The other day Faux Gnus Commentator Mort Kondracke wrote that Bush Hatred has become a Threat to National Security, arguing that...
ENOUGH already! It's harmful enough that ideological conflict and partisan politics are preventing this country from solving its long-term challenges on health care, fiscal policy and energy. Now it's threatening our national survival.
I do not exaggerate. Bush-hatred has reached such intensity that CIA officers and other bureaucrats are leaking major secrets about anti-terrorism policy and communications intelligence that undermine our ability to fight Islamic extremism.
What Kondracke fails to realize is that it was the Bush Administration that turned on the CIA First, not the other way around. Not only are we at War with insurgents in Iraq -the Bush Administration is at War with insurgents with in the CIA and other agencies.
And in both cases, the insurgents are winning.
Now just why would people at CIA be pissed beyond words at the Bush Administration? What ever could be under their craw? Could it be the fact that high ranking members of the Bush administration outed one of their NOC's (by the name of Valerie Plame-Wilson), and put every agent and asset linked to their WMD tracking operation Brewster-Jennings in grave mortal danger?
The inadvertent disclosure of the name of a business affiliated with the CIA underscores the potential damage to the agency and its operatives caused by the leak of Plame's identity. Intelligence officials have said that once Plame's job as an undercover operative was revealed, other agency secrets could be unraveled and her sources might be compromised or endangered.
A former diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said yesterday that every foreign intelligence service would run Plame's name through its databases within hours of its publication to determine if she had visited their country and to reconstruct her activities.
"That's why the agency is so sensitive about just publishing her name," the former diplomat said.
Needless to say, rank and file members of the CIA felt this was a Serious Betrayal.
HEMMER: Larry, tell me, what's the damage, though. Be specific, as best you can right now. Have lives been lost? Have people been sacrificed?
JOHNSON: I don't know if lives have been lost yet, but we have to start with the damage to Mrs. Wilson. Her life has been put at risk. The people that she was working with overseas who were spies, they are potentially at risk. You could potentially have people dead because of this. But the odds of finding that out as far as the CIA coming forth and detailing it, we are not likely to hear that because they have to protect the sources and methods.
And then of course you had the attempt by the Administration scapegoat the CIA for the lack of WMD's in Iraq - there has even been an individual CIA agent who has sued the government for covering up the truth about Iraq's lack of WMDs.
WASHINGTON, July 31 - The Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons program, but the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers, a former C.I.A. officer has charged.
In a lawsuit filed in federal court here in December, the former C.I.A. officer, whose name remains secret, said that the informant told him that Iraq's uranium enrichment program had ended years earlier and that centrifuge components from the scuttled program were available for examination and even purchase.
The officer, an employee at the agency for more than 20 years, including several years in a clandestine unit assigned to gather intelligence related to illicit weapons, was fired in 2004.
In his lawsuit, he says his dismissal was punishment for his reports questioning the agency's assumptions on a series of weapons-related matters. Among other things, he charged that he had been the target of retaliation for his refusal to go along with the agency's intelligence conclusions.
Similar claims have since been brought forward by 27-year CIA vet Ray McGovern as he directly challenged Sec Def Rumsfeld.
QUESTION: You said you knew where they were.
RUMSFELD: I did not. I said I knew where suspect sites were and -
QUESTION: You said you knew whe
re they were Tikrit, Baghdad, northeast, south, west of there. Those are your words.
RUMSFELD: My words -- my words were that -- no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute. Let him stay one second. Just a second.
Also these same points have been made by former CIA European Chief Tyler Drumheller.
"It just sticks in my craw every time I hear them say it's an intelligence failure. It's an intelligence failure. This was a policy failure," Drumheller tells Bradley.
Josh Marshall on Drumheller.
Drumheller's account is pretty probative evidence on the question of whether the White House politicized and cherry-picked the Iraq intelligence. So why didn't we hear about any of this in the reports of those Iraq intel commissions that have given the White House a clean bill of health on distorting the intel and misleading the country about what we knew about Iraq's alleged WMD programs? Think about it. It's devastating evidence against their credibility on a slew of levels. Did you read in any of those reports -- even in a way that would protect sources and methods -- that the CIA had turned a key member of the Iraqi regime, that that guy had said there weren't any active weapons programs, and that the White House lost interest in what he was saying as soon as they realized it didn't help the case for war?
And then there's CIA Officer Paul Pillar.
The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade.
"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."
Kondracke is at least partially correct - current and former members of the CIA are in the midst of a veritable Jihad against the Bush Administrations and it's campaign of lies. And can you blame them?
