Today’s Washington Post article, “CIA Officer’s Job Made Any Leaks More Delicate”, claims that Mary McCarthy was fired not only because of what she leaked but also because of “the Bush administration’s forceful efforts to block national security disclosures that have proved embarrassing or caused operational problems.” They take it a step further by saying the use of polygraphs in McCarthy’s firing “comes amid long-standing administration suspicions that employees of the spy agency have not sufficiently toed the policy line set by the White House …”
Now one would expect the WaPo to be on the defensive since one of their Pulitzer Prize winning reporters, Dana Priest, is purported to have been a receiver of the leaked info. It is still beyond the pale to claim that it was the Bush administration’s fault for the leaks. Later in the article the WaPo attempts to justify the leak because of “frustration at the set of events that may have provoked it.”
The WaPo goes on to highlight the “bitterness within the agency about allegations that the administration misused intelligence resources and reports in connection with the war.” Anonymous CIA sources disclose that several CIA officials have “refused to attend meetings related to the rendition of suspected terrorists because of opposition or anxiety about the legality of the practice.”
Describing CIA Director Porter Goss as a “Republican ally”, the WaPo discloses that Goss “personally oversaw the leak investigation”. The article also derides some of the changes Goss has made to prevent further leaks, such as applicants asked if they have friends in the news media.
The reporters, R. Jeffrey Smith and Dafna Linzer, cannot even admit to one of the known facts in the case. They wrote, “If allegations about her involvement in leaks prove true.” It is on record that McCarthy admitted to the leaking of classified national security information. I do not recall the WaPo giving Scooter Libbey the benefit of doubt. Even in this article, they compare the Libbey case to this episode.
To try to bolster their defense of publishing the leaked Intel, the WaPo resorts to citing “former intelligence officials”, “former CIA officials”, “several sources” and “a former official who would only discuss the issue on the condition of anonymity.” It is laughable in light of the seriousness of the issue.
The Washington Post is obviously attempting to cover its own backside on this issue. Justifying leaks of classified National Security information using employee grievances or the public’s right to know is ridiculous and disingenuous. The attempt to paint Mary McCarthy as an embattled whistleblower does not pass the smell test. It is time for all involved to take responsibility for placing our national security and our soldiers at risk. That is the only correct answer to the question of leaks.