian views, some conservative critics have imputed to them a lack of patriotism and sympathy for the cause of Islamist terrorism.

 

 

You say you're not spinning the the thread, so prove it. I've seen multiple stories indicating that detainees and defendants were shown pictures of people who potentially tortured them, and none that pictures or identifying information is being shared with terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. When you've been asked for these details, instead of providing evidence you've lashed out with personal comments and basically whined "they did it first." Give me a break. All of the citations you've put forth fail to support your assertions.

Edited by iNow
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