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It is very tempting when looking at Mary McCarthy’s fascinating connections to heavy hitters in the Democratic party national security establishment to try and connect the dots to form what Varifrank has called “The Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory.” And while not entirely dismissing out of hand such a possibility, I believe such thinking neglects a much more mundane and common explanation.

Mary McCarthy is part of a very exclusive community of like minded Democrats numbering at most 200 experts in national security and foreign affairs who staffed the Clinton Administration’s Departments of Defense and State (and the much more exclusive National Security Council). These were the undersecretaries and assistant secretaries that flesh out any administration and get their jobs thanks to both their political connections and their experience in foreign and military policy.

This experience comes from a variety of places including our intelligence agencies, military staff jobs, foreign service postings, think tanks, and Capitol Hill staff positions. They provide an invaluable service to the party by constantly developing policy prescriptions and position papers that bubble and froth by being debated and shaped at conferences and forums until a consensus of sorts is reached.

In McCarthy’s case, she was running with an exclusive club indeed if Sandy Berger and Rand Beers were her patrons at the NSC. But that alone doesn’t prove that her actions in leaking were part of conspiracy nor does it make it probable that those worthies mentioned above even knew she would violate her oath of secrecy so brazenly. Her contacts with Berger and Beers were probably confined to seeing them at the numerous conferences and scholarly forums where the rest of the Democratic contribution to the military industrial complex meet.

The Republicans, of course, have a similar group albeit much larger but perhaps more disciplined. Where the Democrats have a half dozen major think tanks with another dozen or so small but influential policy groups, the Republicans have a remarkable network of scholars, ex-military, ex-intelligence and foreign service as well as former bureaucrats who work through long established think tanks like The Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

I read a few years back where the turnover of scholars at Republican think tanks is much quicker than their Democratic counterparts which allows for more voices to take part in the policy debates that both of these institutional networks depend on to clarify and formulate the party’s positions. For McCarthy, her stint at The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) was the result of a common practice in the national security establishment of making sure that the agency’s “voice” was heard in the upper reaches of a political party’s councils. There are similar sabbaticals granted to Republican employees so that they can fulfill a similar purpose.

Whether she volunteered for the CSIS assignment or chosen is unknown. But the fact that the CSIS is generally thought of as a Democratic party organ made her return to the CIA in 2003 a problem given that a Republican Administration was running things. As has been pointed out, her being assigned to the Inspector General’s office could be considered a demotion from the position she had prior to leaving the CIA in 2001 (the NSC staff). An interesting question would be did she volunteer for the assignment knowing that she would have access to a wide variety of classified information?

Several former intelligence officials said they were particularly alarmed about McCarthy’s alleged involvement in any leaks because of where she worked at the CIA. L. Britt Snyder III, who was CIA inspector general from 1997 to 2000, said if McCarthy leaked information while working in the IG office, “we would have considered that a fairly egregious sin.” The IG, he said, “gets into everything, including personal things. That makes it a little different than other places.”

Consider this: Is it coincidence or conspiracy that Mary McCarthy, partisan Democrat, was placed in exactly the right position to scan a massive amount of intelligence about a wide variety of political hot button topics that, if selectively leaked, could cause the Bush Administration enormous embarrassment and damage?

Just thinking out loud…

By: Rick Moran at 7:31 am
  1. 1
    MayBee Said:
    8:14 am 

    Ignore my comment on the last thread. This is exactly what I am wondering.
    I still don’t know if it has to be a conspiracy of more than 1—she could have sought the IG job specifically knowing she’d have access to the most harmful information.
    Not a coincidence, but a calcuated move for a determined leaker-to-be.
    Like you, I’m just thinking aloud. But that $5000 to Ohio makes it look as if she really, really wanted someone else besides Bush to be president.

  2. 2
    Steve Said:
    8:56 am 

    I say give her the benefit of the doubt. In fact, make her a candidate for sainthood.

    As a member of the IG staff she received a complaint from a concerned employee that some aspect(s) of the CIA’s detention program(s) may be a violation of CIA rules or US law.

    She investigates and for some reason(s) is persuaded the charge(s) are correct. Something is rotten in Denmark.

    What does she do? Clearly she has to present her findings to her superiors. That would be the people who make final decisions, the CIA IG, maybe even Porter Goss himself. And because she works in the IG office she would be exposed to all the legal arguments of the question at issue.

    Ultimately, someone above her pay grade makes the call. And it goes against her opinion.

    What does she do? She is confronted by the classic ethical dilemma. Her moral compass points one way, her professional obligations point in the opposite direction. She can be a good solider, salute, shut up and march on; or she can choose the “harder right” and go resign for reasons of conscience.

    Like most sinners (ie 99.99% of the population) she chooses the “safe” course of action. She provides the information to the press and continues to draw her salary.

    Regardless of her motivations, she has violated her obligations to the American public. We exepect our employees who handle secrets to keep secrets secret.

    Is that asking too much?

  3. 3
    Mona Said:
    9:35 am 

    Consider this: Is it coincidence or conspiracy that Mary McCarthy, partisan Democrat, was placed in exactly the right position to scan a massive amount of intelligence about a wide variety of political hot button topics that, if selectively leaked, could cause the Bush Administration enormous embarrassment and damage?

    Rick, with all due respect, I do not care. If Mary McCarthy moonlights as an exotic dancer and she serviced Joe Wilson while also having a lesbian affair with Valerie, I don’t care.

    The salient issue here is that the United States of America is operating illegal, black prisons, where at least one person has died after being chained to a freezing floor. If what McCarthy told WaPo is true, this is an issue the American people are entitled to know and to debate.

    I would ask my Congresspeople to vote “no” about my country operating such ghastly things. But I would not be in a position to do so if not for McCarthy’s leak.

  4. 4
    A Blog For All Trackbacked With:
    9:42 am 

    The Web of Leaks

    Porter Goss has made it a priority to clean up the CIA and eliminate leaks of classified information. That’s what a good director is supposed to do. So, predictably it has meant hard feelings for those who don’t like the fact that the agency is inves…

  5. 5
    Mona Said:
    9:57 am 

    Steve writes: Regardless of her motivations, she has violated her obligations to the American public. We exepect our employees who handle secrets to keep secrets secret.

