The Democrats and Treason

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

ARTICLE III, SECTION 3, CLAUSE 1

This question has nothing to do with a notoriously hard question -- like “Does waterboarding, though physically harmless, amount to torture or not?”

No -- this is much simpler, given the legal definition of “treason” in the United States Constitution. The legal standard is “giving aid and comfort” to enemies of the United States in time of war.

The last American citizen convicted of treason was Adam Yahiya Gadahn, who was indicted in 2006 by a federal grand jury for the capital crime of treason for aiding an enemy of the United States (al-Qaeda).

Prosecutors in that case argued that Gadahn “chose to join our enemy and to provide it with aid and comfort by acting as a propagandist for Al Qaeda… Terrorists create fear and intimidation through extreme violence. They want Americans to live and walk in fear. They want to demoralize us. That’s why propaganda is so important to them, and why facilitating that propaganda is such an egregious crime."

Notice that Gadahn was not accused of actual crimes of violence against the United States, but only of “facilitating (Al Qaeda’s) propaganda.”

Yet in terms of “giving aid and comfort,” Gadahn’s case was just a tiny minnow compared to the great whale of the last week’s $50 million Feinstein report -- which has been denounced as dangerous to U.S. armed forces in combat against ISIS and other terrorist gangs by three former CIA directors as well as the current director, the former Director of CIA Counterintelligence, by former Senator Bob Kerrey and SecState John Kerry,  by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, by highly-qualified military sources, and by legal experts including John Yoo, Andrew  C. McCarthy, and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The Feinstein report was a partisan PR stunt. The acts of coercion it recited with such delight and pious horror occurred before 2003, have been renounced by the CIA, and have been the subject of extensive Federal legislation. They have been known to the competent Congressional Committees since 2002, when Nancy Pelosi was notoriously briefed on U.S. methods, along with other Congressional leaders.

The Feinstein Report was written exclusively by Democratic committee staffers, and received no Republican votes. Most significantly, this was the last act of a Democratic Senate majority that has been voted out of power -- their last despairing publicity blast at the enemy they really hate the most: the Republicans. No new witnesses were interviewed for the report, but the media predictably blasted the old news in scare headlines.

The Feinstein report is utterly silent on Clinton and Obama Administration treatment of suspected terrorists, which includes drone killings without benefit of trial -- but with inevitable “ancillary killings” of innocent civilians. Indeed, Mr. Obama has boasted that “I’m pretty good at killing” using drone strikes planned by the White House. The U.S. has demanded the killing of Syrian terror gangs like Al Nusrah, and has practiced extraordinary renditions, where U.S. captives are sent to Muslim countries for undisguised torture. Clinton and Obama use the same tactics the Dianne Feinstein found so shocking; they just outsourced torture to Muslim countries where it is the norm. Dianne Feinstein and her Democratic staffers know all about that, of course.

Nevertheless, the Feinstein PR dump will be inevitably used for enemy propaganda. The question is whether that action rises to the level of “giving…  Aid and Comfort” to enemies of the United States” -- like the evidence used to convict Al Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn nine years ago of treason?  And yes, I know it will not actually happen -- unless ISIS explodes a dirty bomb on the Golden Gate Bridge. Call it a legal thought exercise.

One could make an a priori case that Feinstein’s action clearly rises to the level of harm achieved by Adam Gadahn, who was indicted for treason for pro-Al Qaeda propaganda in 2006.

The question is whether one can prove specific damage to our national security triggered by this partisan, selective, and repetitive report. That case has been made by Jose Rodriguez, head of the CIA counterterrorism section, and by Andrew C. McCarthy, who prosecuted the first Al Qaeda bomb attack against the Twin Towers in 1994.

McCarthy summarized his view of the matter:

“The Democrats’ “torture” report is a gratuitous hit job -- brought to you by the same party that, out of political calculation, aggressively undermined the American war effort in Iraq -- only after voting to send our men and women into grave danger there, also out of political calculation. Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats saw (this) as the perfect time to savage the CIA, further burn America’s bridges with anti-terrorism allies, and hand jihadists a huge propaganda victory.

“The Islamic State had a response, too: They beheaded four Christian children for  refusing to renounce Jesus Christ.”

We’ve barely begun to see the bloody consequences of the Feinstein affair.

