Front page
Archive
Silflay Hraka?


Bigwig is a systems administrator at a public university
Hrairoo is the proprietor of a quality used bookstore
Kehaar is.
Woundwort is a professor of counseling at a private university

The Hraka RSS feed

Email
bigwig AT nc.rr.com

Friends of Hraka
InstaPundit
Daily Pundit
cut on the bias
Meryl Yourish
This Blog Is Full Of Crap
Winds of Change
A Small Victory
Silent Running
Dr. Weevil
Little Green Footballs
ColdFury
Oceanguy
Fragments from Floyd
VodkaPundit
Allah
The Feces Flinging Monkey
Dean's World
Little Tiny Lies
The Redsugar Muse
Sperari
Natalie Solent
From the Mrs.
ErosBlog
The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler
On the Third Hand
Public Nuisance
Not a Fish
Rantburg
AMCGLTD
WeckUpToThees!
Electric Venom
Skippy, The Bush Kangaroo
Common Sense and Wonder
Neither Here Nor There
Wizbang!
Bogieblog
ObscuroRant
RocketJones
The Greatest Jeneration
Ravenwolf
Ipse Dixit
TarHeelPundit
Blog On the Run
blogatron
Redwood Dragon
Notables
Greeblie Blog
Have A Cuppa Tea
A Dog's Life
IMAO
Zonitics.com
Iberian Notes
Midwest Conservative Journal
A Voyage to Arcturus
HokiePundit
Trojan Horseshoes
In Context
dcthornton.blog
The People's Republic of Seabrook
Country Store
Blog Critics
Chicago Boyz
Hippy Hill News
Kyle Still Free Press
The Devil's Excrement
The Fat Guy
War Liberal
Assume the Position
Balloon Juice
Iron Pen In A Velvet Glove
IsraPundit
Freedom Lives
Where Worlds Collide
Knot by Numbers
How Appealing
South Knox Bubba
Heretical Ideas
The Kitchen Cabinet
Dustbury.com
tonecluster
Bo Cowgill
mtpolitics.net
Raving Atheist
The Short Strange Trip
Shark Blog
Hoplites
Jimspot
Ron Bailey's Weblog
Cornfield Commentary
Testify!
Northwest Notes
pseudorandom
The Blog from the Core
Ain'tNoBadDude
CroMagnon
The Talking Dog
WTF Is It Now??
Blue Streak
Smarter Harper's Index
nikita demosthenes
Bloviating Inanities
Sneakeasy's Joint
Ravenwood's Universe
The Eleven Day Empire
World Wide Rant
All American
Pdawwg
The Rant
The Johnny Bacardi Show
The Head Heeb
Viking Pundit
Mercurial
Oscar Jr. Was Here
Just Some Poor Schmuck
Katy & Bruce Loebrich
But How's The Coffee?
Roscoe Ellis
Foolsblog
Sasha Castel
Dodgeblogium
Susskins Central Dispatch
DoggerelPundit
Josh Heit
Attaboy
Aaron's Rantblog
MojoMark
As I was saying...
Blog O' Dob
Dr. Frank's Blogs Of War
Betsy's Page
A Knob for Brightness
Fresh Bilge
The Politburo Diktat
Drumwaster's rants
Curt's Page
The Razor
An Unsealed Room
The Legal Bean
Helloooo chapter two!
As I Was Saying...
SkeptiLog AGOG!
Tong family blog
Vox Beth
Velociblog
I was thinking
Judicious Asininity
This Woman's Work
Fragrant Lotus
DaGoddess
Single Southern Guy
Caerdroia
GrahamLester.Com
Jay Solo's Verbosity
TacJammer
Snooze Button Dreams
Horologium
You Big Mouth, You!
From the Inside looking Out
Night of the Lepus
No Watermelons Allowed
From The Inside Looking Out
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Suburban Blight
Aimless
The SmarterCop
Dog of Flanders
From Behind the Wall of Sleep
Beaker's Corner
Bad State of Gruntledness
Who Tends The Fires
Granny Rant
Elegance Against Ignorance
Moxie.nu
Eccentricity
Say What?
Blown Fuse
Wait 'til Next Year
The Pryhills
The Whomping Willow
The National Debate
The Skeptician
Zach Everson
MonkeyWatch
Geekward Ho
Argghhh!!!
Life in New Orleans
Rotten Miracles
Fringe
The Biomes Blog
illinigirl
See What You Share
Truthprobe
Blog d’Elisson
Your Philosophy Sucks
Watauga Rambler
Socialized Medicine
Consternations
Verging on Pertinence
Read My Lips
ambivablog
Soccerdad
The Flannel Avenger
Butch Howard's WebLog
Castle Argghhh!
Andrew Hofer
kschlenker.com
Moron Abroad
White Pebble
Darn Floor
Wizblog
tweedler
Pajama Pundits
BabyTrollBlog
Cadmusings
Goddess Training 101
A & W
Medical Madhouse
Slowly Going Sane
The Oubliette
American Future
Right Side Redux
See The Donkey
Newbie Trucker
The Right Scale
Running Scared
Ramblings Journal
Focus On Reality
Wyatt's Torch

