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A cold civil war?

With the unmasking of Mary McCarthy as a leaker within the CIA, violating both federal law and countless oaths to give classified information to the press, a lot of people are starting to draw tentative connections between seemingly disparate people and events. And although I'm usually one of the first to mock and denigrate conspiracy theories, I have this niggling suspicion they very well might be on to something.

First up, Charles Johnson and his mighty legions have pulled together a remarkable set of coincidences, connections, and correlations in the McCarthy case. There's always a danger of going too far with this sort of thing, because as you near the top of the government, you start discovering that everyone knows everyone and has had some dealings with everyone else. But the chain is difficult to refute.

But put that into a bit of historical perspective. How does that relate to other incidents?

Well, we also have Sandy Berger, National Security Advisor to Bill Clinton, pleading guilty to removing and destroying highly classified material from the National Archives -- information directly related to the Clinton administration's actions and plans and intelligence regarding the threat of terrorist attacks, such as the then-building plans for the 9/11 attacks.

And let us never forget Senator Jay Rockefeller, who has admitted to telling foreign governments about the Bush Administration's plans: "I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq -- that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11."

Those are just three examples, the most prominent ones that spring to mind. But there are many, many more.

Von Clausewitz is famously quoted as saying that "war is an extension of politics by other means." We very well may now be seeing the evolution of politics into war, the escalation of partisanship into actual acts of treason. I wonder if we're seeing the emergence of a blending of the cold war (never declared, never openly fought, just battled through proxies and non-military means) with a civil war.

I hope I'm wrong. I really, really hope I'm wrong. But I'm growing more and more cynical.


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Comments (11)

This collection of coincide... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

This collection of coincidences looks a little too flimsy for me to hang a conspiracy hat on it. Don't get me wrong: I think liberals have no problem putting politics over national security, and indeed are an actual threat to national security a la the German-American Bund or the CPUSA, but I don't see a conspiracy (yet).

Rockefeller is a US senator, which by definition makes him a loudmouth who thinks that rules don't apply to him.

Wilson pulled his NYT op-ed for political purposes related to the '04 campaign, presumably to ensure himself a high position in the Kerry administration.

McCarthy, if she is indeed the source of the leak, may simply have thought she was doing The Right Thing(TM) by blowing the whistle on our "stalinesque" tactics (to borrow from a lefty on another blog).

At any rate, we'll see how this story develops. Perhaps some enterprising reporter or blogger will uncover evidence that McCarthy really was somehow involved in Joe's trip to Niger. Who knows?

It'll also be very interesting to see how the MSM deals with it, especially if the DoJ decides to start questioning or (gasp!) prosecuting reporters who publish classified information.

That Sandy Berger incident... (Below threshold)
virgo:

That Sandy Berger incident has always irritated Me the most, why was He never brought before the 911 commission or a grand jury to answer as to what it was He destroyed? the heiarchy seems to be so gung ho for investigating things for show all the time but never ask the most relevant people to testify under oath i.e. Jamie Gorelick this stinks to high heaven,did Berglar wake up one morning and decide to just go commit a felony for the heck of it ? i dont think so,you know if this had been a repub doing this there would be nonstop investigations and rightfully so, put them under oath before the american people and ask them direct questions that they must answer or go directly to jail.

The Cold Civil War started ... (Below threshold)
PTG:

The Cold Civil War started the day the Clinton's and their crooked, corrupt, communist gang took over the White House. It only got nasty when they were pushed out.

Connections? Coincidences?... (Below threshold)
Semanticleo:

Connections? Coincidences? Really?

I think the most interesting thing about Mary is
the Right's eagerness to prosecute ONLY when their
ox has been gored. Apologies for the long paste
but Greenwald has a counterpoint or two on this
issue of 'coincidences';

"But if one's political and professional connections to a leaker cast aspersions on the person's integrity and patriotism, there are plenty of aspersions to be cast. Larry Franklin, for instance, is a former Department of Defense official who -- unlike McCarthy -- has actually been convicted of the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, to which he had access as a result of his Pentagon job, and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Franklin was a top aide to Douglas Feith, the No. 3 official in Bush Defense Department, and had long-standing and very close ties to Paul Wolfowitz, deputy to Don Rumsfeld. He did not merely pass classified information to the American media, but to AIPAC, a group with close ties to a foreign government. Franklin has all kinds of friends in the pro-Bush media who defended him and insisted that he could not possibly be guilty, and had close ties to the highest and most powerful Bush officials.

Recently, close Bush ally, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, was found by investigators to have leaked highly sensitive, classified information to Fox News' Carl Cameron while on the Senate Intelligence Committee -- an unauthorized and serious leak which, for some odd reason, the Bush Justice Department refused to prosecute. No Bush followers, at least that I know of, objected to the decision to allow Sen. Shelby to leak with impunity.

Equally close Bush ally, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, leaked some of the most classified information our government had in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks:


A senior senator's disclosure of highly classified information about the U.S. terrorism investigation has infuriated Bush administration officials and led to a clampdown on how much the White House will share with lawmakers.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters hours after terrorists crashed hijacked jetliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that U.S. intelligence had intercepted a telephone call from a suspect reporting to his handler that the targets in New York City and near Washington had been hit.

