Power Line: A word from Lt. Cotton

Monday, June 26, 2006
Power Line: A word from Lt. Cotton: "Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:

Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)

Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqi"

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

Very truly yours,

Tom Cotton
Baghdad, Iraq

I copied the whole thing, you can read it all here. I felt like it needed to be said and I couldn't find anything to excerpt. But follow the link back so PL gets the hit.


Barry Dauphin said...


Knucklehead said...

Methinks the NYT is trying to get itself prosecuted. I worry that I'm succumbing to silly conspiracy theorizing but there just doesn't seem to have been any good reason for the NYT to publish this.

The case Keller makes is lame, as is the one Lichtblau makes.

Keller basically says "we did it because we can". His piece drips with elitist condecension and lame argumentation. There are some realy treasures in there so read the whole thing if you can tolerate it. I nearly chocked up my lunch when I saw "It's not our job to pass judgment on whether this program is legal or effective..." What a fat load of pretensious twaddle! If they thought for a second it was illegal and/or ineffective they wouldn't hesitate to pass judgement. What they view as illegal and/or ineffective they'll hammer at from that angle. What is clearly legal and effective needs to be handled with more subtlety; can't have the NYT expressing a positive judgement about anything to do with a Repbublican administration.

Lichtblau (admittedly his defense is delivered second hand via Editor & Publisher) is equally lame. He basically tells us that the administration didn't try as hard to get the NYT forego publishing the story, not even as hard as they did with the previous NSA story and hell, we printed that so why not print this and heck, the LA Times was going to run with it.

These excuses are unsatisfactory. The NYT published this with something else in mind. They aren't even interested in defending it as "journalism". They want the Bu$hitler to take them to court.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

You're right, Knucklehead. They're playing chicken with other people's lives. How lovely.

terrye said...

Man, tyhis guy is pissed. they probably want to persecuted so that they can be martyrs to some cause, but what cause? Most Americans probably agree with this military man, these people should be behind bars.

Buddy Larsen said...

I think GWB oughtta export Keller and the two reporters, together with a Times limo, over to Anbar Province and just make 'em drive the roads until they either repent or get sent to hell.