Someone Should Be Going To Jail Over This Leak

The Bush Administration should be acting aggressively to plug exactly the sort of leak you’re about to read about at Time:

“The Bush Administration has been quietly nurturing individuals and parties opposed to the Syrian government in an effort to undermine the regime of President Bashar Assad. Parts of the scheme are outlined in a classified, two-page document which says that the U.S. already is “supporting regular meetings of internal and diaspora Syrian activists” in Europe. The document bluntly expresses the hope that “these meetings will facilitate a more coherent strategy and plan of actions for all anti-Assad activists.”

…American officials say the U.S. government has had extensive contacts with a range of anti-Assad groups in Washington, Europe and inside Syria. To give momemtum to that opposition, the U.S. is giving serious consideration to the election- monitoring scheme proposed in the document, according to several officials. The proposal has not yet been approved, in part because of questions over whether the Syrian elections will be delayed or even cancelled. But one U.S. official familiar with the proposal said: “You are forced to wonder whether we are now trying to destabilize the Syrian government.”

…However, in order to make the “election monitoring” plan for Syria effective, the proposal makes clear that the U.S. effort will have to be concealed: “Any information regarding funding for domestic [Syrian] politicians for elections monitoring would have to be protected from public dissemination,” the document says. But American experts on “democracy promotion” consulted by TIME say it would be unwise to give financial support to a specific candidate in the election, because of the perceived conflict of interest. More ominously, an official familiar with the document explained that secrecy is necessary in part because Syria’s government might retaliate against anyone inside the country who was seen as supporting the U.S.-backed election effort. The official added that because the Syrian government fields a broad network of internal spies, it would almost certainly find out about the U.S. effort, if it hasn’t already. That could lead to the imprisonment of still more opposition figures.”

This is nothing less than a leaker and Time Magazine corraborating to break the law in an effort to undermine US foreign policy. It was incredibly irresponsible for the contents of those classified documents to be leaked and for Time to publish them. And quite frankly, somebody should spend the rest of his life in prison over it. Adam Zagorin, the person who reported on this story, should be asked to give up his source. If he doesn’t comply, he should be thrown in jail until he complies or dies of old age. If and when he does comply, then the leaker should receive a life sentence just to set an example.

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