Friday, April 21, 2006

Mary McCarthy, Patriot

Let's pause for a moment and give thanks that, even in Bush's America, there are a few heroes left:

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...

The CIA did not reveal the identity of the employee, who was dismissed Thursday, but NBC News reported last night she is Mary McCarthy. An intelligence source confirmed that the report was accurate...

The CIA said the firing was the result of an internal investigation initiated in late January of all "officers who were involved in or exposed to certain intelligence programs."...

Post Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said people who provide citizens the information they need to hold their government accountable should not "come to harm for that."

"The reporting that Dana did was very important accountability reporting about how the CIA and the rest of the U.S. government have been conducting the war on terror," Downie said. "Whether or not the actions of the CIA or other agencies have interfered with anyone's civil liberties is important information for Americans to know and is an important part of our jobs."...

Dozens of employees at the CIA, the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies have been interviewed by agents from the FBI's Washington field office. Others have been prohibited, in writing, from discussing even unclassified issues related to the domestic surveillance program. Some GOP lawmakers are also considering tougher penalties for leaking.


McCarthy's sin? Revealing that the U.S. is operating a string of secret prisons for interrogating prisoners out of the public eye and beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts -- a practice that the writ of habeas corpus prohibits and that every other civilized country, starting with England in Shakespeare's time, has rejected. Dangerous to national intelligence? Bah. Dangerous to those who would ignore the civil liberties on which America's greatness, and late and lamented reputation as a beacon of hope around the world, were based. If arrested, she will be a political prisoner. Let's hope she's not shipped to a gulag overseas.

This thoroughly un-American administration disgusts me even more than usual today. A pox on them.

Update, April 21: more analysis in the Comments.

Update 2, April 23: Additional posts on this topic here and here.

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7 comments:

lucretia said...

theresites2: Thanks for this revelation. This is shocking, both the firing and the reason for it!

Not since the Reagan era when the American military tortured revolutionaries in Latin Amrica, has an administration sunk so low.

I'm wondering if the school for military on literally torture techniques is still going on in Georgia. A Catholic priest was protesting against this for a long time and he and his group trying to get out information to the public.

Thersites D. Scott said...

On this blog citing my post, McCarthy was called "the rat, the leaking rat. Because of her, we are less capable of dealing with some of the most dispicable people on the planet, people who pose a very real threat to our country. That doesn't make her a patriot."

In response, I commented:

Let's try a thought experiment: what it the CIA was systematically kidnapping the children of terrorism suspects and torturing them to compel their parents to talk? If a CIA analyst who knew about this program told her superiors and they refused to stop it -- saying it was an effective tool -- would it be wrong for that agent to tell the press about it?

I believe the human obligation to speak out in that case would outweigh the CIA employee's vocational obligation to keep silent.

If you disagree, then I have to ask: is there ANYTHING you believe the government can't do? What makes the U.S. different than the USSR or North Korea?

If you agree, on the other hand, then I ask: why is what this agent did different?

I especially support McCarthy's action because it didn't hurt national security in any way. She didn't leak details of an ongoing investigation. She didn't leak the identity of another agent and blow the cover of a carefully-constructed CIA "front" organization, as someone in the White House did. All she did was disclose where we're keeping prisoners -- which is embarrassing to the Administration (we're putting people in an Eastern European gulag? Is that American behavior?), but is no more damaging to national security than telling terrorists that we're holding prisoners at Guantanamo or Leavenworth.

How exactly, then, did McCarthy hurt the war on terror? And don't government employees have a moral duty to disclose when the government does wrong?


I'll be curious to see whether they respond to that.

lucretia said...

Thanks for the referral to that blog. It proclaims the cut-and-dried narrow thinking of the right in CAPS. Thankfully, real life is not their way....YET!

The Wa-Po quote re. not criminalizing a revelation to the press is very good.

Mary McCarthy certainly did not endanger 'national security' in any way by her revelation. She did not make this country any less able to deal with "despicable people" on the planet. The Right is boring in their repetitive use of exageration without explanation. It intimidates people who want to understand the complexity of serious situations particularly relating to protecting the country. This is WRONG.

America has to see that a lot of items re. the killing fields is known worldwide in certain circles and no real secret.

The revelation to the public is a THREAT ALL RIGHT--you bet it is--to OUR people here about the current government's extremely repulsive, DIRTY TRICKS...this DIRT typifies the Ultra Right, the kind of DIRT fed to PIGS, who are on the same level as the current Administration and the BLOG who gave you the ax Theresites2!

Kathleen said...

EXECUTIVE ORDER 13292 (signed by Bush in 2003):
Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations. (a) In no case shall information be classified in order to:
(1) conceal violations of law
, inefficiency, or administrative error;
(2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency; []
( http://www.fas.org/sgp/bush/eoamend.html )

As far as McCarthy violating some part of her employment contract, any contract clause that is contrary to law, or demands illegal behavior, is unenforceable.

This could be a very interesting story, if she chooses to fight back.

lucretia said...

Thanks Kathleen for the Executive Order information. It's about time that "national security" was taken out of a brothel in Las Vegas.

lucretia said...
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lucretia said...
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