Savor the silence of America's self-serving champions of privacy. For once, the American Civil Liberties Union has nothing bad to say about the latest case of secret domestic surveillance -- because it is the ACLU that committed the spying.
Last week, The Washington Post reported on a new Justice Department inquiry into photographs of undercover CIA officials and other intelligence personnel taken by ACLU-sponsored researchers assisting the defense team of Guantanamo Bay detainees. According to the report, the pictures of covert American CIA officers -- "in some cases surreptitiously taken outside their homes" -- were shown to jihadi suspects tied to the 9/11 attacks in order to identify the interrogators.
The ACLU undertook the so-called "John Adams Project" with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers -- last seen crusading for convicted jihadi assistant Lynne Stewart. She's the far-left lawyer who helped sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, convicted 1993 World Trade Center bombing and N.Y. landmark bombing plot mastermind, smuggle coded messages of Islamic violence to outside followers in violation of an explicit pledge to abide by her client's court-ordered isolation.
The ACLU's team used lists and data from "human rights groups," European researchers and news organizations that were involved in "(t)racking international CIA-chartered flights" and monitoring hotel phone records. Working from a witch-hunt list of 45 CIA employees, the ACLU team tailed and photographed agency employees or obtained other photos from public records.
And then they showed the images to suspected al-Qaida operatives implicated in murdering 3,000 innocent men, women and children on American soil.
Where is the concern for the safety of these American officers and their families? Where's the outrage from all the indignant supporters of former CIA agent Valerie Plame, whose name was leaked by Bush State Department official Richard Armitage to the late Robert Novak? Lefties swung their nooses for years over the disclosure, citing federal laws prohibiting the sharing of classified information and proscribing anyone from unauthorized exposure of undercover intelligence agents.
ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero refused to comment on Project CIA Paparazzi and instead whined some more about the evil Bush/CIA interrogators. Left-wing commentators and distraction artists are dutifully up in arms about such "inhumane" tactics as blowing cigar smoke in the faces of Gitmo detainees. But it's Romero blowing unconscionable smoke:
"We are confident that no laws or regulations have been broken as we investigated the circumstances of the torture of our clients and as we have vigorously defended our clients' interests," he told the Post. "Rather than investigate the CIA officials who undertook the torture, they are now investigating the military lawyers who have courageously stepped up to defend these clients in these sham proceedings."
Courage? What tools and fools these jihadi-enablers be. Civil liberties opportunism is literally a part of the al-Qaida handbook. A terrorist manual seized in a Manchester, England, raid in 2005 advised operatives: "At the beginning of the trial ... the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by state security before the judge. Complain of mistreatment while in prison." Jihadi commanders rehearsed the lines with their foot soldiers "to ensure that they have assimilated it."
Since 9/11, the selective champions of privacy have recklessly blabbed about counter-terrorism operations, endangered the lives of military and intelligence officials at Gitmo, and undermined national security through endless litigation. They accused Bush immigration officials of xenophobia for pursuing visa over-stayers from jihadi-friendly countries. They accused local law enforcement, FBI and other homeland security officials of "racial profiling" for placing heightened scrutiny on mosques and jihadi-linked charities.
Now, caught red-handed blowing the cover of CIA operatives, they shrug their shoulders and dismiss it as "normal" research on behalf of "our clients."
But don't you dare question their love of country. Spying to stop the next 9/11 is treason, you see. Spying to stop enhanced interrogation of Gitmo detainees is patriotic. And endangering America on behalf of international human rights is the ultimate form of leftist dissent.