Joe Lieberman Threatens to Put Dexter Filkins, Judy Miller in Jail to Fearmonger over Wikileaks

Joe Lieberman has introduced what he claims to be a law targeted at Wikileaks.

“The recent dissemination by Wikileaks of thousands of State Department cables and other documents is just the latest example of how our national security interests, the interests of our allies, and the safety of government employees and countless other individuals are jeopardized by the illegal release of classified and sensitive information,” said Lieberman in a written statement.

“This legislation will help hold people criminally accountable who endanger these sources of information that are vital to protecting our national security interests,” he continued.

The so-called SHIELD Act (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination) would amend a section of the Espionage Act that already forbids publishing classified information on U.S. cryptographic secrets or overseas communications intelligence — i.e., wiretapping. The bill would extend that prohibition to information on HUMINT, human intelligence, making it a crime to publish information “concerning the identity of a classified source or informant of an element of the intelligence community of the United States,” or “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government” if such publication is prejudicial to U.S. interests.

Problem is, not only would it not endanger Wikileaks (as far as we know). But it would put both good journalists–like Dexter Filkins–and bad ones–like Judy Miller and Bob Novak–in jail.

As far as we know, Wikileaks has been successful in its dumps at hiding the identities of any intelligence sources. (It has exposed one of State Department’s moles in Germany, who has been fired. But a diplomatic source is not an intelligence source, is it?)

But other journalists do expose sources. Such as when Dexter Filkins reported on how much the CIA has been shoveling at Ahmed Wali Karzai. Or when Judy Judy Judy exposed the CIA ties of a Ahmed Chalabi rival. And then, of course, there’s that little matter of Bob Novak and Valerie Plame.

This is all getting really, really stupid. Doesn’t Joe Lieberman have anything better to do with his time? Like funnelling money to the TSA for some other invasive search machine? Or giving the uber-rich big tax breaks?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. MadDog says:

    …But it would put both good journalists–like Dexter Filkins–and bad ones–like Judy Miller and Bob Novak–in jail…

    Bob Novak? Dead people in jail? Blecchh!

    It’s probably better to leave him buried where he is.

    LOL!

    • DWBartoo says:

      Geez, MadDog, wasn’t Bob Novak always about raising the big stink when in his prime?

      Why should it be any different now, in his lengthy recline?

      It is quite similar to the question of what Joe Lieberman does with his time.

      “Better” some-things?

      It’s like this; someone has to serve as the measure that allows others to claim that they “are better than …”, even if it is a stinking big lie.

      It all comes down to the noisome nature of the political class, which includes the media, of course, they can’t help it, any more than a skunk can.

      Where ARE the decent, descented, politicians? Where are the decent, descented, and honorable reporters.

      ‘Twould seem, if any such creatures still yet exist, that they’ve moved on to “better” places and “things” …

      Without a single solitary doubt, FDL provides truly better, honest and humane, political leaders and more truly gifted reporters than the “mainstream” will ever produce.

      DW

  2. tjbs says:

    Da Fatherland must protect the big secrets between Israel and the US and who better than duel citizen joe to head da Fatherland Security.

    Helping your contributors make money to be able to make bigger campaign contributions….priceless

  3. MadDog says:

    And btw, since the US (government) nuked Wikileaks domain name, the new Wikileaks address is now in Switzerland…until the Swiss get squeezed.

    I’m guessing Obama gave the OK to the US Cyberwarfare Command to start the first official US cyberwar.

    And to make it easy, they’re going after an individual rather than a country because…you know a country might fookin’ well fight back.

  4. bobschacht says:

    Sanctimonious Joe loves to do things that put him in the headlines and draw attention to himself, regardless of the sense of those things (or the lack thereof), or whether those things will actually be turned into laws. It really is all about *him*.

    Bob in AZ

  5. Fractal says:

    This may be OT because I can’t swear I saw any reporting on Lieberman’s support for corporate takeovers of education in the U.S. But since Lieberman is such an asshat on almost every other issue affecting workers and unions and the poor, I suspect he is a rabid fan of charter schools and corporate for-profit operations like Kaplan University (owned by WaPo). Don’t have a link for that this second.

