HYPOCRITES! – AT 9:01 A.M. ET: There is a potential legal drama being played out on a landscape that sees its share of legal hypocrisy. From Fox:
WASHINGTON – The Pentagon's top lawyer on Thursday informed the former Navy SEAL who wrote a forthcoming book describing details of the raid that killed Usama bin Laden that he violated agreements to not divulge military secrets and that as a result the Pentagon is considering taking legal action against him.
The general counsel of the Defense Department, Jeh Johnson, wrote in a letter transmitted to the author that he had signed two nondisclosure agreements with the Navy in 2007 that obliged him to "never divulge" classified information.
"This commitment remains in force even after you left the active duty Navy," Johnson wrote. He said the author, Matt Bissonnette, left active duty "on or about April 20, 2012," which was nearly one year after the May 2011 raid.
By signing the agreements, Bissonnette acknowledged his awareness, Johnson wrote, that "disclosure of classified information constitutes a violation of federal criminal law." He said it also obliged the author to submit his manuscript for a security review by the government before it was published. The Pentagon has said the manuscript was not submitted for review, although it obtained a copy last week.
Johnson said that after reviewing a copy of the book, "No Easy Day," the Pentagon concluded that the author is in "material breach and violation" of the agreements.
The book is to be published next week by Penguin Group (USA)'s Dutton imprint. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.
COMMENT: My belief is that, if the gentleman violated his agreement, he must face the legal consequences. He may well be on our side politically, but that must never matter. The law of the United States must be upheld. That is especially serious when the handling of classified information is involved.
The hypocrisy here is that this legal action is being taken by an administration that is a world-class leaker of secret data. Even Senator Dianne Feinstein, a liberal Democratic senator from California, has expressed her horror at the amount of secret material that's been leaked by the Obamans, often for the personal political gain of the president.
Is it too much to ask that the mainstream media point out the hypocrisy? It probably is.
I'd be curious to see if The New York Times, which has a sorry record of publishing classified information under the phony rubric of "the people's right to know" will comment editorially on the actions against the author.
And what about those news outlets that have used material from Wikileaks?
This story is just starting, as the book will only be published next week.
August 31, 2012