Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people

CIA Officer Is Fired for Media Leaks

The CIA fired a long-serving intelligence officer for sharing classified information with The Washington Post and other news organizations, officials said yesterday, as the agency continued an aggressive internal search for anyone who may have discussed intelligence with the news media.

skipping down a couple paragraphs

The CIA's statement did not name the reporters it believes were involved, but several intelligence officials said The Post's Dana Priest was among them. This week, Priest won the Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting for articles about the agency, including one that revealed the existence of secret, CIA-run prisons in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

Intelligence officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the dismissed officer identified by others as McCarthy has not been charged with any crime and is not believed to be the subject of a Justice Department investigation.
The officer's employment was terminated for violating a secrecy agreement all employees are required to sign when they join the agency. The agreement prohibits them from sharing classified information with unauthorized individuals.

This officer apparently has violated a secrecy agreement, but has not been charged with a crime. Though it also appears that she exposed possible criminal wrong doing that was directed by the administration. Whatever crimes McCarthy may have committed they cannot be sparated from the administartion's wrong doing.

C.I.A. Fires Senior Officer Over Leaks

"This was a very aggressive internal investigation," said one former C.I.A. officer with more than 20 years' experience. "Goss was determined to find the source of the secret-jails story."

The focus of the concern was not that the CIA may have committed criminal acts on behalf of the administration, but that someone leaked knowledge of those criminal acts.
From a far right conservative blog called Riehl World View,

Great. But let's not end it there. This leak undermined national security in some significant ways. The individual should be prosecuted to the full extent of existing law. And while they are at it, I want to see Priest invoke her Pulitzer Prize as a rationale for being complicit in the commission of a crime.

He offered no support for the assertion that the leak about secret prisons "undermined national security in some significant ways". English composition 101, your opening statement followed by evidence to support that statement. You don't have to be a genious or write the most erudite prose to follow that rule. So simplistic and hyperbolic assertion with out supporting evidence. When can we expect far right conservatives to get serious about issues, any issue.

Riehl also asserts,

Certainly the inside leakers are the primary concern as Goss tries to instill a new sense of mission and a loyalty which transcends politics within the CIA.

Goss a life long conservative who was appointed by one of the most bitterly partisan presidents of the last century and his actions "transcends politics"? Goss says CIA leak not worthy of committee action

"I would say there's a much larger dose of partisan politics going on right now than there is worry about national security," said Goss, R-Sanibel. "But I would never take lightly a serious allegation backed up by evidence that there was a willful — and I emphasize willful, inadvertent is something else — willful disclosure, and I haven't seen any evidence."

Goss said he would act if he did have evidence of that sort.

"Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation," Goss said.

Here we have the conservative pretzel twist, it starts at the world "partisan" and ends up stuffed up its own tail at "blue dress". Mr. or M's Riehl is another Brit Hume of the right-wing so drunk on their own kool-aid that can't distinquish their world view from the evidence right in front of them. In Spies Like Goss Fred Kaplan writes,

Goss also came to Bush's aid a few months earlier, during the Joseph Wilson-Valerie Plame scandal. One would think that a former CIA spy might be appalled by reports that a White House official had publicly exposed the identity of an undercover agent, especially as an act of political retaliation against the agent's spouse. The blatant politicization of intelligence is, or should be, anathema to any professional spy—or prospective CIA director.

But Goss waved off the whole business. In an interview with his hometown paper, the Herald-Tribune of southwestern Florida, Goss said the uproar was the result of "wild and unsubstantiated allegations, which are being obviously piled on by partisan politicians during an election year." There was no need to mount an investigation, he said, because there was no evidence of "willful disclosure" (though how he reached that conclusion without an investigation, he didn't say).

Perhaps we choice the wrong conservative so let's try someone called The Strata-Sphere commenting on the NYT story (The Downing referred to is an editor),

Downing seems incapable of discerning ‘government information’ from critical, classified, national security information that exposes Americans to terrorist attacks. The Post CIA prison story may not rise to that level – but the NY Times story on the NSA certainly does.

