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April 24, 2006
Updates incorporated into the main body of the post. If you're big on this story, skim until you see something new.
A lot to cover, mostly having to do with media bias and the media's attempt to push back against the Bush Administration to keep its leakers safe.
John Kerry, of course, has announced that if you're telling the truth when you leak, that should be a mitigating factor as to whether or not your punished for breaking the law.
Absurd. It's only the truthful leaks that can jeopardize national security -- you don't harm national security when you leak something that's not true. So Kerry is basically saying that all leakers should get off the hook.
Yeah, I know, he does the old "Of course I don't support leaking." And then comes the but.
There seems to be a blatant double-standard on leaking, and one political party is up and arms about it. That political party? The Democrats.
Hee, hee, hee. They (as John Kerry did) claim that because the President is empowered to declassify information and leak it or openly announce it as he sees fit, his subordinates in the CIA must have the same right. Or something.
Actually, they just say that's it's "hypocritical" for the President to do something he is empowered to do while punishing those for doing something they are not empowered to do. Why? Who the eff knows.
They're desperate. They need the leaking liberal faction in the CIA to continue their war against Bush, and they're rising to their allies' defense.
Belmont Club notes that Ray McGovern, one of McCarthy's defenders, is an associate of Daniel Ellsberg through something called the "Truth Telling Project," which claims that anyone is empowered to leak if, in their opinion, the constitution is being violated. Oath of secrecy and national security laws and all that, but if, in your opinion, you think the Constitution is being violated, you are free to leak whatever you like.
The media, of course, is not informing you about who McCarthy's defenders are, nor their fairly expansive view of the Right to Leak. If any CIA employee admitted he subscribed to such a view, do you think he'd be allowed to keep his security clearance? Of course not. So people have the Right to Leak, I guess, and also the Right To Lie.
And speaking of McCarthy's defenders -- I mean her defenders that aren't Democratic politicians or their liberal spirit squad in the media. I mean her other defenders. Rand Beers, the go-to guy for nice quotes about McCarthy in the NYT piece on her, quit the CIA to become Kerry's national security advisor in 2004 and also teaches a seminar at Yale with... Richard Clarke.
Dorian Davis, guest blogging at Karol's, archly notes the super-happy-positive treatment the NYT gave McCarthy in that story.
The Corner notes the WaPo's fawning story on McCarthy makes no mention of McCarthy's contributions to Democrats. Even the NYT managed to note ONE donation. The article claims she's no "firebrand ideologue."
But the numbers tell a different story. A reader at the Corner estimates her yearly income and calculates how much of her salary went to Democratic politicians in 2004. An awful lot, as it turns out. Possibly 8.4% (or more) of her 2004 net income (income after taxes).
If someone's tithing that much to the Holy Liberal Church and still not a "firebrand ideologue," I'd like to know how much of your hard-earned cash you have to give away to politicians before you do become a "firebrand idelogue." 20%?
Just One Minute meanwhile notes the NYT similarly continues having trouble finding the full extent of McCarthy's Democratic donations, despite the fact that every blogger on the planet was able to find them at Open Secrets or the FEC disclusre site within about, oh, three minutes.
The Times scratches its pointy little head wondering what McCarthy's motivation for leaking might have been, while studiously ignoring the following information that everyone not reading the Times knows:
1) She was Berger crony and Clinton appointee.
2) Her career was going gangbusters through the Clinton Adminstration, being appointed, ultimately, to the high post of National Intelligence Officer for Warning.
3) Bush then eased her out of this high position into, it seems, a far less influential and much less powerful berth at what seems to be some sort of CIA-affiliated think-tank, the Center for Security and International Studies, which may be where old CIA horses are put out to stud.
4) She was a committed Kerry partisan, giving, perhaps, a full 8.4% of her 2004 net income (i.e., income after taxes) to Kerry and other Democratic politicians and organizations.
The Times just can't figure out what her motivation could possibly be. Must just be because she's an independent-minded straight-shooter with an abundant sense of patriotism and fidelity to the Constitution and who, if she's guilty of anything, is guilty of caring too much.
