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The Dictionary of the Global War on You

Study up! There will be a test.

Photo Credit: Kuzma/




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Secret: Anything of yours the government takes possession of and classifies.

Classification: The process of declaring just about any document produced by any branch of the U.S. government --  92 million of them in 2011 -- unfit for unclassified eyes.  (This term may, in the near future, be retired once no documents produced within, or captured by, the government and its intelligence agencies can be seen or read by anyone not given special clearance.)

Surveillance: Here’s looking at you, kid.

Whistleblower: A homegrown terrorist.

Leak: Information homegrown terrorists slip to journalists to undermine the American way of life and aid and abet the enemy.  A recent example would be the National Security Agency (NSA) documents Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden leaked to the media.  According to two unnamed U.S. intelligence officials  speaking to the Associated Press, “[M]embers of virtually every terrorist group, including core al-Qaida, are attempting to change how they communicate, based on what they are reading in the media [of Snowden’s revelations], to hide from U.S. surveillance.”  A clarification: two anonymous intelligence officials  communicatingobviously secret material to AP reporter Kimberly Dozier does not qualify as a “leak,” but as necessary information for Americans to absorb.  In addition, those officials undoubtedly had further secret intelligence indicating that their information, unlike Snowden’s, would be read only by Americans and ignored by al-Qaeda-style terrorists who will not change their actions based on it.  As a result, this cannot qualify as aiding or abetting the enemy.

Journalist: Someone who aids and abets  terroriststraitorsdefectors, and betrayers hidden within our government as they work to accomplish their grand plan to undermine the security of the country.

Source: Someone who tells a journalist what no one, other than the NSA, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and similar outfits, should know (see “secret”).  Such a source will be hunted down and prosecuted to the full extent of the law -- or beyond (see “Espionage Act”).  Fortunately, as Associated Press president Gary Pruitt  recently pointed out, thanks to diligent government action, sources are drying up.  (“Some of our longtime trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking to us, even on stories that aren’t about national security. And in some cases, government employees that we once checked in with regularly will no longer speak to us by phone, and some are reluctant to meet in person.”)  Someday, they may no longer exist.  When an unnamed administration official offers information privately to a journalist, however, he or she is not a source -- just too humble to take credit for feeding us crucial information needed to understand the complex world we live in.

Blood: This is what leakers have on their hands.  A leak, embarrassing the national security state, endangers careers (bloody enough) and, by definition, American lives.  Thus,  Bradley Manning, in releasing classified State Department and U.S. military documents to WikiLeaks, and Edward Snowden, in releasing NSA secrets to the Guardian, the Washington Post, theSouth China Morning Post, and Der Spiegel have blood on their hands.  We know this because  top U.S. officials have told us so.  Note that it does not matter if no deaths or physical injuries can directly be traced to or attributed to their actions.  This is, however, a phrase with very specific and limited application.  American political and military officials who launch aggressive wars, allow torture, kidnapping, and abuse, run drone assassination programs, and the like do not have blood on their hands.  It is well known that they are bloodless.

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