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Tag Archives: sensitive information

There is no treason!

Stop it. Just stop it! 

I get it. You hate Trump. You think he never should have been elected. You think he’s a terrible president, completely unsuited for the White House, and this latest revelation that he shared sensitive information provided to the United States by the Israelis to the Russians confirms your assertion that he is dangerous and should never be trusted with classified information. 

I get it. The glaring hypocrisy of Republicans cheering as former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn led chants of “lock her up!” at the Republican National Convention last year for her spilling classified SAP information on unclassified email (something he inappropriately did himself in 2010 without authorization), even as they defend the current revelation about the information provided to the Russians, is a bit much. 

But let’s get something straight here: it’s NOT treason!

Stop screaming “TREASON” from the rooftops. It shows you don’t have a clue about the legal definition of the word, and it shows your lack of understanding about how classified information is released and declassified.

My friend Charlie Martin a few days ago correctly explained the meaning of “treason” as described in the Constitution. 

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Not a single report asserts that the President did any of this. He certainly did not levy war against the United States, and he certainly did not give aid and comfort to the enemy. 

He met with high-level officials from a country that’s admittedly an adversary, as is his prerogative as the leader of this country. We are not at war with Russia, even though we’ve certainly seen references to Cold War 2.0. And let’s remember one very important fact:

THE PRESIDENT IS THE ULTIMATE CLASSIFICATION AUTHORITY. As the Supreme Court ruled in 1988 in Department of the Navy vs. Egan, “His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President...” 

Don’t believe me? Read the 2009 Executive Order 13526

Technically and legally Trump did nothing “improper.” The White House said as much, and that is a fact. He did not reveal sources and methods, and he did not endanger any military operations. 

Depending on what kind of information was revealed, it was likely ill advised, and it was probably obvious where it came from. It could damage our intelligence-sharing relationships. Reports are that the sensitive information about an ISIS laptop plot came from the Israelis, and that they’re not happy about the President’s unilateral decision to share it with Russia. 

The Israeli Ambassador, however, publicly lauded his country’s relationship with the United States. Fact is we just don’t know what kind of impact this will have on our relationships with other nations’ intelligence services – and won’t, because we will never know what they won’t share. 

We do know that in the era of WikiLeaks and Snowden and Manning, our own intelligence agencies are more loath to share information among themselves – one of the problems highlighted in the 9-11 Commission’s report. I can’t imagine our allies won’t have similar concerns. Manning’s leaks certainly impacted our efforts in Afghanistan and endangered lives. 

I can see our allies’ logic if they do decide to limit the information they share: the United States can’t even keep a pissant, sniveling private from bringing a Lady Gaga CD into a SCIF and copying classified information, and their President just casually drops sensitive information to an adversary; why should we trust them to safeguard ours?

That said, your puerile screeching about treason makes you sound like uninformed dolts, and the fact that he is legally authorized to release and declassify information, makes his conversation – no matter how ill advised – is not an impeachable offense. 

The more you vomit about reason and impeachment in this case, the more you sabotage your own credibility. 

So just STOP IT!

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