Friends In Low Places
“This man has suffered enough, in my view,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee – “Lawmakers Defend Petraeus Over Leak Probe,” news.yahoo.com, January 11, 2015
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When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage. – Sen. Dianne Feinstein, “Prosecute Assange Under The Espionage Act,” The Wall Street Journal, December 7, 2010
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Feinstein seems chiefly concerned with affiliates of Wikileaks and other such agencies calling themselves journalists. She has been one of the most vocal Senators in calling for prosecuting Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden for espionage. Evidently, publicizing some of the most critical information of our time that other more “reputable” agencies wouldn’t touch does not count as an act of journalism, – Kevin Matthews, “Sen. Feinstein Wants To Strip Independent Journalists’ Rights,” truth-out.org, September 24, 2013
When I started this site, I promised myself I wouldn’t get all caught up in “the news of the day”. I wanted to focus on the United Methodist Church, music, music in worship – those kinds of things. Now here I am, for the second day in a row, breaking that promise. Yet, the AP story about Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) publicly insisting there be no prosecution of Gen. David Petraeus for sharing classified information with the woman who was not his wife kind of pushed buttons with me. This is, without doubt, the most ridiculous attempted bit of political gamesmanship I’ve seen in a long time. It’s so flagrant, so blatant, and in Sen. Feinstein’s case, so ridiculous. Did Bradley Manning, as she was then, suffer enough during his years in solitary confinement? What about Edward Snowden, reduced to taking refuge in that great defender of personal freedom, Russia? Julian Assange continues to hide out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, knowing that if he steps foot out the door, he may well not only be whisked away, but disappear completely.
I am not now, nor have I ever been a defender of those who would, willy nilly, release classified American information to anyone, unless the information in question has either been vetted first, or if the classification in question was done to cover-up a crime. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a defender of Assange, Snowden, or Manning. I am also not a defender of the way Manning, in particular, was treated during the pre-trial phase. That Feinstein is now and has been a vigorous defender not only the national security state, who flew in to high dudgeon when she discovered that the CIA had been sneaking in to the Senate Intelligence Committee staffs’ computers, suddenly has a soft spot for David Petraeus, who started to listen to his own press about how wonderful he was, is almost comically ridiculous, something lifted from a badly written television script. Petraeus managed not only to insult his Commander-In-Chief; he had a long-term extra-marital affair (against military regs) and, it appears, had a difficult time keeping his mouth shut about classified information when with the woman in question.
Yet, the most Petraeus has suffered is being discharged from the United States Army, whose uniform he disgraced with his actions. For blabbing to his mistress, he hasn’t suffered at all, especially if there are legal questions still up in the air. In this matter, I see Petraeus as little different from Manning, Snowden, or Assange. Sen. Feinstein should really not so flagrantly demonstrate her hypocrisy, her favoritism, or her ridiculous inability to tell the difference between real life and House of Cards.