Not long after 9/11, I told a friend that at least now the CIA would be rebuilt and given the means and the backing needed to prevent attacks like this. My faith in this prediction seemed justified when I attended a party in mid-2002. A lefty was lamenting that all the reforms brought about since the days of Frank Church mgiht now be undone. Michael Isikoff, who happened to be at the party, listened to a minute or two of this rant and then pointed out that we had, after all, been attacked and might have benefited from better information.
If the lefties were running scared and smart, mainstream guys like Isikoff understood that attacks on the CIA had gone too far, then there was room for optimism.
Unfortunately my optimism proved to be misguided. For, as Arthur Herman shows in the December issue of Commentary, the seriousness with which the Bush CIA acted to protect Americans following 9/11 caused the left to intensify its 35-year war against that Agency. And the fervor of that wave of attacks may well have produced the left’s final victory in that war.
The party now in power in the White House and on Capitol Hill is more determined to malign those Americans who tried to protect this country from a repetition of the horrors of 9/11 than to punish those who masterminded those horrors, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, or to thwart their would-be imitators.
The part about punishing KSM may be an overstatement, but the part about thwarting KSM’s imitators seems pretty close to the mark.
So does Herman’s concluding judgment:
The 35-year war on the CIA still rages. The particular shame of it is that it’s beginning to look a lot like a suicide mission.
Herman’s article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase here. We’ll try to remember to post the link if it becomes generally available on Commentary’s website.