May 16, 2005

Leak Soup

Admittedly, the stink over Newsweek's now-retracted story on alleged Koran flushing is a bit overwrought. Now that I think about it, where was Kevin Drum when Andres Serrano was dunking crucifixes in urine for art projects? Where *is* Atrios as Christians are being tortured and murdered in Sudan, China, and Saudi Arabia - did I miss his calls for the Islamacists and the Chi-Coms to respect the religion of the Christers? And now that I think about it... wait a minute... you mean we're supposed to be worried about disrespecting a book, many of whose adherents claim it directs the murder of gays and women who go out wearing something other than a G.P. Medium tent, with the fly pulled down? We're supposed to respect *that* book? This dichotomy raises some interesting questions about race and condescension.

But that shouldn't stop us from playing Washington's favorite parlor game: Guess the Leaker! Michelle Malkin is hot on the trail of the nameless source cited by Newsweek in their most recent unfounded slander of the Armed Forces. She seemed to focus earlier on Eric Saar, an enlisted interrogator who worked at Gitmo. As a Washington attorney, I'm a skeptic about that claim for a couple reasons. First, the claim was outright denied by Newsweek this afternoon.

Second, the source's wobbly-ness was admitted by Newsweek, and that wobbly-ness tells us a couple things. The source vacillated between making the the toilet claims, then backing off, then complete indecisiveness about what he knew or where he saw it in "reports." This indicates that the leaker isn't an inner circle person - not a political appointee or high ranking staffer (or communications clerk) with hands on dealings with Gitmo. Are abuses occurring at Gitmo? I'm sure there have been some, and I'm sure post-Abu Ghraib they are being dealt with, and are classed as "call home" issues requiring field commanders to keep DOD high mucky mucks apprised of the progress. In government, when the going gets tough, the senior leadership micromanages. If the source can't remember what he saw, then he's not in this circle of careful senior leaders, or their clerks and lawyers.

The other thing you can tell from the wobbly leak, is the individual is a blowhard, either a conscious liar, or a braggart type. A leaking lawyer would probably never say something that couldn't be at least arguably substantiated. It's too dangerous professionally to make an unsubstantiated assertion. Likewise, few higher level military folks are prone to similar misstatements. In the Officer and Noncommissioned Officer corps, a premium is placed on truth telling and honor, and most of these folks - senior ones especially - are circumspect in their speech. Even when they lie, they are careful. So I'd suspect the leaker is either a lower ranking non-com or commissioned officer, or more likely a government civilian from within the DOD or elsewhere.

The vague discussion of what the source knew, and mention of looking at a number of reports, is also a hint at the source's placement. Assuming the source actually had access to reports coming out of Gitmo, you have to ask what circumstances would cause him to kinda maybe remember seeing something about abuse, but not remember seeing particularly spectacular allegations. Again, this sounds like somebody who isn't read on to the situation, but who is observing from a distance and getting watered down, summary reports.

