April 24, 2006
Defend Dissent by Punishing the LeakersBy Rick Moran
Like a bad penny, we just can't seem to rid ourselves of the irksome presence of John Kerry.
Ostensibly still a Senator (although you'd be hard pressed to come up with anything noteworthy the former Presidential candidate has ever done in that august body), Kerry pops up like a Jack—in—the—Box every time an issue arises that gives him the opportunity to prove himself to the group of rabid, unbalanced, deranged Bush bashers who now officially make up the base of the Democratic Party.
In a speech on Saturday given at historic Faneuil Hall, the Massachusetts Senator helped prove to us all over again how much the Lord really does care about America when He denied this man's overweening ambition and gargantuan hubris by repudiating his claim to the Presidency:
The idea that our soldiers working to bring democracy and order to Iraq have anything in common whatsoever with the dirty necked galoots and Birkenstock sandal wearers who are in favor of hanging George Bush from a sour apple tree while running away before the job is done in Iraq — a job already bought and paid for with the lives of thousands of Americans and Iraqis — is ludicrous. In fact, the dichotomy between soldier and protester in this case is so radical, it invites ridicule.
But the former celebrity traitor would need to develop some humility to realize the irony inherent in his remarks, an admittedly remote prospect. For as we all know, it is not 'admitting mistakes' that the Massachusetts Senator is after, but rather evidence for an impeachment trial that he and his fellow partisans will seek to bring about if they achieve majority status in November. And curiously, they will seek to use a Viet Nam template to impress their claims for impeachment on the people:
It is eerie how those talking points all seem to have been buttressed in recent years by a series of selective leaks from our intelligence agencies.
The 'official deception' idea — the President ignoring 'evidence' that there was no WMD in Iraq — has been bolstered by several cherry—picked analyses going back to 2003 including the infamous imbroglio over Niger uranium being sought by Saddam portrayed as a canard.
And the 'misperception' in Iraq finds numerous examples of leaks designed to show that the Administration was warned of all the dire consequences (many of which like 500,000 war refugees and Iraqis starving by the millions never coming to pass) that we are experiencing today.
The firing of former National Security Council staffer and CIA employee Mary McCarthy for leaking a story to the Washington Post's Dana Priest about secret 'black prisons' in Europe where some of the most important al Qaeda suspects were being held may start unraveling a loose network of disgruntled, partisan tattletales who took it upon themselves to decide what American policies were 'moral' and, even more despicably, sought to undermine a war they didn't agree with and defeat a President they loathed.
Without benefit of having the broad view available to top policymakers and our elected leaders, they nevertheless allowed themselves to believe they had been granted special insight by virtue of their privileged positions in the intelligence community.
They appointed themselves arbiters of American policy believing as they obviously do that their judgment was superior to that of the people they ostensibly are supposed to serve.
All this would be bad enough if it weren't for the clear, partisanship demonstrated in the lead—up to the Presidential campaign, by selectively leaking information that damaged the President at the worst possible times. The Wall Street Journal noticed this at the time, in an editorial 2 days before the first debate of the campaign in 2004 and immediately after an analysis regarding the possibility of a post—war insurgency was leaked to the New York Times.
This has been the thrust of the CIA's war against the White House that has been underway since it became clear that the Bush Administration was determined to effect regime change in Iraq. And now, one of those partisans has been caught red handed.
Mary McCarthy is not some selfless, conscience—ridden bureaucrat who was driven to leak a top secret CIA program out of patriotic devotion. She was, in effect, a mole for the Democratic Party ensconced in one of the most sensitive jobs at the Agency. The fact that she and her husband gave nearly $10,000 to John Kerry's campaign (including a revealing $5,000 donation to the Ohio Democratic Party less than a month before the election) should lay to rest the silly notion that McCarthy was anything but Democratic party apparatchik burrowed—into the national security apparatus.
This is not to say, of course, that she was part of any 'grand conspiracy' of partisans at the agency and party leaders. But it does prove the existence of a group at the CIA who would rather violate their secrecy oaths than support the goals of the Administration in Iraq.
Working in the Inspector General's office, McCarthy was privy to a wide variety of compartmentalized classified information. In short, she was in a perfect position to dole out leaks to reporters who were as eager as herself to damage the prospects of the President for re—election and, failing that, undermine support for the war among the American people. According to sources at the CIA, her leak to Dana Priest about the secret prisons (prisons that investigators for the EU have failed twice to prove existed) was the tip of the iceberg, that indications are McCarthy leaked several times, perhaps regarding several issues.
And this brings us back to John Kerry and his idea of 'dissent.' If the group of leakers at the CIA were so hell bent on 'dissenting' from the President's policies in Iraq, they, like the group of retired generals who recently came out calling for Secretary Rumsfeld to resign, had other options open to them. Since it is difficult to believe that Mary McCarthy is unaware of the existence of others at the CIA whose views reflect her own, they could have and should have done the honorable thing and resign their positions. I daresay a bevy of resignations at the CIA coupled with a very public, very loud denunciation of the President's policies would have had a far greater impact on the public than sneaking around in dark corners and furtively handing envelopes containing state secrets to liberal reporters.
The culture of leaking that McCarthy and others have developed at the CIA has little to do with honest dissent. The idea that dissent, even in peacetime, does not come without personal cost is wrong. The act of voicing opposition to majority policies carries with it a responsibility to accept the consequences of being ostracized or becoming unpopular. In wartime, more may be asked of the dissenter only because the stakes are much higher. And while the constitutional rights of the dissenter must be protected, that doesn't mean that the dissenter can both violate an oath to protect that constitution by leaking secrets that damage national security or our foreign policy and still enjoy the fruits of their perfidy by remaining in a position where they can further harm America's cause.
It is dishonorable to expect protection for dissenting in this way. And the fact that the press and liberals have leapt to McCarthy's defense by saying that her leaking is nothing more than some kind of heroism is almost beyond belief. McCarthy took it upon herself to make public a policy for which some of our allies desperately needed to remain a secret lest they be targeted by our enemies for terrorist attacks. It may be hyperbole to posit the notion that anyone who dies in terrorist attacks in those eastern European countries where the secret prisons were supposed to be located and were named in the leaked information, that it would be McCarthy's hands stained with the blood of those innocents. But it points up the serious consequences of deciding American policy based on one's personal idea of morality.
Tough talk, that. But unless we begin to realize the real damage that these leaks are causing, it will be impossible to generate the kind of public outcry against the leakers that will bring their nefarious efforts to a close once and for all.
One kind of dissent is worth defending. The other should be held in as much contempt as we should hold the people who practice it.
Rick Moran is proprietor of the blog Right Wing Nuthouse and a frequent contributor.