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Issa Seriously Needs to Go

Darrell Issa, the powerful chairman of the House Oversight Committee, really needs to go. He has used his position for one partisan witch hunt after another and now, in his zeal to damage the Obama administration over the Benghazi attacks, has released documents revealing the identity of Libyans working with the U.S. government and exposed them to reprisals.

Issa posted 166 pages of sensitive but unclassified State Department communications related to Libya on the committee’s website afternoon as part of his effort to investigate security failures and expose contradictions in the administration’s statements regarding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

“The American people deserve nothing less than a full explanation from this administration about these events, including why the repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored by this administration. Americans also deserve a complete explanation about your administration’s decision to accelerate a normalized presence in Libya at what now appears to be at the cost of endangering American lives,” Issa and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) wrote today in a letter to President Barack Obama.

But Issa didn’t bother to redact the names of Libyan civilians and local leaders mentioned in the cables, and just as with the WikiLeaks dump of State Department cables last year, the administration says that Issa has done damage to U.S. efforts to work with those Libyans and exposed them to physical danger from the very groups that had an interest in attacking the U.S. consulate.

There certainly needs to be a real investigation into what happened at Benghazi, one that looks both at possible intelligence failures and at why there wasn’t more security at a location that was clearly under a significant risk of attack. But it must be done responsibly, not in a slipshod manner designed only for political advantage in the middle of a campaign.

Comments

  1. laurentweppe says

    And he’s not been given the Bradley Manning treatment?: that’s it! That’s the proof that the Obama administration is soft on terror /sarcasm

  2. imrryr says

    “The American people deserve nothing less than a full explanation from this administration about these events, including why the repeated warnings about a worsening security situation appear to have been ignored by this administration.”

    File this under ‘Things Darrell Issa Did Not Say Immediately After 9/11′.

  3. Chiroptera says

    Did Issa release the documents during a speech on the House floor? ‘Cause if not, he has no immunity from penalties for violations of applicable US law.

  4. says

    Libyans working with the U.S. government

    If they were Americans in the US working for the Libyan government would they be “traitors” and subject to harsh punishment?

  5. says

    I’m really racking my brains about this. If we accept the idea that “spies are sneaky and bad” then spies are sneaky and bad regardless of what side they are on. In which case, outing Valerie Plame was a good thing, regardless of whether or not she was ours. If we accept the idea that “treason is bad” then it doesn’t matter who the traitor is (whether it’s a traitor on our side or not) right?

    BTW, I don’t think it’s compatible with the idea of democracy for a government to engage in secret diplomacy or espionage. It may not even be compatible with the idea of a social contract, since I cannot morally give consent to a government to do stuff on my behalf that it keeps secret from me.

  6. raven says

    Libyans working with the U.S. government.

    Oh Cthulhu. People get killed when info like this gets leaked!!!

    In Libya, right now, people get killed for a lot less. Seems like everyone has a militia except the government.

  7. says

    Chiroptera:
    “Did Issa release the documents during a speech on the House floor? ‘Cause if not, he has no immunity from penalties for violations of applicable US law.”

    I hope those laws include charging him, trying him, jailing him. But if it only means forcing him to resign his seat, I won’t object. One way or another he has to go.

  8. raven says

    Media Ignores GOP Rep. Darryl Issa’s Alleged Criminal Past – Car …
    magic3400. newsvine. com/_…/12343902-media-ignores-gop-rep-dar…

    21 Jun 2012 – Rep. Darrell Issa’s past includes arrests for weapons charges and auto theft, suspicions of arson, and accusations of intimidation with a gun, but …

    Darell Issa has a long history of anti-social behavior and criminal. Read it above.

    His wikipedia article has some of it, but it has been thoroughly and blatantly scrubbed by…Darrell Issa and his flunkies.

    It’s real simple how he became a rep. He also managed to become a 1/2 billionaire by starting a business. He isn’t stupid obviously, just an anti-social personality with what looks like poor impulse control and a contempt for the rule of law.

  9. Larry says

    Back in the 80′s, Robert Hanssen, who was working for the FBI but was a Soviet agent, gave up the names of a number of Soviet nationals who were spying for the US. Many, if not all, were later executed. It was a grievous set back for US intelligence. Now I don’t know the importance of these Libyan individuals who were exposed by Issa but, when they are murdered, their blood will directly be on the hands of Issa.

