How Many Sources in North Korea Do You Think We Have?

From “What was James Rosen thinking?”,  Jack Shafer, Reuters:

“Although [Fox News reporter James] Rosen’s story asserts that it is ‘withholding some details about the sources and methods…to avoid compromising sensitive overseas operations,’ the basic detail that the CIA has ‘sources inside North Korea’ privy to its future plans is very compromising stuff all by itself.

“Once the North Koreans read the story, they must have asked if the source of the intel was human or if their communications had been breached.  In any event, you can assume that the North Koreans commenced a leak probe that made the U. S. investigation look like the prosecution of a parking ticket.”

I can’t get all wee wee’d up about bumbling James Rosen, who makes Inspector Clouseau look like James Angleton.  If the Obama Administration had prosecuted him along with State Department moron Stephen Jin Woo Kim, I’d see the First Amendment threat here, but they didn’t.  I do mourn the loss of a source inside North Korea, because God knows they are few and far between, and probably now fewer and farther.

I’m with Josh Marshall from Talking Points Memo on this one:

“They [DOJ] took a step I think they should not have taken.  But they did so putting together a case against a government employee who more or less in plain sight (thanks to Rosen, in part) leaked what looks to have been highly classified information about US spy networks overseas.  It’s difficult for me not to be more shocked by the self-interested preening of fellow journalists over a comically inept reporter and source than the arguable dangers this episode holds for press freedoms.  Indeed, I’ve failed.  I can’t.

I can’t either.

Paul Ends Filibuster

Rand Paul has ended his filibuster blocking the vote on John Brennan to be CIA Director.

Why doesn’t somebody filibuster to get stronger gun and ammunition laws?  Our kids are bazillion times more likely to be killed by a nut with a gun than Obama with a drone.

And I don’t get this obsession with drones.  On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard shot 67 rounds in 13 seconds at Kent State University.  Four students died and nine were wounded.  Some of them were peacefully protesting the Vietnam War, others were watching the demonstration from a distance, and others just happened to be walking by.

I also feel that Rand Paul and Eric Holder have been talking past each other.  Paul keeps using the example of an American sitting in a cafe in the U. S. and getting blown away by a drone.  Holder made clear that would be an inappropriate use of lethal force.  Where Holder has left the door open a teeny, tiny crack for drone strikes within our borders has been in a Pearl Harbor or 9/11 situation — so an act of war against our country on our soil.  In that case, the President as Commander in Chief would be justified in using any weapons we have to defend against such an attack.

WH Trades Drone Memos for Brennan Vote

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) announced that the White House has agreed to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee access to all of the Justice Department drone memos dealing with the targeting of Americans.

The fight over the drone memos has delayed the confirmation of John Brennan to be CIA Director.

The Committee will finally vote on his nomination later today.

Why Obama Won’t Release Drone Memos

Interesting story up at the National Journal* explaining why the President doesn’t want to show the House and Senate Intelligence Committees all of the Justice Department drone memos.  The article says it’s because they “contain secret protocols with foreign governments, including Pakistan and Yemen, as well as ‘case-specific’ details of strikes.”

The Administration believes that even if released just to certain members of Congress, the sensitive information would become public and embarrass the governments we have protocols with, which may include additional countries like Mali and Algeria.

This would explain why the Administration is supposedly trying to get John Brennan’s nomination for CIA out of the Senate Intelligence Committee by giving up some Dem votes over the drone memos and going for GOP votes by giving them more info on Benghazi.

National security issues can create some strange bedfellows!

* “What’s in the Secret Drone Memos,” Michael Hirsh and Kristin Roberts

As You’d Expect, Holder Knew

Like me, you’ve probably been wondering when Attorney General Eric Holder learned about the FBI investigation that uncovered Gen. Petraeus’ affair.  He found out late this summer.

So when Eric Cantor went to FBI Director Mueller with the FBI whistle-blower in October, Mueller’s boss Holder already knew, so I assume Cantor wasn’t giving Mueller new info, he was telling him, “I know what you know, and if you don’t get it out, I will.”

Issa Wanted Scalp, Not Documents

Newsweek (Dan Klaidman) reports that former car thief Darrell Issa would have cancelled the contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder over Fast and Furious if Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, who heads the Criminal Division, resigned.

Matthew Miller, a former Justice communications director, told Klaidman this shows Issa was out for publicity.  “The reason that this contempt motion happened is that Issa didn’t come up with any evidence and didn’t get a scalp.  When you set expectations that high and you don’t deliver, you have to explain why.”

I Think This Guy Has Suffered Enough

Life was good for Doug Hampton.  He was chief of staff to a U. S. Senator, John Ensign (R-Nevada), who was also his best friend.  Hampton’s wife also worked for Ensign, on the campaign side of the operation.

Today Hampton’s marriage is over, and he is bankrupt.  Represented by a public defender, he has pleaded guilty to violating lobbying laws and awaits sentencing.

What happened between the first paragraph and the second?  Ensign, one of these big “family values” hypocrites the GOP has in abundance, had an affair with Hampton’s wife and then fired both of them.  Ensign pressured some supporters into hiring Hampton as a lobbyist.  Ensign participated in lobbying contacts with Hampton, even though he knew he was breaking the law prohibiting such lobbying for a year.

Ensign resigned from the Senate, and the Senate Ethics Committee referred Ensign’s violations involving both the lobbying and Federal Election Commission reporting requirements to the Justice Department.  Ensign has not been prosecuted, and at this point appears unlikely to be.  He’s back in Las Vegas and has resumed his previous career as a veterinarian.

Which leaves the poor sap Hampton twisting in the wind, another “little guy” stuck taking the fall while the big guy skates.  Hampton cooperated with the Justice Department,  giving them what they needed to build their case against him, thinking he was helping build a case against Ensign.  He somehow neglected to get that little thing known as a grant of immunity in return for his information.

I don’t know why anyone would want Doug Hampton go to prison.  I don’t know why anyone would want John Ensign to touch their dog or cat.



Preventing Another 2000 in Florida

I had posted about Florida Governor Rick Scott seeking to suppress Democratic votes by removing voters from the rolls under the guise that they are not American citizens, even though they are.  Now the Justice Department is ordering Florida to stop because they are violating the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act.  It looks as if Scott will not get away with this crap.

Also, a federal judge blocked a Florida law, another Rick Scott special, that makes it more difficult to register voters (also intended to suppress Democratic votes), to the point that the League of Women Voters cancelled their voter registration drives, so even registration experts felt the law was too onerous.  The judge said the law is “not well crafted” and “virtually unintelligible.”

So Florida should be getting some relief from outrageous GOP attempts both to stop new voters from registering and to keep existing voters from actually exercising that right.  They know Mitt can’t win the White House without winning Florida, and they’re doing everything they can think of to help their guy, these hypocrites who claim to love the Constitution so much.