    Is that asking too much?

    In some circumstances, yes. If the Bush Administration is launched on a path of violating laws left and right—and it is—then the American people are entitled to know that. The warrantless NSA surveillance violates a federal criminal statute that We the People passed in 1978—by overwhelming margins of both parties. It is illegal to maintain “black prisons” here or elsewhere; we do not “disappear” people, or at least we didn’t until now.

    If an Executive classifies all of his illegal programs, then he puts those who know about them in an intolerably difficult position. The American people are entitled to know that this country now throws people into black holes where they die and are waterboarded. We are entitled to know that the surveillance statute we passed is a law the President has decided to ignore.

    These are the dots that need to be connected, not McCarthy’s Dem credentials or the fact that she knows Joe Wilson. I could not care less. The important fact is that Bush is operating pursuant to extreme and fringe legal theories given him by John Yoo, which cause him to believe he literally is above any law, if he utters “national secuity.” Those legal theories are what connect all of these things.

  6. 6
    tyk Said:
    11:22 am 

    Question for Mona: Could you give us cites please on “black prisons’” illegality. Or maybe you could start by defining the term. Does it mean an off-shore lockup for enemy combatants arrested in a war zone? To be sure, it would be unconstitutional to hold American citizens in such places. But foreign nationals? Suspected of killing or conspiring to kill Americans?

  7. 7
    Rick Moran Said:
    11:27 am 


    Thanks for asking the questions I was going to ask. I have followed the secret prisons story fairly closely. The problem that the MSM and the left has is that there is a POTENTIAL for bad things to happen i.e. torture. It is by no means clear that any torture occurred nor is it a given that this is why the prisoners are being held in foreign countries.

    Mona – please supply link of the poor terrorist dying in our custody. Never read it and never heard it. It sounds made up.

    Again, no proof that torture has taken place, only the fear that it will. And since the EU hasn’t found any reliable evidence either, one would think that Mary McCarthy not only severely damaged our relations with some eastern European countries who now fear that al Qaeda is targeting them, but also did it for no good reason of “conscience” as her defenders are saying.

  8. 8
    tyk Said:
    11:54 am 

    Rick/Mona. Human Rights Watch has a list of people arrested and unaccounted for, but no suggestion that anyone died of mistreatment. I also have never heard of or read of the ‘chained to a freezing floor’ death.

  9. 9
    Mona Said:
    1:09 pm 

    I am perplexed that people are questioning the black prisons claim, since it is precisely all of that that has Mary McCarthy in hot water for revealing it to WaPo and winning reporter Dana Priest a Pulitzer. Excerpt from lengthy article:

    The existence and locations of the facilities—referred to as “black sites” in classified White House, CIA, Justice Department and congressional documents—are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country… CIA interrogators in the overseas sites are permitted to use the CIA’s approved “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques,” some of which are prohibited by the U.N. convention and by U.S. military law. They include tactics such as “waterboarding,” in which a prisoner is made to believe he or she is drowning. ... In November 2002, an inexperienced CIA case officer allegedly ordered guards to strip naked an uncooperative young detainee, chain him to the concrete floor and leave him there overnight without blankets. He froze to death, according to four U.S. government officials. The CIA officer has not been charged in the death.

    If most or all of that article is true, I don’t care who it is doing this, whether it is George Bush, Bill Clinton or Mother Teresa. It is not how Americans conduct themselves as I ever understood the morality of my country to be.

  10. 10
    Mitzi Said:
    1:26 pm 

    The folks at the EU are no friends of America, and they can’t find proof of these bases. Could this whole thing really have been a big sting set up by Porter Goss to find the leaker? I read that somewhere on the internet. Ha Ha

  11. 11
    tyk Said:
    1:49 pm 

    Mona. Thanks for the post. A Pulitzer is not much of a certificate, but that aside: it is obvious that such prisons exist (how could they not?) and that they are located in jurisdictions where CIA “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” are not a violation of local law. It is too bad that such things offend your sensibilites, but then you might also have been offended had you been, say, on Flight 93 (the movie opens Friday. Be sure you don’t miss it; it likely is a good antidote for bad cases of sentimentality). The government’s job, Mona, is to protect its citizens (that includes me, and I presume it includes you). Its job is not to deal delicately with non-citizens against whom there is evidence of murder or intent to murder.

  12. 12
    goy Said:
    1:57 pm 

    “I am perplexed…”
    All too obvious. I submit that the reason for your confusion is that you have arrogated to yourself – as McCarthy apparently has – the role of arbiter regarding what actions may legally be taken against an enemy, the likes of which we have never faced, in the midst of a war, the likes of which we have never fought.

    As it turns out, we elect people for that role. During their tenure they’re typically referred to as the President.

  13. 13
    Mona Said:
    2:05 pm 

    tyk says: The government’s job, Mona, is to protect its citizens (that includes me, and I presume it includes you). Its job is not to deal delicately with non-citizens…

    This nation made it through a Cold War without torturing people or throwing them into black holes.

    My country, tyk, stands for certain things. The rule of law, civilized behavior, and a respect for the opinions of mankind. If my country has decided we need to “disappear” people and torture them, even killing them while doing so, I want to have a public and national discussion about that. The idea that we have to resort to such measures to be safe from terrorists is, frankly, preposterous. Not to mention that it is illegal.

    We are not Joseph Stalin’s USSR. We are not the Taliban. We are not Iran. Or at least I didn’t think we were any of those things.

  14. 14
    Mona Said:
    2:16 pm 

    goy writes:
    I submit that the reason for your confusion is that you have arrogated to yourself – as McCarthy apparently has – the role of arbiter regarding what actions may legally be taken against an enemy, the likes of which we have never faced, in the midst of a war, the likes of which we have never fought.

    As it turns out, we elect people for that role. During their tenure they’re typically referred to as the President.

