The crime, not the leak

November 11, 2005

Stop the leaking! cried House and Senate Republican leaders this week, demanding an immediate bicameral investigation into who told The Washington Post about the CIA's "hidden global internment network" of the disappeared. We've been breached! cried the CIA to the Justice Department the same day, asking it to look into the leak. How about an immediate investigation into the secret prisons? That's the deeper crime.

Moral people should leak information about crimes done in the name of the United States. The existence of prisons run by an agency that officially does not run prisons, that is secret even from the International Red Cross (the acknowledged monitor of cross-national prisoners), that holds prisoners indefinitely and that is accused of torturing them, breaks many U.S. and international laws. That's worth telling a reporter about.

Of course, there is a danger that the leaker may abuse the reporter's promise of anonymity to spread lies. But that is why reporters seek second and third sources, as was done in the report under question.

That this nation may run a network of brutal prisons is the affront. Investigate that.

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