- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Until recently, I believed that the liberal Americans in society and the media who espouse blind hatred for the Bush administration, the unilateral responsibility to defend our nation, our intelligence operatives and even our military, would see the error of their ways should we one day tragically lose an American city and its innocent inhabitants to terrorism.

Today, I wonder if they might not only secretly rejoice at the thought of the “Great Satan” being “justifiably” punished in such a manner, but with their very actions, sow the seeds of such destruction? A stretch? Go to some of these ultra-left Web sites and see the venom they spew at our government. Explain to me why U.S. government employees with Top Secret clearances would leak highly classified information to the media. Explain to me why that media would then selectively print operational details that it knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be harmful to the national security of our nation.

The latest case of government employees betraying their trust and our nation by leaking information to the media being the story that “the Bush administration was running a covert-domestic-spying program.” The classified information that was leaked to New York Times reporter James Risen by “numerous” intelligence sources has harmed our nation, our foreign relations, our national security and the welfare of our troops, in real and unimagined ways.

Why do these government employees commit such a high crime as divulging national secrets to the media? Several reasons. The first being that even though it is a very serious crime, there are rarely any consequences. No real price to be paid. It’s almost a game. In fact, if you play your leaks right, a left-wing editor up in New York may give you a very handsome book contract for selling out your fellow citizens. That is, of course, assuming said editor is not vaporized first by a nuclear weapon planted by a terrorist that the “covert domestic spying” was trying to capture.

Second, they may do it because they have diluted themselves into believing that such a traitorous action is really to the good of the nation. Just because they got cut from their high school football team doesn’t mean that they still can’t be heroes. If not heroes to America, then certainly heroes to those who mean to exterminate our nation.

Mostly, they just do it for partisan reasons. They strongly dislike this president, “his” war in Iraq, and have a tremendous inner fear. That fear being that President Bush might actually succeed in what he is trying to accomplish, and expose them as naive fools. So, rather than see that happen, they leak to the media, and sabotage that which they have sworn to serve.

Moving on, what, then, was the motive of the New York Times and reporter James Risen? For the New York Times, one could speculate that with all the left wing U.S. newspapers out there eagerly willing to splash national secrets across their front pages, the New York Times didn’t want to get out “Benedict Arnolded” by the competition.

For Mr. Risen, maybe a modern day 30 pieces of silver in the form of a book advance and praise from liberals on the Upper East side, is the answer. If news reports are to be believed, Mr. Risen was very upset that the New York Times sat on the story for a year.

So, in his outrage, what did Mr. Risen do when the New York Times would not publish his potentially devastating story on how the Bush administration might be circumventing the law to protect the American people? Did he walk in front of a stand of news cameras and reveal his “story of the decade?” Did he himself leak it to a rival newspaper in the best interests of America? No.

What Mr. Risen did was take a leave of absence from the New York Times so he could write a book entitled, “State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration.” When his book was done and ready for release, Mr. Risen came back to the New York Times and exposed the national secret himself. In doing so he said the New York Times “has performed a great public service by printing it, because this policy is something that the nation should debate.” As these leaks and betrayals continue, we need to acknowledge that the viper is in our nest and it’s not al Qaeda. It’s some of our fellow Americans.

Since September 11, we have all been waiting for the next shoe to drop. Ironically, that is one job we seem to have not outsourced. The shoe may well be American made.

Douglas MacKinnon served as press secretary to former Sen. Bob Dole. He is also a former White House and Pentagon official and an author.

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