    As a citizen, I vote for congressional representatives who pass laws. My Senate ratifies various treaties. When the laws and treaties take effect, I expect them to control everyone’s behavior, including the Executive’s. Warrantless wiretaps on U.S. soil are, in the relevant circumstances, illegal. Torture has just been prohibited by the Congress and is precluded by treaties to which we are signatories.

    If my President believes the laws my representatives have passed do not bind him, I want to know that. I disagree, and would hold him accountable. But I can not do that unless I know he is violating laws; hence the value of the leakers.

    Contrary to the opinion of many non-lawyers, Congress shares national security authority, including wrt policy, with the President. Such “liberal” justices as Scalia and Thomas not only concede this, but insist on it. Bush has no business arrogating to himself the power to violate duly enacted laws of Congress. He is not a monarch, but he is acting like one.

    Terrorists are going to be an issue for the U.S. and the West for many decades to come. In the meantime, I profoundly object to a theory of Executive power which makes my president—no matter who he or she is now or will be in the future—a virtual monarch.

  15. 15
    goy Said:
    2:37 pm 

    Mona, you’re still perplexed AND missing the point(s).

    If the leakers had value, we’d have proof, not innuendo. We’d have evidence, not accusations. We’d have accountable testimony, not anonymous hearsay by unnamed “current officials”.

    Or can you link to the preponderance of evidence – let alone proof – of wrongdoing (“monarchical” or otherwise) by the President in pursuit of defending these United States?

    When you can do that, let’s have a discussion. Until then, you’re just making assumptions – assumptions that the surveillance of al Qaeda’s international communication into the U.S. is “illegal”, assumptions that torture (as opposed to the threat of torture or rumor of torture) has actually taken place, assumptions that you are the one who gets to decide how close to the letter of the law this war can be prosecuted and, most importantly, assumptions that the leakers’ information is in any way valuable, other than as a tool to destroy confidence in our government. So far, that’s all it’s done.

    In short, the leakers haven’t produced anything but partisan innuendo and anonymous hearsay. That you choose to defer to such clearly politically motivated claims offers the only key you need to understand why you’re so perplexed.

  16. 16
    Scrapiron Said:
    2:44 pm 

    The identification of the traitor has proven once again the hate turns to insanity. Watch any of the weekend cartoons (AKA round tables) and you’ll find dozens of democrats spewing their insanity world wide. I now believe that the democrats are more dangerous to this country than all of the terrorist organizations in the world. I see Slick Willie is still getting paid off for all of the midnight pardons. Making millions (payoffs) from deals with criminals.

  17. 17
    Mona Said:
    2:54 pm 

    When you can do that, let’s have a discussion. Until then, you’re just making assumptions – assumptions that the surveillance of al Qaeda’s international communication into the U.S. is “illegal”,

    That is not an assumption. The Administration does not deny it is violating FISA; it has instead offered two legal theories as to why it may do so. Further, Gonzalez has strongly implied, after being questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee, that these theories of being able to operate outside of criminal statues also apply to purely domestic matters.

    Pro-Bush people don’t want to believe it, and I didn’t want to either since I voted fore the man in ‘04, but if you move outside of the analyses of blind apologists like the Powerline lawyers, no sensible JD believes the SCOTUS would uphold the warrantless surveillance program. Orin Kerr at Volokh thinks Bush would go down 8-1; I think it would be 9-0 based on my reading of the applicable law and the 9 justices’ jurisprudential postures.

    Bush is moving heaven and earth to keep his extreme legal theories out of court review, and even the arch-conservative Michael Luttig, on the 4th Cir. Ct. of Appeals, finally had it with the DoJ and smacked it down hard a few months ago in a very pointed and angry opinion in the Padilla matter. Those of us who know the warrantless surveillance is illegal and that the courts would so hold, are desperate to get the matter before a court, but the Bush DoJ will not cooperate. There is a reason for that—their legal theories are garbage. Antonin Scalia would tell them so, as he beautifully did in Hamdi.

    Indeed, over at The Corner Andy McCarthy is so unhappy at prospects in court, if the warrantless surveillance ever got there, that he actually said Bush should ignore the courts if they rule against him! This is anarchy and insanity, but it is what we’ve come to.

    Finally, to my knowledge the Bush Admin has not denied the contents of the WaPo story. Further, Bush opposed the McCain torture bill, and when he signed it did so with the caveat that it cannot bind him if he decides he needs to do things the law prohibits. Since he has made that quite clear, it hardly seems unlikely that he is doing the things the WaPo article describes. Otherwise, he’d have had no issue with the McCain bill.

  18. 18
    Andrew Said:
    3:42 pm 

    I have to agree with pretty much everything Mona says except for the wiretaps. I think their illegality is in a gray area, and members of both parties that have been fully briefed on the program support it. That is good enough for me, and I no longer have significant concerns about the program.

    I think a point Mona makes but doesn’t address directly is the question of oversight. In many areas, the executive has claimed it has sole propriety over certain activities. In my view, oversight is always needed to prevent abuses. I don’t see how people can argue that a nation based at its core on shared authority and separation of powers can flatly state the President and the executive branch can create and run “black” prisons with no oversight at all. These prisons were so highly classified because they are illegal under US law as well as treaties we are signatories to. Every time that oversight is weak or nonexistent, abuses happen. Take a look at what the NRO did with its huge black budget when the agency was still classified for one example, or Iran-Contra, or the pallets of greenbacks that went into a black hole in Iraq.

    One question that hasn’t been answered is why aren’t these prisoners sent to Gitmo? Why do they need special, secret prisons?

    Here’s another thing that bothers me. I have been involved in what the military calls “personnel recovery” for many years. Part of “PR” is something called “SERE” or Search Evasion Resistance Escape. SERE school teaches military people how to evade in enemy territory, but it also teaches what the average American service member can expect if they’re captured. Based on experience from Vietnam and the first Gulf War, the course gives students a taste of the torture they are likely to encounter and methods to defeat that torture. It’s pretty much universally acknowledged among SERE experts that the kinds of torture techniques used against us in past wars were largely ineffective in obtaining substantive intelligence from victims. What’s surprising is that after 9/11, the techniques used in SERE school were adopted as valid interrogation techniques by military and other interrogators. So the techniques that we have said for decades are not only ineffective, but also immoral, are now adopted by US interrogators. Talk about moral relativism.

