Douglas MacKinnon

Can we really win the war on terror? I am honestly starting to doubt we can.

My main rationale for that doubt being; how can we defeat the unimagined evil of these barbaric terrorist organizations as long as some of our fellow Americans feel they have the right to break the law and continually leak classified information that aids and abets the very vermin that seeks to exterminate us?

While not a complicated question, the only logical answer is unambiguous, frightening, and disheartening: We can’t defeat the terrorists if traitors among us eagerly supply them with intelligence that puts our nation and our troops in harms way. Period.

The latest in a long line of leaks that embolden Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, is the very selective and politically motivated disclosure of information from the highly classified “National Intelligence Estimate.” The NIE being the coordinated judgments of up to sixteen US intelligence agencies that is used to brief the President and other high ranking officials.

This particular, out of context leak, seeks to prove that the war with Iraq has created more terrorists and is putting the United States at greater risk of attack than before we entered the country. In response to the flawed logic of this partisan leak, President George W. Bush said, “We weren’t in Iraq when we got attacked on September 11. We weren’t in Iraq when thousands of fighters were trained in terror camps. We weren’t in Iraq when they first attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. We weren’t in Iraq when they bombed the Cole. We weren’t in Iraq when the blew up our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.”

While the President’s rebuttal makes great sense, I am not here to defend him nor his policies in Iraq. Rather, as one who once worked in a joint command at the Pentagon and dealt with classified information on a daily basis, I am here to beg those in our own government and our own media, to stop this suicidal disclosure of top secret information. If not for reasons of obeying the law and patriotism, then at the very least, for the safety of you and your family. For when the terrorists do visit our shores again – basically at your invitation -- your betrayal of state secrets will not shield you, nor your family, from their fanatical wrath. Deaths of the innocent being an obscene price to be paid for scoring cheap and fleeting, partisan points.

What is most disgusting and troubling about these continual criminal leaks -- be they about the NIE, the terrorist surveillance program, heretofore “secret” CIA prisons in Europe for proven killers, or coerced interrogations – is the fact that the leakers are almost assuredly US intelligence operatives who have an ax to grind with George W. Bush or his administration.

In order to be an effective betrayer of national secrets, these government snitches need accomplices in the media to aid in the dissemination of the classified material. For that role, they turn to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other left of center news organizations that think nothing of revealing top secret information in an effort to harm the policies of an administration they hold in contempt.

Fine. We know the rules of the liberal elite. But what if, come January 20, 2009, Democrat Hillary Clinton or Democrat Mark Warner, is sworn in as the next President of the United States? And what if, two years into his or her term, some intelligence operatives with a right of center bias, decide, purely because they don’t like the policies of the new president, to leak highly classified information to the handful of conservatives outlets, in an attempt to discredit the President and his or her policies. What then, the reaction of Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, The New York Times, and The Washington Post? All liberals or news organizations who are thrilled with this current batch of leaks. What would they say about “conservatives” leaking information to hurt their President?

Their answer is obvious. Mine, maybe less so. Like the partisans who are now leaking to hurt President Bush, if in the future, a “conservative” leaks top secret information that he or she has sworn to protect, I would wish them to face the full brunt of the law. And if even one American lost his or her life because of a leak, then I would want that person to be executed for treason.

Until we severely punish those who leak classified information, then the traitors among us will not only continue to flourish, but will grow more brazen with the secrets they reveal.

Since I don’t believe our nation to prepared to execute or imprison those who leak such information, then it will be clearly impossible to stop them.

Should we not be able to stop these politically motivated leaks, then we cannot stop the terrorists who dream of our destruction. A future of untold loss of life because a handful of our fellow Americans decided they were above the law of the land.

When that day comes, I pity those who have been cheerleading the betrayal of these national secrets.

Douglas MacKinnon was press secretary to former Senator Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the forthcoming novel, “America’s Last Days.”


Douglas MacKinnon

Douglas MacKinnon is former White House and Pentagon official who spent three years working in a Joint Command.

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