In a way this is at least a little more clever then Riehl, he proposes the idea that exposing secret prisons "exposes Americans to terrorist attacks", but then kinda sorta takes it back. The person that authorized the prisons acted in a way that lowered Americans moral standing in the world, they also provided grist for the fundamentalist propaganda machine, and probably violated our legal obligations under the Geneva Convention. So as a matter of who may be ultimately responsible for any terror attacks resulting from having secret prisons, one need look no further then 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Let's here from one more conservative spokeman for the right Hugh Hewitt who makes the rather unhinged assertion that the press by reporting leaks is in possession of stolen goods like a purloined computer or intellectual property. If that is the case then why hasn't Hewitt called for the jailing of Robert Novak or Judith Miller, or Condi Rice's selective leaks peppered with lies. Hewitt couldn't be bothered to explain his little side trip to the valley of moral relativity and skips on to what ifs. What ifs are furtile ground for the imagination and conviniently eskews facts for partisan fancy,

But what if the leaked information compromised an anti-terrorist operation, allowing terrorists to escape and strike U.S. interests, or the homeland, later?

The rules for "national security leaks" were established in the era of the Vietnam War, and because the Pentagon Papers case did not involve the sort of incredibly sensitive information we see leaked in the context of the Global War on Terror, we are using rules forged in a different era to judge the new era's dilemmas.

What if Bush had acted on a PDB that warned Bin Laden may attack instead of going on vacation, what if Bush hadn't been so rushed to invade Iraq he wouldn't have directed forces away from catching Osama at Tora Bora, what if Bush had put Iraq on the back burner so we were in a stronger position to bargain with Iran and North Korea, what if Bish was competent enough to decrease world wide terrorism on his watch rather then let it increase. What if Bush with the blessings of his supporters like Hugh, actually didn't play into the hands of fundamentalists by abandoning the moral high ground. What if Hugh and his ideological clones actually started having some real American values about honor and integrity and the common good instead of confusing their fetid imaginations with reality.
Finally the NYT piece ends with this,

Paul R. Pillar, who was the agency's senior analyst for the Middle East until he retired late last year, said: "Classified information is classified information. It's not to be leaked. It's not to be divulged." He has recently criticized the Bush administration's handling of prewar intelligence about Saddam Hussein's unconventional weapons programs.

Bush, Riehl, Strata, and Hewitt are like the hypocritical parents who live by the do as I say not as I do rule. If agents like McCarthy and reporters like Priest and Risen look around and see our highest government officials leak when they want to, leak false information, and leak distorted information when it serves then agenda then yes when do need watchdogs that report those abuses.

A Spy Speaks Out

Drumheller, who retired last year, says the White House ignored crucial information from a high and credible source. The source was Iraq's foreign minister, Naji Sabri, with whom U.S. spies had made a deal.

When CIA Director George Tenet delivered this news to the president, the vice president and other high ranking officials, they were excited — but not for long.

"[The source] told us that there were no active weapons of mass destruction programs," says Drumheller. "The [White House] group that was dealing with preparation for the Iraq war came back and said they were no longer interested. And we said 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change.' "

They didn't want any additional data from Sabri because, says Drumheller: "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy."

I guess the conservatives of the right-wing echo chamber will have some unsupported assertions and what ifs about Drumheller, yet another witness to Bush's Stalinistic approach to governing.

I remember seeing Scott Ritter on television quite a bit, or at least it seemed like quite a bit in the run up to the Iraq invasion. The guy had and has a kind of tough matter of fact persona, and while it doesn't bother me, knowing the media and the vagaries of public perception I can understand why he didn't become a media darling. What I can't understand is why anyone over the age of nineteen would let personaliites and political partisanship get in the way of persuing the truth. Scott Ritter’s Overdue I Told You So from firedoglake and video from Crooks and Liars, Scott Ritter debunks the LA Times Iranian nuclear threat

Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right . . and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean of the characters and conduct of their rulers." — John Adams

The censorial power is in the people over the government and not in the government over the people — James Madison