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This Isn't Watergate, And Intel Leakers Aren't Deep Throat. They're Traitors

This Isn't Watergate, And Intel Leakers Aren't Deep Throat. They're Traitors

By Matthew Braun, The Federalist

Remember when classified information used to be protected by professionals who took safeguarding that information seriously? Those were the days. I am not sure how we got to the point where stating that plain, massively important truth makes me feel like an old man yearning nostalgically for yesteryear.

I might as well write about how men used to wear suits when they travelled, how deals were made with handshakes and honor, and how boys and girls used to have different bathrooms.

Late last week, the British government made serious complaints that information about the Manchester terrorist attack shared with the United States was promptly leaked to the media. They claimed they have stopped sharing information with the United States about the case to protect the integrity of the investigation.

This is fresh on the heels of the Washington Post’s story that President Trump revealed “highly classified” information about ISIS plots to Russia. (Funny, the sources of the story are, by nature, also leaking. It’s a vicious cycle.)

The Rules and the Law

It wasn’t that long ago I joined the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Corps. (Okay, it was more than 16 years ago, but the years have flown by.) I signed paperwork and was told, in no uncertain terms, that if I leaked, stole, or even handled sensitive information incorrectly, the best thing that would happen is I would lose my job. The worst was that I would go to jail for a long time. Real, live military prison. “Ten years,” they told me, “for each offense.”

So it is with some gobsmacking bewilderment that I have lived through the last 16 years. I have worked on a few counterintelligence (CI) investigations, and they really are a data management exercise. Is the data classified? Was it released? Were the proper procedures followed before the release? If the answers are “Yes, yes, no,” then you have a crime. See? Easy.

Note at no point is there a question “Did the suspect intend to release the information to the public?” or “Is the person a raving Communist or ISIS fanatic?” Intent is not relevant.

If intent is not relevant, then something has changed in how we perceive the improper handling and deliberate leaking of classified information, because the leaking and spying has continued, but the punishments are going from light, to nonexistent, to outright praise.

Read more at thefederalist.com

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