    Here is a fun item from Bloomberg on yet another insider accusing Kaplan of fraud & corruption. The “former dean” was employed by Kaplan for a year or less but was apparently there long enough to see management defaud the federal govt student loan system. He says Kaplan instigated criminal charges against him (the dean) in retaliation for his blowing the whistle on Kaplan’s fraud.

  6. MadDog says:

    From a US State Department press briefing yesterday by Philip J. Crowley:

    …QUESTION: P.J., on that subject of WikiLeaks, Amazon, as we know, did have them on their server for a time and then stopped doing that. And there’s a human rights group that says that Amazon was directed by the U.S. Government to stop that relationship. Do you know anything –

    MR. CROWLEY: All I can say is I’m not aware of any contacts between the Department of State and Amazon.

    QUESTION: Or the U.S. Government or just State?

    MR. CROWLEY: I’m not in a position on this particular issue to talk about the entire government. I’m just not aware of any contacts directly…

    Your typical non-answer answer which generally means “Yes, the US government did this.”

  7. Ymhotep says:

    This anti-democratic, pro-Zionist, fascist is channeling his anti-democratic, pro-Zionist, fascist buddy Chuck Schumer who tried to get a law (HR 2580) just like this passed through Congress in 1995. All things old are new again. Peace

  8. sadlyyes says:

    veee must be allowed to LIE 24/7 unabated by patriots and TRUTH TELLERS…
    yours truly Joe Liarman alias shortride

    fuck you you ARSENIC BLOOD SHITWEASEL

  9. ThingsComeUndone says:

    However the Tea Baggers don’t know that feed their fear Obama will start cracking down on all the supposedly leaked stories from government sources on the Right Blogs about conspiracies to round up GOPers and put them in camps, about African Americans getting big bucks from the government now, about healthcare death panels.

  10. eCAHNomics says:

    What’s that cliche about history repeating itself, once as tragedy, the next as farce. Or is it only once as farcedy.

  11. harpie says:

    Ensign’s Bill: S. 4004
    S.4004
    Title: A bill to amend section 798 of title 18, United States Code, to provide penalties for disclosure of classified information related to certain intelligence activities and for other purposes.
    Sponsor: Sen Ensign, John [NV] (introduced 12/2/2010) Cosponsors (2) [Brown, Lieberman]
    Latest Major Action: 12/2/2010 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

    Page S8399 of the Congressional Record [pdf]

    [Text not yet available]

    Ray

    • harpie says:

      Text of the Shield Act [S. 4004] is at this WIRED article:

      Lieberman Introduces Anti-WikiLeaks Legislation; Kevin Poulsen; WIRED; 12/2/10

      “Lieberman’s proposed solution to WikiLeaks could have implications for journalists reporting on some of the more unsavory practices of the intelligence community. For example, former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was once a paid CIA asset. Would reporting that now be a crime?”

      http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/12/shield/#more-21290

      • spanishinquisition says:

        The WH can leak, but nobody else can:
        (8) UNAUTHORIZEDPERSON—The term ‘un-
        authorized person’ means any person who, or agency
        which, is not authorized to receive information of the
        categories set forth in subsection (a), by the Presi
        dent, or by the head of a department or agency of
        the United States Government which is expressly
        designated by the President to engage in commu-
        nication intelligence or human intelligence activities
        for the United States.’’.

    • harpie says:

      The “Ray” is extraneous…wanted to write something about Ray McGovern’s article, but haven’t found a link to it yet. A commenter named 2millionlightyearstoandromeda posted an excerpt at page 2 of Greenwald’s latest article. I’ll look some more…

        • x174 says:

          harpie, thanks for the link to the Ray McGovern piece.

          wonder if the timing of the wikileaks trove had anything to do with a potential run-up to the war with Iran.

          stands to reason: wikileaks is perhaps one of the most informed organizations on the planet.

          also might help explain the cut-off-one’s-nose-to-spite-the-face reaction of the us trying to turn off the original document information spigot, such as by the us library of congress: wikileaks is bad for business and must be shut down.

