By RU Contributor Mad Medic
Leakers are everywhere nowadays. It seems almost like the vogue thing to do. Want to get noticed, get ahead? Hey let’s leak the info on some “classified” mission or program. It’s almost a fashion statement. Doesn’t matter if they’re trying to say “war is bad” or “look how good I am at this war thing,” people are leaking things left and right almost as they’re happening. It’s gotten to the point I’m surprised we don’t know the names and home addresses of the SEAL team that killed Bin Laden.
Photos of Soldiers posing with body parts (or cleaning up after an Apache strike) – which have little real impact on actual operations other than to be a PR nightmare – are coming out so often that you really have to wonder if someone is stealing this stuff from private computers. But then there are more serious things like policy papers, names of informants, even operational details – things which used to fall under the term “need to know” have somehow become things everyone absolutely needs to know.
The ball really got rolling in February 1971 when Daniel Ellsburg released portions of the so-called “Pentagon Papers,” which were written during the Johnson administration about Vietnam, and essentially boiled down to “we don’t want to win, we just don’t want to lose.” People immediately got into an uproar about it because the Administration had lied about the whole purpose of the Vietnam War. Great. See any problems with the dates here? 1971 was 2 years into the Nixon administration, and less than a year from the end of the war. Indeed, the draw down had been proceeding steadily despite the fact that there were still major offensives (much akin to our own draw down in Afghanistan). The public reacted and, again forgetting that this was a study from a completely different presidency, started all sorts of protests, to include spitting on soldiers returning from ‘Nam.
Where Nixon went wrong is that he did not prosecute Ellsburg to the fullest extent of the law. In essence, aside from getting fired and his security clearance revoked, nothing happened to him. It set a precedent that it was ok, even good, to leak classified information. He has thus been treated like a hero ever since and paraded around for causes celeb of the anti-war crowd.
What did Ellsburg actually accomplish? Not much (seeing as the war went on for almost 2 more years). But the standard had been set and, for the next 50 years, if you were dissatisfied with the way your bosses were handling things, you’d back-door them without even the common courtesy of a reach-around. Informants names, “special projects,” or “my boss is just a giant dick,” all seemed to be good reasons to go blabbing everything to the Media. What’s even more ironic is that “journalistic integrity” demands that journalists not reveal who is leaking their information to them.
Do you remember the debacle in 1992 when US Navy SEALs performed a covert reconnaissance of the beaches in Somalia and were met by television crews that had their camera ready to go, killing their night vision and potentially endangering the team? There have been other incidents. Some more serious, some less so. But time and again one thing is clear – when the Military is used in any capacity, the Media want to be close on their heels catching everything.
In 2009, in one of the most insane displays of childish acting out, one 19 year old PFC sifted through the CENTCOM Secure Network (SIPRNET) and (after rejecting a few incidents that were clear cut) chose one particular file that would have the most impact. Then, while pretending to sing along to Lady Gaga, he downloaded thousands of memos, reports, and videos, ranging from benign and asinine to truly damaging. He then released that video, and several others to Wikileaks, a website devoted to. . . Well I’m not really sure. They seem to be devoted to kicking America and the West in the pants as often as possible.
Now, why was this leak so bad? Well, unlike the Pentagon Papers – which was simply a policy study – this had names, dates, tactics, and all sorts of info any intel annalist would cream his pants for. Since our intel guys already know most of this, which intel analysts do you think would be picking it over? If you said “the enemy’s,” then you win a gold freaking star. Informants were named, and many were subsequently killed.
But that was just the beginning. On the early hours of May 1st/2nd, an elite unit known as DEVGRU launched a bold raid into Pakistan. Next thing you know, holy shit we killed Bin Laden? Wow that’s awesome. Within hours we had the unit that did it, pictures of a very strange Blackhawk tail, and the general details of the raid. Then out comes the fall back plan, why this Blackhawk went down, and how we found Bin Laden. We even had the president “agonizing” over the decision. Hell, the only thing we don’t know is what kind of boots the SEALs were wearing.
Did anyone else see the history channel special on the raid? Let’s be clear, I should not know that Bin Laden’s code name was Geronimo! The repercussions are that some of the informants to include the doctor that got us Bin Laden’s DNA are compromised and imprisoned. Why on Earth will anyone help us in the future if we compromise them like this?
Remember just a few weeks ago, when the CIA broke up a plot in Yemen designed to repeat the “underwear bomber”? Only now we find out that it wasn’t the CIA but MI6, and to make matters worse the “bomber” that we “captured” was actually the informant that helped bust up that cell. To repeat, I as a civilian, going to college with NO affiliation, even unofficially with the CIA, DIA, or NSA, SHOULD NOT KNOW THIS! The level of douchebaggary going on is astounding. Whether these mental midgets are doing this for personal or political reasons really doesn’t matter, the results are the same. I’m not going to even mention the fact that I know about the Cyber-warfare going on against Iran, or that I somehow know about way too many drone programs. At this point it would be better to ask what don’t I know that I shouldn’t.
To all leakers I say this: if I ever find you, I will throat punch you. You may be thinking you’re helping your boss out; or conversely, really sticking it to him; or that you’re doing the right thing. But we have a chain of command for a reason. If you do not like what you see, report it up the chain. If they don’t give you the proper response, there are other methods, but at the end of the day, unless laws are being broken, or you have proof that terrorists are going to nuke the Moon or something, SHUT YOUR DAMN MOUTH!