Joe Lieberman, Senator, DHS Committee Chair, Terms of Service Policeman

Joe Lieberman, Senator, DHS Committee Chair, Terms of Service Policeman

Monday afternoon I spoke with Leslie Phillips, Press Secretary for Senator Joseph Liebermans' DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Oversight Committee. Ms. Phillips was crisp, professional, and on message, as one might expect.  I would like to Thank her for taking the time to engage my questions, and her patience in the face of my persistent questioning. She generously gave me 15 minutes of her time at a moment when she was headed for a meeting, and I appreciate it.

I had been trying to reach Leslie since Friday...

I identified myself as both a journalist and a Constituent, that I published a number of newspapers online, and was an editor with WLCentral. It took a moment to explain to her what papers I publish (I gave her the link ), and that WLCentral was not affiliated with Wikileaks, that we are a group of journalists and supporters who spontaneously came together to triage the news, separate fact from fiction, act as a clearinghouse for factual reporting, debunk myths, and offer resources to Wikileaks supporters.

Asked if the Senator thought the United State's DDOS (distributed denial of service attack) against Wikileaks was a mistake, since it backfired and there were now hundreds of copies of the Wikileaks site online, Ms. Phillips said "The Senator has neither the power, desire, nor will to initiate a denial of service attack on Wikileaks web site."

I said that Amazon and Tableau had both been intimidated by Mr. Lieberman, and Ms. Phillips denied it.  She explained that Amazon had been sent a letter, on DHS Committee letterhead, asking if Amazon was aware that Wikileaks was hosting material on it's web site that it did not own, and was that not a violation of Amazon's Terms of Service?  

And that, on their own, Amazon responded the next day saying they had dropped Wikileaks as a Customer.  

Press Sec. Phillips denied any coercive thing had happened.  This was simply the Senator going about his responsibilities as Committee Chairman, reminding internet companies to check their terms of service against any content the Senator feels has a deleterious effect on what he deems national security.

Put that way, it would appear the Senator would be derelict in his Duty to the Committee were he not to do so.

I mentioned that Tableau software had also removed their graphics from their site, to point out the chilling effects of such behavior (Tableau removed their content without prompting) but Ms. Phillips was unfamiliar with that instance.  

From Tableau: Why we removed the Wikileaks Visualizations

Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.

She was also unaware that Defense Secretary Robert Gates had responded in mid August to an inquiry from Senator Charles Schumer, informing Schumer that the Dept. of Defense had not been able to locate a single Person named in the Afghan War Logs who needed any protection.  That the Press Secretary for the Chairman of the Senate Dept. of Homeland Security Oversight Committee would be unaware of this surprised me.  I said that Schumer's office had a copy of Gates' letter if she needed one. [Correction: I was wrong. It was Carl Levin. My apologies to Leslie Phillips for my failing memory.]


from Julian Assange:  Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn't find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same.

As I said, Leslie Phillips, Press Secretary for Senator Lieberman on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, is crisp, professional, and on message.  So much so, when I asked her if she didn't think what the Senator was doing was criminalising journalism, she said no, not true. Not at all.

I asked, What were they going to do, go after the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and El Pais next? Lieberman's ever On-Message Press Secretary somehow managed to avoid directly answering.  

Instead she reiterated the Terms of Service reminder duty obligations of the Chairman.

I've got to hand it to the Lieberman Team, though.  They jump on a good idea no matter where it comes from.

The next morning on Fox News not only did Senator Lieberman call for the prosecution of the NY Times for covering the Wikileaks material, he also mentioned his vast experience of the Law having been a state Attorney he called for a Foreign National to be indicted, under what he understands is the "Espionage Act", for whatever he understands "Treason" to be.





Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer