"ALL CAPS IN DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS NO VICE."

Friday, January 06, 2006

1998: PRESIDENT CLINTON LAUDED THE LAW THE NSA LEAKERS BROKE

AS HE SIGNED IT INTO LAW IN OCTOBER OF 1998, PRESIDENT CLINTON LAUDED HR 3594 - "THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT" - THE VERY LAW THE NSA LEAKERS BROKE IN ORDER TO SMEAR BUSH. CLINTON:

Presidential Statement on Intelligence Authorization Act
THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release October 20, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I have signed into law H.R. 3694, the "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999." The Act authorizes Fiscal Year 1999 appropriations for U.S. intelligence and intelligence-related activities.

The Act is the product of the dedication and effort of many people in the Congress and my Administration. I believe that the Act will help our Nation maintain a strong intelligence capability and preserve the safety and security of our country. [...]

Finally, I am satisfied that this Act contains an acceptable whistleblower protection provision, free of the constitutional infirmities evident in the Senate-passed version of this legislation. The Act does not constrain my constitutional authority to review and, if appropriate, control disclosure of certain classified information to the Congress. I note that the Act's legislative history makes clear that the Congress, although disagreeing with the executive branch regarding the operative constitutional principles, does not intend to foreclose the exercise of my constitutional authority in this area.

It's obvious that Clinton understood what the whistleblower protection provision (HR3594) meant, AND - INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, that he also thought that it was important to use this moment to reasssert the pre-eminence of the operative constitutional principles of the POTUS in this area.

This presidential statement is a DOUBLE WHAMMY for foes of Bush: it clearly reiterates that the NSA leakers are criminals, and that the constitutional powers Bush is asserting over the NSA and the gathering of intelligence are neither new or peculiar to conservative or GOP presidents. (Proving once again that this whole episode is a drizzle in a teacup.)

5 comments:

Carl said...

Great find! I've collected a few others and wondered why the press persists treating similarly situated Presidents differently.

PusBoy said...

I suppose my response to this post would be, "So?"

What's the point? Yes, the leakers likely broke the law. So, likely, did Mark Felt. So did those who practiced nonviolent civil disobedience in the legally segregated South in the early to mid-20th Century.

What is your point? Clinton signed a law, and gave a nonsense talking point speech about it, and it proves what? That there is a clause, an article, or an amendment somewhere in the Constitution that gives the president power to conduct warrantless searches and seizures?

I wonder when Bush supporters are going to stop bringing up Clinton every time Bush gets caught doing something wrong?

Let it go, man. He had a better across-the-board economy than most presidents, and he was an immoral adulterer. There, I said it. Let it go.

reliapundit said...

HET PUSBOY:

THE NSA LEAKERS ARE LAW-BREAKERS NOT WHISLTEBLOWERS

POWERLINE has a thorough and brilliant analysis of the applicable laws HERE. EXCERPT:

Since the New York Times published the Risen/Lichtblau NSA story on December 16, we have cited the federal law that makes the disclosures on which the story is based a crime. The federal law is 18 U.S.C. § 798, a law that precisely prohibits leaks of the type of classified information disclosed in the story. Subsection (a) of the statute provides:

Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign government to the detriment of the United States any classified information—

(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or
(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States or any foreign government for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or
(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the same to have been obtained by such processes—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

POWERLINE: Subsection (b) defines the critical terms of the statute; suffice it to say that I believe they are clearly applicable to the conduct of the "nearly a dozen current and former govenment officials" who spoke to the Times. Their violation of the statute is a felony. Because their disclosures to the Times were illegal, these current and former government officials sought the promise of confidentiality from the Times to protect their identity.
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RELIAPUNDIT: And here is the Intelligence Whistleblower Law - HR 3694- passed in 1998. [UPDATE: BETTER LINK; WITH MORE EXPLANATION]

[H.R.3694 - Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate)

TITLE VII--WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION FOR INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY EMPLOYEES REPORTING URGENT CONCERNS TO CONGRESS

(a) SHORT TITLE- This title may be cited as the `Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act of 1998'.]

This law was SPECIFICALLY PASSED TO PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS WHO HAVE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. This law protect the leakers AND THE CLASSIFIED INFORMATION. (Use the link; RTWT.)

The law was UNANIMOUSLY passed and makes it clear that if a person thought that a classified operation was unconstitutonal or illegal they would have a way to "BLOW THEIR WHISTLE" without jeopardizing national security.

This law is WELL KNOWN to all people who handle classified data, it was passed to protect them.