  10. John Hinkle says

    I remember when Waxman wrote letters to Bush Jr. They were ignored and down the memory hole they went. Perhaps Obama should do the same.

    If someone presses the administration for answers, they should say that they don’t publicly discuss internal matters of national security. Then let it all slide down the memory hole.

    Hey, it worked for Bush.

  11. fastlane says

    Based on past experience, I’m going to guess that Issa is also in favor of waterboarding.

    I think we all know what happens next….. :p

  12. says

    I’m really racking my brains about this…

    It’s really not that complicated: if someone takes a significant risk to spy for the US, or assist in any US action, then that alone means the US has an obligation to take reasonable measures to minimize the risk to that person. (If we don’t want to protect such people, or think their actions are evil, then we shouldn’t work with them in the first place.) I’m sure our assets/sympathizers in Libya both demanded and got such a promise, explicitly, from their handlers, as the price of their assistance. Issa broke that promise, thus deterring others from trusting or helping the US, making the US less trustworthy in its dealings with others, and exposing people who try to help us to some very nasty consequences. Issa aided and abetted enemies of the US, and undermined our position abroad, just like any other foreign spy who exposes the identity of our assets to our enemies, and that makes him guilty of treason.

  13. bullet says

    “There certainly needs to be a real investigation into what happened at Benghazi”

    I’m sure Goonsquad, et. al. are on it. And I trust them to get to the truth of the circumstances of vilerat’s death faster than anyone in the US government.

  14. says

    @Raging Bee
    OK, that makes sense; if the argument is that the morality of the affair only has to do with the expectations of the party(ies) involved and not their actions.

    I’ve been fascinated by this question since reading about Kim Philby as a kid. Philby always supposedly maintained that he never did anything wrong and was never a traitor – because his allegiance had always been to the USSR; it was simply that the UK made a mistake in misunderstanding that. Seemed like it was a bit sketchy and I’m pretty sure they’d have continued to misunderstand him all the way to the gallows.

  15. Tony says

    Enough whining about Issa. You want him to go, help support his challenger, Jerry Tetalman, the Democratic candidate in the CA 49th District.

    Tetalman will be at a big Planned Parenthood rally happening this Friday, October 26th at the Balboa Park in San Diego with none other than Rush Limbaugh’s worst enemy, Sandra Fluke. If that alone isn’t a reason to vote for him, haha!

    If Ed’s readers supported Jerry’s challenge and shared this with their friends in the 49th, we might have an actually chance to push Issa out. Do it!

    http://jerryforcongress2012.com

  16. says

    I think that some enterprising individual should be assembling a list of the various peccadilli (ae, ouses?) of the ruling classes (elected)–of both parties,and the Pauls, as well, too,also–and simply make that information available to the general public. Things like the Beck,Mittmoroni,Buttars axis of teh banal evil. And just, y’know, ask the questions!

  17. says

    Philby always supposedly maintained that he never did anything wrong and was never a traitor – because his allegiance had always been to the USSR…

    That’s not quite what I heard. As I read it (from several books about the Cambridge Five and related matters), the Five maintained they were always patriots, and never traitors, because by helping the USSR win WW-II they were helping the other Allies, including their own country, the UK. They were working against fascism, just as their country was, and that was the main (or only) reason they went into spying in the first place.

    And in fact, there was practically nothing the Five did, before, during or after WW-II, that was actually harmful to the UK or US. Harmful to certain UK covert ops in Eastern Europe, certainly, but those ops were ill-conceived and doomed to failure anyway, and not necessary to any legitimate interest of the UK. But they never acted (and never wanted) to overthrow their own government and replace it with a Stalinoid regime.

    OTOH, their actions were still illegal according to UK law, so if they had been caught, they would have had to be prosecuted under UK law.

  18. says

    OK, that makes sense; if the argument is that the morality of the affair only has to do with the expectations of the party(ies) involved and not their actions.

    Actually, my argument is that the morality of a particular spy’s actions — and the morality of the op he serves — is a completely separate issue from the morality of how the spy is treated by the country he works for. If a spy serves us honestly and gives us what we expect from him, then we are obligated to treat him decently. If his actions serve an immoral or stupid objective, that’s more our fault than his.

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