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Noted internet thug and bully Larry Johnson – former Counter terrorism official for the Department of State, employee of the CIA, apologist for Valerie Plame, and defender of those who leak classified material (as long as it harms the Bush Administration) – is in a gloating mood today. A declassified CIA summary of Plame’s employment at the CIA reveals that the agency considered her status “covert” and that this fact should increase the jail time for Scooter Libby when the convicted Cheney aide is sentenced.

First, it should be noted that what Libby, Cheney, and that whole crew did in deliberately sabatoging Plame’s career at CIA was reprehensible. Whether she was covert or not, it was not necessary to debunk Joe Wilson’s lies by outing his wife as an employee of the CIA. I don’t care who you are in government, publicizing the name of an intelligence employee – covert or not – is wrong. It is always wrong. And to try and defend it by pointing out that Plame was not covert or that she worked at Langley and it was therefore no secret that she was a CIA employee just doesn’t cut it. We should have more respect for the employees of our intelligence agencies than that.

But I just had to post on Larry Johnson today because, in a very large sense, Johnson is what the Administration and most of us on the right have been fighting against since 2001; a mindset in the intelligence community that elevates unelected bureaucrats to positions where they can undermine or otherwise affect policies they disagree with – policies that are set by the freely elected representatives of the United States government. It is an abomination. And Larry Johnson has been an abominable figure in these dramas from start to finish.

I’ve had a run in with Mr. Johnson myself. Following a post I wrote on Admiral Inman decrying the partisan nature of the leaking of classified documents, Johnson left a comment that claimed the Admiral had been misquoted:

Hey boneheads,
I actually spoke with Admiral Inman. He said he was misquoted (Gee, what a surprise, the NRO can’t get its story straight). He’s disgusted by the attacks on Valerie Plame. You guys only got one thing right, Admiral Inman is a class act.

After a follow up post in which I basically called Johnson an idiot for a statement he made at TPM Cafe that the conservative movement was “partly born” as a result of of the efforts of Whittaker Chambers to expose Alger Hiss, Johnson shot back an email in which he overtly threatened me by bragging that he “knew the guys who killed Pablo Escobar” and that I didn’t know who I was dealing with.

If I had any doubts of who or what I was dealing with, they were laid to rest with this nauseating, over the top, severely unbalanced gloat against Plame’s critics who insisted she wasn’t covert:

Victoria Toensing, Cliff May, Byron York and the other rightwing apologists who have long insisted that Valerie Plame Wilson was not undercover have some “splaining” to do. Federal Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s latest filing in the Scooter Libby case leaves no doubt about Valerie Wilson’s status—she was covert and undercover and served overseas. Thanks to a heads up from McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, followed in short order by a note from John Amato at Crooks and Liars, I got my hands on the Fitzgerald filing. [Update: David Corn posted the first piece on this Friday night. He needs to do more self-promotion.] Man, the rightwing stooges are getting their collective asses handed to them on all fronts (e.g., a bird sh**s on Bush, Wolfowitz gets bounced from the World Bank, and rightwing bloggers, Flopping Aces and Charles Johnson in particular, were exposed making fraudulent claims). As Jackie Gleason used to say, “how sweet it is!”

Perhaps Mr. Johnson should go easy on the “getting it wrong” aspect of this case. After all, there are few more spectacular examples of being wrong than what Johnson wrote in July of 2001:

Judging from news reports and the portrayal of villains in our popular entertainment, Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism. They seem to believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming more widespread and lethal. They are likely to think that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists. And they almost certainly have the impression that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism.

None of these beliefs are based in fact.

I hope for a world where facts, not fiction, determine our policy. While terrorism is not vanquished, in a world where thousands of nuclear warheads are still aimed across the continents, terrorism is not the biggest security challenge confronting the United States, and it should not be portrayed that way.

In case Mr. Johnson and his friends on the left may have forgotten, (And why not? They act like they’ve forgotten about it on a daily basis.) 2 months later on September 11, 2001, the most horrific attack against American citizens ever to take place on American soil occurred in New York, Washington, D.C., and over the skies of Pennsylvania when one of those bedeviling “fantasies” about terrorism actually came true. If you want the details of that attack (just to jog your memory), go here.

Johnson has since tried to furiously backtrack from that position, saying that he said that Islamic terrorism was the #1 threat and that everything he said in the article was true.

Maybe. But it takes a special kind of idiot to note that the terrorism threat was “declining” two months before 9/11 and then not acknowledge that mistake.

And that’s not the only time “Wrong Way Johnson” has been utterly and unbelievably mistaken. In fact, in what has to be considered one of the funniest, most outrageous examples of stupidity in the history of the internet, Johnson (along with most of the left) fell for the Jason Leopold story predicting that Karl Rove would be indicted in connection with the Plame Affair “within 24 hours.” Here’s Mr. Johnson’s original take on the news:

Frog March at the White House?
Larry C Johnson


Check out the big brain on Jason Leopold over at Truth Out.

Rove Informs White House He Will Be Indicted

Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

That was on Friday, May 12, 2006. The very next day, Leopold expanded on his “scoop” by saying that Rove would be indicted within 24 hours. More gloating from Jaba the Hut:

Rove Indicted—Frog March the Bastard
Larry C Johnson

As Freddy Mercury sang, “Another One Bites the Dust”.

Jason Leopold beats the Main Stream Media Stenographers again. Check his story out.

Will we see the following real world.
(photoshopped picture of Rove being dragged away in handcuffs)

This was only the beginning of one of the more sidesplitting episodes I can remember on the internet. Leopold’s piece appeared in Truthout on Saturday, May 13th. On Sunday with no Rove indictment apparent, Mr. Johnson was insisting that “All is well” with this post on the Democratic Underground:

Larry Johnson

Sun May-14-06 02:17 AM

It is not just Jason Leopold. Joe Wilson heard the same from other sources. And, more importantly, Jason is reporting based on multiple, more than two, sources. His editors realized what a big story this is and did the appropriate checking before posting.

They are called Truth Out for a reason. Getting the truth out.

Yes, I’m sure they did. A full week passed and still no Rove frog marching. The left, still hopeful, began to make excuses for Leopold; that he was the victim of some plot by Rove and his lawyers was a common musing by the dunces on the left. But our Larry was still hopeful:

Latest Re Rove on Truth Out

The following was posted today on Truth Out. They are sticking to their guns and justifiably so. Time will tell.

Time told alright. Nothing. Nada. Zipadeedodah. No Rove indictment. Leopold exposed as a serial exaggerator or worse. And Larry Johnson, member of the Reality Based Community in good standing? A month later, the hypocritical Mr. Johnson was still defending Jason Leopold as a brave truth teller because after Rove’s lawyer announced that Fitzgerald had sent him a letter saying he would not indict his client, Larry refused to believe it because no one had seen the letter!

