Top Ten Ways the Beltway Press will treat Gen. Cartwright differently from Snowden

NBC reports that Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright is under investigation as the source for David Sanger’s 2012 New York Times article revealing that the United States is behind the Stuxnet computer virus, which was used to infect computers at Iran’s Natanz nuclear enrichment facilities and at the Bushehr nuclear energy plants and delay their going hot.

High government officials in Washington routinely leak classified information, as part of turf battles inside the government. Cartwright may have been using Sanger to ensure that Stuxnet was not wholly abandoned (it was his baby). That such leaks are so routine, and are part of Washington’s way of doing business, is what makes the harsh espionage charges against people like Edward Snowden so hypocritical. He who is without leaks should cast the first stone.

The Cartwright story (and remember that he is only a suspect) intersects with Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Administration spying in many ways. It seems likely that suspicion is now falling on Cartwright because the NSA knows David Sanger’s phone number and has been looking at everyone he talked to on the phone in the months leading up to his article. We know that the NSA has been repeatedly requesting massive amounts of US phone information and storing it for easy search. Since Sanger’s article is proof that an illegal act was committed, as Obama said at the time, getting a FISA warrant to go through Sanger’s already-stored records would have been child’s play. When the PATRIOT Act was proposed, the FBI promised it would be used only for counter-terrorism. But that promise has for many years rung hollow.

While Osama Ben Laden knew not to use the phone during the last seven years of his life, American reporters and generals thought they were safe. PRISM did not catch Ben Laden because he went off the communications grid, and now anyone who wants to do anything the Federal government considers illicit had better do the same. This simple observation demonstrates that the Obama/ NSA cover story, that they are collecting all these phone records to fight terrorism, makes no sense. The data is most likely to be used against American non-terrorists

Another cautionary tale about NSA warrantless surveillance and Stuxnet is that the program shows how the US government is now a criminal enterprise and entirely willing to take risks that harm ordinary Americans. In 2010 the US government programmers made an error in Stuxnet that allowed it to escape from Iran’s Natanz computers out onto the internet, where it became a pest, infecting ordinary business and home computers around the world, including inside the US. By August, 2010, the worm had infected 100,000 computers in 115 countries in the world. Obama decided not to shut Stuxnet down even after it had caused all this damage. The ordinary consumers and businesses affected ought to sue the US government.

If we can’t trust them not to infect us with worms, why in the world should we trust them with all of our personal information?

Since Cartwright is a member of the inside-the-Beltway elite, you can bet that the courtier press will not treat him the way they have Edward Snowden, even if he proves guilty. Here will be the differences:

1. No one will obsess about the exercise habits of Gen. Cartwright’s wife.

2. Gen. Cartwright will not be characterized as “a 63-year-old hacker.”

3. Gen. Cartwright will not be described as “nerdy” or “flaky.”

4. David Gregory will not ask that David Sanger be prosecuted for espionage because he aided and abetted Cartwright’s leaking.

5. We won’t get stories every day about where in McLean, Virginia, Gen. Cartwright is living.

6. Gen. Cartwright won’t be accused of being a spy for Iran.

7. No lurid stories will be rehearsed on the Sunday afternoon shows about Cartwright’s allegedly overly familiar relationship with a young female aide in 2009, with heavy innuendo as to what the episode said about his reckless character.

8. No FBI informants will be placed inside the elite Alfalfa Club in DC that Cartwright was known to attend.

9. Cartwright’s loyalty to the United States won’t be impugned by anchors or congressmen.

10. Dirt won’t be dug up on David Sanger’s private life in an attempt to discredit his reporting on Cartwright’s Stuxnet.

It’s not what is done. It is who does it that matters in Washington. Even past closeness to power covers a multitude of sins.

( Just for the humorless, I don’t think any of the above 10 things should be done, but these smear techniques also shouldn’t have been deployed against Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian).

