We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed … — Declaration of Independence
Judge Andrew Napolitano, a notoriously law-and-order proponent, has a point.
Is 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, arrested this past weekend and charged with espionage, a traitor or a patriot?
Columnist and Fox News commentator Napolitano notes that what Winner revealed is that Russian hackers in 2016 planted cookies on the websites of 122 American local government clerks responsible for counting ballots in the presidential election.
“This means that if any employee of those clerks’ offices clicked onto any cookie, the hackers had access to — and thus the ability to interfere with — the tabulation of votes,” Napolitano writes.
But this information was classified top secret. Who was being protected by this classification? The Russians? The sources are undoubtedly computer geeks and not spies in any danger of being exposed. No, the only people being kept in the dark are the American voters who must judge whether their government is competent enough to ensure election integrity.
“Doesn’t the American public have the right to know what the Russians did in the election?” Napolitano asks. “Is it necessarily criminal to make such things public? Isn’t the NSA supposed to protect us from foreign hackers who are attempting to interfere with the core American electoral process — the election of the president — and not keep us in the dark if it fails to do so?”
As with the Pentagon Papers, the question is: Who is being kept in the dark and why?
The Pentagon Papers were assembled at the request of Secretary Robert Strange McNamara in 1967 and was basically a history of the Vietnam War. Daniel Ellsberg copied the report and turned it over to The New York Times, which published excerpts.
The Supreme Court ruled the paper was within its rights to do so even though some material was classified.
The Pentagon Papers revealed that successive presidential administrations had misled the public about the war.
It is difficult for the governed to knowledgeably consent when the government is deceiving them.