November 9, 2005

THEN SHUT IT (via Robert Schwartz):

I Spy With My Little Eye . . .: . . . something beginning with the letter S. (Answer: Sloppy spooks.) (REUEL MARC GERECHT, November 9, 2005, Opinion Journal)

If we were to use the standards suggested by Mr. Fitzgerald--"It's a lot more serious than baseball. . . . The damage wasn't to one person. It wasn't just Valerie Wilson. It was done to all of us"--we would fire the operations management, which in practice has become a barely clandestine version of the State Department. The revealing of Valerie Plame's true employer has in all probability hurt no one overseas. You can rest assured that if her (most recent) outing had actually hurt an agent from her past, we would've heard about it through a CIA leak.

Langley's systemic sloppiness--the flimsiness of cover is but the tip of the iceberg of incompetence--has repeatedly destroyed agent networks and provoked "flaps" with some of our closest allies. A serious CIA would never have allowed Mr. Wilson to go on such an odd, short "fact finding" mission. It never would have allowed Ms. Plame potentially to expose herself by recommending such an overt mission for her mate, not known for his subtlety and discretion. With a CIA where cover really mattered, Mr. Libby would not now be indicted. But that's not what we have in the real world. We have an American left that hates George W. Bush and his vice president so much that they have become willing dupes in a surreal operational stage-play. You have to give credit to Langley: Overseas it may be incompetent; but in Washington, it can still con many into giving it the respect and consideration it doesn't deserve.

But the Right worships at the altar of the national security apparatus, so it refuses to act as forcefully against the intelligence services as both liberal democracy and effective policy require.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 9, 2005 12:59 AM


Posted by: oj at November 9, 2005 1:58 PM

Not sure that the CIA ever accomplished anything before the Church Commission came along, but it's just become another part of the permanent bureaucracy ever since.

It's too bad Congress will never authorize a serious audit of Langley, because the waste of billions over there would leave us all breathless.

Posted by: curt at November 9, 2005 2:32 PM

And the left wants to keep the CIA because it is their most useful weapon in the war against george W. Bush.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at November 9, 2005 3:40 PM
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