February 10, 2006

Loose Lips Make Quips

It's been a while since I've gotten political on this site, but this glaring contradiction caught my eye while reading the paper on my morning commute.

Here's CIA director Porter Goss on the op-ed page of today's New York Times:

Revelations of intelligence successes or failures, whether accurate or not, can aid Al Qaeda and its global affiliates in many ways...these disclosures can tip the terrorists to new technologies we use, our operational tactics, and the identities of brave men and women who risk their lives to assist us.

Goss makes a great point: even when we reveal our successes, we risk failure. Print a story saying that we caught a bad guy by listening in on Osama's Baby Phat cell phone and he'll switch to a Treo. (Osama must read the Times; how else to explain my missing paper each morning?)

But then there's this story involving our president, just a few pages away from Goss's editorial. Bush Gives New Details of 2002 Qaeda Plot to Attack Los Angeles:

Although the administration made public the Los Angeles plot in general terms four months ago, Mr. Bush, in a speech to the National Guard Association, disclosed more specific details, including what he said was the planned use of a "shoe bomb" by hijackers to breach the airplane's cockpit door and take over the controls.

Why would the president risk such a blow to the very safety measures Goss calls for in his editorial? The envelope, please:

But Mr. Bush's speech came at a time when Republicans are intent on establishing their record on national security as the pre-eminent issue in the 2006 midterm elections, and when the president is facing questions from members of both parties about a secret eavesdropping program that he describes as pivotal to the war on terrorism.

Long story short: press printing stories about anti-terrorist methods for informational purposes bad, president giving speech about anti-terrorist methods for political purposes good.

Posted by Doug at February 10, 2006 10:09 AM