Was anyone surprised when Bush and Cheney were outted as leakers-in-chief re the flawed National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq? Or by the largely symbolic recent firing of CIA officer (seconded to the NSC) Mary McCarthy over the renditions? Both show the vengeful hypocrisy of the Administration's misuse of national security claims to contaminate policy debate and to silence critics. Putin would be proud.
The Stiftung can summon no outrage over Bush/Cheney's selective leak of the NIE to Judy Miller. Why? No sentient creature in 2006 has any excuse for not knowing the Administration so thoroughly debased 'intelligence' as a politicized product. That Fred Hiatt approves via the WaPo of the selective and deliberately inaccurate characterizations of the shoddy and hastily cobbled together NIE is just icing on the cake.
Regarding Mary McCarthy's firing, the Stiftung views it as a symbolic act by a paranoid and vengeful apparat. But McCarthy should not be surprised, either. If McCarthy was identified as the leaker, she more or less had to be terminated. The Agency or any intelligence entity would cease to exist effectively if employees felt the freedom to leak details on policies or operations with which they did not agree.
Before a reader's head explodes in a paroxysm of disbelief, the Stiftung in no way endorses the Administration's embrace of torture and perversion of American values (let alone defiance of effective interrogation techniques, which succeed because they avoid torture). The Stiftung simply believes that when one seeks the privilege of serving the Nation in that capacity and signs on the dotted line, one must accept the rules of the game. Sort of like a Coppola-esque 'This is the life we've chosen'.
Grievances are to be handled and hashed out within appropriate internal channels. Or one resigns. Or if one chooses to leak, one should expect termination. In this case, if McCarthy believed strongly in what she did, she should have accepted that her actions could result in termination. We always are careful before agreeing with Snyder quoted in the WaPo article — in fact, we double and triple check — but in this case, Snyder is correct, McCarthy's position within the CIA's IG does indeed raise troubling concerns.
The McCarthy situation and the witchhunt over the NSA wiretap leaks are all part and parcel of a broader effort by the Administration and the permanent national security establishment to chill communications in the Imperial City. Added to the mix is the ongoing AIPAC criminal case. Dear Reader, please do not be mistaken in believing that the AIPAC matter was limited to AIPAC, Larry Franklin, or was merely a bureaucratic outgrowth purely of struggles between Neocon elements in OSD and elsewhere in the Community.
The Administration was looking at a variety of entities and personnel to target before filing charges against AIPAC's Rosen. Although now that Rosen is implicating Saint Condi as a leaker to him in his defense, the Administration may yet rue the choice of Rosen and AIPAC. It certainly promises more entertainment.
The Administration has let loose the permanent national security uber alles mindset on us all. Mixed together with the Administration's authoritarian ethos, that mindset promises to be particularly toxic to small 'd' democracy. A great danger is that while the Administration's shelf life may be limited to 2008 the unleashed permanent national security establishment will remain with us for long after. Cadres in many places have been diluted (or infused?) with True Believers in the Administration's Schmittean authoritarian agenda. If the Nation is lucky to replace this crowd with a new Administration more or less committed to liberal democracy and the empirical enlightenment, we should expect the need in all likelihood for some kind of housecleaning at some level.