Where’s the Letter Luskin?
Larry C Johnson

Oh. So Karl Rove got a pass? Really? Where’s the letter? Seems none of the mainstream media can get their story straight. Some report there is a letter from Patrick Fitzgerald, but none have seen it. Some say there was a phone call. Really? Let’s see the phone records. Others say there was a fax. Okay, where’s the damn fax.

What is amazing is that Jason Leopold gets vilified and yet, when it comes to the mainstream media, everyone gives these cretins a pass. Sorry. Jason reports there is a sealed indictment. Lufkin claims otherwise. Lufkin claims to have proof but won’t put it on the table.

I’m with Christy Hardin Smith at Until Patrick Fitzgerald calls off the dogs that Porcine Ass called Rove ought to worry about who he might be getting up close and personal with in jail.


This bullying guttersnipe should be eating crow, not crowing about anything at all. One wonders what this lickspittle’s track record at the CIA and State Department could have been if his powers of observation and prognostication leave so much to be desired. It’s frightening, actually, to think of this guy in a position of responsibility anywhere in government. And the “Sexion Caper” should make that clear to anyone who’s honest enough to see it.

Sexion was a blogger who lived in Norway who was deliberately and viciously targeted by Johnson, Leopold, and others in a coordinated attack that included phone calls to his home, his parents home, and not very well disguised threats against his person. The incident convinced Sexion to quit blogging so the story is best told by others since his blog has disappeared. Ace had his own problems with sock puppets posting personal information on his site about Sexion and relates them in the several posts he did on the matter. What is absolutely clear is this; Larry Johnson participated in a campaign of intimidation against a 24 year old blogger who never did him any harm.

This quote from a Sexion post about emails received from Bully Boy Johnson should chill your bones:

Perhaps most haunting was the email I received from Larry Johnson last night. He claimed I defamed him and called him a liar. I did not defame him and he did lie to me when he said that he had answered my questions when he had in fact not done so. This was not part of the story I wrote yesterday, calling him a liar for that, I simply stated the fact that he declined to answer a set of yes/no questions I posed to him, as he responded that he had already answered them, which was false.

Johnson laced the email, to a personal account of mine which I do not usually give out and which is not available through Google, with personal details about my family and me. Just like Leopold had done, Johnson repeated my mother’s name, my parents’ address, and even my birth month and year. Obviously Johnson thought this would freak me out and scare me into retracting everything. He concluded the email with:

I am willing to accept a written apology and move on. If you refuse to retract your statements about me I am prepared to ratchet this up several levels. I have not spent the last twenty years working with the U.S. military and the intelligence community to accept this kind of nonsense from a wet-nosed 24 year old coward, who is an armchair warrior but does not have the courage to enlist in the military when his country is at war.

Is that a threat, Mr. Johnson? After I responded, he fired back with this:

I know where you are living. You forget that I do work for the European Union and friends in Interpol. I’ve offered you a mature way to deal with this situation. You’re obviously too immature and inexperienced to recognize the offer for what it is. Too bad.

The reason this rings true to me is the little aside in Mr. Johnson’s email to me about “knowing” the men who killed Pablo Escobar. It’s the same kind of cowardly, veiled threat he makes to Sexion.

I don’t know if Johnson still appears as a TV analyst for terrorism anymore. If he does, producers and bookers should read this post carefully and decide for themselves whether they want this sort of fellow appearing on their network. Johnson is a despicable brat, a juvenile, a Walter Mitty who fancies himself some kind of terrorist fighting superhero and slayer of conservatives . But when the lights go down and darkness descends, he crawls out from under a rock and bullies those he thinks won’t or can’t fight back.

How very brave of you, Larry. Now, do your damnedest.

By: Rick Moran at 9:12 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (30)


When the history of these times is written 100 years from now – that is, if the west is vouchsafed such a luxury as surviving that long – historians will view the role of the free press in the western world with a combination of confusion and awe. Confusion because they will look in vain for evidence that many in the media were actually working for the enemies of freedom, so often it seemed they played directly into their hands or seemed to do their bidding. And a feeling of awe that those professing to be so intelligent could act with such towering idiocy and irresponsibility:

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a “nonlethal presidential finding” that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions.

Of course, the press is not disloyal – at least not according to their lights. But I can’t think of anything that ABC could have published that helps Iran more. Especially since it now appears that, as I have predicted many times (and despite what the hysterical left has been saying for two years about an “imminent” attack on Iran) the Administration has apparently abandoned the military option in favor of turning up the heat on the Iranian regime politically and financially.

Or, at least that was the plan. Enter ABC News and their feelings of entitlement to undermine US policy and all of a sudden, the military option may be back on the table. This begs the question of who or what faction in our intelligence agencies leaked this time? Pro-war advocates? Anti-intervention advocates? Some stray partisans who hate Bush? Some stray partisans doing the President’s bidding? Perhaps those involved in a turf war of some kind in our intelligence agencies?

Take your pick. One is as good as the other. It wouldn’t be the first time for any of those factions in the last 6 years to leak classified information. It’s just that this time, the leaking has arguably made the world a more dangerous place.

If there is one foreign policy issue that enjoys bi-partisan agreement in Washington it is that Iran must be prevented from developing nuclear weapons. Disagreements abound about how to prevent them from doing so. But liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between recognizes the threat posed to world peace by the fanatics in Iran and that it would be an unmitigated disaster for our interests in the region if they were successful in building a bomb.

I think that this CIA covert plan would have enjoyed broad support among the leadership of both parties on the Hill. It is reasonable in that it attacks Iran economically not to hurt the population but to hit the mullahs where it counts; in their secret bank accounts they are using to fund their weapons program:

Riedel says economic pressure on Iran may be the most effective tool available to the CIA, particularly in going after secret accounts used to fund the nuclear program.

“The kind of dealings that the Iranian Revolution Guards are going to do, in terms of purchasing nuclear and missile components, are likely to be extremely secret, and you’re going to have to work very, very hard to find them, and that’s exactly the kind of thing the CIA’s nonproliferation center and others would be expert at trying to look into,” Riedel said.

Are there risks that go with such a policy? Of course there are. There are risks with any policy we pursue against Iran including doing nothing. Or trying to strengthen regional actors like Saudi Arabia to counterbalance Iranian influence. Or bombing the holy hell out of them. If it is a risk free policy you seek, you won’t find it.

Vali Nasr of the Council on Foreign Relations explains the downside to the CIA’s leaked plan:

Still, some fear that even a nonlethal covert CIA program carries great risks.

“I think everybody in the region knows that there is a proxy war already afoot with the United States supporting anti-Iranian elements in the region as well as opposition groups within Iran,” said Vali Nasr, adjunct senior fellow for Mideast studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“And this covert action is now being escalated by the new U.S. directive, and that can very quickly lead to Iranian retaliation and a cycle of escalation can follow,” Nasr said.

Nasr posits the absolute worst case scenario including the “cycle of escalation” canard that is usually trotted out by opponents to any strong action taken by the US against a putative enemy. The advantage the professor has in this case is that we’ll never know because most of the plan is for all intents and purposes is dead. If we thought it was hard to ferret out the secret funding mechanisms for the Iranian bomb program before, how impossible do you think it’s going to be now that the Iranians are aware of what we intend to do?

