Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Tale of Three Traitors

Merriam-Webster defines traitor as

1: one who betrays another's trust or is false to an obligation or duty
2: one who commits treason

By this definition, Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to the United States.

Tormented as a child by anti-Semitic bullies, Pollard eventually pursued a career in Naval Intelligence with access to highly classified information.  Despite early drug use, false statements on his security application, and his repeated flaunting of the rules, Pollard somehow managed to maintain his clearance.  During the course of his employment, he passed classified information to Israel and South Africa.  By all accounts, this is a treasonous act, and Pollard is paying the price.  He has served 25 years of a life sentence, and is eligible for parole in 2015.

While all players in the intelligence game rely on insiders like Pollard to discover classified information, covert operations play a significant role also.  Establishing a covert operation is expensive and time-consuming.  Exposure of a covert operative is a treasonous act that places many lives in danger.  Yet, that’s exactly what Vice President Dick Cheney and political capo Karl Rove did when they allegedly exposed CIA spy Valerie Plame as part of a vendetta against her husband, Ambassador Joe Wilson.  I say “allegedly” because even evil people are afforded a presumption of innocence under American law.  Unfortunately, Cheney and Rove are so powerful that they will never be brought to justice.

While Pollard languishes in prison in North Carolina, Cheney and Rove remain free.  Their fall guy, Scooter Libby, was found guilty in the course of commiting the same crime, but Libby’s prison term was commuted by Cheney’s puppet, George W. Bush.

What Pollard did was wrong.  But he spied for our friends, while Cheney and Rove’s actions provided aid and comfort to our enemies.  Twenty-five years in prison is enough for Pollard.  He should be freed, extradited to Israel, and his cell should be reserved for Cheney and Rove.


  1. Although you may not yet qualify as "prominent", you seem to share the left's abhorrence at the supposed outing of Valerie Plame. So I will present to you Jonah Goldberg's question:

    "Honest question: Is there any prominent person or editorial board (outside of the administration) on the left who made a huge stink about Valerie Plame’s outing who is remotely as horrified by the ongoing Wikileaks travesty?"

  2. I have mixed feelings about the Wikileaks affair. As someone who has held extremely high clearances during my working career, I understand the need for secrecy. On the other hand, I also know that people slap restrictions on documents for reasons other than national security. In my mind, I am trying to reconcile the Wikileaks affair with the earlier leaks of Daniel Ellsberg. I think Ellsberg did the country a service, while Wikileaks is just a conglomeration of unrelated data.

    The thing that concerns me more about Wikileaks is how a PFC could have access to so much information and be able to download it to removable media. There's obviously a breakdown in the security controls in the State Department.

    So while the Plame case is clear cut treason, I don't yet have enough knowledge about the Wikileaks to make a personal judgment one way or the other.

  3. I would think you would want diplomatic courier traffic to be privileged, if only to hold open the possibility that the Foggy Bottom crowd might actually get honest and useful information from diplomats in the field. Good luck with that going forward, ditto with any foreign source actually confiding in an American.

    I don't get the need to reconcile this with Daniel Ellsberg. The 60's are over, dude! Reconcile it with national security interests, and with the fact that this blows the cover (and possibly the lives) of thousands of Valerie Plames.

  4. Oh, and I like James Taranto's Best of the Web comment today:

    Two Papers in One!

    * "The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won't be posted here."--New York Times, on the Climategate emails, Nov. 20, 2009

    * "The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington. . . . The Times believes that the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match."--New York Times, on the WikiLeaks documents, Nov. 29, 2010

    You like to throw treason comments around like nickels. Maybe one is warranted here?