"They have an intercept of some information that includes people associated with[Osama] bin Laden who acknowledged a couple of targets were hit," Hatch told The Associated Press. He made similar comments to ABC News and said the information had come from officials at the CIA and FBI.

Electronic intercepts represent some of the most sensitive intelligence possessed by the government. U.S. officials rarely discuss their content because to do so would reveal to adversaries, including foreign governments, that American intelligence had penetrated their sensitive communications.

Hatch's disclosure, with the possibility it would tip off terrorists that their communications had been compromised, left senior officials of the administration dumbfounded and angry."

Conspiracy? Not in the "bak... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

Conspiracy? Not in the "bak of the building smokey room" kind. A pattern, yes, but not sure of a blatant conspiracy.

I think there may have been small conspiracies in the discreet events, but not necessarily that each event was to be linked.

I think the pattern is that the Left is willing to do anything, say anything, sell anything (including country and soul) in order to get power. Even Kos admits he doesn't believe the stuff he spews he just wants power.

Much like the Main Stream Media hating the internet bloggers so much...they don't care about the real news and facts only in retaining the power.

I think in the interests of... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

I think in the interests of the equal time rule you must consider what the Republicans have been leaking as well...It is the old saw what is 'a good leak' or 'bad leak' what is in the 'the public interest' or what 'compromise's national security' or which is worse the illegal activity itself or 'the whistle blowing' about the illegal activity'. I'm pretty cynical( to like Jay ) when I read (in this case) about that Iran Contra figures, who were indicted like Eliott Abrams or an unindicted participant like present intelligence chief Negroponte, are now serving the Bush administration in high positions.

Hmmm.1. I think th... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

1. I think there is a conspiracy, and actual cabal if you will, that was organized to bring down this administration and one that is *EXTREMELY* dangerous to this country.


2. Frankly I could give a rat's ... ahem ... about Bush or this administration. But it's extremely clear that any subsequent administration must, at the very least, conduct an ideological purge of the intelligence services simply out of self-defense. And this has the potential to be extremely harmful to this country because of the endless disruptions it would cause to the intelligence gathering and analysis efforts.

And it also brings the specter of ideological purity triumphing over ability and, worst of all, the possibility of poitical chaos within the government. Look at any country where wholesale ideological purges are done with a change in government and you'll find political instability. Something that we don't need at all.

For this, and no other reason, there is justification for hanging McCarthy and anyone who has aided her.


3. I still think that Joe Wilson was the intended cutout and his wife was the conduit for intelligence leaks. The reason why is the same reason why McCarthy was caught, a polygraph. If you hand over information to Valerie Wilson(Plame) then in a subsequent polygraph you can truthfully state that you didn't divulge classified information to a reporter or to anyone without clearance.

Valerie can then shift the information over to her husband by the simple expedient of leaving it open on a table for him to read. Under a polygraph Valerie could truthfully state that she didn't divulge classified information to a reporter or to anyone without authorization.

And then Joe Wilson, who doesn't work for the CIA, could funnel the information to reporters since he's not going to face any polygraph tests whatsoever.

...

What I think broke this down was that Joe Wilson may have lost his credibility as a source. So perhaps McCarthy thought she had to bypass Wilson.

Hmmmm.I t... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

I think the most interesting thing about Mary is the Right's eagerness to prosecute ONLY when their ox has been gored.

Got a link?

Yes, it's true there Semant... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Yes, it's true there Semantico - Republican leaks have been far more numerous and dangerous, but it's okay because they're Republicans.

Uhhh --I have been hearing ... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Uhhh --I have been hearing the "culture of corruption"--now is it the "culture of treason"--hmmmm.

"With the unmasking of Mary... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"With the unmasking of Mary McCarthy as a leaker within the CIA, violating both federal law and countless oaths to give classified information to the press, a lot of people are starting to draw tentative connections between seemingly disparate people and events."

Where the heck have you been the last couple years, man? Sounds to me like a lot of people have been not paying attention.

I think Semantico is partly missing the point here including the section about Orrin Hatch - there is a big difference between an elected official who carelessly runs his mouth to the media and an intelligence profressional who intentionally does so for political reasons. I'm not sure the other example his bit of article cites is relevant either - Franklin seems to be a simple case of selling out. I have yet to hear of any example of the GOP, or some GOP supporting gov't worker, blowing classified information to gain domestic political advantage for their party.

There are a lot of people with access to sensitive information out there who are putting domestic politics before doing their job.

I think ALL unauthorized leaks, regardless of the politics of the leaker, should be followed up on. It's been considered busines as usual for far too long for people to leak classified info to the media.

The specific problem in cases like this one is that you have people in the CIA (and State) abusing their positions to score domestic political points during a time of war, both through leaks and insubordination. I expect behavior like this from politicians, not from supposed professionals.

I don't think there is some sort of vast conspiracy, but I certainly think there are numerous small groups of like-minded people who think that any means is justified by the ends, due to Bush Derangement Syndrome - gov't employees, journalists (Rathergate, anyone?), and so on.

Now, of course Republicans (one of which, I am not, for the record) have their own vested interest in being outraged over these cases. Do you expect them to be happy about this sort of thing?




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