    Finally, I think the CIA, as an organization, really wants no part of this. Running prisons and interrogations have never been part of the CIA mandate and are not an area of expertise for the Agency. Certainly the CIA is dysfunctional and partisan in many ways, but is that so surprising? Every administration that comes in changes their mandate and either authorizes or takes away power from them. When a mistake is made, it’s CIA employees who are hauled into court or fired, not the politicians that created and directed the policy. With all that, it’s no surprise the CIA is a risk-averse increasingly political organization. They have to be to operate in the Washington political environment. The CIA knows that the political winds will eventually change and another administration or Democratic congress will come in and then eat them for lunch while the politicians who authorized everything are milking the lecture circuit. The CIA needs a clear mission and set of rules to do that mission that doesn’t change every 4 years.

  19. 19
    goy Said:
    4:28 pm 

    “ sensible JD believes the SCOTUS would uphold the warrantless surveillance program.”
    Yet these “sensible” JDs feel no compunction about rendering an opinion despite the minor annoyance that the details of the individual cases in question are – by definition – not public knowledge. But then perhaps they’ve been leaked to you??

    As for the WaPo story – what responsibility does the Admin have to confirm or deny details of a story that is clearly nothing more than a politically motivated attack? None. And McCain? Please. You’re once again assuming facts not in evidence, and trying to use circumstance as a substitute. Bad form. And it blinds you to the obvious: these idiotic leaks are all about destroying confidence in our government and handing control back to the unhinged “progressives”, nothing more.

    It’s going to take a while for new law to apply to the unprecedented nature of the threat we face. People like Bush and Gonzalez understand this. In some ways we’re still blinded by past administrations’ errors of treating international terrorism as a law enforcement problem. Those further blinded by their hatred of the President prefer to see him fail – preferably while trying to fight with one or both hands tied behind him. Maybe that includes you.

    Let’s assume for the moment that one of these two laws has actually been “broken”. Would you demand Clinton’s re-impeachment if his intelligence apparatus had actually been on the ball, and had managed to uncover and thwart the 9/11 attacks through the use of “rendition”? Would you demand Bush’s impeachment if it turned out the nuclear destruction of downtown Manhattan was prevented by “warrantless” surveillance of some al Qaeda operative making cell phone calls outside the country? Or are there not some ends which justify some means? Because if there aren’t, then you’ll never defeat a creative and clever enemy as long as you’re prevented from doing so by laws that don’t cover the circumstances at hand. We elect people to deal with such circumstances. We re-elected George Bush after he demonstrated how he was going to deal with such circumstances – by drawing the line where it’s appropriate, without flirting with abject totalitarianism.

    Either way, the catching up of the law will no doubt be preceded by legal attacks from Bush’s political enemies, who’ll exploit a lack of applicable precedents in their pogrom against his administration and conservatives in general. It may actually take Bush down. If it does, that will be a great day for the left and for the islamist terrorists alike, as the former will have played directly to the only remaining strategy of the latter.

  20. 20
    Mona Said:
    4:28 pm 

    Andrew, thanks for the support on the prison issue, but I really have to stand firm on the warrantless spying matter and point out that you are conflating two issues. There is the one issue of whether the spying program is a good one that benefits us, and then there is the issue of whether it is being conducted legally, that is, in conformity with FISA. Many in Congress from both parties, as you note, agree with the former proposition. Indeed, I don’t know of one Democrat who wants the program per se suspended.

    But Bush is not doing the surveillance legally. He admits the activity falls within FISA, and that he is not obeying that statute. Even John McCain and Lindsey Graham have said that the program therefore cannot be legal. Ditto Sam Brownback. Republicans.

    Bush had every opportunity to amend FISA, and in fact, it has been significantly amended by The Patriot Act—until the NYT reported the warrantless spying, Bush had publicly praised the FISA amendments and said they gave him everything he needed, and that all surveillance was being done with warrants. That just isn’t so, as we now know.

    Bush doesn’t think it actually matters what FISA says. Or the McCain torture bill that just passed the Senate by 90-9. In his signing statement for the latter, Bush said he’d ignore it if he wished to.

    Whether it is warrantless surveillance in violation of FISA, or torture prohibitions, or virtually anything else, Bush has adopted John Yoo theories of Executive power which render the Legislative branch null and void, at least in any context remotely related to national security. That is the over-arching issue here, namely, Bush’s theory of Executive power, which allows him to basically do whatever he wants, without judicial oversight, or consideration of the laws our representatives have passed.

    Bush only told Congress what he wanted to about the NSA program. What he isn’t doing is seeking to obtain warrants from an independent judiciary, as required by FISA. Even if he is operating just as properly as he would with judicial oversight, the principle he is institutionalizing is a profound threat to our system of govt, with its checks of one branch as against the others. That principle that the president is above, and not bound by, the law will be in place for all presidents to come, if not repelled.

    I know people think this cannot be true; that I must be overstating it. I’m not. The architect of Bush’s legal theory, John Yoo, spoke at my alma mater a few months ago, Notre Dame. When asked whether, according to his theories, Bush could legally crush the testicles of a child, Yoo said yes he could, in a national security context. There just is nothing the Executive cannot do if he can tie it at all to national security; that is the meaning of the extreme legal theories Bush has adopted and which are guiding his decisions.

  21. 21
    Mona Said:
    4:40 pm 

    goy says: Yet these “sensible” JDs feel no compunction about rendering an opinion despite the minor annoyance that the details of the individual cases in question are – by definition – not public knowledge. But then perhaps they’ve been leaked to you??

    This issue turns on law. The Bush Admin admits its activities fall within FISA, and that it is violating that law. It sought amendments to FISA in The Patriot Act, and was given virtually everything it asked for.

