July 18, 2005
Spy Valerie and the rogue CIABy James Lewis
Hold on to your hat. The plot is about to thicken.
Behind the scenes, the single most important reason for the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson farce is that CIA Director Porter Goss has finally started to clean house at
Judging by Director Goss's remarks at his Senate confirmation hearings, those whose jobs are most in danger include the CIA "experts" in WMD proliferation — Valerie Plame's outfit — who completely failed to anticipate the Indian and Pakistani nukes, and just couldn't figure out what was going on with Iraqi WMDs. Valerie Plame's bosses are facing the axe for decades of failures.
And it's about time, because
Clearly the CIA managers who failed the
Porter Goss's new broom should also sweep away:
1) personnel who utterly failed to thwart critical technology theft by
2) those who constantly undermine the war on terror;
3) the ones who make a regular habit of dropping media stinkbombs against the White House.
4) Finally, there is the faction that supported Saddam Hussein's hold on power, as Joe Wilson did.
It could be a bloodbath, and the Permanent Establishment knows it.
The farcical Plame/Wilson assault on Karl Rove is a shot across the bow of the White House. The spook bureaucracy is fighting for its perks, hand—in—hand with the Democrats and the media. This is exactly the same iron triangle that destroyed Richard Nixon.
The charge against Rove is based on a blatantly forged document, purporting to show that Saddam tried to buy
Months later, the London Telegraph published the fact that it was all a French disinformation ploy.
The CIA has to know all about the French forgery, just as it knows that Joseph Wilson's famous trip to
That's pure Inspector Clousseau.
Valerie Plame's CIA bosses took care not to ask Mr.
It was a publicity stunt from the get—go.
What Karl Rove apparently did was to hint to reporters about the fraudulence of the whole
Telling lies to confirm somebody's paranoid beliefs is a classic disinformation gambit, right out of Spy School 101. But such gambits would be far more usefully employed against al Qaeda, our opponent in war. If the
The Permanent Establishment had a perfect dress rehearsal last year with the uproar about Richard Clarke, who also worked in the Clinton White House, possibly next door to Joe Wilson. The barely—disguised message to George W. Bush was: if you try to get rid of us, we may pull a Deep Throat on you. J. Edgar Hoover would have seen through it instantly.
A lot of careers were broken, and the new talent skyrocketed. It worked like a charm. The infusion of new blood into a stale bureaucracy was the key to victory in World War II. The old crew had allowed a deplorable situation to develop, and were obviously incapable of recognizing what needed to be done.
So why didn't Mr. Bush clean out the dead wood at CIA?
A reasonable guess is that his father warned against it. George Bush, Sr. is a former CIA Director, after all, and is intimately familiar with its ways. He was a GOP Congressman during Watergate, when Mark Felt destroyed Richard Nixon for thwarting his lifelong ambition to succeed J. Edgar Hoover.
Paraphrasing LBJ's immortal words, it was smarter to keep the CIA inside the tent pissing out rather than the other way around. So George Tenet wasn't fired, and as far as we can tell, neither was anybody else. Instead, the President met with Tenet every day for five years to get the latest about al Qaeda, and surely gained a deeper understanding of the intelligence maze at the same time.
The White House has played a very careful poker game since then, picking its cards one by one until it was ready to make the big move. Today, George Tenet is out, State and Defense are in the hands of Bush loyalists, the House and Senate have GOP majorities, and the new CIA Director is not an insider. The CIA itself is now subordinate to the new National Director of Intelligence, John Negroponte, a no—nonsense diplomat in the Kissinger mold. When Goss became Director, Agency bureaucrats complained bitterly to the press. Mr. Bush now holds all the cards, and it is time to play them.
All this isn't just fun and games. It casts a deadly light on internecine warfare in
We know that
We know that Nixon taped visitors to the Oval Office without their permission, but that FDR, LBJ, and Kennedy did the same, without facing media exposure. And during the unbelievable
But it was Richard Nixon alone who got caught by a rogue FBI bureaucrat. Deep Throat showed how a president can be destroyed by a bureaucrat.
The farcical "outing" of Valerie Plame therefore raises a genuinely frightening monster from the swamp: A subversive alliance between the intelligence bureaucracy, the Democratic Party and the media. The common thread among all the characters in this low—brow comedy is hatred of President Bush and American power. Joe Wilson's eyebrows go ballistic when he talks about the White House. Just watch him sometime.
The sneering media mob is on display on C—SPAN whenever the White House holds a press briefing. The Left is apoplectic: "Karl Rove + traitor" brought up 97,000 entries on google three days ago, and 124,000 this morning.
But Karl Rove is merely today's target for a permanent state of rage so deep and hot that it is always seeking new witches to burn. As for the failed CIA spooks who are now living in fear of losing their perks, one can only imagine the steam blowing from their ears, as the day of reckoning draws closer.
I'm cheering for the good guys.