    • Mary says:

      That’s Ensign, as in Sen from C Street who bribes his mistresses spouses with illegal lobbying job offers, right? That Ensign?

  12. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Why the fear over wiki leaks its not like Obama will prosecute any of these crimes its not like voters care much because they need jobs and homes first.
    Its all about embarrassment. It about the myth that Giys like Joe in government are competent, that what they say is true that business like banks are competent and what they say is true.

    • sadlyyes says:

      DA BANKS
      its all about grand theft of your money being exposed,however the Rubes,cant seem to get really pissed about the theft,cause Lindsay Lohan is clean and sober now,and elephant legs Bristol is practicing her tap dancing

        • sadlyyes says:

          it is no crime or shame to be endowed with thunder thighs…but to insist on whirling them around for all to see after dinner,is down right inconsiderate……g

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Anybody remember Tom Delay prancing around in those fire engine red ,tight pants for his Dancing With the Stars interlude?

            Whoa, that’s adding insult to injury!

            Now,it’s off to “Dancing with the Stars behind Bars”,for Tommy Twinkle Toes…

    • davidkowalski says:

      Obama and Holder want to put fear in the hearts of potential leakers. This does it.

      Obama and Holder have a long history of intervening on the wrong side in law suits. Maybe that’s because they really are on the wrong side.

      Any powers grabbed now and unused will certainly by exercised by Republicans and corporate Democrats down the road.

      Remember FISA. Obama is no friend of civil liberties, he just talks the game.

    • ShotoJamf says:

      I think that’s a great suggestion. One thing does concern me.

      He so closely resembled a long-dead corpse when (allegedly) alive, how can we be certain he’s even dead? I’m thinking major congressional inquiry. Hell, it wouldn’t be any stupider than pretty much everything else they do…

  13. onitgoes says:

    More political posturing and Kabuki show. Agree that creepy Joe just likes to draw attention to his pathetic self. ick.

    Most people I know have *never heard of Wikileaks* more’s the pity. The corporate-owned rightwing media pretty much only runs complete junk like Sweden’s bogus sex crimes case against Assange. Then it’s time to click the channel to the re-run of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (as happened at my roommate’s home the other night… they all said: What’s Wikileaks? And before I could even get my yap opened, they were *transfixed* by the Vic. Sec. models parading their booties down the runway).

    And so: on it goes…

  14. tjbs says:

    How many sexual criminals on that Interpol Red list now ?

    10, 100, 1,000 10,000 ?

    Shouldn’t the Interpol Red List be a public list, on the internet, like the FBI 10 most wanted?
    Hell I could be in line at the local shop and go and have one of these International Interpol criminals right behind me. Christ, I might even be making small talk with an International Sexual Pervert Interpol criminal and not be able to report him, cause I didn’t know.

    Like they said on Fireside Theater,

    “Dad how can you be the prosecutor and my defense attorney at the same time ?

    That way, son, I can see you are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

  15. Bustednuckles says:

    Shortride certainly didn’t seem to have his feathers ruffled about the Government monitoring, intercepting and storing every single email and cell phone conversation that gets sent here every daynor their tracking and recording which porno sites you prefer.

    What a sanctimonious jack ass.

    My contempt for Joe Lieberman is infinite and eternal.

    • cregan says:

      Another great example of how the “leak” didn’t amount to anything. Any one with a brain would know that Pakistan has some interest in keeping Bin Laden around. We know it, they know it.

      Like everything else, the “leaks” just brought what everyone already knows onto the table, with some interesting gossip bits thrown in.

      Much ado about nothing. In fact, many, and not right wingers, have commented that overall the leaks show the State Dept. on top of their game.

      The UN/Hillary deal is another example. It is well known that nearly every rep there performs some “intelligence” function as well as diplomatic service. From the US and everywhere else.

      Exposing the cables was more like exposing that aunt Edna really thinks the nephew Joe is too fat. Something we all know, but just weren’t saying.