    Look, not all Democrats are “unhinged progressives.” Disagreeing with Bush about how to fight terrorism does not an unhinged progressive make. While I have generally tended to vote GOP, I’m an Independent libertarian, and at this point I’m so alarmed by the Bush/Frist, populist, big govt GOP that I want to see Democrats take at least one house of Congress, or the Executive office. Time for the gridlock party to prevail, in my view.

    Terrorists are a serious problem, but they do not pose an existential threat to us. The Soviet Union did, when it had a few thousand nuclear warheads aimed at as, but the Muslim fanatics cannot actually destroy us. But by subordinating every principle that makes us what we are in the name if fighting them, we can go a long way to destroying ourselves.

  22. 22
    MayBee Said:
    5:08 pm 

    This nation made it through a Cold War without torturing people or throwing them into black holes.

    How do you know this? I would guess it is probably not true, the difference may be you didn’t have someone leaking in the IG office.

    It is a horrible shame someone died, and considering Dr. McCarthy’s position in the IG office, most likely she came accross that information because it was a bad result that required investigation. Not a desired result, and there’s no indication it was a normal result.

    Funny we talk about sending them to Gitmo, as if Gitmo is accepted by the people that dislike the idea of prisons for foreign people on foreign soil.

  23. 23
    Mona Said:
    5:18 pm 

    Maybee writes: How do you know this? I would guess it is probably not true, the difference may be you didn’t have someone leaking in the IG office.

    How do I know we didn’t torture people and throw them into black ops prisons during the Cold War? Because if someone on a leftwing site said that we did, certainly as SOP as ordered by the President, I’d flip them off as an anti-American moonbat, given that there is no evidence for such a thing. The United States hasn’t been perfect, but we are not a nation that conducts itself by torturing people. That’s kinda why we wear the White Hats. It’s what makes us Better Than Them.

  24. 24
    The Real Ugly » Blog Archive » Glenn Greenwald at it Again Pinged With:
    5:29 pm 

    [...] The latest scandal involving a loyal Democrat is actually an indictment of…… you guessed it, The Bush Administration. In Greenwald’s post Treason by association Greenwald points to some on the right who are connecting the dots between McCarthy and some Democratic politicians, operatives, and allies as evidence of some greater conspiracy. There may or may not be/ have been some cooperation between McCarthy, and others loyal to the Democratic Party. We may or may not ever learn if there was. However Greenwald without ever acknowledging that what McCarthy is accused of is in fact a violation of law, and her oath attempts to indict loyal Bush followers using the same methods he is condemning in his post. [...]

  25. 25
    MayBee Said:
    5:55 pm 

    Because if someone on a leftwing site said that we did, certainly as SOP as ordered by the President, I’d flip them off as an anti-American moonbat, given that there is no evidence for such a thing.

    That’s how you know? Because you’d flip someone off, therefore you know?

    The only thing I know is that there was no evidence. However, the only evidence we have of the ‘black prisons’ is that someone broke the law and talked. A vast number of things happen that we don’t know about, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

    We are better than “them”. We aren’t perfect by any means.

  26. 26
    Open Canker Soros Said:
    5:55 pm 

    Why Isn’t She in Cuffs?

    “There are countless questions that arise out of the CIA’s dismissal of a prominent intelligence officer, Mary O. McCarthy (no relation), for leaking classified information to the media. But one in particular springs to mind right now: Why isn’t she in handcuffs?” – Andrew McCarthy

    Read the whole thing:

  27. 27
    Thad Beier Said:
    6:21 pm 

    My feeling in the McCarthy affair is that she did the right thing here, leaking information to the press. She will have to pay the price for doing the right thing—that is to say, she’ll likely go to jail for a while. You really cannot pick and choose what to reveal in contravention of your oath without having to pay the consequences.

    Henry David Thoreau was reported to have said when asked by Emerson “Henry, What are you doing in there?” (he was in jail for refusing to pay a poll tax) “Waldo, what are you doing out there?”

    Thad Beier

  28. 28
    goy Said:
    6:24 pm 

    “Disagreeing with Bush about how to fight terrorism does not an unhinged progressive make.”

    Well, I suppose if this were the argument I was trying to put forth, you’d have a point. But I wasn’t. And you don’t. I’m all for a renewed balance in our government. In fact, I think it’s absolutely essential, as you will no doubt see if you read anything I’ve written. But the current DNC “leadership”, with its moles in the CIA, its endless political attacks on the President in a time of war, and its cadre of obedient lapdogs in the press do not offer any such a balance.

    “Terrorists are a serious problem, but they do not pose an existential threat to us.”

    Really? Tell that to this guy:

    He was a good friend of mine.

    Oops! Sorry. You can’t. He no longer exists.

    You self-righteous philosophy geniuses with your delusions of unreal perfection just make me want to puke.

  29. 29
    Mona Said:
    6:43 pm 

    goy writes: But the current DNC “leadership”, with its moles in the CIA, its endless political attacks on the President in a time of war, and its cadre of obedient lapdogs in the press do not offer any such a balance.

    What if our President merits some political attacks? Look, this “time of war” is going to go on for decades. The jihadists are going to be around for decades, and already have been around for decades. So, for that long, it is going to be seditious or whatever to criticize the Executive vis-a-vis national security policies?

    Not if I have anything to say about it. That’s not a free people, and it is not healthy for the body politic, to try to impose some sort of politesse that disallows strong political disagreement,especially when the attacks pertain to illegal behavior. And I don’t see what a lot of Democrats are saying that you should find to be so awful? Ok, Joe Wilson has, to put it mildly, poor credibility. But I mean in Congress. Who, other than maybe Nancy Pelosi and the dithering Kerry, is so awful?

    I am sincerely sorry about your friend. But the fact remains that Muslim terrorists do not pose an existential threat to the United States. Yes, they did kill several thousand of us and shut the whole damn country down for a week or better. But we woke up, and hopefully our intelligence is now working the way it should have been before so that such things cannot occur again. The FBI knew, you know, as came out in the Moussaoui penalty trial; but the agent who sent the hue and cry out about the plot to hijack airplanes was simply blown off that prior August, repeatedly.

