So When will Dick Cheney be charged with Espionage? His Crime was the Same as Snowden’s

The US government charged Edward Snowden with theft of government property and espionage on Friday.

Snowden hasn’t to our knowledge committed treason in any ordinary sense of the term. He hasn’t handed over government secrets to a foreign government.

His leaks are being considered a form of domestic spying. He is the 7th leaker to be so charged by the Obama administration. All previous presidents together only used the charge 3 times.

Charging leakers with espionage is outrageous, but it is par for the course with the Obama administration.

The same theory under which Edward Snowden is guilty of espionage could easily be applied to former vice president Dick Cheney.

Cheney led an effort in 2003 to discredit former acting ambassador in Iraq, Joseph Wilson IV, who had written an op ed for the New York Times detailing his own mission to discover if Iraq was getting uranium from Niger. (The answer? No.)

Cheney appears to have been very upset with Wilson, and tohave wished to punish him by having staffers contact journalists and inform them that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was secretly a CIA operative. While Cheney wasn’t the one whose phone call revealed this information, he set in train the events whereby it became well known. (Because Cheney’s staff had Plame’s information sitting around in plain sight, Armitage discovered it and then was responsible for the leak, but he only scooped Libby and Rove, who had been trying to get someone in the press to run with the Plame story.

What Cheney did in ordering his aides Scooter Libby and Karl Rove to release the information about Plame’s identity was no different from Snowden’s decision to contact the press.

And yet, Cheney mysteriously has not been charged with Espionage. Hmmm….

33 Responses

  1. It’s called selective outrage. Remember back in 2010 when two AIPAC employees skated on espionage charges? The outrage was not that top secrets had been passed along to Israel by these men, the outrage, by Dershowitz and the other protectors of the land given to Jews by God, was that the men had been charged at all. The legal eagles shrugged and said Israel and the US are so tight…the two countries actually pass information to each other all the time, where’s the harm?

    It’s not unexpected that our Big Brother government would choose to bring charges against an individual who doesn’t have the influence of AIPAC or the Dickster.

  2. I wish I didn’t; but I see the reason as this; how goes Cheney, goes the rest of the cabal. In other words, the collapse of the whole machine.
    Who in this present (and recent past) political structure isn’t guilty of the most heinous of crimes?
    Unfortunately it goes way back; so where to start and where to end?
    The best we can hope for, IMO, is an end to this behavior going forward.
    Oh, sorry, I nodded off and must have been dreaming; never mind…

    • The Obama Administration can’t really investigate/prosecute the crimes of the Bush Administration because the Obama Administration is guilty of lots of the same crimes.

  3. The national motto is now “Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi,” not “E Pluribus Unum.”

    Sorry.

  4. Wasn’t what the information Cheney & Friends disgorged more in line with what Mr Kiriakou was indicted for and convicted of, namely, revealing a covert officer’s identity?

    Bythe way, I encourage readers to take a look at Kiriakou’s Letter From Loretto Prison to his attorney, Jesselyn Radack, here:
    link to dissenter.firedoglake.com

  5. Per someone I used to know, the operative sentence is “When YOU to that, it’s WRONG — when I do that, it’s DIFFERENT.”

    Evil is always exempt from prosecution.

  6. The US government is spying on its citizens in contravention of the Constitution’s fourth amendment and Edward Snowden is charged with spying? We are through the looking glass here people. Exposing US government violations of the Constitution is now a crime.

    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.

    • What is the remedy for an American government gone off the rails? We have not had to face that question in this country for a long time. The level of lying and disinformation, over several administrations, has reached such proportions that we can no longer meaningfully apply the term ‘democracy’ to what we do here. Maybe it’s democracy-lite… or dictatorship-lite.

  7. A few days ago, Senator Dan Coates (R-IN) accused Snowden of violating his oath and breaking the law. According to Senator Robert Byrd’s speech before the vote to authorize Bush to go to war (October 2002) the senators would be violating their oaths to uphold the Constitution if they voted for this authorization. Somewhere around 70 percent of Congress did just that. As for breaking the law, Bush and Cheney did just that when they started getting data from Verizon and AT&T, but Congress made that retroactively legal instead of charging them, Verizon and AT&T with breaking the law.

    Indeed:

    War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.

    Welcome to our brave new world

  8. …so in addition to the military industrial complex (MIC) and prison industrial complex (PIC) we now are blessed, apropos of the Noir subject of this post and as an adjunct to the other two, the dossier initiating complex (DIC). And people used to actually bless a lot of the Alphabet Agencies, a couple of generations ago…

  9. Ah, nostalgia. You’re taking us back. Back even before the the time when all of Obama’s “left” supporters seemed to assume if elected he would use the bully pulpit to get the legal gears in motion for trial and punishment of war crimes rather than the “let’s move on” theme which assisted him in , e.g., increasing drastically his enemy-making drone campaign and his completely unproductive surge in Afghanistan.

