Breaking Out the Heavy Artillery
Of course I could always get my information from the 101st Fighting Keyboardists who claim to know CIA minutae like Jonah knows pizza, but I was nonetheless anxious to hear what a bunch of veteran CIA officers had to say on the topic of the Plame outing. If you didn't catch the Waxman hearings yesterday on Covert Intelligence Officers on CSPAN, it was a barn burner. A lot of focus on Larry Johnson, who was brilliant, but I really appreciated the testimony of former CIA Case Officer James Marcinkowski, who was seriously fucking pissed and dripping with the kind of sarcasm and acrimony that always makes me want to grab the poodles and do the Lambada:
Each time there is a perceived political "success" in deflecting responsibility by debating or re-debating some minutia, such actions are equally effective in undermining the ability of this country to protect itself against its enemies, because the two are indeed related. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere paper-pusher, or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it is a disservice to this country. By ridiculing, for example, the "degree" of cover or the use of post office boxes, you lessen the level of confidence that foreign nationals place in our covert capabilities. Those who would advocate the "I'm ok, you're okay" politics of non-responsibility, should probably think about the impact of those actions on our foreign agents. Nonresponsibility means we don't care. Not caring means a loss of security. A loss of security means a loss of an agent. The loss of an agent means the loss of information. The loss of information means an increase in the risk to the people of the United States. There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.
I really don't think this particular point can be repeated often enough — career CIA guys feel angry, betrayed and endangered by what happened. Every time the well manicured Rovian defense squad wants to talk about Joe Wilson, make them tell the one about how the CIA guys who actually go out there and put their lives on the line are all a bunch of liberal crybabies. Doesn't really play so well in the living rooms of middle America. You'll have to excuse me, Lucy wants to hear the Ketchup Song.