ABC’s excuse will be that if they didn’t publish, someone else would have done so. Of this I have no doubt, although what that says about the press in general in this country is not flattering. The fault lies with the leakers in this case. And the fact that the Administration has done so little over the last 6 years to investigate and punish those who reveal some of the most important secrets in government only encourages further transgressions. When unelected bureaucrats take it upon themselves to destroy policies they disagree with either for political purposes or, as may be possible in this case, in order for another policy option to move to the top of the pile, trust between those elected to make policy and those charged with giving our leaders accurate information and intelligent options to implement that policy breaks down.

Anyone can see the dysfunction in our intelligence agencies, the pettiness, the partisanship, the casual disregard for the rule of law. Is there any plan or program that would never be leaked under these conditions?

Not unless the perpetrators are identified and either drummed out of the service or arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for violating their oaths of secrecy and the law.

By: Rick Moran at 6:20 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (19)

Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense linked with Blogswarm to have Brian Ross fired from ABC...

Lewis I. “Scooter” Libby was found guilty on four of the five charges against him including Obstruction of Justice, Perjury, and lying to the FBI. He was found innocent of another charge of lying to the Feds.

Cue the netnuts.

This proves Bush lied about WMD in Iraq. He knew prior to the invasion that we would find no WMD there. Never mind that if Bush knew there were no weapons of mass destruction that you must assume he either wanted to lose the war or didn’t want to win re-election. That’s because if we won the war, that would mean a search for WMD that he already knew weren’t there – handing his opponents a ready made charge that against any other Democrat save John Kerry, would probably have cost him the election.

No matter. This also proves that Busco and Evil Karl would rather have outed a super duper, super secret, CIA agent than have their “lies” about WMD exposed. Except no one was charged with any crime relating to outing a clandestine agent because the agent wasn’t clandestine as the Prosecutor Fitzgerald made clear.

And the left’s extraordinary concern about not ruining anything or anyone at the CIA may be the biggest irony in politics of the last half a century. They have worked about that long to destroy or emasculate the agency that they now claim to have such empathy and concern for. To believe that they cared one whit about damage to national security is to believe in fairies (the magical kind). What they cared about was the political damage such an investigation could do to the Bush Administration.

This led so many of them to eagerly embrace every rumor, every hint about the investigation that pointed to the “imminent” indictment of a dozen or so former and current White House officials including Karl Rove, Vice President Cheney, and the Bush’s dog Spot. (Note: Spot passed away before he could be called to testify against Rove.) Watching the left wait for Fitzmas after Fitzmas, constantly proclaiming ever longer ever more fantastic lists of officials who would be brought up on charges, engendered feelings of pity and humor. A truly pathetic performance by all those members of the so-called “Reality Based Community” who will, I’m sure, spin this verdict into “proving” their grand conspiracy theories about evil Bush and his band of constitution tearing, bloodthirsty war mongering incompetent boobs.

Instead, all they got was Scooter Libby who lied to the FBI and the Grand Jury about who told him what and when about a non-clandestine CIA agent who was married to someone who has been proven a liar by at least two investigations.

What the verdict proves is that you should never lie to the FBI or the grand jury. That’s all. Anything else is fantasy.

Did the Administration deliberately try to discredit loose cannon Wilson? Since the guy was shopping his classified trip to Niger for 6 months prior to his editorial in the New York Times and believed him to be lying through his teeth, the answer is yes. Did they think that revealing the fact that Valerie Plame joined others in recommending her husband for the junket to Niger might discredit Wilson? Again, the answer is yes.

But context is everything. And considering the fact that there was (and still is) a faction in the intelligence community opposed to the Administration’s foreign policy and that this cabal used leaks in order to not only discredit the Bush Administration but also to deliberately interfere in the 2004 Presidential election, one can understand this “push back” by the Bushies while still condemning it.

Scooter Libby is going to jail. Kind of a dismal scalp for Fitzgerald to hang on his lodgepole but after nearly 4 years of investigations, it’s all he had.


I will add to this update as the afternoon wears on.

First stop, Michelle Malkin who rounds up some early react. Keep clicking back because I’m sure she’ll add to it as the day goes on.

Ian at Hot Air has the video of defense attorney statement.

By: Rick Moran at 1:00 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

Soccer Dad linked with Sorry, I gotta scoot

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

If anyone ever thought the war between the White House and the CIA boiled down to some kind of senseless, meaningless bureaucratic squabble with no real consequences for the future of our security, think again.

The partisanship, the ideological conflicts, the personality clashes, the arrogance, and the turf wars that have marked the last 5 years of bureaucratic wrangling between the two sides has now poisoned the relationship between the White House and our intelligence agencies to the point that neither trusts the other. What this means is really quite simple: As we try and figure out the best way to confront Iran, our government is hopelessly divided.

While policy makers and intelligence analysts square off over threat assessments regarding Iran and the mullah’s intentions, the distrust exhibited by both sides has spilled over into the public arena and threatens to paralyze our ability to respond to the regional challenge of Iran and the global challenges inherent in their support for terrorism:

Some senior Bush administration officials and top Republican lawmakers are voicing anger that American spy agencies have not issued more ominous warnings about the threats that they say Iran presents to the United States.

The complaints, expressed privately in recent weeks, surfaced in a Congressional report about Iran released Wednesday. They echo the tensions that divided the administration and the Central Intelligence Agency during the prelude to the war in Iraq.

The criticisms reflect the views of some officials inside the White House and the Pentagon who advocated going to war with Iraq and now are pressing for confronting Iran directly over its nuclear program and ties to terrorism, say officials with knowledge of the debate.

There is plenty of fault to go around for this state of affairs. Some blame must be ascribed to the institutional myopia of our intelligence agencies that punishes “thinking outside the box” and rocking the boat. With so much emphasis placed on consensus building, it is tempting to dismiss intelligence that doesn’t fit the mold created by the necessity of having to satisfy so many interests – State, Defense, and the White House. This leads to maddening generalities and overly cautious assessments that to many in the Administration is simply unacceptable:

The new report, from the House Intelligence Committee, led by Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, portrayed Iran as a growing threat and criticized American spy agencies for cautious assessments about Iran’s weapons programs. “Intelligence community managers and analysts must provide their best analytical judgments about Iranian W.M.D. programs and not shy away from provocative conclusions or bury disagreements in consensus assessments,” the report said, using the abbreviation for weapons of mass destruction like nuclear arms.

Some policy makers also said they were displeased that American spy agencies were playing down intelligence reports — including some from the Israeli government — of extensive contacts recently between Hezbollah and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. “The people in the community are unwilling to make judgment calls and don’t know how to link anything together,” one senior United States official said.

