Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ACLU Doesn't Understand What The Word Secret Means

Crossposted from Stop The ACLU:

Via the ACLU we find out the U.S. government is finally being proactive against the ACLU in protecting classified information from being leaked for our enemies to know.

The American Civil Liberties Union today announced that it has asked a federal judge to quash a grand jury subpoena demanding that it turn over to the FBI "any and all copies" of a December 2005 government document in its possession.

The ACLU called the subpoena, served on November 20 by the U.S. Attorney's office in New York, a transparent attempt to intimidate government critics and suppress informed criticism and reporting.

"The government's attempt to suppress information using the grand jury process is truly chilling and is unprecedented in law and in the ACLU's history," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "This subpoena serves no legitimate investigative purpose and tramples on fundamental First Amendment rights. We recognize this maneuver for what it is: a patent attempt to intimidate and impede the work of human rights advocates like the ACLU who seek to expose government wrongdoing."

The three-and-a-half page document, issued in December 2005, is marked "Secret" and apparently is classified. The ACLU received the document, unsolicited, on October 23, 2006.

Apparently a document marked "Secret" is classified? You don't say! Quite a scary thing that such a dangerous organization like the ACLU has its hands on classified information. I think the ACLU has already demonstrated how reckless they can be with secret information. You can bet there would be no regard to National Security.

The ACLU think that exposing government wrongdoing is exposing to the enemy the governments efforts and techniques to secure our nation.

In legal papers, the ACLU said that while release of the document might be "mildly embarrassing" to the government, the ACLU's possession of it is legal and its release could in no way threaten national security. To the contrary, the ACLU said, the designation of the generally unremarkable document as "Secret" "appears to be a striking, yet typical, example of overclassification."

So who elected the ACLU to determine what should or shouldn't be classified? And if the document is so "unremarkable" why are they fighting so hard to keep it? The ACLU then goes on to justify having classified information by stating that some of the biggest news of the past year came from leaks of classified information, like the NSA surveillance program, SWIFT, etc. I think we all remember how the ACLU handled these leaks. When it comes to National Security, the ACLU has created a dangerous reputation. I don't think they should have any say so in what remains classified or not.

Rob at Say Anything sums it up:

So, basically, the ACLU is claiming that the Bush administration is trying to “suppress information” by getting some leaked classified documents back. But isn’t the government supposed to suppress classified information? Isn’t that the reason it is classified in the first place? I mean, if the government isn’t supposed to be suppressing classified information, then why are we classifying it in the first place?

And how does the government requesting leaked classified documents back violate the ACLU’s first amendment rights? Surely the ACLU isn’t suggesting that first amendment rights extend to illegal leaks of private information, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to stop someone who obtained my bank records from somebody at the bank who illegally divulged them from putting my private information on the internet.

I sometimes wonder if the ACLU even takes its own arguments seriously.

Although the ACLU has been told that it is not a target of the investigation, which I think it should be, it is interesting that the the subpoena refers to the Espionage Act. That is too bad. The FBI have their own concerns over the ACLU. Between the shady business of their funding issues, helping America’s enemies, spying on their own members, and FBI concerns; there are many reasons besides illegally obtaining classified information that the ACLU should be investigated.

I'm just glad to see the government being proactive to prevent classified information from falling into the hands of our enemies. If the ACLU has its way that is where it will end up.

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