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Warning Off Panetta: Whose Water is the Wall Street Journal Carrying?


There are informational leaks. There are loosely veiled threats. And then, there are editorials which say straight out that if you do something, a drastic load of dung will be dropped in your lap faster than you can say "boo."

A little publicly planted intellectual blackmail through a willing media sympathizer. Like Judy Miller and Scooter, planting seeds of propaganda for the masses.

Except this time? It’s Beltway blackmail.

The Wall Street Journal is carrying someone’s water with this — most likely several factions at once:

Barack Obama’s choice of former Congressman Leon Panetta to lead the CIA at least puts a grownup, if also an intelligence rookie, in that crucial job. It also means that Mr. Panetta and Director of National Intelligence-designate Dennis Blair will soon have to decide if they want to join the left-wing crusade to purge their agencies of anyone who had anything to do with "torture."

In particular, at their nomination hearings they’re likely to be asked to support a "truth commission" on the Bush Administration’s terrorist interrogation policies. We hope they have the good sense to resist. And if they need any reason to push back, they could start by noting the Members of Congress who would be on the witness list to raise their right hands….

If Mr. Panetta doesn’t want to go down as another Frank Church or (Carter-era CIA Director) Stansfield Turner, he’ll tell his fellow Democrats to drop their "torture" vendetta against intelligence officials who were acting in good faith and with the full knowledge of key Members of Congress.

Read through the whole editorial, and see what I mean about planted source information. It’s a deliberately laid out "take me out, I’m taking you with me" on torture, step by step. A "going to the mattresses" declaration from someone.

So, the question is: intel professionals? If so, this is awfully ham-handed and obvious. Higher ups at DOD and CIA? Or Dick Cheney’s media planting CYA squad? Again, this is a bit obvious for folks that experienced in lowering the payback boom. Congressional staffers for particularly vulnerable members on these issues? Or all of the above?

The more I read pushback on the Panetta nomination, the more I think Josh’s intel reader had it right on the money.

My gut tells me that if this much of a hornet’s nest has gotten stirred up by the mere mention of Panetta’s name for CIA, instead of someone more easily held at bay or under someone’s patronage or thumb? Especially given who the hornets seem to be? This could get very, very interesting…and his confirmation hearings may resemble the dance of the seven veils if this keeps up.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com