Part of the problem is certainly the Bush Administration’s belief in vending machine intelligence analysis; put a request for information into the slot and out come the answers. That may be a gross oversimplification but it is clear that there are some in the White House who believe that the CIA should be doing a much better job. In a sense, one can sympathize with the quandary our policy makers are facing. The stakes are so high that making policy decisions based on what they feel is inadequate intelligence is simply unacceptable.

In the case of Iran, they may not have much of a choice:

Several intelligence officials said that American spy agencies had made assessments in recent weeks that despite established ties between Iran and Hezbollah and a well-documented history of Iran arming the organization, there was no credible evidence to suggest either that Iran ordered the Hezbollah raid that touched off the recent fighting or that Iran was directly controlling attacks against Israel.

“There are no provable signs of Iranian direction on the ground,” said one intelligence official in Washington. “Nobody should think that Hezbollah is a remote-controlled entity.” American military assessments have broadly echoed this view, say people who maintain close ties to military intelligence officers.

“Does Iran profit from all of this? Yes,” said Gen. Wayne A. Downing Jr., the retired former commander of the Special Operations Command and a White House counterterrorism adviser during President Bush’s first term. “But is Iran pulling the strings? The guys I’m talking to say, ‘no.’ ”

It is difficult to gauge how much of an independent operator Nasrallah actually is. The Hezb’allah leader definitely has his own agenda both as it relates to Lebanese domestic politics and Hezb’allah’s future as a political and military force in the region. It is not surprising that our intelligence agencies cannot find a smoking gun regarding Iran’s involvement in Nasrallah’s decision to attack the Israeli patrol on July 12th that precipitated the war. That’s because it is open to question whether Nasrallah himself knew about any such attack in advance. At the very least, he may have authorized an attack if any of the several Hezb’allah outposts on the border saw an opportunity to take Israeli prisoners. But it may be a bit of a stretch to say that he ordered the specific attack.

This uncertainty about Hezb’allah and their relationship to Iran is one thing. Trying to divine Iranian intentions as well as estimate the progress of their nuclear program is quite another. Last summer’s leak of a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran discussed the probability that Iran was perhaps a decade away from being able to construct a nuclear device. There was also criticism of the NIE’s inability to say with any certainty that Iran was in fact seeking nuclear weapons in the first place. To many in the White House, the NIE appeared to be more bureaucratic CYA rather than any attempt to honestly give policy makers the information they felt they needed to counter the perceived threat from Iran.

While the Israelis believe the mullahs are now less than 3 years away from having the ability to construct a nuclear weapon, many arms control experts in this country point to the daunting technical challenges that Iran has yet to prove it can overcome in order to build a bomb anytime soon.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Do we follow Dick Cheney’s “One Percent” scenario where if there is a 1% chance of a terrible threat we take action? Or do we take a more cautious approach and work to prevent the mullahs from making a bomb by building up international pressure through sanctions and consensus? Do we go for regime change? Do we try and talk directly to the Iranians?

The answers to these questions require cooperation and trust between those who have been elected by the people and charged with the awesome responsibility of protecting us from threats like Iran and those whose job it is to analyze and report on those threats to policymakers.

But the dysfunctional nature of the relationship between the White House and our intelligence agencies has eroded that trust over the last 5 years until it appears that cooperation is almost an impossibility. Certainly 9/11 had much to do with the initial problems between the two sides. It was only made worse by the errors made by both sides in the lead up to the liberation of Iraq. And the clear partisanship exhibited by some in the intelligence community whose leaks during the 2004 campaign, designed to bring down the Bush Administration, led eventually to the White House pushing back in the Plame Affair probably destroyed the relationship between policymakers and advisors beyond repair.

To say that this state of affairs is unacceptable is a given. One almost wants to knock the principle’s heads together and tell them to get over their differences and cooperate, so serious are the issues raised by Iranian meddling and the threat of Iranian nukes. But the paralysis that is apparently gripping our intelligence agencies – burned on 9/11, burned Iraq WMD - and policy makers that prevents them from working together to protect us needs to be addressed somehow.

Whether anything can be salvaged from this relationship before January 20, 2009 could spell the difference between living in a safer world or a more dangerous world for many years to come.

By: Rick Moran at 8:13 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (26)

Non Partisan Pundit linked with Recent Comments
jeffreymark linked with WHITE HOUSE PROBLEMS WITH THE CIA

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!

By: Rick Moran at 6:47 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (18)

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Pity the poor lefties who have leapt upon the resignation of CIA Chief Porter Goss like a pack of ravenous beasts, hungry for scandal and scalps, all the while frantically trying their best to connect dots that may or may not exist only in their fevered imaginations.

In truth, I haven’t seen this much wild speculation on the left since the Jeff Gannon/Guckert episode when the primary question asked in all seriousness by liberals was “Who did Gannon sleep with at the White House in order to get a press pass?” At that time, the dots used to connect Mr. Gannon – a conservative by day and possible gay prostitute at night – to any number of White House big shots up to and including the President, were laid out in exacting patterns of irrefutable stupidity, an exercise in paranoia and wishful thinking so profoundly laughable as to make the entire episode a revelatory metaphor for Bush Derangement Syndrome.

The Goss resignation carries with it the potential for the same kind of out of control miasmic obscurance of the facts in order to advance a theory that may or may not hold any water. In this case, it is the tenuous connection of Mr. Goss to the scandale du jour involving disgraced ex-Congressman Duke Cunningham, his crony Brent Wilkes, and so called “hospitality suites” at the Watergate hotel where liquor and cigars mixed with poker and prostitutes in an all too familiar Washington combination that involved Congressmen and government bureaucrats engaging in the typical manly-man pursuits of bluffing, raising, and fixing federal contracts.

The fact that dozens of current and former Members of Congress as well as others in the defense establishment attended these soirees has much of official Washington playing the “Name that John” game. Beyond that, there is the serious matter of how Mr. Wilkes was able to win defense and intelligence contracts and whether the use of prostitutes constituted a bribe of federal contract officials.

The FBI seems to be zeroing in on one such contract let by the CIA for $2.1 million involving Wilkes’s company ACDS, Inc. and the #3 at the Agency, Porter Goss’s good friend Dusty Foggo. Mr. Foggo was promoted to his position of Executive Director (a post that oversees contracts for the Agency) when Goss was appointed DCIA following a stint as supervisor of CIA Iraq contracts, a not insignificant position but nevertheless, his elevation raised many eyebrows. The Agency’s Inspector General has begun a separate investigation of the Wilkes contract which is standard procedure when questions are raised by law enforcement officials about a CIA employee.

Mr. Foggo has admitted attending the Wilkes parties at the Watergate but has denied any wrongdoing. Goss has denied ever attending the parties.

And there you have the bare bones of a scandal that I’m sure will be busting out all over around Memorial Day if not sooner. It appears that Mr. Wilkes is cooperating with the FBI and that there may be records of which Congressmen took advantage of Mr. Wilkes’ hospitality via a limo service that could have a connection to the hookers.

