By Ed Lasky / October 2, 2014 / American Thinker
The World War Two-era motto “Loose lips sink ships” was meant to save lives and prevent harm to America. It is also an admonition that Barack Obama, Commander-in-Chief, has been wilfully contravening for years when it comes to America’s overseas opponents.
Ever since he became President Barack Obama has worked to weaken America’s posture toward our adversaries. Some of these have been obvious: eviscerating American armed forces, betraying ally relationships built up over decades, and empowering foes such as Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. Others have flown under the radar screen but, like the diminishing fleet of stealth fighters in the Air Force, can nevertheless be devastating.
These deliberate steps began early.
Within a few months of Barack Obama’s inauguration, his administration made public detailed interrogation memos describing the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency to gather information from terrorists. Those methods were among the Bush administration’s most closely guarded secrets. Barack Obama ordered the release of these secrets despite pleas from then-CIA director, Leon Panetta:
The documents were released with minimal redactions, indicating that President Obama sided against current and former C.I.A. officials who for weeks had pressed the White House to withhold details about specific interrogation techniques. Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, had argued that revealing such information set a dangerous precedent for future disclosures of intelligence sources and methods.
Terrorists would know what to expect should they be captured by other nations that see the utility of such tactics, or by American forces led by a different President. A Navy Seal once told me that he and others volunteered to be water-boarded so they would be prepared for such interrogation should they be captured. If it was considered training by Navy Seals it would also be considered preparation by terrorists who, after all, are prepared to die anyway.
Obama also banned — with much self-righteous fanfare — the future use of these techniques.
From that point on, captured terrorists would know they would not be subject to such extraordinary measures. Even threats that such techniques might be used could thenceforth be blithely ignored.
Feigned threats would be seen for what they were: fake and impotent.
Compounding the damage would be President Obama’s goal of criminalizing acts of terror: granting terrorists legal rights, treating them as common criminals, and requiring that they be publicly tried in civilian courts, instead of at Guantanamo Bay through military tribunals.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote of the foolishness and dangers of this approach in,” Civilian Courts Are No Place to Try Terrorists: We tried the first World Trade Center bombers in civilian courts. In return we got 9/11 and the murder of nearly 3,000 innocents”:
…the rules for conducting criminal trials in federal courts have been fashioned to prosecute conventional crimes by conventional criminals. Defendants are granted access to information relating to their case that might be useful in meeting the charges and shaping a defense, without regard to the wider impact such information might have. That can provide a cornucopia of valuable information to terrorists, both those in custody and those at large.
Mukasey points out that the criminal trial of Sheik Omar Rahman (the mastermind of the first World Trade Center bombing) led to the disclosure of all known co-conspirators. Hence, Osama Bin Laden learned that the federal government was aware of him — as did other terrorists involved in planning the bombing. Countermeasures by them followed.
It is not simply the disclosure of information under discovery rules that can be useful to terrorists. The testimony in a public trial, particularly under the probing of appropriately diligent defense counsel, can elicit evidence about means and methods of evidence collection that have nothing to do with the underlying issues in the case, but which can be used to press government witnesses to either disclose information they would prefer to keep confidential or make it appear that they are concealing facts. (snip)
Moreover, it appears likely that certain charges could not be presented in a civilian court because the proof that would have to be offered could, if publicly disclosed, compromise sources and methods of intelligence gathering. The military commissions regimen established for use at Guantanamo was designed with such considerations in mind. It provided a way of handling classified information so as to make it available to a defendant’s counsel while preserving confidentiality. The courtroom facility at Guantanamo was constructed, at a cost of millions of dollars, specifically to accommodate the handling of classified information and the heightened security needs of a trial of such defendants.
But Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder were determined to allow such disclosure of sources and methods despite the harm that such “openness” could well wreak in the future.
The hypocrisy is blatant. The ObamaWhite House has been among the most secretive in history when it comes to their own suspect actions (the IRS; the use of secret email accounts at the EPA to avoid scrutiny; abusing executive privilege to hide the truth regarding Fast and Furious; stonewalling subpoenas and much more) but is happy to “let it all hang out” when it comes to the national security of the United States.
The problem gets worse.
The super-secret Stuxnet software virus that had begun as a joint project of America and Israel during the Bush years, and that had proven so devastating to the Iranian nuclear program, was leaked to a New York Times reporter to help with a book he was writing. The leak went right back to the White House, thus handing Iranian mullahs a big helping hand as they develop the Islamic Bomb. Loose lips strike again.
There were more leaks that led to the death of American soldiers but did help Barack Obama’s poll numbers and re-election prospects (because, after all, that was more important than soldiers’ lives). Leaks regarding the Bin Laden raid put a target on the Navy Seals who were on that mission:
Citing former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates‘ memoir, the father of a National Guardsman whose son was killed in Afghanistan is blaming White House leaks about the Osama bin Laden raid for the Taliban’s downing of a transport helicopter that killed his son, 17 members of SEAL Team 6 and 12 other U.S. troops.
