The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about U.S. president George W. Bush's secret domestic spying program, Justice officials said Friday.
The Times revealed the existence of the program two weeks ago in a front-page story that acknowledged the news had been withheld from publication for a year, partly at the request of the administration and partly because the newspaper wanted more time to confirm various aspects of the program.
White House spokesman Trent Duffy said Justice undertook the action on its own, and the president was informed of it on Friday.
"The leaking of classified information is a serious issue. The fact is that al-Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page One and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Mr. Duffy told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where Mr. Bush was spending the holidays.
The administration formally defended its domestic spying program in a letter to Congress last week, saying the nation's security outweighs privacy concerns of individuals who are monitored. Associated Press
There is a disconnect here. Or, in the words of Lord Acton of ‘power corrupts’ fame:
“The man who prefers his country before any other duty shows the same spirit as the man who surrenders every right to the state. They both deny that right is superior to authority.”No doubt there is a law which prohibits the revealing of official misdeeds; governments seem to delight in enacting such provisions. At the same time, government must be open to public scrutiny without the doublespeak and intrigue.
It is all too easy to whip out the bogeyman in order to avoid proper scrutiny. Regardless of secrecy laws the NYT was quite right, in the interests of democratic principle, to bring this ‘domestic spying’ issue to light. The administration is quite wrong in it’s cynical efforts at deflection.
US media have been all too compliant in towing the official line up to now. The result is a presidency which has run away with its own sense of importance.
The US proudly proclaim: government of the people, for the people, by the people.
The actions of the Bush administration are not meeting that principle and the populous are not demanding it; a dangerous set of circumstances.
It is troubling for those of us from countries under heavy US influence. If this is the path the ‘Great Democracy’ is taking out cherished rights are in deep trouble.
What is difficult to comprehend is that we are more concerned than US citizens appear to be about this slide into authoritarian government.