« A Soldier-Samaritan Responds | The RCP Blog Home Page | Bush's Mandate Misread »

When It Leaks, It Pours

Unbelievable.  Yet more top secret, national security related programs leaked to the press. This time, U.S. News & World Report does the deed:

In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. [snip]

The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST). Two individuals, who declined to be named because the program is highly classified, spoke to U.S. News because of their concerns about the legality of the program. At its peak, they say, the effort involved three vehicles in Washington, D.C., monitoring 120 sites per day, nearly all of them Muslim targets drawn up by the FBI. For some ten months, officials conducted daily monitoring, and they have resumed daily checks during periods of high threat. The program has also operated in at least five other cities when threat levels there have risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle. (emphasis added)

This is insane. Can we not settle the legality of these types of programs in private? Or must we reveal every method we're employing for national security to the world, handicapping our ability to protect ourselves because of the willingness of one or two people to leak highly classified information out of "concerns" that may or may not turn out to be valid? As with the NSA case, the leakers should be rounded up and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Past war-time Presidents must be spinning in their graves over what is happening today.