Loose lips still sink ships

The British government waited until 1974 to reveal that the Enigma machines it acquired in 1939 allowed Winston Churchill to decipher most Nazi military transmissions. That British authorities kept this secret for 29 years after WWII is a model of official self-control.

Today, Washington’s approach is exactly opposite: Don’t await the end of the War on Terror (oops…the Overseas Contingency Operation). Spill secrets now! Consider these recent items, some details of which I have blurred — to tell enemy readers less, not more;;

— The Obama Administration released "torture memos" that detail "enhanced interrogation" techniques that its predecessors successfully used to extract vital information from top al-Qaeda killers, Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah. The ensuing pageant of self-flagellation obscured the memos’ revelation that, after water boarding, Zubaydah ratted out KSM. Once captured and water-boarded, KSM exposed plans to smack a jet into Los Angeles’ 73-story Library Tower. Officials arrested this al-Qaeda conspiracy’s 17-man team and stopped yet another mass-incineration of American citizens.

— This counter-terrorist victory notwithstanding, a very public debate has raged over what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi forgot about water boarding, and when she forgot it. This high-profile debate has occurred mainly inside Pelosi’s head.

— ABC News on April 30 named two CIA contract interrogators, identified the city where they live, and confronted them on camera to discuss their supposed involvement in water boarding.

— Recent accounts of CIA renditions named a Southeast Asian nation where US counter-terrorists questioned al-Qaeda suspects. This not-entirely-stable country has endured unrest among its Muslim population, which probably was not impressed with this news.

Americans obviously cannot shut up. Consequently, experts warn, today’s blabocracy impedes foreign intelligence sharing. Paradoxically, loose lips seal lips.

"We can’t keep having a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets," former CIA director Porter Goss wrote in April 25’s Washington Post. "Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist."

"It’s more than just other services sharing information with us," a former intelligence officer told me, insisting on anonymity. "It’s the issue of the CIA recruiting people who risk their lives to provide information to the U.S. government. When they read this stuff, like what Pelosi is revealing, they think long and hard about whether they want to share things."

While the Left itches to conclude the War on Terror and advance democratic socialism, America’s enemies have no such timetable:

— On Wednesday, federal officials in New York arrested four radical Muslims. "The defendants planned to strike military planes with surface-to-air guided missiles and to destroy a synagogue and a Jewish community center with C-4 plastic explosives," said federal prosecutor Lev Dassin. Defendant James Cromite, AKA Abdul Rahman, allegedly told a government informant that he hoped to join a terror group called Jaish-e-Mohammed and "do jihad." Prosecutors say the defendants targeted the synagogue and surveilled an Air National Guard base "Beginning in April 2009." On May 6, the informant furnished the defendants a missile and explosives (all disarmed). Court records state: "The three defendants celebrated their achievement shouting ‘Allah Akbar.’"

— A federal jury on May 12 convicted five Miami men of conspiring to bomb Chicago’s Sears Tower. On March 16, 2006, the FBI videotaped this group pledging "bayat," an oath of allegiance, to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.

— A federal judge on April 28 sentenced three illegal-alien, Macedonian, Muslim-extremist brothers to life in prison for conspiring to machine-gun soldiers at New Jersey’s Fort Dix. "I hate and reject the entire system of justice," defendant Elvjir Duka wrote U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler. "The entire system will be defeated by Islam and there is no stopping it."

Today’s quietude notwithstanding, the War on Terror continues. Believers in a global, Islamo-fascist ideology still labor to kill us. Given that deadly threat, Americans should listen more and yap less.

(Deroy Murdock is a columnist and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock(at)gmail.com)