Sounds juicy doesn’t it? The problem for the left is how to get beyond the denial of Porter Goss and prove him a liar. To that end, their basic logic goes something like this:

1. Foggo knew Wilkes.
2. Foggo likes to play poker and smoke cigars
3. Foggo partied with Wilkes.
4. Goss knew Foggo.
5. Goss likes to play poker and smoke cigars
6. Goss is a lying S.O.B.

And that’s pretty much it. In order to believe that Goss is embroiled in the Hookergate scandal (I prefer “Watergate Redux” myself) you have to believe that simply by virtue of his close association with Mr. Foggo and that he along with most of the male population of the United States likes to play poker and smoke cigars, he is a liar and guilty as sin.

I am in awe of the cyberian logic used by the left in this case, a clear cut example of jumping to conclusions based on something that probably isn’t there. After all, if Hookergate was indeed the reason for Goss being forced out, I hardly think the President would have taken the time to give him a White House sendoff. Those kind of images come back to haunt, something that I’m sure brand new White House Press Secretary Tony Snow would have been able to tell the President.

No, I like my first take on this yesterday; that it was White House politics that led to Goss’s suddent departure. The West Wing had decided to back Negroponte in his turf battles with the intel agencies which made Goss a nuisance and expendable to boot. Couple that with the whiff of scandal emanating from his close associate Mr. Foggo (which gave Goss’s enemies fuel for the fire when they use the same kind of innuendo employed by the left in this case) and you have a perfectly logical and reasonable explanation for Goss’s departure. That, plus the fact that Mr. Goss himself probably wanted to leave sealed the deal.

Reading more than this into his resignation takes a certain kind of disassociation from reality that the “Reality Based Community” has justly become famous for.

By: Rick Moran at 6:58 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)

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From almost his first day as Director of the CIA, Porter Goss was in trouble with the intelligence establishment. Long time employees who had reached the zenith of their careers prior to 9/11 – especially in the clandestine services – and who were wedded to a culture that demanded very little and rewarded those playing it safe, were at first puzzled, then outraged at Goss’s reform measures. By all reports, those measures cost the agency dozens of senior managers whose expertise many of those left behind are saying will be sorely missed in the coming months and years as the United States is forced to deal with rogue states seeking to develop nuclear weapons, a continuing terrorist threat, and other challenges in Russia, China, and South America.

Indeed, Goss was not hired to “reform” the CIA as much as he was picked to grab it by the throat and shake it vigorously. But why? What kind of culture existed that needed shaking up in the first place?

The 9/11 Commission:

The CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence retained some of its original character of a university gone to war. Its men and women tended to judge one another by the quantity and quality of their publications (in this case, classified publications). Apart from their own peers, they looked for approval and guidance to policymakers. During the 1990s and today, particular value is attached to having a contribution included in one of the classified daily “newspapers”- the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief-or, better still, selected for inclusion in the President’s Daily Brief.76

The CIA had been created to wage the Cold War. Its steady focus on one or two primary adversaries, decade after decade, had at least one positive effect: it created an environment in which managers and analysts could safely invest time and resources in basic research, detailed and reflective. Payoffs might not be immediate. But when they wrote their estimates, even in brief papers, they could draw on a deep base of knowledge.

When the Cold War ended, those investments could not easily be reallocated to new enemies. The cultural effects ran even deeper. In a more fluid international environment with uncertain, changing goals and interests, intelligence managers no longer felt they could afford such a patient, strategic approach to long-term accumulation of intellectual capital. A university culture with its versions of books and articles was giving way to the culture of the newsroom.

Is it any wonder these guys missed 9/11? Or the India and Pakistan nuke tests of 1998? Or any one of a number of other intelligence flops, failures, and missteps along the road to war with Iraq?

The fact is, the CIA does not foster a results oriented culture. Again, the 9/11 Commission:

Yet at least for the CIA, part of the burden in tackling terrorism arose from the background we have described: an organization capable of attracting extraordinarily motivated people but institutionally averse to risk, with its capacity for covert action atrophied, predisposed to restrict the distribution of information, having difficulty assimilating new types of personnel, and accustomed to presenting descriptive reportage of the latest intelligence. The CIA, to put it another way, needed significant change in order to get maximum effect in counterterrorism. President Clinton appointed George Tenet as DCI in 1997, and by all accounts terrorism was a priority for him. But Tenet’s own assessment, when questioned by the Commission, was that in 2004, the CIA’s clandestine service was still at least five years away from being fully ready to play its counterterrorism role. And while Tenet was clearly the leader of the CIA, the intelligence community’s confederated structure left open the question of who really was in charge of the entire U.S. intelligence effort.

And while it is true that the end “product” of intelligence analysis is necessarily vague and full of qualifiers, the fact is that by all reports, the analyses on the terrorist threat, on al Qaeda, on Bin Laden, and now on Iran have been uniformly poor thanks to a watering down process that occurs between those whose job it is to analyze these threats and those whose job is preparing and presenting the intelligence product to policymakers.

The 9/11 Commission calls this effort “playing it safe.” In any large bureaucracy – in the public or private sector – one does not advance their career by going against the grain or thinking outside the box. What this means specifically for the Agency is that lower level analysts who work long hours consuming massive amounts of raw intelligence have their analyses picked over and shaped by more senior managers in order to have them conform to Agency thinking. Couple this with a shocking disdain held by many of these managers for the policymakers and elected officials who consume their end product and you have a recipe for failure.

This is the culture that Porter Goss was hired to shake up. According to many, he not only went about it the wrong way but demoralized the Agency in the process:

Porter J. Goss was brought into the CIA to quell what the White House viewed as a partisan insurgency against the administration and to re-energize a spy service that failed to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks or accurately assess Iraq’s weapons capability.

But as he walked out the glass doors of Langley headquarters yesterday, Goss left behind an agency that current and former intelligence officials say is weaker operationally, with a workforce demoralized by an exodus of senior officers and by uncertainty over its role in fighting terrorism and other intelligence priorities, said current and former intelligence officials


“Now there’s a decline in morale, its capability has not been optimized and there’s a hemorrhaging of very good officers,” Brennan said. “Turf battles continue” with other parts of the recently reorganized U.S. intelligence community “because there’s a lack of clarity and he had no vision or strategy about the CIA’s future.” Brennan added: “Porter’s a dedicated public servant. He was ill-suited for the job.”

The above is quoted from Dana Priest’s largely one sided article in today’s Post. But even friendly Republicans on the Intelligence Committees echo the criticism that Goss didn’t appear to have an overall strategic goal for the Agency, that he delegated too much to his aides. In this respect, it could be that Goss was not tasked with long term planning as much as he was put in place to rock the boat and see who fell off. In the proudly independent operations directorate, he appears to have had the most “success” at least from the standpoint of fulfilling his goal of turning the culture inside out. Estimates of early retirees from the ranks of overseas postings are between 30 and 90 Station Chiefs as well as other top level operations employees.

