Thursday, December 09, 2010

The new “Tailgunner Joe”

mccain_lieberman_hugAnd he’s just as full of shit as the first one. Joe McCarthy and Joe Lieberman: a horse’s ass apiece. Lieberman (shown here, preparing to give deep, meaningful kiss to John McCain) has told Fox News — well, who else better? — that Julian Assange and the New York Times should be the subject of a criminal investigation over the WikiLeaks disclosures:

A leading US senator suggested tonight that the New York Times and other news organisations publishing the US embassy cables being released by WikiLeaks could be investigated for breaking US espionage laws.

Joe Lieberman, the chair of the Senate homeland security committee, told Fox News: "To me the New York Times has committed at least an act of, at best, bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the justice department."

Lieberman also said that the department of justice should indict Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, under the 1917 Espionage Act and try to extradite him from the UK. Asked why this had not happened, Lieberman admitted there was probably an argument going on over how to charge Assange.

"I think this is the most serious violation of the Espionage Act in our history," Lieberman said, adding: "It sure looks to me that Assange and WikiLeaks have violated the Espionage Act."

Clearly, Joe, this is a more serious case of espionage than the disclosure of atomic secrets to the Soviets, or the disclosure to them of submarine secrets! What a complete, ahistorical ass.

The sad thing is, there probably is a debate raging at the Justice Department about how to charge Assange, and maybe the Times, mostly because there no basis to do it. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen, at least regarding Julian Assange. It would be nice, actually, if both were charged, because the Times would put up a helluva good joint defense.

As discussed in my earlier linked post, the NYT and Assange, and WikiLeaks, too, are in exactly the same position: they did not leak the information and did not violate the Espionage Act: they published the information, that’s all. But it’s obviously easier to beat up on Julian Assange, so you should look for that to happen.

You should also look, in the end, for the Justice Department to leave the Times alone. Eric Holder does not want to have his ass handed to him on a platter, and in a very public way.

N.B. I apologize for the language in this post. I am as angry about this as anything in recent memory. Here’s a recent quote from Daniel Ellsberg:

EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.


Alec Timmerman said...

I would say that the strategy has worked well for the government. Does anyone even remember what was leaked? Nope. It was one week ago and we have all forgotten the actual story. Now it's about retribution hackers and broken condoms.

blogspotdog said...

Alec has a point. But it's also true that most of the disclosures (at least so far) have been more in the nature of gossip than stragetic secrets. Not exact memorable stuff, which also explains why Lieberman is such a dissembler.

James K said...

Gee...I don't remember Joe calling for the investigation of the Bush administration for their actual crimes....

Alec Timmerman said...

Yeah James. It's not the actual crime that matters. It's the reporting of it.