Sunday, April 23, 2006

Political Hacks In The Intelligence Community

On the heels of the disclosures that the NSA had recorded the telephone calls of foreign nationals suspected to be al qaeda terrorists dialing into the US came another embarassing leak, this time from CIA, that terrorists were being held in secret prisons somewhere in Europe. Probably in the countries that used to live under Soviet domination. Distressing stuff. The Wingnut in me says, "yeah right!" and the Moonbat in me says, "just like those Bushies."

It's been my opinion that the CIA has spent the last couple decades being "the gang who couldn't shoot straight." Starting with the total surprise of the collapse of the Soviet empire and leading to 9/11 made me think the humint side of the intelligence community was woefully inept. This isn't new. When he was in his cups ole Tailgunner Joe MacCarthy thought the place was full of commies. (Until he sobered up and whereupon he issued a retraction.) But I try not to ascribe malice when mere incompetence explains.

Speaking of MacCarthy, a McCarthy named Mary McCarthy is, depending upon who you listen to, either a demon of MacCarthy-like dimensions or a saint along the lines of Joseph Wilson or Valery Plame. Seems she dropped the dime on the CIA prisons deal. Heroic leaker, right?

Based on this morning's reading this is what happened:
She worked in CIA and when the Clinton's took power, she was quickly promoted. According to financial statements, she gives money to their kind of people. All the Clintonistas she worked for and who advised Mr. Kerry (who incidentally served in Vietnam) in the recent election describe her in glowing terms. But there are veiled murmerings from the right side of the blogosphere that she's a political hack.

Now, imagine a hypothetical. (Extended hypotheticals are best read while wearing tinfoil headgear.) You're Porter Goss who was a former spook before becoming a politician and you take over a politicized CIA. Spooks are certifiable "sneaky bastards" and if you're not a spook, remember you're only an amature sneak. (Ms. McCarthy has spent her career in the non-spook side of CIA.) Pause hypothetical.

When you work for the government and you see something bad going on, you can follow several procedures short of leaking the story to the New York Times. There will be an office of the Inspector General to whom you should file a complaint. Ms. McCarthy went to some kind of seminar that put her in contact with CIA officers in the Inspector General's office.

Resume hypothetical. Suppose some sneaky bastard files a false report about human rights violations in covert Eastern Europe prisons. After abu ghraib, the story is not only plausible, but "too good to check." Someone from the analytical side of CIA, who couldn't catch a clue if it were delivered by a hijacked jetliner at several hundred mph, would take the complaint at face value. End hypothetical.

I find it an interesting coincidence that on the very same weekend that Ms. McCarthy was indicted for disclosing classified information, the feds disclosed that they can find no proof of the these covert prisons.

With the aforementioned hypothetical in mind, I suspect that the CIA is getting back into the covert ops business.

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