Of course, it was no secret that one of the major reason Goss was hired was to ferret out leakers and, as much as possible, put a stop to efforts by active duty personnel to undermine Administration policy on the Iraq War:

Goss’s counterinsurgency campaign was so crudely executed by his top lieutenants, some of them former congressional staffers, that they drove out senior and mid-level civil servants who were unwilling to accept the accusation that their actions were politically motivated, some intelligence officers and outside experts said.

“The agency was never at war with the White House,” contended Gary Berntsen, a former operations officer and self-described Republican and Bush supporter who retired in June 2005. “Eighty-five percent of them are Republicans. The CIA was a convenient scapegoat.”

Perhaps a couple of different perspectives on the idea that “The agency was never at war with the White House” would be in order:

The Daily Telegraph 10/10/04:

A powerful “old guard” faction in the Central Intelligence Agency has launched an unprecedented campaign to undermine the Bush administration with a battery of damaging leaks and briefings about Iraq.

The White House is incensed by the increasingly public sniping from some senior intelligence officers who, it believes, are conducting a partisan operation to swing the election on November 2 in favour of John Kerry, the Democratic candidate, and against George W Bush.

Jim Pavitt, a 31-year CIA veteran who retired as a departmental chief in August, said that he cannot recall a time of such “viciousness and vindictiveness” in a battle between the White House and the agency.

John Roberts, a conservative security analyst, commented bluntly: “When the President cannot trust his own CIA, the nation faces dire consequences.”

The Wall Street Journal 9/29/04:

Then there’s the book by “Anonymous,” a current CIA employee who has been appearing everywhere to trash U.S. policy, with the approval of agency higher-ups. And now we have one Paul R. Pillar, who has broken his own cover as the author of a classified National Intelligence Estimate this summer outlining pessimistic possibilities for the future of Iraq.

That document was also leaked to the New York Times earlier this month, and on Monday columnist Robert Novak reported that it had been prepared at the direction of Mr. Pillar, the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Mr. Novak reported that Mr. Pillar identified himself as such during an off-the-record gathering last week and, while denying he leaked the document, accused the Bush Administration of ignoring the CIA’s prewar speculation about the consequences of war with Iraq. Others have since confirmed the thrust of the Novak report.

Keep in mind that none of these CIA officials were ever elected to anything, and that they are employed to provide accurate information to officials who present their policy choices for voter judgment. Yet what the CIA insurgents are essentially doing here, with their leaks and insubordination, is engaging in a policy debate. Given the timing of the latest leaks so close to an election, they are now clearly trying to defeat President Bush and elect John Kerry. Yet somehow the White House stands accused of “politicizing” intelligence?

Former NSA Chief Admiral Bobby Inman:

I was utterly appalled during the 2004 election cycle at the number of clearly politically motivated leaks from intelligence organizations — mostly if not all from CIA — that appeared to me to be the most crass thing I had ever seen to influence the outcome of an election. I never saw it quite as harsh as it was. And clearing books to be published anonymously — there was no precedent for it. I started getting telephone calls from CIA retirees when Bush appointed Negroponte, talking about how vindictive the administration was in trying to punish CIA, and I was again sort of dismayed by the effort to play politics including with information that was classified. What is the impact on younger workers who see the higher-ups engaged in this kind of leaking

Clearly, Priest and other reporters are downplaying the idea today that there ever was a conflict between the CIA and the White House and if there was, it was the fault of the White House. This idea is not supported by the facts. The tensions between the two factions were real and leaking done immediately prior to the 2004 election was unprecedented from a supposedly non-partisan Agency. One might argue that opposition to the Iraq War may not have been a partisan issue within the Agency. But leaking a classified pre-war analysis two days before the first Presidential debate that showed the Administration had been “warned” about the unstable post-war environment in Iraq could have one purpose and one purpose only; to hurt the President politically. If there is another definition of partisanship, I’d like to hear it.

If some senior and mid-level civil servants were “unwilling to accept the accusation that their actions were politically motivated,” are they saying that Goss didn’t even have the right to ask that question? This would be ridiculous given the circumstances. Perhaps it says more about the egos of these men and women than it does about Goss himself that they resigned.

Porter Goss will not be remembered kindly by those in the CIA who are left behind. But if he was able to shake the agency up so that the next Director can actually build what the American people deserve – the best intelligence agency in the world – then he would have fulfilled a valuable purpose.

By: Rick Moran at 6:19 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (18)

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After a little more than a year and a half of dealing with charges of politicizing the agency, sinking morale, and a too aggressive posture on leaks, DCIA Porter Goss has resigned.

CIA Director Porter Goss resigned unexpectedly Friday, leaving behind a spy agency still battling to recover from the scars of intelligence failures before America’s worst terrorist attack and faulty information that formed the U.S. rationale for invading Iraq.

It was the latest move in a second-term shake-up of President Bush’s team.

Making the announcement from the Oval Office, Bush called Goss’ tenure one of transition.

“He has led ably,” Bush said, Goss at his side. “He has a five-year plan to increase the analysts and operatives.”


He came under fire almost immediately, in part because he brought with him several top aides from Congress who were considered highly political for the CIA.

He had particularly poor relations with segments of the agency’s powerful clandestine service. In a bleak assessment, California Rep. Jane Harman, the Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, recently said, “The CIA is in a free fall,” noting that employees with a combined 300 years of experience have left or been pushed out.

Some quick observations and questions:

  • It’s no secret that the operations branch of the Agency was angry and bitter at Goss. Within a month of taking charge, Goss forced out the #2 and #3 people at CIA including the Director of Operations and his deputy. This cleaning house was seen by many in the operations branch as a political hatchet job although Goss had come to office with a mandate from the President to try and fix what any fair minded person would have to admit was a dysfunctional organization. When it became clear who would obstruct him in this task, Goss took action.
  • We on the right will probably make much of the fact that the resignation of Goss has come so soon following the firing of leaker Mary McCarthy. While its possible there may be a connection, I would have to say at this point that the move has more to do with internal White House politics where Goss obviously lost out. His allies were few and far between and if the President gave Chief of Staff Bolten carte blanche to clean house, Goss was going to be toast. Even Republicans in Congress were grumbling about Goss.
  • On the other hand, the left will be playing up the possibility that Goss is going to be caught up in “Hookergate.” They will point to Goss’s close aide and #3 at the agency Dusty Foggo being under investigation by the Agency’s IG as well as the FBI for possible contract irregularities (Foggo was in charge of CIA contracts). Foggo’s relationship with Duke Cunningham conspirator Brent Wilkes is being put under the microscope as well as his connection to the “Poker Room” at the Watergate Hotel sponsored by Wilkes and where the FBI is investigating the possible employment of prostitutes to bribe federal officials. This is also an unlikely reason for his resignation as the investigation of Foggo has been going on 3 months and has not revealed anything illegal to date. But is it possible that the investigation of Foggo has given the White House the jitters? Bolten may figure why take the chance?
  • Goss’s efforts to reform the agency hardly made a dent in the year and a half of his tenure. It is clear that many in the Agency see themselves above elected officials and therefore do not need to defer to their judgement. How widespread this attitude is came out in the defense of Mary McCarthy by active duty personnel. With few exceptions (if MSM reports can be believed), there was great sympathy for what she did. And we have the evidence of the last three years where the leaking of classified data in order to undermine Administration policies became so commonplace that a recent trip by the head of Israel’s Mossad to Washington and his conferring with our intelligence people on Iran’s nuclear abilities was considered remarkable because the news leaked from Israeli sources. The fact is, in retrospect, Goss may have not been precisely the man that Bush was looking for although it’s hard to fault his effort.

