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Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Intelligence Insurgency

In addition to a revolt among some of our more mud-minded Generals, which I have condemned in these posts, there has been a much more disturbing, much more subversive effort to undermine the war and the president's prosecution of it. I refer to the Mary McCarthy affair, Valery Plame and her husband, and other incidents involving the US intelligence community's disloyalty in time of war. The editors of the Wall Street Journal hit the nail on the head today:

We're as curious as anyone to see how Ms. McCarthy's case unfolds. But this would appear to be only the latest example of the unseemly symbiosis between elements of the press corps and a cabal of partisan bureaucrats at the CIA and elsewhere in the "intelligence community" who have been trying to undermine the Bush Presidency.

The existence of this intelligence insurgency first came to light in a major way with former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who wrote a New York Times op-ed in 2003 questioning the veracity of President Bush's "16 words" about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa. Someone close to the White House had the audacity to point out that Mr. Wilson was an anti-Bush partisan whose only claim to authority on the matter was the result of wifely nepotism. Mr. Wilson has since been thoroughly discredited, including in a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee. But former Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby is still being prosecuted as the result of a media-instigated investigation into the "leak" of Valerie Plame's not-so-secret CIA identity

The deepest damage from these leak frenzies may yet be to the press itself, both in credibility and its ability to do its job. It was the press that unleashed anti-leak search missions aimed at the White House that have seen Judith Miller jailed and may find Ms. Priest and Mr. Risen facing subpoenas. And it was the press that promoted the probe under the rarely used Espionage Act of "neocon" Defense Department employee Lawrence Franklin, only to find that the same law may now be used against its own "whistleblower" sources. Just recently has the press begun to notice that the use of the same Espionage Act to prosecute two pro-Israel lobbyists for repeating classified information isn't much different from prosecuting someone for what the press does every day--except for a far larger audience.

We've been clear all along that we don't like leak prosecutions, especially when they involve harassing reporters who are just trying to do their job. But then that's part of the reason we didn't join Joe Wilson and the New York Times in demanding Karl Rove's head over the Plame disclosure. As for some of our media colleagues, when they stop being honest chroniclers of events and start getting into bed with bureaucrats looking to take down elected political leaders, they shouldn't be surprised if those leaders treat them like the partisans they have become.

Read the whole thing.


Update 27 Apr 06:
Another good peice today at A.J. Strata's place. He says,

If I was the paranoid kind, I would think ex-CIA agents and NSC members are trying to instigate a bloodless coup d’etat. I am not there yet. But with McCarthy’s firing as the first publicized peron caught (or should we say confessing) to discussing classified matters with reporters without authorization (is that accurately worded so McCarthy lawyer Cobb can’t pull a clinton-esque spin job?) it is interesting to see who is coming out and about in the media...

In fairness, Powerline's authors have been all over this for six months. See here and here.


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