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:
I actually spoke with Admiral Inman. He said he was misquoted (Gee, what a surprise, the NRO canâ€™t get its story straight). Heâ€™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.
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:
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 FireDogLake.com. 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.
AND LARRY JOHNSON IS TAKING CONSERVATIVE SPOKESMEN AND BLOGGERS TO TASK FOR BEING WRONG ABOUT ANYTHING?
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 motherâ€™s name, my parentsâ€™ 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. Iâ€™ve offered you a mature way to deal with this situation. Youâ€™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.