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Our homes are not our castles

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 3, 2006 09:03 PM

Over the weekend, I pointed to a story in the blabbermouth NYTimes about the vacation homes of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and VP Dick Cheney as a news hook to talk about the Left’s selective apathy towards reckless, unnecessary invasions of privacy.

The reactions were predictable: the usual moonbats accused me of hypocrisy by dredging up and lying about the infamous episode with UC Santa Cruz anti-military thugs who retaliated against me for republishing their public contact info by broadcasting my private home address and publishing photos of my neighborhood. Others recycled the well-worn non sequitur that since I wrote a book defending Roosevelt’s evacuation and relocation measures during WWII, I should be drummed out of the public square and not allowed to comment on any civil liberties matters. Brilliant.

David Horowitz, who first blogged on the NYT article, responds to assorted criticisms here, including a report that Rumsfeld okayed the photographing of his driveway:

The critics of my blog make several points. The location of presidential retreats is generally known from Kennebunkport to Crawford. Bill and Hillary’s home in New York has been frequently photographed and identified. The Cheney and Rumsfeld. homes have been identified in the press before. Both homes are protected by the Secret Service. Besides Rumsfeld gave permission to the photographer to take the picture. Finally, al-Qaeda found the World Trade Center; it can find Cheney and Rumsfeld.

My answer to these critics is as follows. These are not presidential retreats which are indeed frequently featured in the news. We are in the midst of two wars – a war with fanatical religious terrorists (I know it’s hard for lefties to relate to this) and a domestic political war more savage than in any comparable context since the American Civil War – worse by far than Vietnam because the paranoia and hate directed at this Administration comes from leaders of the Democratic Party and the “establishment” media not just crackpots. It is in the context of this hatred directed among others at Rumsfeld and Cheney that the Times action has to be assessed.

I included al-Qaeda not because I thought the organized terrorists would have a hard time locating these homes, but to link this particular act by the Times with its ongoing willingness to provide al-Qaeda with America’s national security secrets, specifically classified information that is immensely helpful to the religious fanatics who want to kill us. The casual (and unnecessary) publication of the pictures of Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s homes seemed to me of a piece with this ongoing recklessness and lack of care for the safety of Americans . This lack of care for Americans’ safety and for the well-being of America’s leaders by an institution like the Times is unprecedented in the history of this country.

Finally, the fact that Rumsfeld responded to the Times request to take the pictures means what? What else could he say? He lives under conditions of danger that go with waging a war in behalf of this country, intensified by what magnitude one can only guess th the divisive and hate-filled propaganda of the left and antiwar liberals. Yes he is protected by the Secret Service so for him it’s just a marginally greater risk of the job. My point, however, wasn’t the magnitude of the increased risk, but the magnitude of the Times disregard for common decencies, and what should be common concerns. If Rumsfeld had said “no” to the Times’ request, that would merely have confirmed their view of this administration as secretive and repressive (though by any objective standard the Clinton Administration, in peacetime was both far more secretive in regard to information and more aggressive in attacking its domestic enemies).

I have contacted the Pentagon to confirm. This blog says spokespeople for Rumsfeld and Cheney are denying any security threat from the publication of the article.

Alright. I’ll take them at their word.

But none of this answers the question I posed to the Times’ editors repeatedly in my original post:

Why?

What news value and journalistic end was served by publishing the Cheney/Rumsfeld vacation home piece and the accompanying photo? “Because Rumsfeld gave permission” may cut it with the moonbats and fairweather privocrats. Not with me.

Conservative readers have asked me to publish the private home addresses of NYTimes reporters, editors, and photographers.

My response: NO.

I refuse to do it. I strongly urge others not to do it. Your home is your castle. It should be, anyway. There are some legitimate, narrow circumstances under which publicizing a private home address makes sense (the Kelo case, for example, or the counterprotest at Justice David Souter’s New Hampshire home, or documenting the erosion of the California coastline). But “For The Hell Of It” is not one of those reasons, in my book.

Most telling is the radio silence on the Left about the larger context in which I placed the NYTimes’ vacation home piece (which comprised one-quarter of my post).

Do the moonbats believe it is acceptable to target the private homes of public figures for protest, as anti-war and pro-illegal alien activists have done with Karl Rove, John Negroponte, and Don Rumsfeld?

They don’t say.

