Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tom Cotton to the New York Crimes

At the gym Rose approached me with fire in her eyes. Damn that newspaper, she said, how dare they sell out America. You must write about it!!

Well, I don’t generally say no to Rose, and I am just as furious about it as she is. It is patently clear that the leaker(s) committed treason. He or she or they should be rounded up, tried and executed. The NY and LA Times may escape the technical commission of treason but they exposed top secret information that endangers our country and should be prosecuted to the limits of what the law allows. A couple of decades in Leavenworth seems appropriate for the publishers and reporters.

On Powerline blog I found this letter from Lt. Tom Cotton, a soldier in Baghdad, to the NY Times that captures my feelings.

Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:

Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary.

As your story states, the (US government) program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion -- or next time I feel it -- I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

Very truly yours,
Tom Cotton
Baghdad, Iraq

PalosVerdesBlog readers: I think that we have found another brave soldier to befriend.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, the first inklings of true fascism, silencing the press over a non-story. It's as if the terrorists had no idea we were tracking their finances! No one has a problem with money being tracked abroad, but if it's going to be on US citizens without independent oversight, it's a system that trespasses against the 4th amendment. The wingnuts don't care though! They would have no problem if our government simply took over the media and spread lies. Funny too how it's the NYtimes that help sell the WMD story that got us into this mess. Another thing, hate to say it, but with all the bogus chain letters we get from "soldiers" supporting the war, you have to wonder if this guy even exists? Of course,we'll probably never know, and besides, the wingnuts don't care if it's true or not.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never seen anybody that knows what they're talking about accuse the press of espionage and hold the people with security clearances who actually leak the information blameless. I'll bet you a dollar its either a hoax or a right wing flunky with a fresh set of talking points.

Its laughable. The program is so successful! How successful was it? Sure seem to be lots of roadside bombs for the last 3 years even with the plan. They even have one in their story that they're trying to blame on the NYT.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad to know we have such excellent people as Tom Cotton on our side in Iraq. He has put a new face to who is there with his magnificent credentials.


12:06 PM  
Blogger gary daily said...

Here is Jeremy Parsons, a truly representative example of the men and women serving in Iraq. With Tom Cotton, Jeremy is also a hero. But perhaps his choices and his feelings about his second tour in this waste of a war differ from those of the small and dwindling numbers Tom Cotton represents. Jeremy is fighting and surviving in a war not of his choosing because his life and the economy in this country pushed him away from home and off into a corner of a world that is no longer (if it ever was) happy to see him. His mother Mona Parsons isn’t on-line. It would be chilling to hear her express herself on the chicken-hawks that sent her son to war.

War Is Personal: Mona Parsons/Age 52/Mt. Vernon, Ohio
photo Nation | posted June 21, 2006 (July 10, 2006 issue) full version at:

“Honorably discharged after four years, Jeremy earned his high school equivalency, married, had two children, tried college, worked in a series of what he called "on-and-off, going-nowhere" jobs. Then about a year and a half ago, after a particularly hurtful bout of unemployment, he re-enlisted. He did this without first informing Maricar, his sister, or his mother, knowing that they wouldn't approve.

"It's time," Mona called out. Jeremy gave his sleeping children a last hug and kiss, and went looking for Maricar, who had abruptly left the room. Finding her slumped over on the couch, he bent down, took her face in his hands, tried to console her. He knew all too well that she had suffered from depression the whole time he was away, that she had anxiety attacks, couldn't sleep, had recurring nightmares. She would hear gunshots, see cars exploding, watch as men with guns and knives placed a long, black hood over his head.

“Jeremy cleared his throat and pressed against her. He told Maricar that his family loved her, that he loved her. She grew rigid. "If you love me," she said, "you won't go."

“The drive down to the Columbus airport was quick, despite the gusty winds and the rain. At the gate Jeremy and Mona held on to each other. They hardly spoke. Then Mona watched from a distance as her son put his belongings through the X-ray, pulled his boots back on, trudged away.”