"This is not difficult," Tom says. He means it's not difficult to find this stuff and write a short paragraph about it. But of course it's extraordinarily difficult for the media to note the partisan leanings of a leaker who hurts Bush.
So difficult, in fact, that most in the media will simply avoid the topic altogether.
Which raises an interesting question, I think. The media and the Democrats are always claiming they're equally, if not more, patriotic and heroic than conservatives/Republicans.
If that's the case-- why are they so reluctant to admit their heroes are liberal partisans? They're clearly giving McCarthy the designation "hero;" they refuse to give her the designation "liberal" or "Democratic partisan."
Do they believe, as some Republicans do, that heroism and patriotism are somehow incompatible with liberalism and Democratic partisanship? If they don't believe that, why not just say she's both a liberal ideologue and a hero?
Which is a damn good question. The Democratic politicians and the media should be willing to admit that more was done here than "informing the public" or "holding the government accountable," which are this week's talking points. They should forthrightly admit that grave damage was done to US national security:
In Europe, the reaction [to the Post story] was immediate and intense. The EU said it would launch a probe of both Poland, which is an EU member, and Romania, which hopes to become one. Both countries might be punished if the story were true, EU officials said. Romania denied the whole thing, sort of; in a statement that perhaps sounded more definitive than it was, Romania's premier said, "I repeat: We do not have CIA bases in Romania." In Poland, the new government -- it had been in office for just a few weeks and had played no role in whatever had happened before -- also issued a denial. But, at least in Poland, the story caused enormous anger and unhappiness behind the scenes.
So it would seem that the interest of "informing the public" must be weighed against harming a loyal ally-- possibly making them high-value targets on Al Qaeda's hit-lists -- and embarrassing them and causing them to be cautious about aiding us in the future.
But of course in the media, none of these consequences are mentioned, let alone seriously considered. Hurting Bush trumps all other considerations.
Does anyone imagine that when Democrats defend McCarthy's reckless criminality, a media-type will confront him with that quote? I don't. The media has a professional and PARTISAN interest in keeping all the liberal leakers leaking, and they are doing their utmost to minimize the damage done by the leak -- in fact, they embargo any news or quote that might suggest it was harmful at all -- while trumpeting the supposed benefits of it ("informing the public").
June 1, 1944. A staffer in the Army's war planning office has been fighting the plan for the D-Day invasion for six months, believing the action is too risky, will lead to far too many Allied casualties, and that better alternatives are available (such as simply increasing the troops landing in Italy).
So he leaks the plan to the press-- on June 6, an enormous amphibious landing will take place at Normandy. His intent is not to kill Americans, but rather to save them-- he believes that another plan is better, and that by leaking, he will force a change in the plan.
His leak is true. It is leaked with good intentions.
Would Kerry or Jane Harmon or the rest of the leak-defenders claim that this was a "good leak" because it was "true" and/or done to "hold the government accountable"?
I would say that what the Democrats and media are doing is greatly weakening the Presidency's national security and foreign policy powers for the next Democratic President. I would say that the "rules" they are now suggesting would apply equally to a Hillary! presidency, and if, say, Hillary! strikes a deal with Iran, they are complicit in giving the go-ahead to right-wing staffers at the CIA to sabotage that plan by deliberately leaking all sorts of derogatory information suggesting that Iran cannot be trusted, etc., leaks that might cause public opinion to turn against her, or cause Iran to withdraw from the deal in a fit of anger.
I would say that they are therefore crippling the Presidency for themselves, when they capture it.
I would say that, but it's not true. Because we all know-- the moment a Democrat becomes President, these new "rules" about how splendid it is when a leaker sabotages the duly-elected President's foreign policy decisonmaking (to hold her "accountable") will go right out the window.
These new "rules" are only in effect during a Republican administration. We know it, the Democrats know it, the entire liberal spirit squad in the media knows it.
The moment Hillary! takes the presidency, all leakers who attempt to thwart her chosen foreign policy through illegal leaks will be fired and probably prosecuted, and the media will cheer her for clamping down on "rightwing ideologues" determined to illegally undermine the foreign policy decisions of the constitutionally-empowered chief foreign policy officer.
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