Who gets the glory?
(The Joplin, Mo., Globe)
Many, particularly politicians, have tried hard to take credit for the special forces operation that resulted in killing Osama bin Laden.
The movie “Zero Dark Thirty,” which will soon be released, suggests that a covert CIA operative, a woman still employed by the CIA in undercover work, should be given much of the credit for planning that operation.
And many in the CIA do not like that kind of publicity. Supposedly the CIA employee has been passed over for a promotion because of her access to moviemakers and the stories she has provided for background information to support the film. She in turn seems to be rather angry, though still unidentified publicly.
Don’t forget the concerns expressed this past fall over a book published by a former Navy SEAL who allegedly participated in the planning and execution of that operation. At one point there were at least threats to prosecute that man for leaking classified information in his book.
So our question is: Who gets the glory for a successful special forces operation?
The correct answer should be that America, using military justice, ended the life of a brutal killer.
The hunt for bin Laden lasted more than a decade, and we are certain that many men and women in various branches of the federal government contributed to that effort. Let’s give them all a big round of approval and not try to pick out the ones who “stood out” in such efforts. In particular no politician, president or otherwise, should gain standing for such a long and broad effort by probably thousands of people.
Instead let’s simply acknowledge that our system brought a real enemy to America and others to justice. America won that round in our longstanding attempts to defend against radicals. We don’t need to pick individual winners and losers of glory.
X x x x
Technology changes, but need for privacy doesn't
(The Free Press – Mankato, Minn
The way people communicate has changed dramatically in the digital age. The privacy protections people expect shouldn't.
Most people would be surprised to know that law enforcement doesn't need a search warrant signed by a judge to review a person's emails or other electronic communications.
Under the 26-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a prosecutor need only file a subpoena in order to dig through people's communications, if the files are more than six months old.
If you have letters, financial information or other communications on paper, filed in your desk drawer for six months -- or years -- you would reasonably expect they are not fair game for law enforcement without a search warrant.
Simply because the same information is sitting on servers at Google, Facebook or Internet providers shouldn't make them more easily available to investigators.
Fortunately, the Senate Judiciary Committee is moving a bill to restore personal privacy protections.
Under the legislation, police would have to obtain a search warrant from a judge before they can review a person's emails or other communications.
Law enforcement groups have resisted changing the law, saying it could harm criminal and national security investigations.
It would do nothing of the kind. Investigators would simply have to show a judge they have reasonable probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime and get a search warrant to investigate further.
And the law change would still allow law enforcement to collect other information with simply a subpoena signed by a prosecutor -- such as obtaining routing data from third-party Internet providers that can identify the sender of an email and the location where the message was sent, without being able to read any of those emails.
When it reconvenes early next year, Congress should pass the legislation.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in 1791, aimed to limit government intrusions and searches. How people generate and store their personal communications may have changed astonishingly since then.
But the protections afforded by the amendment shouldn't change.