    Muslim terrorists cannot destroy this country; they have not the means. Not like the Soviets did.

    And we would be so wrong to let unreasonable and exaggerated fears of their capacities to cause us to abandon what makes us better than other peoples. I know I want my President to obey the laws my representatives pass, and I’m unwilling to give up that rule of law.

  30. 30
    The Ugly American Said:
    7:21 pm 

    Mona are you Hypatia from GG’s site?

    First of all when and if you actually come up with proof of these black sites and proof of torture all of your hand wringing will be in vein and pointless.

    Secondly, you can jump up and down and call the NSA program illegal until you turn blue that does not make it so. Again come forward with one court decision that supports your argument if you wish to be taken seriously. To date every court decision including the only one ever made by the FISA appeals court, every president to hold office since the passing of FISA,the writings of the founding fathers, and numerous legal scholars support the Presidents argument.

  31. 31
    jeffersonranch Said:
    7:22 pm 

    Why have laws apply to government employees. She broke the law period. She has to accept the consequences, period. I do not care what her background is she broke the law. Leave it to humans to grind the issue into the ground. If the Washington beltway does not like the results change the LAW.

  32. 32
    jeanneb Said:
    7:27 pm 

    It’s really immaterial what you (or Mary McCarthy) believed was legal or illegal.

    For argument’s sake, let’s say you’re right and Bush was acting outside the law (I don’t agree). Even then, McCarthy had an established procedure she was obligated to follow, the easiest of which would have been to inform Senator Rockefeller, the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    Despite your quaint arguments about “the right to know” and doing the moral thing, she took the least moral route. She didn’t work thru the system; she violated her sworn oath.

    She no heroine. She’s a disgrace. And liberals are making a grave mistake if they think Americans will buy into the “good leak” theory. Like me, most ordinary people assume the government is doing MANY things in the war on terror that we know nothing about! They will not sympathize with an agent who took it upon herself to “declassify” classified material.

  33. 33
    Kurt Said:
    8:07 pm 

    Good Leak? It appears as if she leaked about a nonexistent program. Just ask the highly respected EU.

    The questions that begs to be asked, which leaked programs are real and which are not?

  34. 34
    Andrew Said:
    9:02 pm 

    A few points:

    If the leaked program was not real, then it couldn’t be classified. You can’t classify something that doesn’t exist. Therefore you can’t bust someone for leaking a nonexistant program.

    2nd: We don’t have evidence that she didn’t try proper channels first. We don’t have evidence that she did either.

    3rd: We don’t have evidence that she was the original leaker. The Priest story cited multiple sources. It’s possible she confirmed what Priest already knew from European sources.

    4th: If Ms. McCarthy get’s busted (as she should if what we know now is the full story), then why did Sen Hatch get a pass back in Sept. 2001? Or Duetch, or any number of others? Hatch’s leak was certainly worse than Ms. McCarthy’s since he exposed sources and methods that led to a sorce drying up.

  35. 35
    Aaron Said:
    9:07 pm 

    So, Mona thinks its okay for Mary to break the law but not okay for Bush.

    Now, when I pay my taxes, I really do want a CIA that waterboards less than 12 people over 5 years of war, including the mastermind of 9/11 Sheikh Khalid (sp?) after conventional methods did not work. He’s the friggin’ definiton of a ticking bomb scenario, sorry Mona.

    and plenty of people were tortured in the cold war…you do realize American troops tortured prisoners in Viet Nam?

  36. 36
    Mona Said:
    9:37 pm 

    Ugly American asks: Mona are you Hypatia from GG’s site?

    Yes. I’ve never been sure what to call myself there after I “came out” as Mona, since there were those who only knew me as Hypatia. So I settled on calling myself “Hypatia” in quotes.

    You continue: To date every court decision including the only one ever made by the FISA appeals court, every president to hold office since the passing of FISA,the writings of the founding fathers, and numerous legal scholars support the Presidents argument.

    There are zero court decisions holding in support of the President’s legal position, and several that indicate he’d lose Scalia and likely even Thomas. There is one setence of dicta from a FISA Review Panel that his supporters like, but that issue was not briefed and was not argued or ruled on. That is why it is dicta—having no precendential value at all.

    Bush would lose in the federal courts. Period. He knows it, and that is why he is moving heaven and Earth to keep the matter out of litigation. Orin Kerr is not a left-winger, and that is his assessment. Neither is Doug Kmiec, who is as conservative a Republican as exists on the planet (contributes every now and again to NRO), and who taught me Con Law. He frets about discussing whether the program is legal or not, but has said it could have been so only as an emergency matter in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. He tries to exonerate Bush by refering to bad legal advice.

    The first person to approvingly mention impeachment was Bruce Fein, an arch-conservative Con Law scholar from the Reagan DoJ. I can’t exaplin all the legal reasons why all of these lawyers know Bush would lose, not within the limitations of this comments section. But I can say that as a lawyer who voted for Bush in ‘04, and one who is competent to read the relevant case law and to determine the posture of the SCOTUS members, I am as certain of how they would rule as I am of any legal question I can think of.

  37. 37
    Mona Said:
    9:54 pm 

    Aaron writes: and plenty of people were tortured in the cold war…you do realize American troops tortured prisoners in Viet Nam?

    Are you saying this was approved? It happens in every war, but to my understanding the military has always opposed it.

    This is simply bizarre. I’m at a right-wing site where now several of you have insisted that America has always tortured people. Previously, I’ve only encountered that from anti-American leftists trying to depict us as evil, corrupt & etc. I’d always insisted whatever torture took place was aberrational and not officially approved, because we are not depraved like Stalinists.

    Further, you are in no position to know how many people have been tortured, water-boarded or whatever. No one is, except those with access to the classified data.