      • bmaz says:

        For that matter, the US has a compelling interest “in keeping Bin Laden around”; he is the symbol for the whole perpetual war machine.

        • cregan says:

          Listen, everybody has a reason to keep Bin Laden around. He’s the only one with perpetual unemployment insurance.

          • DWBartoo says:

            If Bin Laden did not exist, then we should have to invent him.

            Without Bin Laden, “looking forward” would mean something entirely different from what those words now stand for … or stand aside for …

            As would the term, “the rule of law”, as would the words, reason, tolerance, and understanding …

            DW

  16. Margaret says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    STFU Short ride.

  17. fatster says:

    The Atlantic on Wikileaks. Sample: “The result of this classification mania is the division of the public into two distinct groups: those who are privy to the actual conduct of American policy, but are forbidden to write or talk about it, and the uninformed public, which becomes easy prey for the official lies exposed in the Wikileaks documents”

    LINK.

  18. sadlyyes says:

    Health Insurance Premiums Up, Benefits Down
    Premiums Rose More Than 40% in 6 Years, Analysis Finds
    By Todd Zwillich
    WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD Dec. 2, 2010 — The price of Americans’ premiums for health insurance benefits through an employer shot up more than 40% between 2003 and 2009, according to a new analysis released by The Commonwealth Fund.

    The report finds that yearly premiums for an average family of four went from about $9,250 in 2003 to more than $13,000 just six years later. At the same time, benefits continued to erode as employers struggled to cut costs and shifted more health care costs onto their workers.

    Premiums hovered around $11,000 to $12,000 per year for families in Arkansas, Montana, Oklahoma, North and South Dakota, and Hawaii. Those states had the lowest average annual medical insurance premiums. Rates were highest in Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, where they often cost $14,000 per year or more, according to the report.

    MERRY XMAS!

  19. Mary says:

    How lovely that torture is a US HUMINT activity under Lieberman. Let’s ask him if he wants to make publishing info on the Holocaust actionable too, since the US used so many Nazis after the war for HUMINT.

    No wonder Obama loved him up as a mentor and campaigned for him. Vain, vapid and venomous.

  20. fatster says:

    Daily Mail:

    ‘WikiLeaks WON’T be stopped’: Founder reveals 100,000 encrypted versions of secret files have been sent out as insurance

    LINK.

  21. commonbond says:

    If Assange had named his organization The Stockholm Journalism Review instead of Wikileaks, would his fate have been different?

  22. Fractal says:

    Or giving the uber-rich big tax breaks?

    Since Marcy mentioned the big taxcut bonuses, this chart might be sorta useful. WaPo graphic shows huge blob of new revenue we could generate from killing Shrub’s taxcut bonuses for the uber-wealthy ($371,650 on average from each taxpayer in top 0.1% and $72,446 on average from each taxpayer in top 1.0%). Even Obama’s latest proposal would generate considerable new revenue, almost all from the ultra-rich (click the middle tab). Only the GOP position would generate zero new revenue (click third tab). We just cannot afford to have Republicans in charge of our money, as Howard always loved to say.

  23. Oval12345678akaJamesKSayre says:

    o/t: RE: McCain and Lieberman on DADT…

    Who bloody cares what these two senile old war mongers think? It is time for the US to get its war criminals out of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Time to cut the bloated useless corporate-welfare military budget in half. Hands off our Social Security, too…

    o/t: I held a roll of Charmin toilet paper up to my nose and it had a strong and unpleasant chemical smell. I called the 800 number on the packaging, but they never put a live person on the line to take my call. I wrote an Email to charmin.com and pissed again and they replied a week later with coupons in the mail for More Charmin TP… P&G (owners of Charmin) are either insane, stupid or arrogant… farking unbelievable…

  24. mgloraine says:

    This is not the first leak from WikiLeaks, and the previous revelations could easily have been more successfully portrayed as “endangering our National Security”, as many attempted to do. So why all the active suppression and censorship this time?

