I would like to beg forgiveness from those of you who I’ve playfully referred to as “slimeball” or “marmoset brain” or even “liberal pus bucket” over this whole Mary McCarthy imbroglio. In my towering ignorance of her pure and unsullied motives for leaking classified information, I probably went a little overboard in my criticism of your defense of this delicate waif, this fragile flower of a leaker who, according to this very interesting and informative article in the Washington Post this morning, was only exercising her God given right as an unelected American intelligence officer to determine which policies she must undermine and which she should simply blab to the entire planet. The difference between the two is unimportant as the result is exactly the same; aid and comfort to people who would just as soon slit your throat than thank you for looking out for the interests of their captured comrades.
But, as we’re informed in this piece by R. Jeffrey Smith, who uses language and imagery reminiscent of one my favorite books from childhood – Lives of the Saints – to tell our Mary’s story, the effect on our enemies simply doesn’t matter. Not when you are trying to save the soul of America – battling the forces of evil in the Bush Administration while those fake enemies in al Qaeda, trumped up bogeymen by the warmongering neocons, rub their hands together in glee and exchange knowing glances, remembering the words of Osama Bin Laden who informed the entire world that America would lose in the end because she didn’t have the stomach or the staying power to outlast he and his cause that seems to be advancing steadily across the Islamic world.
According to Mary’s friends (who all seem to have the same name; “Anonymous”), our heroine’s sensibilities were upset by policies toward terrorist detainees that “authorized treatment that she considered cruel, inhumane or degrading.”
“She considered” is, of course, the key. After all, Mary may not be elected, but by God she’s an expert in the outrage department. And when our heroine makes a determination that, using her own personal code of morality, the Administration has done something bad, best tell the whole world about it rather than work within the system to right any perceived wrong. After all, it’s just not any fun unless you can get that vicarious thrill of seeing your moral position validated on the pages of the Washington Post.
And what of that “system” that, according to Mary, “lied” to Congress about the detainees?
McCarthy was not an ideologue, her friends say, but at some point fell into a camp of CIA officers who felt that the Bush administration’s venture into Iraq had dangerously diverted U.S. counterterrorism policy. After seeing—in e-mails, cable traffic, interview transcripts and field reports—some of the secret fruits of the Iraq intervention, McCarthy became disenchanted, three of her friends say.
In addition to CIA misrepresentations at the session last summer, McCarthy told the friends, a senior agency official failed to provide a full account of the CIA’s detainee-treatment policy at a closed hearing of the House intelligence committee in February 2005, under questioning by Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the senior Democrat.
McCarthy also told others she was offended that the CIA’s general counsel had worked to secure a secret Justice Department opinion in 2004 authorizing the agency’s creation of “ghost detainees”—prisoners removed from Iraq for secret interrogations without notice to the International Committee of the Red Cross—because the Geneva Conventions prohibit such practices.
First, for all my liberal friends who have been laughing about my contention that there is a cabal of CIA officers who are actively working against the Bush Administration, please note that our heroine joined the “camp of CIA officers who felt that the Bush administration’s venture into Iraq had dangerously diverted U.S. counterterrorism policy.” What the Post doesn’t say is what that “camp” was doing about their dissatisfaction; leaking like gray matter from a liberal’s brain. And if that reason sounds familiar, it should. Iraq as diversion from catching Osama was the #1 John Kerry talking point on the war during the 2004 Presidential campaign.
But our Mary an ideologue? Perish the thought.
And the fact that our heroine was “offended” by the CIA getting a secret opinion from the Justice Department on the treatment of detainees is very revealing. It is, after all, inherently offensive to keep secrets. And we just can’t have our unelected bureaucrats being offended like this. How dare the Bush Administration even think of “offending” their employees in this manner? It’s outrageous. Why, it’s almost as offensive as fanatics flying planes into buildings except we can’t do anything about that kind of behavior. Best concentrate on things that we personally find sinful in order to shine the light of truth – even if it harms the nation’s interests far more than it would ever harm the Bush Administration politically.
This was no reason to fire such a morally upstanding, conscientious intelligence officer with delusions of martyrdom:
But McCarthy’s friends, including former officials who support aggressive interrogation methods, resist any suggestion that she handled classified information loosely or that political motives lay behind her dissent and the contacts she has told the agency she had with journalists. She was, in the view of several who know her well, a CIA scapegoat for a White House that they say prefers intelligence acolytes instead of analysts and sees ulterior motives in any policy criticism.
They allege that her firing was another chapter in a long-standing feud between the CIA and the Bush White House, stoked by friction over the merits of the war in Iraq, over whether links existed between Saddam Hussein’s government and al-Qaeda, and over the CIA-instigated criminal inquiry of White House officials suspected of leaking the name of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.
Why should we believe her motives were anything but pure as the driven snow? After all, she was simply a dissenter who talked to the press. Why should we ascribe any but the most unalloyed of motives to someone who joined a cabal of Administration opponents at the CIA whose major disagreement rested on Democratic party talking points?
And why, pray tell, would the Administration see “ulterior motives” from this patriotic group of leakers? Just because their leaks were timed for maximum political effect – such as the leak of a contrary post war analysis two days before the first Presidential debate – doesn’t mean there was an ulterior political thought in their non-partisan little brains. The Administration really should get a grip on reality. Next thing you know, they’ll start to think there are people in the world who don’t like us very much and want to kill us all. And what a threat to American values and civil liberties that would be!
In the end, our Mary just couldn’t take it. Armed with knowledge known only to the CIA and those unimportant people who work on top of that big Washington, D.C.hill in that funny looking domed building, this just wasn’t enough. Due to her superior moral sense, our heroine just knew – she felt it in her bones – that absolutely everyone should know what she knows. Only then would her moral outrage be assuaged and goodness triumph over evil.
When I grow up, I want to be just like Mary. I wonder what Mary wants to be when she grows up?
AJ Strata takes down Jeffrey’s hagiagraphic portrayal of McCarthy and fills us in on what’s between the lines.
But we know from Democrat and Republican staffers McCarthy never once availed herself of the whistleblower status. There is no record of her once challenging the reports to Congress. She had all the opportunity, but she went to Dana Priest? If she was such a maverick, independent thinker, why not turn these people into Congress? She was retiring! There could be no retribution aimed at her for disclosing lies!