Goss did start the ball rolling on leak investigations – a ball that continues downhill and may yet yield more surprises. It is perhaps unfortunate that the DCIA got caught up in Josh Bolten’s broom that appears about ready to sweep away Secretary of the Treasury Snow next.

And it’s also a pity that those who continue to leak classified information for whatever reason – out of a misplaced sense of patriotism or out of pure partisanship – will be staying while Goss will be going. Perhaps who ever succeeds Goss will take it upon themselves to have the leakers follow the Director out the door.


I’m not going to give much reaction from the right. Allah has that covered nicely over at Hot Air, a site that seems to be starting to find a nice niche in the blogosphere – A/V plus a blog aggregator. Sort of a one stop shop for writing ideas and interesting links.

Also at Hot Air is an interesting link to a Time Magazine article that echoes my thoughts above; that a White House faction led by Negroponte forced Goss out.

Ever since John Negroponte was appointed Director of National Intelligence a year ago and given the task of coordinating the nation’s myriad spy agencies, he has been diluting the power and prestige of the best known of them all, the Central Intelligence Agency. From day one, he supplanted the CIA Director as the President’s principal intelligence adviser, in charge of George W. Bush’s daily briefing. Other changes followed, all originating in the law that created the DNI — and all traumatic for CIA fans. But now, in a little noticed move, Negroponte is signaling that he is moving still more responsibility from the CIA to his own office, including control over the analysis of terrorist groups and threats….

This is akin to getting kicked in the stomach for the DCIA. Once all powerful, he was going to be reduced to being an errand boy, shuffling reports and analysis between Langely and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Quite a comedown, that.

Former intel pro Spook86 has the McCarthy angle – and a chilling one at that:

What disturbs me about the Goss resignation is the possibility that internal battles may have worn down the director, and eventually convinced him to throw in the towel. It’s no secret that Goss has been fighting pitched battles against staffers who oppose Bush Administration policies, and the new management team at the CIA. Goss recently fired CIA officer Mary McCarthy for unauthorized contacts with the press, and there are hints that other agency staffers may be implicated as well. But earlier this week, the CIA launched an investigation of the agency’s #3 official–a Goss appointee–in connection with the bribery scandal that sent former Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham to federal prison. Given the timing–and announcement–of the inquiry, there was some belief that the probe was something of a “counter-attack” by agency’s anti-administration cabal.

Spook is blaming jousting inside the Agency which very well could be the truth. However, the investigation of Foggo has been going on since late February which would seem to discount the pushback against Goss for the McCarthy investigation. This is not to say that the anti-Bush faction didn’t make Goss’s life hell these last few months but it does limit the scope of what they could have done to put pressure on him to leave.

On the other hand, as I predicted above, the left is all agog over the possibility that Goss is hip deep in Hookergate. They practically have him in bed with his very own Fanne Fox/Sherry Rowlands not to mention giving the government away on a silver platter to Dick Cunningham’s conspirators.

Wonkette informs us that the Washington Post has an “exclusive” story coming up tonight that will probably start connecting some dots between Goss and another Cunningham crony Mitchell Wade as well as increase speculation about other connections to Hookergate. Sounds to me like someone at the Post as a bad case of Pulitzer fever but nothing is impossible at this point.

My own guess is that the Post story won’t go half as far as the left is drooling for but at the same time will go twice as far as the right is willing to stomach. In other words, it won’t tell us too damn much, probably regurgitating what’s been churning on lefty blogs for the past 10 days or so.

By: Rick Moran at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (7)

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There are indications that in addition to aggressively pursuing leakers inside the CIA, Director Goss is also looking at retired agency personnel who may be facilitating the leaks to reporters:

The Agency has issued warnings to former employees that they are still bound by secrecy rules regarding classified information and that violating their oaths may lead to unfortunate consequences:

The attempt to silence former employees extends beyond those who still have consulting contracts. Larry Johnson, a former CIA official who blogs at, said he recently received a “threatening” letter reminding him about his confidentiality agreements.

Mr Johnson – who has criticised the White House for not aggressively investigating the outing of Valerie Plame, a former covert operative, said it was the first such letter he had received despite regularly commenting in the media on intelligence matters since his retirement in 1989. He said other former employees also received letters.

He said the CIA was also “very forceful” in intimidating a retired official who maintains ties to the agency after he signed a letter criticising the administration over the Plame leak.

One can only guess which “retired official” Johnson is talking about but there is little question as to what letter is being referenced. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) sent this “open letter” to the President regarding the outing of Valerie Plame signed by several VIPS members. Of course, the point wasn’t that it was critical of the Bush Administration but rather that VIPS has proved itself a partisan organization.

Our favorite ex-spook at In From the Cold gives us some background on what Goss is trying to accomplish:

But in today’s “leak culture,” the retention of former staffers as contractors and consultants has a clear downside. Consider this e-mail that I just received from a staffer on Capitol Hill, who spoke with an employee at an unnamed “three-letter” intelligence agency. It seems that some of the anti-Bush cabal are using contractor or consultant positions to stir up more trouble on the inside. My contact on the Hill reports:

“I got a call from inside the government. Someone wanted me to let people know that the people who were fired by Goss and/or have left the government to write books have gone to work for intel outside contractors where they have just put on their badges and go right back into the agency and hang around just like before. I am told that they are in the lunch room talking to GS-10s and11s, and 12s to stir up a revolt.”

If this report is accurate—and I have no reason to doubt its validity—then Mr. Goss needs to redouble his house-cleaning efforts at Langley, and his fellow agency directors might want to start hanging around the cafeteria as well. No one would deny any employee their right to free speech; but this sounds like an effort to foment rebellion within the agency, and that is not a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. There are clear prohibitions on certain types of political activity by federal employees, and the reported actions of these former officers would appear to fall under that category. I think it’s time to start firing some contractors and cancelling consultant deals. These former spooks were hired to do intelligence work—not instigate a palace revolt.

That’s pretty amazing. Mac has been getting pretty much the same thing from his sources as well:

Since last year when I got into the Plame Game and began to contact people back at the farm about what in the heck was going on I was told that this whole thing was much more than met the eyes. Again, supporting the Iraq regime made a lot of people very wealthy. Small wonder that so many “ideologs” have been in opposition, less of a wonder why they are running so scared now.

I can’t tire of telling you how important it is that Mary Loose Lips has been brought down. More than just a random ‘discovery’ – she is the key to the lock. Guys at the agency and the DOJ knew exactly where to target – and they hit it dead on. In the coming days you will see why Senator Rockefeller HAD to make such an emergency visit to Syria in 2002. For a little tip, read here.