Do they endorse the actions of Huffington Post commenters who splashed the private information of Swift Boat Veterans’ families all over the Internet–info that was used to harass and intimidate them? (Unlike Bush administration officials, these families can’t afford round-the-clock security guards to protect their families.)

They don’t say.

Leftists scoff at my observation that there is a concerted effort to dig up and publicize the private home information of prominent conservatives in the media and blogosphere to intimidate them.

Look.
With.
Your.
Eyes.

Not that it matters. We’re wingnuts and we deserve it. Right, all you principled progressive champions of privacy?

***

Related: The blogger Seixon sends details of his own battle with moonbat privacy invaders who have harassed his family…

Dear Michelle,

I have an item that is directly related to your “When the Left invades our privacy” post.

Over the past week, I have endured an invasion of me and my family’s privacy by someone at Think Progress, possibly in collaboration with the editors of Think Progress. Post is here.

I started taking on Think Progress about their covering up for Al Gore and his movie, and other global warming threads. This quickly degenerated into commenters there (one of which had direct contact with Judd of Think Progress) trying to smear me and tell lies about me to get me to leave. It didn’t work, I stayed and fought.

Sunday June 25th, my family in the USA (I live in Norway) received a call from a self-described liberal at 10:30am. This liberal asked about me, about why I am so “conservative”, and tried to get other information. My father asked him who he was working for, and he would not say. He claimed to be doing research for an article. His name: John Thomas Dean of Santa Ana, CA. LexisNexis shows no author/journalist of that name.

June 26th and June 27th, someone on Think Progress starts leaking personal details about me. I didn’t notice it until June 27th. They posted my full name, my age, the city where I live in Norway, and my occupation.

I inquired with Think Progress to have the personal information removed, since it was in violation of their site’s Terms of Use. At first they said they would take care of it, then they responded by saying that they wouldn’t because they found the information “immediately” with Google. This is not correct, because you would have to do some heavy searching on Google to have found that information, not to mention my family’s phone number (although the phone number was not posted). Mr. Dean also dug up information about my mother which he inquired about in his phone call. I inquired with them about John Thomas Dean, and they never responded about him.

Think Progress could not deal with my arguments, so someone there dug up information on me, violated my family’s privacy by calling them to dig for more, and then outed me on Think Progress to intimidate me.

***

Related must-read in case you missed it, from Heather Mac Donald: National Security Be Damned.

And here’s a final reality check about the consequences of blabbing from Pajamas Media, Jeff Goldstein, and AJ Strata, who spotlight this NYTimes piece on former WaPo editor Katherine Graham’s admission that media disclosures about secret coded transmissions led to the deaths of 241 Marines in Lebanon. Strata highlights the relevant section of the NYT story and weighs in on MSM priorities:

KATHARINE GRAHAM, the publisher of The Washington Post who died in 2001, backed her editors through tense battles during the Watergate era. But in a 1986 speech, she warned that the media sometimes made “tragic” mistakes.

Her example was the disclosure, after the bombing of the American embassy in Beirut in 1983, that American intelligence was reading coded radio traffic between terrorist plotters in Syria and their overseers in Iran. The communications stopped, and five months later they struck again, destroying the Marine barracks in Beirut and killing 241 Americans.

“This kind of result, albeit unintentional, points up the necessity for full cooperation wherever possible between the media and the authorities,” Ms. Graham said.

But such cooperation can prove problematic, as her newspaper’s former editor, Benjamin C. Bradlee, has recounted.

In 1986, after holding for weeks at government request a scoop about an N.S.A. tap on a Soviet undersea communications cable, The Post learned that the Russians knew all about it already from an N.S.A. turncoat named Ronald Pelton. NBC beat The Post on its own report.

Nothing lays out their priorities better. The risk of them going ahead is our lives, and the risk to them for not going ahead is they may get scooped. The article clearly shows why the media should not be allowed to decide what classified programs to expose. It is an attempt to show how seriously they take their job. But what is shows me is how deadly their arrogant mistakes can be to others. The media now has a self documented history of getting people killed by exposing details they did not understand, or appreciate the implications surrounding these details. Their ignorance and arrogance is a deadly combination, as they have now reported in the NY Times.

Careless talk kills.

Don’t you love how the Left embraces the precautionary principle and “erring on the side on the safety” in everything except in matters of national security and the privacy of their political opponents?

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