    If Mary McCarthy is lying, she should be shunned as a political hack for the rest of her life.But she was given a polygraph and fired, and is threatened with prosecution, so it hardly seems likely that she divulged mere fantasies. The other reason I beleive her, is that Bush fought tooth and nail to prevent the anti-torture legislation, but it passed by a veto-proof majority. In his signing statement, however, he made clear he feels entirely justified in flouting that law, just as he has FISA. He feels that way about any law that remotely touches on national security.

    Our laws cannot bind that man, because he refuses to adhere to them. The federal courts would smack him silly, but it has been hard to find anyone with standing to bring the matter to litigation. The SCOTUS decided in ‘52 that Congress and the President share national security powers, and that when Congress legislates, it almost always wins; it was held that this must be, even during war, or else we lose the rule of law.

    That case has been frequently discussed by SCOTUS in the last several years, and applied. That case, Youngstown, not some FISA review panel dicta, is why Bush would lose, as he should.

  38. 38
    Neo Said:
    12:33 am 

    There is talk that Ms. McCarthy will not be prosecuted, sicne she lost her job.

    Does this loss include federal retirement benefits ?

  39. 39
    syn Said:
    5:52 am 

    So basically Mona would rather see her fellow Americans murdered by existential killers than to ever lose her shallow appearance of humanity.

    In other words when 3000 Americans are murdered, for Mona it’s no big deal because they are just Americans but for Gaia’s sake America must treat her existenial killers with kindness and humanity.

    Mona you are torturing Americans with your humanity.

  40. 40
    MayBee Said:
    7:24 am 

    It is a long way to travel in a short time- let alone in one thread- from believing those that accuse the government of using torture are anti-american leftists “depicting us as evil, corrupt & etc.” to believing the government of George W Bush is using torture. I guess it’s all a matter of who one wants to depict as evil, corrupt, etc.

    Mona’s original contention was that we made it through the cold war without black holes and torture. I and others disagreed, although none contended it was standard government policy. Then or now.

    As for whether torture has ever ever ever been approved at the highest level? I don’t know. As Mona herself said, only those with access to classified information know that. It is against our national morals, but I can’t pretend the Presidency is filled with easy choices. Truman decided to drop the bomb for the greater good. I can’t rule it out that a president might similarly allow someone to be tortured for the greater good. But I’ve got no inside information.

    This is wandering far from Rick’s post. However, I will add that there are many instances where one might say their morals made it more important to break their vow of secrecy than to keep a secret, but our society does depend on some secrecy. But they can’t be allowed to do it.

    A defense attorney, for example, must never secretly reveal to the press that he believes his client is guilty even if he believes society has a right to know a murderer walks among them. A prosecutor must never make up evidence to prosecute someone he truly believes is guilty, even if he believes in his heart of hearts it will help more people than it harms.

    We count on many to keep their secrets. It is as vital to society as any other responsibility we delegate.

  41. 41
    Martin A. Knight Said:
    1:26 pm 


    Do you have anything other than your assertions to back up anything you claim about the Bush Administration?

    For example, you claim that the Administration would lose 8-1 if the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program ever came before the Supreme Court and point out that the Administration is avoiding putting the program up for trial as evidence to support your claim.

    But that’s ridiculous. The American Judicial system doesn’t try moot cases. You need an individual or group with standing to challenge the program. It’s beyond idiotic to demand the Administration challenge itself. So until you can prove to us that a person with standing was being prevented from filing a challenge in Court by the Administration, there’s nothing to all your shrieks.

    Honestly, is there any solid reason why I or anybody else should believe you or any of your other appeals to authority (including your laughable screeches that you voted for Bush in 2004)?

    This entire thing just illustrates the cynical use of leaks to undermine the Bush Administration by Democrat partisans in the Executive Branch with the active collusion of the Press. The reason the Administration is down in the polls has a great deal more to do with the success the Press and their friends in the Democrat Party have had in pressing forward the narrative that Bush “lied”, “misled”, “manipulated”,”cherry-picked” and/or “exaggerated” the nation into War on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and is violating the law willy-nilly without actually having to substantiate their assertions.

    Off-topic … but let me focus on the BushLied™ narrative …

    The fact is, the New York Times and its cohorts made the cynical and completely unethical decision to play on the ignorance of the American people on how Intelligence is gathered, analyzed and presented to the decision makers in American government, in order to conduct a long running political assassination campaign on President for no other reason than partisanship just before the 2004 elections. Unfortunately, it seems that there are still many members of the White House staff, who resolutely hold on to the idea that there is nothing worthwhile in actively defending the Administration’s use of pre-War Intelligence because it would be “re-litigating” the case for the War on Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. This pose is a hybrid of arrogance, hubris and stupidity. The Bush Administration should never have conceded, through its silence, the WMD argument against Saddam Hussein.

    Mendacious MSM boosters like Jay Rosen over at PressThink like to pretend that the justification for the war is no longer a pertinent topic of discussion, even as they work day and night to establish and shore up the narrative that the President deliberately used false Intelligence to send American soldiers to die in Iraq for some nefarious reason or other. Most normal people can differentiate between Bush
    “lying”/”misleading”/”manipulating”/”cherry-picking”/”exaggerating”, and operating from honest belief. Most normal people would find no fault with the man who does the latter (especially if target is someone like Saddam Hussein) ... which, I guess, is why the American Press is desperate to convince the American people that the President did the former.

    But the fact remains that it was the overwhelming consensus of the Intelligence Community that Saddam still maintained stockpiles of WMDs and was running programs to create more. It is right there on the front page of the 2002 NIE on Iraq.

    Anyone with any experience in Intelligence matters knows that it is not possible to overstate the importance of this issue of “consensus”.

    There are literally hundreds of thousands of pages of information on almost every single nation on Earth at the CIA, DIA, NSA, INR, NRO, etc. On top of those pages of raw Intelligence data are thousands of pages of analysis of that data prepared by the agencies’ analysts. Mali poses no threat to America, but you’d better believe that there is a great deal of paper about that nation at Langley.