Mac may be referencing a connection with Saddam’s Oil for Food program and Rockefeller’s jaw dropping visit to Syria where he bragged on national television to have tipped off the Syrians about George Bush’s determination to go to war. The inference is that networks related to OIF would start rolling up, tying off loose ends, and destroying evidence. The Russians went to work immediately in this regard evidently not only destroying thousands of OIF documents but also evidence that they were supplying Saddam with banned weapons. (See Bill Gertz’s book Treachery for the whole sickening story).

With the DCIA now targeting leakers both inside and outside the agency, might he also stumble across a connection between the two? And given the friendliness of many in the media to several VIPS members such as Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson – including some of the most influential national security correspondents in the business – might there come a time when a possible circle of deceit that runs from Langley, to VIPS, and to the press is revealed and the nest of partisans given their just desserts?

Faster please…


I didn’t include any links to AJ Strata’s stuff because frankly, he’s got so many goodies it was hard to choose. Start here and keep scrolling.

By: Rick Moran at 3:29 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

A Blog For All linked with Synchronicity Redux

One can usually expect the Washington Post to reflect a liberal point of view in their editorials. After all, Washington, D.C. is the most liberal city in the United States. There are so many moonbats flitting around the halls of Congress and the agencies that you can’t put out a cigarette without burning a hole in someone’s tin foil hat.

That said, there really is no excuse for this:

IF CIA OFFICIALS leaked information about the agency’s secret prisons to The Post’s Dana Priest, then the American public owes them a debt of gratitude. We don’t know who the sources were for Ms. Priest’s Pulitzer Prize-winning work, though we assume there were many. (The news and editorial departments here operate separately, and they don’t share such information.) Last week a CIA officer on the verge of retirement, Mary O. McCarthy, was fired for speaking to Ms. Priest and other journalists, though she says she did not provide classified information about the secret prisons. Anyone who talked from inside the CIA violated the agency’s rules, if not the law. But they also upheld the public interest.

The “secret prisons are bad” theme has taken hold and there’s not much one can do at this point to debunk it. The fact is, two separate Commissions of the European Union have been unable to find any human rights violations as a result of the program which means that the only “evidence” we have at this point that the secret prisons carried out violations of human rights and torture is an anonymously sourced article by Dana Priest which was partly based on stories overseas from even more questionable sources (left wing journalist Stephen Grey did much of the original work on the flights of prisoners) but which never offer a shred of proof that any torture took place. (Priest mentions the death of one prisoner of exposure due to his being forced to lie on a cold, prison floor).

I am personally convinced that the prisons, in fact, existed. But as far as what went on there, no one has been able to prove a damn thing.

Are secret prisons in and of themselves, illegal? Well, if you believe captured terrorists have the same constitutional rights as you or I then yes indeed they are. If, however, you believe that we’re at war and that the idea of foreign terrorists being able to game a system they are trying to destroy is utter nonsense then they are not illegal and probably even a good idea.

But for Mary McCarthy (who according to her lawyer did not have access to information about the prisons) and others who had unauthorized contacts with the press on this story, they took it upon themselves to make a moral judgement on a program that foreign governments were desperate to keep secret – and for obvious reasons. If it got out that al Qaeda prisoners were being held in their country, they would present themselves as a terrorist target. But to McCarthy, the Washington Post, and those that agree with them, this vital foreign policy goal should take a back seat to their narrow concept of what is or is not moral.

A close call perhaps? But that’s why we elect Presidents. They are the ones authorized to make the close calls during wartime, not the Mary McCarthys of the world. I can understand if massive violations of human rights were occurring at those prisons then a troubled conscience could be used as a defense for leaking. But since no evidence exists that such horrific practices took place, what possible motivation could there be to make the prison story public?

If you guessed pure partisanship, you win a cookie:

We don’t question the need for intelligence agencies to gather or keep secrets, or to penalize employees who fail to do so. Leaks that compromise national security, such as the deliberate delivery of information to foreign governments, must be aggressively prosecuted. But the history of the past several decades shows that leaks of classified information to the U.S. media have generally benefited the country—whether it was the disclosure of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam era or the more recent revelations of secret prisons and domestic spying during the war on terrorism. Those who leak to the press often do so for patriotic reasons, not because they wish to damage national security.

How “patriotic” was it to leak a classified analysis (one of dozens of similar analysis about an insurgency most of which contradicted the leak) about post war Iraq three days before the first Presidential debate in 2004?

If this be patriotism, I’d hate to see the Post’s definition of treason.

That’s only one example, of course. But what the hell is the difference between leaking classified information to a newspaper and handing the same information to a foreign government? Either way, our enemies see it. Such parsing is complete nonsense. To try and draw that distinction is idiotic, something the Post has gone overboard to prove themselves to be in this editorial. Anyone who thinks that revealing the existence of the NSA intercept program (erroneously referred to above as “domestic spying) didn’t do damage to our ability to track al Qaeda suspects both overseas and in this country is deluded.

I tried to draw a distinction between “good leaks” and “bad leaks” earlier and I’m afraid I didn’t do the subject justice. I agree that leaking the Pentagon Papers was probably a good thing. But I disagree that most leaks are done by patriots or that there exists some moral justification for leaking out of spite or partisanship as is clearly the case with what the CIA has been doing these last 3 or more years with regards to the Bush Administration’s War on Terror. And if Porter Goss has made getting the leakers a high priority it is only because of the enormous damage they are doing to the effort to defeat the fanatics who, if they get their way, will kill us all.


Jonah Goldberg on the WaPo editorial:

I think the Washington Post’s editorials are miles ahead of the Times’ in quality and seriousness—usually. But this self-justifying gas mass of an editorial is just ridiculous. It boils down to: Sure, leaks are bad. Just not the ones we put in our newspaper and get Pulitzers for. I just hope Andy McCarthy wasn’t drinking hot coffee when he read it this morning.

And make sure to read this piece in Opinion Journal.

Confederate Yankee gets it about right:

Today’s Washington Post editorial Bad Targeting was probably left unsigned with the primary goal of protecting the reputation of the wretch assigned to excrete it. You can hardly blame them. If a name were ever assigned to this dunghill of journalistic excuses, the author would forever lose what credibility he or she retains.

The Post sticks with septic certainty to its allegation that the United States has (or had) secret prisons in Europe, even after investigation have found no proof of illegal renditions, and no proof that such prisons ever existed. None.

Actually, the existence of the prisons may be in some dispute but I think that the totality of the evidence points to our ferrying prisoners to at least a safe house type arrangement in a couple of eastern European countries. Whether they could be considered “prisons” or whether torture has been carried out there is still unproven.

By: Rick Moran at 8:43 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (8)

Non Partisan Pundit linked with McCarthy - Too Many Unknowns
Sensible Mom linked with Did Ray McGovern Write The WAPO's Editorial?