Don’t You Know There’s a War On?

We have been talking for several years about the covert war that elements of the federal bureaucracy, especially inside the CIA, have been waging against the Bush administration. Today, at NRO’s The Corner, Andy McCarthy does an excellent job of placing recent revelations about CIA leaker Mary McCarthy’s support for John Kerry and the Democratic Party in the context of that war:

McCarthy’s situation cannot be considered in a vacuum. Even with McCarthy considered alone, we are not talking about a single leak – the reporting indicates that she may be a serial leaker, the black-sites story being only the most prominent instance. But the broader context here is an intelligence community that was, quite brazenly, leaking in a manner designed to topple a sitting president. A big question here — maybe not for purposes of guilt under the espionage act, but for the more important policy issue of a politicized CIA — is whether she was part of a campaign that was grossly inappropriate for the intelligence community to engage in.

Remember Michael Scheuer, aka “Anonymous.” It is simply dumbfounding that, as an intelligence officer heading up the bin Laden team (i.e., the unit targeting the number one, active national security problem facing the country) he was permitted by the CIA to write books about what he was doing. He has indicated, though, that it was fine with the agency as long as he was slamming the Bush administration.

Valerie Plame Wilson thought the whole Bush administration notion that Saddam was trying to arm up with nukes was crazy. She maneuvered to have, not an objective analyst, but her husband – with no WMD expertise but an enemy of the president’s policy – sent to Niger, whence he returned and wrote a highly partisan, misleading and damaging op-ed in the NYTimes about the Bush administration’s case for toppling Saddam … which op-ed he was permitted by the self-same CIA to write notwithstanding that his trip was (and should have been) classified.

All the while, there has been a steady drumbeat from the former intelligence officers – who anonymously fill Seymour Hersh books when they are not venting their spleens on the record – attacking every aspect of the administration’s handling of the war on terror.

This has all been steady since 9/11. But it was especially frenetic in the run-up to the 2004 election (and the flavor of it ran throughout the 9/11 Commission hearings and, to a somewhat more muted extent, in the Commission’s final report). The transparent purpose of it was to get Senator Kerry elected.

Now we find that an intelligence officer who was leaking information very damaging to Bush was a Kerry backer to a degree that was extraordinary for a single person on a government salary, and, even more extraordinarily, gave $5K of her own money to Democrats in the key swing state (Ohio) that, in the end, did actually decide the election.

From where I sit, that’s pretty damn relevant.

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