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

ARTICLE III, SECTION 3, CLAUSE 1

This question has nothing to do with a notoriously hard question -- like “Does waterboarding, though physically harmless, amount to torture or not?”

No -- this is much simpler, given the legal definition of “treason” in the United States Constitution. The legal standard is “giving aid and comfort” to enemies of the United States in time of war.

The last American citizen convicted of treason was Adam Yahiya Gadahn, who was indicted in 2006 by a federal grand jury for the capital crime of treason for aiding an enemy of the United States (al-Qaeda).

Prosecutors in that case argued that Gadahn “chose to join our enemy and to provide it with aid and comfort by acting as a propagandist for Al Qaeda… Terrorists create fear and intimidation through extreme violence. They want Americans to live and walk in fear. They want to demoralize us. That’s why propaganda is so important to them, and why facilitating that propaganda is such an egregious crime."

Notice that Gadahn was not accused of actual crimes of violence against the United States, but only of “facilitating (Al Qaeda’s) propaganda.”

Yet in terms of “giving aid and comfort,” Gadahn’s case was just a tiny minnow compared to the great whale of the last week’s $50 million Feinstein report -- which has been denounced as dangerous to U.S. armed forces in combat against ISIS and other terrorist gangs by three former CIA directors as well as the current director, the former Director of CIA Counterintelligence, by former Senator Bob Kerrey and SecState John Kerry,  by Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, by highly-qualified military sources, and by legal experts including John Yoo, Andrew  C. McCarthy, and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The Feinstein report was a partisan PR stunt. The acts of coercion it recited with such delight and pious horror occurred before 2003, have been renounced by the CIA, and have been the subject of extensive Federal legislation. They have been known to the competent Congressional Committees since 2002, when Nancy Pelosi was notoriously briefed on U.S. methods, along with other Congressional leaders.

The Feinstein Report was written exclusively by Democratic committee staffers, and received no Republican votes. Most significantly, this was the last act of a Democratic Senate majority that has been voted out of power -- their last despairing publicity blast at the enemy they really hate the most: the Republicans. No new witnesses were interviewed for the report, but the media predictably blasted the old news in scare headlines.

The Feinstein report is utterly silent on Clinton and Obama Administration treatment of suspected terrorists, which includes drone killings without benefit of trial -- but with inevitable “ancillary killings” of innocent civilians. Indeed, Mr. Obama has boasted that “I’m pretty good at killing” using drone strikes planned by the White House. The U.S. has demanded the killing of Syrian terror gangs like Al Nusrah, and has practiced extraordinary renditions, where U.S. captives are sent to Muslim countries for undisguised torture. Clinton and Obama use the same tactics the Dianne Feinstein found so shocking; they just outsourced torture to Muslim countries where it is the norm. Dianne Feinstein and her Democratic staffers know all about that, of course.

Nevertheless, the Feinstein PR dump will be inevitably used for enemy propaganda. The question is whether that action rises to the level of “giving…  Aid and Comfort” to enemies of the United States” -- like the evidence used to convict Al Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn nine years ago of treason?  And yes, I know it will not actually happen -- unless ISIS explodes a dirty bomb on the Golden Gate Bridge. Call it a legal thought exercise.

One could make an a priori case that Feinstein’s action clearly rises to the level of harm achieved by Adam Gadahn, who was indicted for treason for pro-Al Qaeda propaganda in 2006.

The question is whether one can prove specific damage to our national security triggered by this partisan, selective, and repetitive report. That case has been made by Jose Rodriguez, head of the CIA counterterrorism section, and by Andrew C. McCarthy, who prosecuted the first Al Qaeda bomb attack against the Twin Towers in 1994.

McCarthy summarized his view of the matter:

“The Democrats’ “torture” report is a gratuitous hit job -- brought to you by the same party that, out of political calculation, aggressively undermined the American war effort in Iraq -- only after voting to send our men and women into grave danger there, also out of political calculation. Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats saw (this) as the perfect time to savage the CIA, further burn America’s bridges with anti-terrorism allies, and hand jihadists a huge propaganda victory.

“The Islamic State had a response, too: They beheaded four Christian children for  refusing to renounce Jesus Christ.”

We’ve barely begun to see the bloody consequences of the Feinstein affair.