By Brad Friedman on 12/15/2010, 1:16pm PT  

Not much of a "slippery slope" here, right?...

On Tuesday, it was reported that the Air Force has blocked its personnel from reading Web sites that have posted WikiLeaks cables. This includes the sites of The New York Times, The Guardian, and "more than 25 other news organizations," according to the Times. Any Air Force member trying to access these sites from a work computer will get a message reading "Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored." The ban only applies to sites that have posted "full classified documents, not just excerpts," says the Times, and it has not been adopted by the Army, Navy, or Marines. Since Air Force personnel can still access the blocked sites from home, bloggers are puzzling over why the Air Force bothered to take this step at all.

Of course, one would think that conservatives would be up in arms about such blatant (and stupid) assaults on at least the spirit of the U.S. Constitution's first amendment. However, fake "conservatives" of the Fox "News", Sarah Palin, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Peter King, Sen. Joe Lieberman seem to have no such concerns. They'd prefer, it seems, to see censorship of the media and/or the targeting of a man --- even for assassination --- who has been charged with breaking no U.S. laws.

Unfortunately, the new batch of elected officials heading to D.C. in January look to be just as confused about who and what they are supposed to be defending...

For the latest evidence of that, one need look no further than this comment from the "Tea Party"-backed, Palin-endorsed, Republican U.S. Congressman-elect Allen West (FL-22), who said on a Rightwing radio show last week (via ThinkProgress, who also has the audio):

WEST: There are different means by which you can be attacked. I mean it doesn't have to be a bomb or an airplane flying into a building. It doesn’t have to be a shooting. It can be through cyber attacks, it could be through leaking of very sensitive classified information. Regardless of whether you think it causes any harm, the fact that here is an individual that is not an American citizen first and foremost, for whatever reason gotten his hands on classified American material and put it out there in the public domain. And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts. So that’s kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.

While West's Wikipedia entry notes that he "served in the military in Iraq and was a civilian adviser in Afghanistan," it seems the Congressman-to-be has some confusion about what he was supposed to be defending while on those jobs. Will his imminent swearing-in to the U.S. House of Representatives, where his oath of office, like his oath in the military, will call on him to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic" help remind him of what his roll is supposed to be?

For the record, after being roundly criticized for the comments quoted above, West issued a statement late yesterday saying that he meant "censuring" --- "meaning 'harshly criticized'" --- rather than "censoring". Of course you did, Mr. West.

That said, when you have mainstream, theoretically non-Rightwing, non-crazy cable news outlets like CNN suggesting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be a "TERRORIST", how else would you expect actual crazy people, like West, to behave?

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