ACLU, Gitmo lawyers exposed CIA agent identities to terrorists

The ACLU and defense attorneys for detainees at Guantanamo Bay surveilled and took pictures of CIA agents and then showed the photos to terrorists at Gitmo.  The Department of Justice has begun an investigation into the exposure of American agents, the Washington Post reports, in some cases in front of their homes.  It underscores once again the stupidity of involving the civil court system in the handling of unlawful combatants in wartime:

The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees charged with organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking into allegations that laws protecting classified information were breached when three lawyers showed their clients the photographs, the sources said. The lawyers were apparently attempting to identify CIA officers and contractors involved in the agency’s interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects in facilities outside the United States, where the agency employed harsh techniques.

If detainees at the U.S. military prison in Cuba are tried, either in federal court or by a military commission, defense lawyers are expected to attempt to call CIA personnel to testify. …

Both groups have long said that they will zealously investigate the CIA’s interrogation program at “black sites” worldwide as part of the defense of their clients. But government investigators are now looking into whether the defense team went too far by allegedly showing the detainees the photos of CIA officers, in some cases surreptitiously taken outside their homes.

I recall a large number of people arguing a few years ago that the unmasking of Valerie Plame amounted to treason.  I wonder if the same people making that argument about the leak of her identity as a CIA analyst (by Colin Powell aide Richard Armitage to the late Robert Novak) will remain consistent in this case.  After all, here we have Americans exposing field agents at their homes, and not to a journalist — but to the enemy.  If Plame’s exposure was treason, then this should be a hanging offense, no?

I have long argued that the insistence of treating captured terrorists as civil criminals would lead to this kind of scenario.  It puts foreign terrorists at war with the US in the same legal status as a bank robber and threatens the intelligence processes (and now personnel) that exist to defeat America’s enemies.  The defense attorneys want to pull intel assets off line and into court, where their usefulness in covert operations will come to a screeching halt.  That will leave the US more exposed and more vulnerable to the terrorist networks that we have been trying to dismantle and destroy after 9/11.

This proves the point.

Update: John Stephenson says this shows the ACLU’s hypocrisy on privacy, too:

We learned a long time ago the ACLU didn’t truly believe in the right to privacy except when it was convenient for its agenda. When it was convenient for fundraising, privacy went out the window. Now we learn that as long as it fits the agenda of endangering America, the ACLU’s faux defense of privacy is exposed again. …

In the world of ACLU lawyers, jihadas have privacy rights to defend, yet American citizens fighting for America don’t.

Why, it’s almost as if they have an agenda.