Secrets That Aren't Secret

Friday, June 08, 2012


The White House announced this week that they’d killed Al Qaeda’s number 2 operative, but, following standard operating procedure, would not tell reporters how they'd killed him. Why? Because they killed him by targeted drone strike, a program which is widely known about but still technically classified. The New York Times reporter Scott Shane tells Bob that the administration's coy attitude towards classified secrets is stifling public debate.


Scott Shane

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [6]

How ironic that in the same week's segment where you observe how published stories that are found to be false remain more prominent than their corrections long after the fact, you then go on to say, "as opposed to being fed the story Scooter Libby style."

It was, of course, Richard Armitage and not Scooter Libby that leaked Valerie Plame's name, as the Special Investigator eventually disclosed.

But my then, the press had latched onto the notion that it was Mr. Libby, and even now they can't be disabused of this.

Jun. 14 2012 07:13 PM

It was nice of Bob to call this an "Obama Doctrine," but isn't the reason for leaking all of this material remarkably obvious? Understanding the "doctrine" starts by reversing the question: Other than to help Obama’s campaign, what possible motive could there be?

None. All roads lead to the campaign, all the more so because the Times puts re-election boss David Axelrod at the “kill list” meetings. He denies being there, but the paper insists he was. So why isn't the press going after those White House attendance logs?

Jun. 13 2012 11:29 AM

And no mention in the story about questioning the efficacy of the strikes – like how much intelligence we get, etc – like you did when you covered (again) waterboarding:

Of course, drone strikes mean that the administration has adopted a "kill, not capture" policy, forsaking the intelligence gains of capturing suspects for an approach that leaves no one alive to pose a threat.

I'm just trying to help y'all out... Because when President Romney uses these same techniques, it'll look real weak to start doing these stories, right?

Jun. 13 2012 11:26 AM

It's curious how the report mentions targeted drone strikes, but moves onto the leaks being the issue. That never stopped OTM from passing judgment on the techniques being used in the war against terror before:

So how about a Word Watch segment on "targeted drone attacks" just like you did on "waterboarding?" No curiosity about how the Obama administration has widened the target and contorted the language to assume that, with their "signature strikes," anyone in the area of a drone strike must be "up to no good" and therefore a militant?

And there is no mention in the story, as you have in the past, about how these strikes should be categorized:

So how about a segment that looks at how a guy who campaigned against the use of torture, the rendition of terrorist suspects at CIA-run black sites, the denial of basic legal rights to prisoners in Guantánamo, and said that justice was not arbitrary ( has recategorized military actions such that it allows him to wage a private war on individuals outside the authorization of Congress?

Jun. 13 2012 11:23 AM
namsmog from near Galveston Bay

NRO's budget is so black/large it is incomprehensible. NSA's new facility in UT is beyond belief. And, who knows about any of this?? Only the Shadow...

Jun. 10 2012 06:20 PM

"Targeted drone attack" (shrug), no authorization from the US Congress (yawn) constant leaking of classified military information for possible political benefit (nothing to see here).

The poor news media must be suffering an awful paroxysm of mixed emotions. Politically they want Obama to win yet a President Romney means they can go back to being hard hitting investigative journalists again.
How can possible violations of the US Constitution and dangers to national security today compare to uncovering the next "Scooter" Libby in a Republican administration?

Jun. 09 2012 12:10 PM

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