  10. I wonder whether the terrorists learned anything new, that would affect their operations. For years we have been using every surveillance technology known to find and destroy would be terrorists and other enemies. The Taliban, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and our adversaries in Iraq have been exposed to our surveillance systems on a daily basis for over ten years (over twenty if you include the Iraq sanction period).

    Maybe I am naive to suppose that the terrorists, enemies, and their supporting communities, knew, prior to Snowden, that we are trying to capture every single one of their communications regardless of the transmission method used, and are very good at it.

    If that is so, Snowden is guilty informing the populations of the US and the rest of the world that the good guys are getting surveillance treatment similar to the bad guys, and telling the our enemies nothing that would change their methods.

    Maybe our adversaries are pleased that the data collection is so enormous that the “dot population” is too extreme for the “dot connectors”.

  11. While I agree with the basic point of this article, it strikes me as premised on a false equivalency. Exposing the existence of a massive surveillance infrastructure (minus the names of its operatives and any information that might identify individuals), and blowing a clandestine operatives cover are not the same. What Cheney did is clearly objectively worse.

    • thank you – completely agree – high treason – and cheney said in a documentary about him that he doesnt even think about wether he has done anything wrong… sociopathic… these people that dont think that take our constitution and unravel it are traitors – they are the radicals > terrorists inside the system

  12. Snowden’s lawyers would be well advised to raise ‘selective prosecution’ as a defense because that is what de facto immunity for approved ‘leakers’ is.

  13. I find it interesting that specific reference to Booz Allen Hamilton almost never appears in articles regarding this episode. Somehow the relationship is between the US government (an institution) and a private individual. In fact some news stories incorrectly identify Snowden as a US government employee. But otherwise he is usually identified as a “contractor”.

    Yet he was not where we was as an individual, he was there as an employee of a powerful contracting operation that thus far has been permitted to skate through this unscathed. How many other Snowdens are on the Booz Allen payroll? NSA needs to do a complete audit of Booz Allen activities and the company should be barred from contact with sensitive information until that is complete. Otherwise there may be others, for ideological or mercenary reasons, passing critical material to the Chinese, Soviets, Israelis, Taliban, drug traffickers, and who knows who else. Snowden’s real service to the country may be revealing the extent to which the US government has handled legal authority over American records to private buccaneers exploiting the records, and us, for private profit.

  14. The Obama policy in Syria appears to be getting us into another police action similar to Vietnam where there never
    seemed to e a clear intent to win. The Snowden Leaks do not
    appear to be espionage which is outing covert agents, is it not? Snowdon may have opened a can of worms but the present
    administration appears to go fishing with them. Could the Snowden espionage story be nothing more than a diversion from the facts about Behghasi being made so clear that too
    many presidential secretaries may go to jail for contempt??

  15. Let’s not get confused here. Cheney and Snowden are NOT in the same category. Cheney committed the crime of high treason when he caused to be revealed the identity and mission of Valerie Plame, an active CIA operative who was then involved in a highly sensitive mission in the Middle East. Cheney endangered her life and the lives of many other U.S. operatives around the world. Snowden on the other hand, gave us a heads-up (thank you!) on the NSA illegally spying on us so we could know and make decisions about what to do. When Snowden blew the whistle he was careful not to reveal any names or specific operative details. Other security agencies around the world have learned nothing new. He endangered no lives and did not compromise our national security. All the wailing about him by certain Congress members is merely an attempt to make political hay and/or draw attention away from their own complicity in signing away our precious constitutional rights and freedoms. More wailing is coming from people who do not yet understand how he helped us and made such a huge personal sacrifice to do it. Snowden is entitled to legal protections under our country’s whistleblower laws. Cheney, on the other hand, deserves to receive the ultimate penalty for high treason.

    • thanks so much silver totally agree and valerie was involved in many operations i think at the time plus they connect with people in the field and it made the people in the field vulnerable – has anyone even thought of investigating the fallout from that?

  16. I disagree. What Snowden did revealed something about how our system worked, and his act may well be illegal. But what Cheney and his bunch did was to out a US spy, which is unquestionably an act of Treason.

  17. Looks like the State Department may have dropped the ball by revoking Snowden’s American passport yesterday – only after he was already flown to Moscow by an Aeroflot jet.

  18. i am wondering if the DOJ and the whitehouse ties can be severed to some degree – this whitehouse and DOJ seem to be one entity even with bush the DOJ posited some questions to the whitehouse maybe we need new structures to block this kind of unification of the executive branch and the DOJ

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