Douglas Hamburger, whose son was killed in the Aug. 6, 2011, crash of Extortion 17, last week filed a statement with a House oversight subcommittee quoting Mr. Gates as telling White House aides he feared the Taliban would use military tactics contained in administration leaks to target Americans in Afghanistan.
He quoted a passage from Mr. Gates‘ memoir, “Duty,” in which the former defense chief wrote that he had a pledge from White House aides that they would not release details about the SEAL Team 6 raid that killed bin Laden. Mr. Gates said the aides broke their promise and began “pouring out” tactics and methods just hours later.
Three months after the May 2011 bin Laden raid, the CH-47D Chinook helicopter was shot down by a Taliban fighter with a rocket-propelled grenade standing on a tower about 100 yards from what was supposed to be a secret landing zone.
“Releasing their identity put a target on their backs, along with any support troops that went into battle with them,” Mr. Hamburger, father of Army Staff Sgt. Patrick D. Hamburger, 30, of Lincoln, Neb., said in the statement filed with the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security. (snip)
In his congressional statement, Mr. Hamburger quoted from the Gates memoir: “Before we broke up and the president headed upstairs to tell the American people what had just happened, I reminded everyone that the techniques, tactics, and procedures the SEALs had used in the Bin Laden operation were used every night in Afghanistan and elsewhere in hunting down terrorists and other enemies. It was therefore essential that we agree not to release any operational details of the raid. That we killed him, I said, is all we needed to say. Everybody in that room agreed to keep mum on details. That commitment lasted about five hours. The initial leaks came from the White House and CIA. They just couldn’t wait to brag and to claim credit. The facts were often wrong, including details in the first press briefing. Nonetheless the information just kept pouring out. I was outraged and, at one point, told [National Security Adviser Thomas] Donilon, ‘Why doesn’t everybody just shut up?’ To no avail.”
Telling a president (and his staff) addicted to boasting to “shut up” does not work in this White House. Loose lips kill Americans.
Thomas Sowell has written of one of the most damaging ways Obama’s loose lips have harmed America. He reveals our “battle” (or skedaddle) plans to enemies.
With an eye on the upcoming congressional elections, Barack Obama has assured all and sundry that there will be no American “boots on the ground” in the fight against ISIS. But telling your enemy in advance what you will or will not do is not the way to win wars.
But Obama is not interested in America winning wars. He just wants to end them; victory, at least American victory, is not his goal.
And Obama has always told enemies what we will do in advance. He and Eisenhower shared a love of golf, but at least Eisenhower knew how to keep a secret and played his cards close to his chest. Thomas Sowell wittily observes,
“Who says the Obama administration is not transparent? It’s constantly telling our enemies overseas when it will pull out our troops and where we will not put boots on the ground.
Obama helpfully informed the Taliban when American troops will leave Afghanistan, easing the path to their victory but not ours (not that “victory” was necessarily the goal anyway); verbally promised Putin more flexibility in a second term for some unfathomable reason, showing his hand and getting in return for this preemptive loose lips appeasement the invasion of the Ukraine, Russian cheating on a nuclear arms treaty, and Russian bombers probing American airspace; gave a green light to enemies by telling donors that America has very little trade with Ukraine and “geopolitically, what happens in Ukraine doesn’t pose a great threat to us.” (Neville Chamberlain-ism lives on) — a policy that would subject many nations around the world to invasions (hunting season already has begun); and freely gave advice to terrorists on how to avoid having to battle America.
His administration is intent on sharing American aircraft-carrier technology with the Chinese; outed the CIA chief in Afghanistan; disclosed a double agent in Yemen working for al-Qaeda before the re-election; de facto concedes nuclear power status to the Iranian regime by adopting the geopolitical advice of Yoko Ono to “Give Peace a Chance” and by calling people who oppose his concessions “war-mongers.” He could have saved the accusations and insults for America’s enemies, not Republicans. He did not have to give Iran a path to the bomb.
Edward Snowden has done damage; and so has President Obama. One is done and enjoying life in Russia; the other is still doing it and enjoying life golfing and vacationing.
Possibly the most damaging of Obama’s statements was: “I was elected to end wars, not start them” Imagine if John F. Kennedy had made such a foolish statement before the quarantine of Cuba. Or Ronald Reagan when dealing with the Soviet Union (his goal was “we win; they lose” and so it came to be). They showed leadership; Obama waves the flag of surrender. He provokes America’s enemies by revealing such fecklessness. They have contempt for, and mock, him:
Obama’s policies have made us weaker and more endangered.
Have there been any Democrats who have criticized Barack Obama’s policy of “loose lips”? Have there been any Democrats who care about American national security enough to buck their leader? There are few hawks or eagles in the Democratic Party but there are plenty of parrots.
Ponder the damage the President and his enablers have done when in the voting booth. Americans have the future in their hands.