ABC’s Brian Ross had yet another breathless (and misleading) exclusive last night. Fired NSA analyst Russle Tice (apparently stripped of his security clearance and let go last year over “psychological concerns”) is claiming to be “a” source for the NY Times’ NSA story.
Note to the FBI investigators probing the leak: This guy ain’t it. He may have chimed in after the NY Times got the story, but he certainly is not the original leaker. The timing of the story (right before the Patriot Act vote) points to a time-honored pressure tactic by political sources: when your original leak didn’t make it into the paper, to have the originally intended impact (in this case right before the 2004 presidential election to harm President Bush), wait for an opportunity to make political hay. A year goes by and Risen’s source sees the Patriot Act vote as another big opportunity. I’d bet the source threatened the Times that if they didn’t publish that Friday, the story would be given to a competitor.
Mr. Tice certainly isn’t that crafty. Nor is he an expert on the statutes governing surveillance of foreign threats operating domestically or of Constitutional law for that matter. He obviously missed the class on Article II in his high school government class.
Mr. Tice is yet another disgruntled guy who got canned and wants his pound of flesh no matter the cost to our safety and liberty.
ABC should have pointed out in its piece that every President since Jimmy Carter (due to the passage of FISA in 1978) has specifically reserved to himself a Constitutional authority to conduct warrantless surveillance to protect America from foreign threats — including those threats that operate here in the good ol’ US of A. That authority has been upheld in the courts, most recently by the FISA Court of Review’s 3-0 smackdown of the FISA Court which stated that they “take for granted” the president’s authority to conduct such surveillance.
Nice try ABC, but you get a failing grade…again.