Priorities

Do you ever stop and wonder whether our nation’s security priorities are a little out of whack? Maybe need to be re-adjusted or given a reality check every so often – at least more often than they currently seem to be? Just a bit ago, we learned that the TSA missed a fully-loaded Glock that sailed right through the scanners at Houston airport. Remember that as you get “randomly selected for additional screening” or offered a choice between a public groping and being irradiated as you head off for vacation or to visit family for the holidays. I don’t expect perfection from human beings, but a thing as large, heavy and obvious as a Glock pistol? While we have to buy 3oz bottles of stuff and worry about images of our naked bodies hanging around on government computers (at least) for who knows how long? Priorities. Either make us actually safe, or quit harassing everyone who flies by plane.

Similarly, just now, via the AP, we learn that the CIA station chief in Pakistan has had to flee the country after his cover was blown by the Pakistani court system in a lawsuit where he was accused by name “of killing civilians in missile strikes.” I’ve no idea whatsoever whether the CIA station chief in Pakistan is actually guilty of killing civilians in drone strikes, or whether – if he is – it can be proven that it was intentional. They are serious charges, even if proven ultimately groundless. But what’s not at all unclear is that the position of CIA station chief in Pakistan is a US intel asset of ENORMOUS value, not easily replaced, as the AP article notes:

The station chief in Islamabad operates as a secret general in the U.S. war against terrorism. He runs the Predator drone program targeting terrorists, handles some of the CIA’s most urgent and sensitive tips and collaborates closely with Pakistan’s ISI, one of the most important relationships in the spy world.

Why bring that up? Priorities. What do I mean? Well, meanwhile, back stateside, we fret without evidence and build cases against WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange, on the half-baked notion that he’s cost – or will cost – lives, by leaking previously classified US documents. There are many people in a far better position than I am to estimate whether Assange’s actions to date will cost lives in the future, but it’s important to remember that no one – literally, no one – is claiming that his actions so far have cost anyone their life. That’s not a small point, because it’s quite clear that the US government considers Assange an enormous threat (whether it’s truly to US lives, as they claim, or merely to their own ability to keep secrets is unclear). Since this is the case, there’s little doubt that if a credible case could be made that Assange’s actions through WikiLeaks had cost even a single American life so far, that case would already have been made. Charges would have been filed. None have been, no such specific accusations have been made.

Again, priorities. There is (or should be) no doubt in anyone’s mind that the loss of the CIA station chief in Pakistan is an enormous setback for the US anti-terror efforts in the region. Depending upon what other information or names were leaked in this Pakistani lawsuit, it may already be the case that other previously-covert CIA personnel have lost their lives as a result. We would likely never learn such information (unless Assange leaks it, LOL). Doesn’t mean that it’s happened for certain, only that it’s well within the realm of possibility that someone either has or will lose their life over this. And it’s unquestionably true that the US has suffered a loss which will cost millions of dollars and a significant amounts of time to make up for, by this leak in Pakistani court. Yet I will bet you any amount you name that no calls will be made, either by the US government or the American press, for the US to take measures anywhere near the level of severity of the ones being considered and recommended against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Priorities. We could use a good dose of them across the board right now, in this country.