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wince, that's an odd posting from Powerline. From reports of the looting of munitions centers during the invasion, and the report that the Baathists cached arms all over the counrty before the invasion, I'm not sure why the insurgency would need to "buy" munitions or mortars and the like. Similarily, it's not like they need money for training, there were many veterans in the country who would be able to use this stuff or train others to do the same.

I think there are lots of reasons to track financial transactions (and such systems are not new ... I've worked extensievley in the software end of the financial world and I know what's going on), but catching insurgents in Iraq? That's just silliness.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Ray Rose said...

Again with the extereme left Cool-Aid drinking Anonys. Bill, I don't know how you put up with them day after day.

I guess it is too much to ask of the main stream media to support our country while we are in a time of war. What purpose did that article serve, if not to alert our enemies of another weapon being used against them? Did the American people need to be reminded that our government tracks financial transactions? I didn't.

After all, which side in Iraq keeps killing Journalists?

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's a bummer that this blog has a variety of opinions expressed, many of which of the dissenting variety actually have some interesting things to say. Too bad there aren't more cheerleaders with pompoms to puff up Bill's ego!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Bill Lama said...

Ever notice that I don't call you nasty names?

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Bill, It's difficult to imagine that they thought it was OK to "inform us" of this activity. I hope this type of reporting will bring them down. I also enjoy the good stuff you write about. Balanced and fair.


4:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on my friend. Tom Cotton is one of my heros!!!!!!!This made my day!!!!!!


4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill, Loved this post, it expresses my opinion of the "Crimes." I hope they lose a huge number of subscriptions from this. The libs are now saying that Al Queda knew all this, hogwash, they knew that the US was following the money trail but not to what extent, now they do. I think the thing that infuriates me the most is how blatant they were when Bush asked them not to print the story and they did. I hope the paper goes bankrupt, I haven't trusted their reporting for such a long time and this just substantiates this terrible rag, I trust the National Inquirer more!


4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Bill,
I agree with you on this matter. These independent stupid newspaper journalists are inflicting unnecessary harm and difficulty to our security and protection from the evil doers. I'm confident that the justice department will come up with a proper "freedom of speech policy" guideline(very clear)for war time writing. I also hope that the leaker(s) will be found soon and punished.

I am proud of Lt.Tom Cotton but I feel sorry too,he faces life and death conditions in a hot, unfamiliar far away country and if this is not enough he gets kicked by these major newspapers, that he protects. I hope (I'm sure that he does) that many many people in America love him, appreciate his service and wish him a safe return home.

Thank you for this.

5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, the troops have arrived! Wave the pompoms everyone! Yay!

5:16 PM  
Blogger Free Agency Rules said...


Said " silencing the press over a non-story."

The person in charge of this program, I don't recall his name, was interviewed on the Radio a few days after this happened and said that "knowing we were tracking financial data was known by them, but the details of how and the assumption by them that since they had been doing it a certian way for the last two years was a sign that they were being smart about it and could continue" was working and it was leading us to be able to "map" dozens of the branches of the terrorists.

That is why it is not a "NON-STORY!"

Explain please how if it was a "non story" then why was it necessary to print it even after members of both parties, including Mr. Murtha asked them to please not print it as it would harm our efforts?

Yes, that is right, even the left leaning guys in Congress, asked them to not print this "non story!"

You can't have it both ways anon.

Either it was a story, or it was a non story. If it was a non story then why did even the Dems ask that it not be printed?

And if it was a "story." Then what illegal activity of this part of the intelligence weapon was happening?

It was Legal, and approved by memebers of both parties!

Get it? Probably not, you guys hate Bush so much you are going to get many solders and possibly us killed.

Vey smart....


9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No FAR, I think there's a better chance of you being killed on your way to the Intelligent Design convention than being killed in a terrorist attack that was inadvertantly missed because the NYTimes story alerted the terrorists that we were tracking their money. Truly, this is funny stuff on your part. Good stuff kid.

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that Tom Cotton does indeed exist. I work with his mother. That's how I heard about the story. He's a Harvard grad who is now currently in Iraq.

1:13 PM  

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