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November 03, 2006

Deconstructing a GOP Security Blunder

Nothing trumps politicals for the Republicans. Certainly not good sense. Certainly not national security.

First it was outing Valerie Plame and the network of agents she worked with on a super-secret project.

Now it is putting information out on the Internet about how to build a nuclear bomb. In Arabic. Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, was determined that somewhere in the Iraqi government documents was information that would prove their claims that Saddam Hussein had been connected with Osama bin Laden despite all . They didn't have enough Arab translators to go through it so they pushed to have the materials de-classified without the proper national security review. In late 2005, Hoekstra decided that releasing the material would allow an "army of translators", i.e. right-wing bloggers (and since when do right-wing bloggers read Arabic?), journalists, and academics to dig through the material and find something that would counteract the decline in support for the war.

How and why did this happen? A post on DailyKos by georgia10, about information uncovered by Hunter, connects the dots.

The push to throw these documents to the dogs was part of a larger effort to counter waning support for the war.  Back in March, Stephen Hayes, senior writer at the Weekly Standard, was one of the most vocal cheerleaders for the documents' release. He recounted how the president was intent on releasing the documents, even over Negroponte's protests.  He described a February 16th conference call between the president, the vice-president, Indiana Republican Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, and U.S. Ambassador to IRaq Zalmay Khalilzad (via telephone).

The conference call began with Pence commenting on all the favorable news coverage the release of certain pre-Saddam audio tapes had garnered ("Mr. President, the war had its best night on the network news since the war ended.")  Hayes then described how the president wanted more pre-war information released.


And the unintended consequences of disregarding the standards?

Whether terrorists and rogue nations also found nothing remains to be seen.

We may never know whether malicious minds accessed the atom bomb information before the site was pulled, or whether other documents posted in haste have also endangered our national security.

What we do know is this:  the push to release these documents was political, aimed at bolstering the egos of those who championed this war.  They wanted this stuff out, and they wanted out it out now.  Through rushed and wrong action, they wanted to be proved right.

And the result? Why, it's the same result borne out of  every poorly planned, mismanaged, half-assed action taken by our government for the benefit of the Republican Party:  the American people got screwed, and are less safe as a result.

The Republican Party led the reckless charge to "put this stuff out." Now it's time to put them out of office on November 7th.

Posted by Lynn Allen on November 3, 2006 at 11:07 PM in National and International Politics | Permalink

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