Within DOD, it's hard to keep a secret. DOD is pretty tightmouthed outside of DOD circles, but inside DOD, people talk. Everybody will tell anybody anything, provided the particular body in question is cleared to Top Secret, and buying the next round. It's not as leaky as that, but you can find things out if you are curious. So a source inside DOD would have no reason to be out of the loop, especially if they worked on the J-2 staff, or at one of the services' intel commands. The leaker is probably from outside of DOD.

This is possible because defense information is not restricted to the DOD. There is a whole second tier of communications on defense matters within the Executive Branch - you could call it the vetting loop. (General policy documents follow the same loop). When a contentious report that could create ripples is about to issue, it gets passed around between the headquarters of any affected Departments. In the case of Gitmo operations, DOD might pass reports to DOJ and FBI, and would certainly pass a lot of information to the Department of State and to their colleagues at the CIA. The stuff that gets circulated is often a bit vague on details, often voluminous, and usually circulated on very short notice. The formal purpose of the vetting is to allow affected Departments to comment and throw the brakes on if somebody is about to speak out of turn. The informal purpose of the Department circulating the information, is to do so on such a short turnaround, that the opportunity for meaningful comment is limited and the Department can get away with what it is trying to do, without any interference from other noseniks around the government. Consequently, a vast flow of reports shoots around the government at all times, and overworked staffers have to struggle to keep up with the pace.

A seat on the vetting loop would produce a well placed government source, who isn't really sure what was in a given report, thanks to the volume of reports and turnaround times. A source like this may have seen something about possible abuse of a Koran by an interrogator, or maybe it was a toilet blocked by a detainee. But ehy wouldn't be real sure, and would likely be subject to conflating some facts. I think the leaker came from somebody's headquarters.

Now who would have the motivation to do this?

Off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the CIA. They've been accused of using measures far more stern than the DOD has been accused of using. So they don't want any scrutiny of Gitmo.

The next likely suspect would be the State Department. Basically, most people working at State are Squishes, the careerists especially tend to hate Bush, and they hate to acknowledge that we would ever have to use military power or interrogations or anything ugly or forceful to accomplish U.S. goals. It's a very undisciplined Department, and they have no compunction about running amok, leaking, or trying to artfully win policy struggles using the media. They have also been in a running battle with the Department of Defense regarding the Gitmo detainees and the conduct of the war on terror in general. So a State leaker would make sense. The only reason I wouldn't presume the leaker is State Department, is that State usually doesn't get the kind of report that would get into the specific details of a couple incidents under investigation, especially when the investigation isn't the center of a major diplomatic flap.

That leaves the third likely suspect - DOJ and the FBI. The FBI, which appears to have absorbed the lessons of the Church Committee fully, is really upset about Gitmo. Determined to avoid another Church Committee, the Feebs have complained about pretty much every authorized DOD interrogation method, no matter how lawful or generally accepted. The Feebs, it seems, believe you can slap a subpoena on an Al Qaida member captured on the battlefield, and he'll talk. I exaggerate slightly here, but they are still peeved that DOD interrogators use "false flag" approaches, claiming to be with the FBI, or worse yet, the Israelis. The FBI has also reported, very publicly, all sorts of "abuses" by the military interrogators, including the false flag approaches, sleep deprivation, and so forth. I don't have direct personal knowledge of it, but I would surmise that the FBI has been cut out of the loop by the DOD, after their recent public protests. This would create a condition whereby the FBI would have some knowledge of what is happening at Gitmo thanks to inclusion on the vetting loop, but not detailed knowledge of abuses, and certainly nothing anybody would swear to in court. But it would be detailed enough to leak, as long as the reporter didn't call your bluff. The Feebs, like the CIA, also have an office in Gitmo.

So that's where I'd put my money, were I a gambling man. The Feebs, or Mr. Saar. But Newsweek denied Saar's involvement, so I'll give him the benefit of a doubt.

Posted by Blackavar at May 16, 2005 09:53 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
First time visitor to House Hraka? Wondering if everything we produce could possibly be as brilliant/stupid/evil/pedantic/insipid/inspired as the post you just read? Check out the Hraka Essentials, the (mostly) reader-selected guide to Hraka's best posts, and decide for yourself.
Comments
Post a comment Note: Comments with more than two dashes per line will be blocked as spam.









Remember personal info?