Would newspapers in the midst of World War II have printed the fact that the United States had broken German and Japanese codes, enabling the enemy to secure its communications? Or revealed how and where Nazi spies were being interrogated? Nowadays, newspapers win Pulitzer Prizes for such disclosures. In Congress and in much of the media, the immediate reaction to news that the National Security Agency was intercepting international terrorist communications was not to say, "Good work - and how can we help?" Rather, it was to scream about a "domestic spying" scandal, as though Richard Nixon were back in the White House and tapping the telephone of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.
Before him we had Porter Goss, who during his short year and a half stint conducted a veritable witch-hunt for potential leakers (and anyone who disagreed with Bush Admin policy) and came up only with a retiring Inspector General Mary McCarthy who had no direct access to the information for which she was accused of leaking and fired. (I smell yet another wrongful termination suit in the offing...)
But no sooner than we have Goss plug up one potential leak (which apparent isn't a leak at all) just as he's rapidly ushered out the door - a hasty exit caused in all likelyhood due to his connections to "Dusty" Foggo and Fornigate - do we have further leaks springing from the NSA itself in the form of Russell Tice (who was scheduled to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committe Last Week and claims what we've heard so far is just the "Tip of the Iceberg") and from AT&T in the form of Mark Klein (whose information indicates that the NSA isn't just tracking phone calls, it's tracking Email and Website access too!)
Not to mention the revelation that President Bush Personally Ordered classified information to be leaked, simply to make political points and perpetuate a lie, which like the claims of links between Saddam and Al Qaeda had been disproven long before the War, but continued to appear in the President's statements and speeches.
If I had a score-card handy I would say that so far it's CIA/Leakers/Whistle-blowers Ten - Bush Admin Zero.
And the leaks are still coming - like a broken water main - while the Bush admin has so far caught no one. With Alberto Gonzales now threatening to prosecute Journalists for revealing classified information, the truth is that if they seriously go down that road they would have to start with ROBERT F-ing NOVAK, who was warned away from publishing the Plame Story by the CIA itself, and did it anyway.
Harlow, the former CIA spokesman, said in an interview yesterday that he testified last year before a grand jury about conversations he had with Novak at least three days before the column was published. He said he warned Novak, in the strongest terms he was permitted to use without revealing classified information, that Wilson's wife had not authorized the mission and that if he did write about it, her name should not be revealed.
Harlow said that after Novak's call, he checked Plame's status and confirmed that she was an undercover operative. He said he called Novak back to repeat that the story Novak had related to him was wrong and that Plame's name should not be used. But he did not tell Novak directly that she was undercover because that was classified.
In a column published Oct. 1, 2003, Novak wrote that the CIA official he spoke to "asked me not to use her name, saying she probably never again will be given a foreign assignment but that exposure of her name might cause 'difficulties' if she travels abroad. He never suggested to me that Wilson's wife or anybody else would be endangered. If he had, I would not have used her name."
Personal Note to Bob: If he'd told you that "her life would be in danger" he would have been admitting that she was a covert operative -- and that fact was classified! He told you "DON'T PRINT IT" - he shouldn't have had to draw you a freaking map, dumb ass! Couldn't Take a Hint, coudja?
The fact is if Gonzales is going to frog-march James Risen or Dana Priest - they he'd better be sharing a cell with Novak or Bushco will be shredded for making any such prosecutions partisan in the extreme! And if Novak goes down, how's 'ole Turd Blossom gonna hold up? How 'bout the Veep and his little notes in the margins on Plame?They do this and they'll burn their own house down in the process.
The thing we have to remember is that if CIA and NSA agents and officers are the ones providing this information to the press and congress in order to put the breaks on the lawlessness of the Bush Administration - it's very unlikely that they're ever going to catch any of these people since it's their JOB to keep secrets and be able to share information without it being detected - even by each other.
Right now - my bets are all on the CIA guys (and gals) in this battle.
It's also heartening to note that many of these whistle-blowers, like Tice, are Republicans. They understand that this issue isn't one of partisanship - it's one of law and order.
If we do eventually succeed at winning the War on Terruh using the methods supported by Kondracke - if we succeed in shredding our own Constitution into confetti - doesn't it make our attempts to spread Democracy ultimately futile? If our Democracy can be so thoroughly currupted and flawed by the pressures of terrorism - how can the fledgling Pseudo-Democracy of Iraq or Afghanistan stand a chance?
The only thing that can protect and preserve the integrity of our Democracy, and even the Iraqi and Aghan Democracies - is for brave people to stand up and speak Truth To Power, regardless of the personal risks and consequences.
Such courage is what a Democracy is supposed to protect and nurture, not hunt down and destroy.
And we, here an d elsewhere, can let their efforts be ignored or allow them to be smeared by the likes of Kondracke and his Jackboot-licking ilk.