Three Sides To Every Coin, Rep. Loudermilk Edition

As President Trump tries to distract the media kittens with a laser pointer aimed the leaks from the intelligence community, it’s important to keep a couple of facts in mind, and bring perspective on the debate. It’s not a question of the “leaks” story vs. the “Flynn” story -they’re both important stories, each deserving of their own public airing. Let’s look at the “leaks” story first. 

The deep state in Washington, DC, right now.

We all agree that government has to have some secrets -some things that are not publicly known, kept under wraps in order to keep the nation and its people safe.  Georgia’s Congressman Barry Loudermilk (R-Cassville) supports this, and as a former Air Force intelligence officer, he has more than a little expertise in this regard. 

Rep. Loudermilk told the AJC “…that the more burning question was the fact that American intelligence officials were leaking information to the media.

The second-term lawmaker, who worked in intelligence for a portion of his eight-year stint in the Air Force, said the leakers should be “hunted down, fully investigated and sent to jail for a very, very long time.”

“This is very potentially a treasonous act within our intelligence community,” Loudermilk said in an interview Wednesday. “… These are the types of things that happen in Third World countries, in banana republics.”

As statements go, that’s pretty nuance-free, and I don’t think Rep. Loudermilk would be selected to serve as a juror should any of the leakers every face trial.  But 

there’s another side to this debate. What to do if the leakers believed they were acting in the best interest of the country? A person expressing that viewpoint was also named Barry Loudermilk -who was a candidate in 2013 when he said this about Edward Snowden to the AJC:

You’ve got to ask, is he a traitor or is he a patriot?” said Loudermilk, who answered his own question. He compared Snowden to this country’s Founding Fathers.

“They met the definition of both. [Snowden] is kind of in that position. Has he violated the laws of the United States? Has he divulged secrets? Yeah, but the secrets he divulged are activities that the government should not be doing,” said Loudermilk, an Air Force veteran who monitored snooping U.S. satellites over the Soviet Union and China in the 1990s.

Loudermilk declared the collection of data – and more importantly, the storage of that information – as “chilling.”

Until the transcripts of the conversations between Lt. Gen. Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak are released, we can’t really know if the current set of leaks is comparable to what Snowden revealed. Snowden was revealing the existence of a massive government surveillance program, and the current leaks (most likely from the Justice Department, or a Trump administration official with access to DOJ briefings) were aimed at a single American citizen, who supposedly enjoyed 4th Amendment protections when this happened. 

We may not be completely through the looking glass, but we are definitely in a wilderness of mirrors. Every question has at least two answers, and I contacted Rep. Loudermilks office  to get a third. Are leakers good, or bad?  His response: “Whistleblowers who expose unlawful acts by the government to protect the American citizens are upholding their oath to the Constitution, but leakers whose actions violate the constitution and undermine our national security for political purposes should be held accountable.”  

That what one Georgia Congressman says. Feel free to leave your own opinions below.

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