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17 June 2012

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confusedponderer

To answer the question directly: They probably think that by not doing it and not prosecuting/persecuting Sanger, they can have it both ways.

They can tell Sanger about 'Olympic Games' and not prosecute him and/or his anonymous government officials, who can be counted on to have approached him in order to get the word out - all while keeping it classified.

And having done so, they can still selectively and the full severity of American criminal and military law go after leakers and whistle blowers - and have everybody speaking about it at the same time.

It is profoundly unprincipled, unfair and cynical, but alas. The immediate benefit is that they retain options, and having options is, as we are told, always and inevitably a good thing. Not so much in a rule of law context, but you can't make an omelet without cracking some eggs.

The commander in chief having a lot of options - military, legal, illegal, extralegal and otherwise - is the very essence of he imperial presidency. Clearly it is necessary, after all, America's national security demands it!

And there I thought David Addington was an extremist nut ... Obama's Addingtons are just as bad.

TWV

Interesting that in the Obama WH, it is political people answering questions re. national security leaks.
And Obama is offended by any question of the WH doing the leaking.
Not "offended" by the leaks, of course.
What a POS.

William R. Cumming

A fundamental flaw exists in the President's understanding of the National Security State. He thinks he is Commander In Chief of all US citizens and they all belong to the National Security State.

Et Tu Romney?

condusedponderer

I am sorry, but when you say it is the President or presidential aspirants I am not persuaded.

I don't think that even the folks in the national security state believe that the president is the commander in chief of all US citizens and they all belong to the National Security State. Not even the nutters at FOX believe that.

IMO, rather it is this: Since the president is ultimately politically responsible, he must have all the options available that he can get in order to meet his mandate, protection the American citizenry, lest he be made responsible for things he was unable to influence, and will almost inevitably be accused of not having averted.

That is a natural incentive for the concentration of power. That is probably even more so in America's hyper polarised and hyper competitive political climate.

So, the interest may be as simple as political survival and electoral advantage - i.e. the pragmatic pursuit in short term political benefits.

It can also come from the more long term thinking, doomsday oriented school of Darth Cheney who think in terms of continuation of government and national survival in times of nuclear war of apocalyptic dangers, real or perceived. Cheney didn't hide in a bunker for nothing. People who hide in bunkers expect the worst. For the Cheney school, the citizenry at worst is indeed rabble that must be led, for their own good as much as for the good of the country.

And with regard to human nature the latter even may a point. What I have in mind is social cohesion - take for instance the dissolution of the state in New Orleans during Katrina. Thinking of Fukushima, I assume that America wouldn't have handled a comparable disaster as orderly, or peaceful as Japan did. I have a hunch it would be way more chaotic, even more so since Bush gutted FEMA and made disaster relief a state issue (I say that with the idea in mind that states would probably be overwhelmed).

Jeanne Kirkpatricks said once that authoritarian societies may turn into democracies, but totalitarian cannot. Cheneyites may just say that in order to save America from itself they need to allot more and more powers to the presidency in order to safeguard its liberties - in the long run - even if that requires an authoritarian intermezzo.

IMO Obama is somewhere in between the pragmatic and the Cheneyite position by inclination, even though his policies have out hawked Cheney. That, too, yields political advantages in the US, where the GOPers mindlessly accuse Democrats of being soft on something, anything, and the Dems are scared shitless of being soft on something, anything. I think that that is the reason for Obama outhawking Cheney. In doing so he is reaping electoral benefits while gaining freedom of action politically. That is a combination of incentives probably impossible to resist.

mbrenner

I guess the supposition is that "dozens" (Sanger) of administration executives all sprung random leaks on the same topic. With plumbing like that, it must be awfully hard to flush secrets down the White House drain.

I'm astounded how much credulity has survived the past 12 years. As in Roger Clemens and Lance Armstrong never took steroids.

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