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27 Responses

  1. Just for the humorless I think that General Cartwright should be tied to the back of a speedboat with a 30 foot hemp rope and get draged across the ocean to Haiti where he should then be put to work on a surgar plantation under concentration camp like conditions and be prevented from committing suicide. If he survives 40 years of that he can then be shipped off Africa and clean up toxic waste in the Niger River Delta.

    • So you think the American people shouldn’t know when the government is committing acts of war?

  2. Ever since the advent of alternative media back in the 1960s, so-called “real journalists” have poo-poo’d the work done by reporters who didn’t wear suits and have ink-stained fingers.

    So it’s not surprising that today we have the spectacle of David Gregory – who embarrasses the profession every Sunday morning – finger-pointing at a Glenn Greenwald but not a David Sanger. The hypocrisy is astounding.

  3. In both the Cartwright and Snowden cases the emphasis will be on what the individuals did not on what the US government did. Snowden will be painted as a villain while Cartwright will be an example of someone with critical information who got carried away in talking with a reporter, never imagining the reporter and his paper would be so imprudent as to actually publish details. That the US committed what many Americans would consider an act of war had it been done to us will go unaddressed. What we have is a US government demonstrating aggressive behavior toward those we continue to treat as an axis of evil, recklessly toward close allies such as Germany, and without scruples toward the US population. But media and political emphasis will be on Snowden’s maliciousness while “understanding” Cartwright’s deplorable lack of judgment. Snowden will wander in exile (if not worse) while Cartwright’s social invitations will be curtailed for a time.

  4. Here we have the old time methods of ‘law enforcement,’ the most prominent of which is the notion that those most capable of breaking the laws are the ones who are paid to enforce them. It takes a certain talent to be able to finesse the finer points of statutes so that things can be done in a pseudo-legalistic manner. Prison guards employing torture methods that are easily denied or difficultly detected. Cops who can plant evidence (guns, drugs, et cetera) or remove it or even construct a crime scene to effect a desired outcome. Lawyers who are able to interpret the laws in the best possible ways to serve their crooked clients’ needs. Judges … There are many examples of using power or position for personal or political gain, regardless of what’s really right.
    When the government makes a series of laws and then is the only entity that is responsible for employing and monitoring them, well, what does one expect? Who’s in charge of making sure everything is being done as intended in the correct fashion? The Congress? The politically motivated career personnel within an agency? The curious workers who might have some extra time on their hands and who are not – perhaps – as vigilant in the propriety of the system? Even the most crooked of criminals have insulation between the ‘business’ and their own sanctity and safety. Laws are skirted or just plainly ignored in the interests of the intended gain.
    Expecting the government to follow the laws is a hopeful or even idealistic outlook. How many cars or houses or other big-ticket items are sold daily based upon their cosmetic appeal while the items themselves are defective or substandard? The objective is always to obtain results, the means by which the ends are attained are justified in ways that may be separate and distinct from what might be considered to be moral or legal or just plain old right. We have a bunch of people in the Congress who are slapping themselves on the back for the castration of DOMA, many of whom voted for it in the first place!+ Huh?
    When a citizen – ostensibly an owner of the government – takes it upon him- or herself to perform any deed in the interests of doing the right thing, conflicts among options to effect conscientiously desirable ends become pronounced. Sure Eddie could’ve gone through the chain of command to expose wrong-doing but what would the expectation be for immediate and satisfying results? Sibel Edmonds tried this approach and went through hell.* Other whistleblowers have experienced personal and professional deaths as a result of their efforts to right a wrong system. Even being part of the ‘free press’ has its perils. James Hatfield ran into problems following the publication of his book, ‘Fortunate Son.’** Recently, Michael Hastings met his end under less than clear circumstances.*** Cui bono? Those beholding to the American citizenry?
    When the people who pay the bills become the enemies of the State, there is something wrong. The amount of leverage that government agencies try to gain on various citizens is evidence of abuse but, as in the old days of domestic difficulties, it’s ignored or excused. The citizen “children” and “spouses” can get verbally accosted and whooped up on with impunity by “Big Daddy Gubmint.” One outstanding event in recent history involved actress Jean Seberg who was driven to her death because of an implied association with the Black Panthers and the racial identity of her child.****
    The time has come for the government to do the job it was hired to do, to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”^ While Barry O is off exploring islands related to slavery (something having NOTHING to do with his own personal history), he might ought to want to invoke the words of the President who presided over the destruction of that ‘good ol’ boy system’ and apply it to the new good ol’ days!