The "dozen or so sources" the NYTIMES claims to have on this story have ALL broken this law. They did so KNOWINGLY, with forethought. They acted out of malice to the POTUS and his policies. They did so (by going to the NYTIMES) JUST BEFORE the 2004 election.

It is obvious therefore that their intent was to STEAL the election with a "scandal" reported in the MSM which could NOT have been properly addressed in the time remaining before the election - JUST LIKE RATHERGATE.

This is nothing less than AN ATTEMPTED COUP, by "career bureaucrats"(AKA: POLITBURO) - a "shadow government" which thinks they UNIQUELY possess the "intelligence" to make policy and therefoe should have the power to the make policy of the USA, as opposed to our "less intelligent" ELECTED leaders.

The leakers knew that the POTUS had the right to do authorize what he authorized, THAT'S WHY THEY DIDN'T USE THE PROPER CHANNELS SET FORTH IN THE WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT.

The leakers knew it was legal and constitutional but FELT that it could be SPUN into a scandal by a willing MSM, an this spin would HOODWINK a gullible electorate.

If the leakers had HONEST CONCERNS about the legality or the constitutionality program - and IF THEIR LEAKS WERE NOT AIMED AT STEALING THE ELECTION - then they WOULD HAVE used the proper channels as specified in HR 3694. The fact that they did not is PROOF of their nefarious aims.

The leakers should be found, charged, tried, convicted and either jailed for leaking classified data - or executed for treason.

[ASIDE: If the aim of the leakers was to damage Bush politically - and since this aim was SHARED by the NYTIMES - then why did the NYTIMES hold-up the story?

I think that they held the story because they'd just got BURNED BADLY by RATHERGATE (and the stolen weapons story - remember that: a depot in Iraq had been looted at some time, and folks were trying to "BLAME BUSH."

I think it was called CACAGATE.). These BOGUS BUSH SCANDALS made the NYTIMES gun-shy.

THEY FELT THAT THEY WOULDB'T BE ABLE TO HOODWINK THE ELECTORATE. THEY FELT THIS WAY BECAUSE OF THE INCREDIBLE FACT-CHECKING DONE BY THE BLOGOSPERE.

This scandal gun-shyness- coupled with the FULL-COURT PRESS by the POTUS, DCI Tenet, USA D.AG Comey and a leading Democrat in Congress all making the case for secrecy - led the NYTIMES to defer.

WHY DID THEY RUN IT NOW!? To boost book sales, to put the "KIBOSH" on the Patriot Act, and to damage the positive PR the president was getting from the Iraqi elections.

Simply put: It was now or never. If the "annointed" bosses at NYTIMES were patriots, then the answer would have been never.]

Okipunk said...

By these standards, pusboy, it would be perfectly alright to hit someone over the head with a tire iron because YOU THOUGHT they might rob a bank. Two wrongs do not make a right here, sorry.

Funny, I do not remember voting a career beauracrat veto powers over presidential powers.

PusBoy said...

I certainly appreciate your thoughtful research into your responses, and IU am glad that no one has called me a liberal douchebag yet. Thanks for that.

Reliapundit, I appreciate the law, and I understand that the leakers may have indeed broken it. If so, they should be charged and tried. Executed for treason? I don't think so.

That being said, there are instances where one must break the law, if he or she believes it serves the greater good. Mark Felt, a/k/a Deep Throat, likely broke the law by talking to Woodward and Bernstein. He, too, had channels through which he could have blown the whistle, but he knew that his boss was a Nixon loyalist, and that the information would likely lead to nothing and/or something horrible happening to him and his family. Whether he remained anonymous for so long to evade prosecution or protect his family is a question he can answer.

Other instances of "law breaking" include the civil rights marchers and protestors of the 1950s and 1960s, who broke the law to make it known to the world how the segregated South was an inhumane society. Many of those folks, Rosa Parks, Dr. King, etc. went to jail and served their time, but ultimately they changed society.

This is nothing like your example, Okipunk. We're not living in "Minority Report" where pre-crime units arrest people before they commit crimes. In the case of Felt, the civil rights protestors, and the leakers in this case, the people in those situations saw what they believed to be crime or injustice and acted to expose it. They did it in different ways, but it wasn't a situation where they "thought" something "might" happen.

I have still not seen the Constitutional authority that gives the president the right to perform warrantless searches and seizures. And, it's being reported that the NSA was doing up to 500 intercepts a day under this clandestine program. I, for one, am freaked out by that.

My sister is in the Navy. She has called and e-mailed me from places like Yemen, Qatar, Dubai, Egypt, and elsewhere. Were those communications intercepted? Was I being spied upon? Were my library records being checked? I doubt it, but I don't like the notion that it's possible.

Again, thanks for the reasoned debate.