    I suspect that Lieberman is suddenly so very concerned about WikiLeaks because Assange mentioned that the NEXT leak was to be about a major US bank. All of the “diplomats” are whining loudly, shaking their little fists and stamping their little feet about the current batch, but that all rings pretty hollow – sound and fury signifying nothing. No one is really shocked at any of the revelations, and nothing is really endangered.

    But if BofA and/or other TBTF banksters start calling Lieberman and demanding action to keep THEIR corruption secret, well then, there’s MONEY involved!! Politicians don’t care about diplomacy, national security, “supporting the troops” or any of that nonsense, but they DEFINITELY care about money and will stop at nothing to safeguard their sugar-daddies!!

  25. harpie says:

    Prof. Steven Vladek testified about the Espionage Act in front of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security on 5/1210.
    Here is a link to his written statement [pdf]:
    http://kyl.senate.gov/legis_center/subdocs/051210_Vladeck.pdf

    Here is his faculty page at Washington College of Law:
    http://www.wcl.american.edu/faculty/vladeck/

    The testemony is informative. Here’s part of the conclusion:

    In short, then, although it is not my place to make specific recommendations to this Subcommittee with regard to how the Espionage Act might be updated, it seems clear that the current state of the law is counterproductive regardless of the specific policy goals one might seek to pursue. As Judge Ellis observed in the AIPAC case,

    The conclusion that the statute is constitutionally permissible does not reflect a judgment about whether Congress could strike a more appropriate balance between these competing interests, or whether a more carefully drawn statute could better serve both the national security and the value of public debate. . . . [Changes in the nature of threats to our national security over the last few decades] should suggest to even the most casual observer that the time is ripe for Congress to engage in a thorough review and revision of these provisions to ensure that they reflect both these changes, and contemporary views about the appropriate balance between our nation’s security and our citizens’ ability to engage in public debate about the United States’ conduct in the society of nations.

    To that end, if Congress were ultimately to conclude that the Espionage Act should be limited to cases of classic espionage and perhaps other malicious disclosures of classified information, my suggestion would be to focus carefully on the mens rea in the statute, and to consider the adoption of something akin to a specific intent requirement—that the offender not just know that the disclosure would be harmful to our national security, but that he or she actually intend such harm. If Congress were ultimately to conclude that the Espionage Act should instead apply to all cases of legally unauthorized disclosures of classified information, then my view is that much of the current statutory language is superfluous and unnecessary, and that a far simpler prohibition, combined with clear indicia as to the provision’s scope, would avoid the myriad vagueness and overbreadth issues that currently plague the statute. […]

  26. harpie says:

    One thing Ensign/Brown/Lieberman’s S.4004 would not change:
    From Vladek’s 5/12/10 Senate testimony:
    http://kyl.senate.gov/legis_center/subdocs/051210_Vladeck.pdf

    Finally, the Espionage Act is also silent as to potential defenses to prosecution. Most significantly, every court to consider the issue has rejected the availability of an “improper classification” defense—a claim by the defendant that the information he unlawfully disclosed was in fact unlawfully classified.9 If true, of course, such a defense would presumably render the underlying disclosure legal. It’s entirely understandable that the Espionage Act nowhere refers to “classification,” since our modern classification regime postdates the Act by over 30 years. Nevertheless, given the well-documented concerns today over the overclassification of sensitive governmental information, the absence of such a defense—or, more generally, of any specific reference to classification—is yet another reason why the Espionage Act’s potential sweep is so broad. Even where it is objectively clear that the disclosed information was erroneously classified in the first place, the individual who discloses the information (and perhaps the individual who receives the disclosure) might still be liable. […]

  27. eagleye says:

    Lieberman’s proposed bill:

    “The bill would extend that prohibition to information on HUMINT, human intelligence, making it a crime to publish information “concerning the identity of a classified source or informant of an element of the intelligence community of the United States,” or “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government” if such publication is prejudicial to U.S. interests.”

    The problem is, who gets to decide what is “prejudicial to US interests?” I would argue that the well-documented misconduct of our CIA, our State Department, and our Justice Department is predjucial to US interests.