    [Starting points]
    + link to
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    ^ link to

    • What if “the people” don’t really exist? Or if “the people” was originally fabricated to refer to members of a privileged caste, and they have never accepted the appending of their former slaves and exploitees to their corpus; thus are glad to support war against a broader public?

  5. Muckety gives Cartwright a score of ’96’ — meaning he is considered more influential than 96% of those in their data base:

    James E. Cartwright personal relations:

    Sandee Cartwright – spouse
    Gregory B. Craig – attorney

    Other current James E. Cartwright relationships:

    Aspen Strategy Group – member
    Atlantic Council of the United States – director
    Center for Strategic and International Studies – Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies
    Defense Policy Board – member
    Raytheon Company – director
    James E. Cartwright past relationships:
    Joint Chiefs of Staff – vice chairman
    U.S. Strategic Command – commander
    White House state dinner (11/24/2009) – invited guest
    White House state dinner (6/7/11) – invited guest

    link to

  6. The hypocrisy in all of it is unbearable. Hypocrisy seems to be a growing problem coming out of Washington.

  7. I don’t understand all this cynicism. Our president said clearly and unequivocally a few weeks ago that no one is above the law, and if we can’t believe our president whom else can we believe.

  8. So do I have the formula right?

    It’s only treason when you try to stop your country from waging war; it’s patriotism when you try to get it into one.

    I’m not being sarcastic. If people really believe that peace is more of a threat than war, what can be done?

  9. Meanwhile over in Congress senators suspect General Clapper of the CIA of lying to the Senate. Will he follow the path to a trial as was the case with Roger Clemens who was accused of lying to a House committee? No one is above the law? That just applies to citizens lacking the protections of the White House and Congress. There is a long history of generals and admirals lying with impunity to Congress so Gen. Cartwright will probably be able to relax and enjoy his 4th of July barbecue.

  10. What kind of game is this, Mr. Cole? Why not tabulate the top ten ways Nosferatu casts his spell upon the unwitting victim? Enthrall us like Psycho! We want to be entertained while pulsating with fear, and loathing, shock through our bodies.

    No, scratch that. Let’s talk about the top ten ways the people can rise to self-determination, self-rule, leaving the sociopath elites squirming underfoot. The empire, a mountain of junk waiting to be recycled, along with the imperial sewage.

    • Are you implying Snowden collaborated with China and Russia? What evidence do you have of that? Or, did you just overhear some government official whispering in David Gregory’s ear?

    • I believe you’re working on a different list. Maybe one that talks about the differences between what each of the accused has or may have done instead of the media topic Juan raised. Of course, my own comment below status from that narrow subject too, just without going to 11.

  11. ” The military‚Äôs highest court overturned a murder conviction Wednesday against a Camp Pendleton Marine, Sgt. Lawrence Hutchins III, who has served about half of his 11-year sentence. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces agreed with Sergeant Hutchins, who claimed that his constitutional rights were violated when he was held in solitary confinement without access to a lawyer for seven days during his interrogation in Iraq. He led an eight-man squad accused of kidnapping a retired Iraqi policeman in April 2006, marching him to a ditch and shooting him to death in the village of Hamdania.” link to Too bad such defenses don’t work for leakers who haven’t murdered anyone.

  12. It should now be obvious to everyone now that The Report from Iron Mountain is not a piece of fiction.

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