If you’ve been following the Bradley Manning case at all, you know the government treats alleged leakers by inventing reasons to take away their clothes away.
So I wonder whether they’ll now subject Undersecretary of Intelligence Michael Vickers–who, DOD’s Inspector General has determined, provided the identity of a Special Operations planner to the makers of Zero Dark Thirty.
Pentagon investigators concluded that a senior Defense Department official who’s been mentioned as a possible candidate to be the next CIA director leaked restricted information to the makers of an acclaimed film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and referred the case to the Justice Department, according to knowledgeable U.S. officials.
The case involved a determination by investigators of the Pentagon’s inspector general’s office that Vickers provided the makers of the film “Zero Dark Thirty” with the restricted name of a U.S. Special Operations Command officer who helped plan the May 2, 2011, raid on bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan, one official said.
Though perhaps the best comparison is not between Vickers and Manning, but between Vickers and Kiriakou. Both, after all, gave the name of someone who might not be all that protected to a third party so they could conduct further investigation. With both, the name did not become public via this leak.
And John Kiriakou’s headed to prison.
There’s little chance Vickers will experience a similar fate as Kiriakou though. As McClatchy notes, the Administration has already declassified a report showing Vickers providing this name. DOJ has been sitting on the referral since September. And McClatchy’s sources are discussing how this will affect Vickers’ chances of becoming CIA Director, not whether anything worse will happen.
Even Peter King, who demanded the investigation in the first place, does not want an indictment, but appears to prefer instead to politicize the fact that he hasn’t been told about Vickers’ role.
King told McClatchy that the delay in notifying him “raises the question” of whether officials were trying to put it off for political reasons, but he wanted to see the full report before drawing any conclusions.
“I’m not looking for anyone to be indicted,” he said. “But the IG does not make referrals to the Justice Department as a matter of routine. To me the fact that any information at all would be given to Hollywood producers by this administration is disgraceful.”
“If it’s wrong enough or questionable enough for the IG to refer it to the Justice Department, that means it shouldn’t have been done.” [my emphasis]
Yes, I imagine Peter King wouldn’t want to encourage top people being indicted for leaking classified information…
Which demonstrates, once again, what our classification system really is. It is not a law, to be applied neutrally to all. On the contrary, it is applied selectively, used primarily as a threat tied to higher wages tied to a clearances, but on occasion, as the premise to punish those who deviate from NatSec orthodoxy.
Update: This post originally stated Kiriakou was already in prison. He’s not. As Thomas Drake corrected me, he’s scheduled to be sentenced next month.