***updated with video link and more***
Is Senator Harry Reid all that swift when it comes to U.S. Intelligence matters? Last Wednesday, the Minority Leader appeared on KRNV-TV’s “Nevada Newsmakers” program and dropped a stunning revelation. He had been informed just that day that Osama bin Laden was killed in the giant Pakistan earthquake last month. “I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that’s the case, I certainly wouldn’t wish anyone harm, but if that’s the case, that’s good for the world.”
Intelligence analysts tell me that the only proper action by a top U.S. Senate leader who has been given such information is radio silence. If the report is true, such information is best released at a moment of the U.S. government’s choosing. For one thing, as long as the information is tightly held, it can be used to sift out electronic intercepts that might lead to other Al Qaeda leaders. On the other hand, if Mr. Reid’s public speculation proves groundless, it only embarrasses the U.S. and contributes to enemy morale. Here’s hoping Al Qaeda figures aren’t soon appearing on Al Jazeera television chortling about the clueless Mr. Reid…
Betsy recounts other Democrats with loose lips and writes:
Now, let’s think about this story that Reid leaked. He says that he has heard that Osama was killed in the earthquake. I imagine that there are two possibilities here. One possibility is that we have suspicions that Osama was killed – perhaps we’ve intercepted some “chatter” or just haven’t heard anything about him since the earthquake. In that case, we don’t really know that he’s dead and, if he’s not, he’s probably happy for us to be guessing. And, as Fund says, we’d look stupid if it turns out that he is alive and our much vaunted CIA has made another intelligence error.
The other possibility is that we have solid information that he’s dead. Might it not be possible that we would want to keep that information secret for a whole host of reasons? We could have sources or methods of gathering information that we’re protecting. And now Senator Blabbermouth has blown it.
Will we hear an outcry over this leak of national security information? I think we know the answer.
Flashback on another Sen. Blabbermouth moment from May 2005:
The Senate Minority Leader has what we call in our house “diarrhea of the mouth.”
The Washington Times reports:
Minority Leader Harry Reid strayed from his prepared remarks on the Senate floor yesterday and promised to continue opposing one of President Bush’s judicial nominees based on “a problem” he said is in the nominee’s “confidential report from the FBI.”
…”Henry Saad would have been filibustered anyway,” Mr. Reid said on the floor yesterday, about the Michigan Appeals Court judge who is nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.
“All you need to do is have a member go upstairs and look at his confidential report from the FBI, and I think we would all agree that there is a problem there,” Mr. Reid continued.
Republican staff members and supporters of Mr. Bush’s nominees were outraged. “Can you think of a better way to trash someone’s reputation?” Sean Rushton of the conservative Committee for Justice asked after seeing a transcript of the remarks. “Say that there is bad stuff from an FBI investigation in a file somewhere and leave that hanging. This is character assassination of the lowest order and completely improper.”
The Times reports that it’s not clear whether a senator could face sanctions for characterizing the content of FBI files. The Republicans better move to find out and Do Something About It.
Needless to say, if a Republican Senator had pulled this kind of stunt, the ACLU and privocrats would be screaming bloody hell.
Okay, Sen. Lindsay Graham. Now is the time for you and other Republican Senators to tell someone to “shut up.”
Meanwhile, reader Brett W. notices something else about Reid’s remarks:
I was just reading your blog on the latest Harry Reid blunde[r] and I was struck by something that was apparently overlooked. In his interview he states, “I heard that Osama bin Laden died in the earthquake, and if that’s the case, I certainly wouldn’t wish anyone harm, but if that’s the case, that’s good for the world.” Am I reading that wrong or is he saying that he would not wish harm on UBL? Now granted the larger issue is him talking out of school but doesn’t it bother anyone else that he is unwilling to wish harm on someone who is at the top (or very near it) of any reasonable list of people who absolutley need to be harmed? Maybe I am reading too much into it.
Update: Scott Johnson at Power Line follows up on the Blogometer’s round-up, which includes claims from Reid’s defenders that he got his information from news reports.
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