The Corner

What’s a Modern John Adams to Do?

Why, hire private investigators to take surveillance photos of CIA agents and hand them off to other latter-day Adamses, who then showed them to top members of al-Qaeda — thereby identifying for the terrorists the agency’s interrogators and, potentially, tipping the terrorists off to the locations where the agents’ families live. And while the lawyers are at it, why not call the whole enterprise the “John Adams Project.”

Actually, I would call the enterprise — just for starters — a wartime felony violation of the federal law barring disclosure of the identities of U.S. intelligence officers (Title 50, United States Code, Section 421), as well as a wartime felony violation of the espionage act (Title 18, United States Code, Section 793), which prohibits, among other things, obtaining national defense information with reason to know it will be used to the injury of the United States (including taking and using photographs “of anything connected with the national defense”).

In the Washington Times, Bill Gertz has more on the indefensible Gitmo Bar and its indispensable DOJ protectors. To summarize, a cabal of the enemy’s volunteer lawyers, led by the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and calling itself the “John Adams Project,” is alleged to have hired investigators who staked out CIA agents believed (no doubt based on classified discovery in the detainee court cases) to have been interrogators. The investigators snapped pictures of the CIA agents — in some instances, apparently, in the vicinity of their homes where they reside with their families — and gave them to the lawyers, who, in turn, got them to other members of the Gitmo Bar (including at least some military lawyers) who showed them to top al-Qaeda detainees, enabling them to identify the CIA agents.

The scandal was uncovered because there are a lot of the photos and they’ve evidently been circulating around the detention camp, so some were discovered and seized by military guards. The CIA went appropriately ballistic over the patent security breach. But the Justice Department — which, as we’ve been noting, is rife with lawyers who volunteered their services to the detainees during the Bush years — insisted that the security breach was no big deal.

This has caused another round of fighting between the Intelligence Community the Justice Department — the IC is already under siege because Attorney General Eric Holder has reopened investigations against CIA interrogators despite the fact that the cases were previously vetted and closed by professional prosecutors because of a lack of evidence of criminal wrongdoing. One top DOJ official, Donald Vieira (a former Democratic counsel on the House Intelligence Committee) has now had to recuse himself for reasons that have not been explained.

I wonder if this is what Ken Starr & Co. had in mind when they analogized the Gitmo Bar to John Adams.

In any event, look on the bright side: No matter what happens to this investigation, the Left’s lawyers now have photos they can use for the “reckoning” Holder promised against the Bush administration. Anyone doubt that the Center for Constitutional Rights, among other modern John Adamses, will try to use the photos to buttress its efforts to get some foreign tribunal to charge the CIA and Bush officials with “torture” and other war crimes?

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