April 22, 2006
St. Mary of Langley
Actually, I suppose Mrs. McCarthy should be St. Mary of Bethesda. At the time of her little difficulty, she had long since left the monastic environs of CIA headquarters in Langley, VA for the spiritually elevated atmosphere of Washington D.C., where she served as a senior intelligence aid to the National Security Council and as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. So she was still CIA, but she had left the hive.
But that's neither here nor there: the canonization of Mary O. McCarthy -- the CIA leaker -- has already begun.
She didn't do it...
The New York Times published a hagiography of Mrs. McCarthy, somewhat hilariously titled "Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules" -- well, with one or two exceptions, it appears. In the piece, the writer interviews some of Mrs. McCarthy's colleagues, who paint her as a brilliant, hard-working, career woman who could not possibly be the leaker because she has such a refined conscience:
"We're talking about a person with great integrity who played by the book and, as far as I know, never deviated from the rules," said Steven Simon, a security council aide in the Clinton administration who worked closely with Ms. McCarthy....
Larry Johnson, a former C.I.A. officer who worked for Ms. McCarthy in the agency's Latin America section, said, "It looks to me like Mary is being used as a sacrificial lamb."
Hm... didn't these same folks say the same thing about Clinton's former National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger?
Berger was Mary McCarthy's mentor, by the way; and now Friend Lee wants to know whether she has any idea what was in Sandy Berger's pants. One presumes Lee doesn't mean as a general rule, but rather on that fateful day when Mr. B. strolled out of the National Archives with a few documents tucked down the old trouser leg.
She didn't actually confess to doing it...
Mrs. McCarthy's reputed admission that she was, indeed, the one who leaked the information to Dana Priest at the Washington Post is not seen as an obstacle to her defense, according to spook-chums:
Government officials said that after Ms. McCarthy's polygraph examination showed the possibility of deception, the examiner confronted her and she disclosed having had conversations with reporters.
But some former C.I.A. employees who know Ms. McCarthy remain unconvinced, arguing that the pressure from Mr. [Porter] Goss [Director of the Central Intelligence Agency] and others in the Bush administration to plug leaks may have led the agency to focus on an employee on the verge of retirement, whose work at the White House during the Clinton administration had long raised suspicions within the current administration.
Yeah, that's the ticket; she was tortured into confessing to a crime she did not commit. Porter Goss probably had Mrs. McCarthy waterboarded!
And even if she did it, it was the right thing to do!
But even if she is the leaker, her buds are still down with her. After all, she wouldn't have done such a thing without a darned good reason:
Others said it was possible that Ms. McCarthy — who made a contribution to Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004 — had grown increasingly disenchanted with the methods adopted by the Bush administration for handling Qaeda prisoners.
Ms. McCarthy, who began attending law school at night several years ago and was preparing to retire from the C.I.A., may have felt she had no alternative but to go to the press.
If in fact Ms. McCarthy was the leaker, Richard J. Kerr, a former C.I.A. deputy director, said, "I have no idea what her motive was, but there is a lot of dissension within the agency, and it seems to be a rather unhappy place." Mr. Kerr called Ms. McCarthy "quite a good, substantive person on the issues I dealt with her on."
Bush leaked... why shouldn't I?
A separate straight news article in the Times (to the extent that any article in the Times can ever be considered "straight news") concocts a novel defense for Mrs. McCarthy; call it the Scooter Neuter:
Here is how the Times advances the argument; note the ubiquitous anonymous sources -- a sure sign that the writers, David Johnston and Scott Shane, are just making it up:
Several former intelligence officials — who were granted anonymity after requesting it for what they said were obvious reasons under the circumstances — were divided over the likely effect of the dismissal on morale. One veteran said the firing would not be well-received coming so soon after the disclosure of grand jury testimony by Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff that President Bush in 2003 approved the leak of portions of a secret national intelligence estimate on Iraqi weapons.
"It's a terrible situation when the president approves the leak of a highly classified N.I.E., and people at the agency see management as so disastrous that they feel compelled to talk to the press," said one former C.I.A. officer with extensive overseas experience.
(Hat tip Captain's Quarters.)
The former CIA officer spoke anonymously and without permission, of course... which some CIA analysts choose to call "leaking." Fortunately, being a former officer, he's probably off the legal hook.
The Washington Post already declassified it
The MSM itself still to retains the right to determine what is and is not "classified." Recall how the New York Times justified spattering operational details of the NSA al-Qaeda intercept program across the face of the grim Grey Lady: they had sat on the story, editors insisted, for almost a year before publishing; surely that should more than satisfy pedants with stuffy ideas about classified intelligence!
In this case, the Washington Post sings from the same hymnal:
Leonard Downie Jr., The Post's executive editor, said on its Web site that he could not comment on the firing because he did not know the details. "As a general principle," he said, "obviously I am opposed to criminalizing the dissemination of government information to the press."
And besides -- you tricked us!
Captain Ed notes that Rick Moran at Right Wing Nuthouse is suggesting the amusing possibility (did you follow that Byzantine syntax?) that the entire story about secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe (Poland and Romania, to be specific) could have been a set up, what Tom Clancy calls a "canary trap."
That is, Moran offers the possibility that there never were any such prisons. In this scenario, Porter Goss knows that someone in the Company is leaking to the press. He deliberately disseminates ultra-highly classified, double-secret probation intelligence to a handful of people.
Each person gets the same basic information, except for one or two unique elements for each suspect. When the leak appears in the media, the quoted details point the finger at one specific leaker.
Moran admits he has no evidence to support this theory. On the other hand, nobody seems to have found a shred of evidence that there were ever any secret CIA prisons, either. So there.
Prepare yourselves for the onslaught. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Mrs. Mary O. McCarthy come bubbling up right next to Mother Sheehan and try to wrest away control of Camp Cindy.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 22, 2006, at the time of 11:49 PM
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Tracked on May 30, 2006 4:35 PM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
The fact that Priest is married to a certified moonbat should be part of the MSM coverage. I know it won't be, but it should be.
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