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The Irony of Lieberman's Devotion to Prosecuting WikiLeaks

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Senator Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) Official Federal Portrait
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br />Senator Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) Official Federal Portrait by U.S. Government

I previously wrote about Senator Joseph Lieberman's (I-CT) appearance on Fox News on Tuesday, December 7th, where he suggested that New York Times should be subjected to an inquiry by the Justice Department on whether they committed a crime or not by publishing or reporting on the contents of the diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks. I intentionally ignored one aspect of Sen. Lieberman's remarks on Fox News because I felt that aspect deserved its own article.

 

Just after addressing whether the press reporting on WikiLeaks should face a Justice Department investigation or not, Sen. Lieberman added:

 

"And, again, why do you prosecute crimes? Because if you don't--Well, first you do because that's what our system of justice requires. Second, if you don't prosecute people who commit crimes, others are going to do it soon and again.

 

As someone familiar with what Bush Administration officials did when they were in power and how there are officials who should be dragged into court to face a trial for war crimes, I instantly noted the inconsistency. This remark was laughable. But, I am conscious of the fact that it also revealed those in charge of deciding who is guilty of crimes and not guilty of crimes do not think certain violations of the law are crimes.

 

They think waterboarding, which has traditionally been defined as torture, an act considered to be a war crime, is permissible in some situations. They think warrantless wiretapping is acceptable if there is information to be gained that could be of use (and don't believe they should be required to prove in the aftermath that what they gained was useful). They find little problem with a CIA, which kidnaps terror suspects and uses extraordinary rendition to send them off to countries that are known to torture suspects, like Egypt. And, they are willing to have terror suspects imprisoned indefinitely in secret prisons or, in the case of detainees at Guantanamo, they are willing to prevent terror suspects from being granted due process.

 

On April 23, 2009, Sen. Lieberman appeared on "Fox & Friends" on Fox News. Here is a full transcript of the interview he did with host Brian Kilmeade, who expressed his gratitude for Lieberman's lack of interest in prosecuting former Bush Administration officials:

 

MR. KILMEADE: Senator Joe Lieberman urging the president not to prosecute. He's live at the Russell Rotunda. You're a Democrat telling a Democratic president not to prosecute a Republican -- that's not a popular move. Why shouldn't he go forward?

SEN. LIEBERMAN : I suppose that's what it means, Brian, to be an independent Democrat. Look, in the best of all worlds, interpreting what the president said in the clip you just ran, he was deferring to Attorney General Holder to make this decision. But the three of us -- Senator McCain, Senator Graham and I -- think it's a real mistake to start breaching the possibility that you criminalize a legal opinion. I mean, you could disagree with the opinions these lawyers wrote during the Bush administration about these enhanced interrogation tactics.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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