Saturday, April 22, 2006

Hail Mary

If "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s indicted former chief of staff, can establish a legal fund to pay for his defense in the CIA leak case (in which he claims that the President of the U.S. authorized him to leak for political gain) then certainly a longtime career government worker can, too:
Libby associates are soliciting money from friends and Republican donors. The same sources say Barbara Comstock, a Republican communications strategist hired to work with Libby’s defense team, has provided potential donors with a Washington address for sending checks.

Since Libby has left government, there are no legal requirements for public disclosure, and there are no limits on individual contributions. The Times reports that names of donors will not be made public.

The fund could prove troubling for Libby’s political supporters. They must weigh the benefit of providing financial support to a friend and political ally against the likelihood of public censure for supporting a man accused of a serious crime.
How about raising legal defense funds for government whistleblowers, CIA or elsewhere? To encourage more of them to come forward, without having to fear the hideous expense of legal defenses. Without these whistleblowers (the real patriots and heroes in a modern democracy, where risking your livelihood in this Bush economy is equivalent to putting your physical survival on the line) we wouldn't know what our government is doing in our names. In this new "information age," paying the legal fees of whistleblowers may be the only way we can guarantee our right to a democratic republic.

With the firing and possible criminal prosecution of Mary McCarthy (with undoubtedly to come) the Bush administration appears to want to frighten heroic Americans into silence and submission, just as what they hoped leaking Valerie Plame's name (and the cover company that she and other covert CIA agents worked for) would achieve. Congress has abdicated its' role of oversight while the most corrupt Presidential administration in U.S. history wreaks havoc and creates mayhem all over the world. The whistleblowers are all that stand between a democratic republic and a fascist dictatorship.

Mary McCarthy is alleged to be one of the sources for the a series of articles written by Dana Priest and published in the Washington Post last November about the CIA’s rumored secret prisons in Eastern Europe. Priest was awarded a Pulitzer Prize this week for her report.
The Washington Post report caused an international uproar, and government officials have said it did significant damage to relationships between the U.S. and allied intelligence agencies.

CIA Director Porter Goss told the Senate in February that leaks to the media had damaged national security. Subsequently, Goss ordered an internal investigation on leaks involving classified security data. The probe led to McCarthy.

Goss thinks it's the disclosure of secret torture prisons that has damaged U.S. relations around the world, and not the fact that agents of the American government are kidnapping citizens off streets around the world, drugging them, shackling and blindfolding them, transporting them to secret underground prisons to be tortured and then murdered. In defiance of all international laws, as well as American law.
McCarthy flunked a polygraph exam and acknowledged giving classified information to a reporter before being fired on Thursday and is now under investigation by the Justice Department.

Mary McCarthy worked in the CIA's inspector general's office and had worked for the National Security Council under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

Ironically, sources at the CIA spoke to the media about McCarthy on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk. As well, the Associated Press reports today that:
Investigations into reports that US agents shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention centers have produced no evidence of illegal CIA activities, the European Union's antiterrorism coordinator said yesterday.

The investigations also have not turned up any proof of secret renditions of terror suspects on EU territory.

I think that this may be why the firing and prosecution of CIA employees for leaks is such a rare occurrence - the prosecution winds up asking a court to convict a person for leaking information that, *wink*, "isn't true."
The CIA said its own internal investigation into leaks was continuing. The probe began in January.

CIA Director Porter Goss made a strong case against media leaks before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in February.

"I'm sorry to tell you that the damage has been very severe to our capabilities to carry out our mission. I use the words 'very severe' intentionally. That is my belief. And I think that the evidence will show that," Goss said.

I understand that the 'after action' report in the Plame-Brewster Jennings outing was also severely damaging.
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, called for prosecution in the case and said vigorous leak investigations should continue across the international community.

"Clearly, those guilty of improperly disclosing classified information should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," he said in a statement.

Too bad that Americans can't count on Senator Roberts' committment to the rule of law when it comes to the President and oversight of the NSA's illegal wiretapping program.

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