    Iraq was/is an entirely different kettle of fish. The amount of information on the country must have been massive. It is the analysts’ job to sift through this information, come to conclusions, attach a certain level of confidence to them, and present the finished product to their superiors who futher work on it and present their findings upward till it gets to the President and other decision makers (which includes Senators and Representatives on the Intelligence Committees). At each step, conclusions by the analysts are accepted or rejected.

    This is not a science. It involves a huge amount of estimation, extrapolation, reconciliation and consensus-building, using information
    already known about the subject/target in question. In other words, the analysts who prepared the 2002 NIE didn’t just use information gathered exclusively from 01/21/2001 but information going all the way back from the 1970s.

    Despite what the Press and their allies the Democrats would have the nation believe, there are ALWAYS caveats and dissenting views among the analysts. There are literally thousands of them working in more than a dozen agencies. How can there not be differences of opinion? How can there not be many differences of opinion?

    This is why reaching a consensus on what the Intelligence means is so very important. There is not enough time in the world for the President (or anybody else) to read (and follow up) on the monstrous amounts of analysis reports produced at the agencies every single day. So what happens is that the reports are condensed all the way up the chain to the DCI who presents his report (which is the consensus of his analysts) to the President as the definitive word from the Intelligence Community as regards a particular subject.

    Tenet described it as a “slam dunk” that Saddam had WMDs. This had been the consensus view since the Reagan Administration (note how many Democrats were fulminating about Saddam’s WMDs in the 1990s up until 2003). Are we honestly expected to believe that the Intelligence Clinton based his decision on to launch Operation Desert Fox had no caveats and dissenting views? Yet did any Democrats (or Republicans for that matter) accuse him of lying when he said Saddam had WMDs? Is anyone so accusing him now?

    Is there any plausible reason for Bush, considering Saddam’s history of brutality, obfuscation, lies and deception to have rejected the conclusion reached by the vast majority of the nation’s Intelligence agencies as well as EVERY other nation’s (UK, France, Germany, Israel, Russian, Jordanian, etc.) Intelligence agencies, about Saddam and WMD?

    What the New York Times and its cohorts have been doing for the past two years is simple enough. They get Leftist partisans at the Intelligence agencies, like Mary McCarthy, not to mention the Democrat staff of the Congressional Intelligence Committees, etc. to leak these minority conclusions that had been discarded in the course of preparing Intelligence for upper level consumption and tout them as definitive proof that the “Administration” was “informed” that there were no WMDs, Saddam could never ever consort with terrorists, etc. and therefore the President “lied”, “misled”, “manipulated”,”cherry-picked” and/or “exaggerated” Intelligence to start a war for fun, profit and/or pat on the head from Daddy.

  42. 42
    Mona Said:
    2:24 pm 

    Mr. Knight writes: Honestly, is there any solid reason why I or anybody else should believe you or any of your other appeals to authority (including your laughable screeches that you voted for Bush in 2004)?

    Please search “Mona” at any of: Left2Right, the Swiftboat Vets message board in the months before the election, InDCJournal, and I think I have a few comments from the pre-election period at Captain’s Quarters. I voted for George Bush in 2004.

    For example, you claim that the Administration would lose 8-1 if the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program ever came before the Supreme Court and point out that the Administration is avoiding putting the program up for trial as evidence to support your claim.

    Yup, and even Hugh Hewitt has noted that the Bush Administration is engaging in unusual “dealmaking” with the FISA court rather than appealing any adverse decisions that would put the legality of their warrantless surveillance at issue. Paraphrasing, Hewitt said this hinted at a lack of trust in their legal theories (theories Hewitt agrees with). You and I have interacted at Protein Wisdom (and I believe I may have been posting Bush-supportive things there in ‘04, as well, but more likely at InDC.) So you might recall that I posted the Hewitt statements and and his discussion of the WaPo article addressing that the Administration won’t appeal FIS Court decisions that pertain to the relevant program. I linked to them at PW.

    This program would lose, overwhelmingly, in the SCOUTS. I suggest you google Volokh Conspiracy for Orin Kerr’s analysis, if you doubt me. I’ve told you the many other legal experts—REPUBLICANS —who agree.

    I voted for Bush. I’m a lawyer. I understand how extreme are the legal theories the Bush Administration is standing on, utterly oppose them, and am competent to confidently predict that the SCOUTS would as well—which the Bush Administration also knows. That is why a mediocrity like Harriet Miers was chosen (and Hewitt has said that, too, approvingly)—she would have been a reliable voice in support of these bizarre theories. Sam Alito is not such.

  43. 43
    Rick Moran Said:
    6:09 pm 

    Let’s take it easy on Mona please. She comments here on occasion and has always been polite and thoughtful. Let’s not disparge anybody’s motives (unless they’re a stark raving moonbat).

    That said, Mona brings up some interesting yet fatally flawed points.

    On the NSA program, no one knows the details of this program. No one in Congress anyway. I have seen legal analyses arguing both the legality and illegality and frankly, I think it kind of silly to predict what SCOTUS would do if the issue ever came before them. The technical aspects of the program remain hidden which means 1) We don’t know for sure whether there was “eavesdropping” i.e. actually having a human being listen in on calls and read emails of more than a handful of people, and 2) how come critics never, ever, ever, mention that ONE SIDE OF THE CONVERSATION TAKES PLACE OVERSEAS? Or that the liklihood of two American citizens having their calls captured in this digital dragnet are as close to zero as you can get?

    Critics of the NSA program present a lot of smoke but no fire. And the kicker is of course, that Democratic members of Congress – with half a dozen exceptions – are not calling for an end to the program! So what Mona is saying is that a program that presents a close legal call that even the political opposition is not calling on it being ended should be stopped?

    BTW- the Administration has been forced into this “dealmaking” because of an illegal leak of classified information. Some intel type took your attitude Mona. Which is fine for you since you’re not in a position to harm national security. But someone committed a crime and will go to jail because in their overarching hubris, they decided that they – unelected as they were – have more moral authority than the President of the United States.

    Just thinking about that kind of arrogance takes my breath away.

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