Imagine my surprise last week when I heard Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe discussing the New York Times outing a CIA agent!
I know I’ve been wrapped up in the election, Obama, HRC, the DNC, PUMA’s and the like but I didn’t think I was that far removed to have missed this story. Well, better late to the game than never.
Well, it turns out the MSM has no stomach for reporting on this. Apparently, Valeria Plame being outed by Robert (Darth Vader) Novak is one thing, but when the Times exposes an agent it is justified!?! Guess not, right? Wrong! My God, how is this possible? Keith Olbermann missed an opportunity to be synthetically outraged . . . you mean no “Special Comment” on this outing?
Can we state this once and for all, the outing of any CIA agent by any source should be punishable in some fashion. It was wrong to out Valeria Plame and it was wrong of the Times to out Mr. Martinez.
There are many, many, people who view these politically motivated outings (which in my estimation they were) as treason. If a man or woman has the grit to become a CIA agent they should have a reasonable expectation they will not be outed by people in the country they are trying to protect.
Since it is possible an outing could, in fact, happen accidentally, this type of outing should be viewed as a 2nd degree offense punishable by (at the very least) losing one’s top security clearance, a fine or forfeiture of a significant sum of money, demotion, and a police record.
If in fact the outing was not accidental, like the recent Times action, that should be viewed as a felonious act and fines beginning at $250,000.00 and going upwards seem perfectly fine to me. If the lives of agents, their families, and contacts established over the years are placed at risk because of this kind of foolishness, jail time also seems appropriate.
AND, while I’m at it, I’m sick and tired of hearing talking heads and other assorted political hacks making statements like, “they weren’t really undercover!” Oh, really, and just how do you know that? SO to all lame brained media morons and other assorted fools who pretend to know, listen up. The truth is, the only people who know whether an agent is undercover reside at the agency, and that’s not you fella!
I don’t care if you consider yourself a liberal, conservative, moderate, right wing nut, or left wing nut, outing CIA agents is WRONG and Congress (such as it is) should move to end this once and for all!
New York Times Outs CIA Operative
In an astonishing stroke of irony, the New York Times has outed the name of the CIA operative who interrogated 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, over the objections of CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and a lawyer representing the operative.
Agency officials and legal counsel told the Times that publishing the agent’s name would “invade his privacy and put him at risk of retaliation from terrorists or harassment from critics of the agency.”
In an Editor’s Note linked from the story on KSM’s interrogation, the Times defended its decision by stating that “other government employees” had been “named publicly in books and published articles” or had chosen to go public themselves, by explaining that its policy “is to withhold the name of a news subject only very rarely,” and by arguing the operative’s name “was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article.”
Times reporter Scott Shane describes his scoop as “the closest look to date beneath the blanket of secrecy that hides the program from terrorists and from critics who accuse the agency of torture.”
The CIA apparently believes that by publishing the operative’s name, the Times put the agent at risk for retaliatory strikes from such “critics” and terrorists, despite his here-described lack of participation in the agency’s “harsh interrogation methods.”
Of course, this is just the latest in a long string of Times articles that have leaked classified and guarded information critical to America’s security and that of its people and public servants. Alert readers have long since stopped expecting any level of consistency from the same liberal media that was obsessed with the naming of Valerie Plame (though they’ve been considerably less obsessed with the actual source of Robert Novak’s column, Richard Armitage).
The Central Intelligence Agency asked The New York Times not to publish the name of Deuce Martinez, an interrogator who questioned Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and other high-level Al Qaeda prisoners, saying that to identify Mr. Martinez would invade his privacy and put him at risk of retaliation from terrorists or harassment from critics of the agency.
After discussion with agency officials and a lawyer for Mr. Martinez, the newspaper declined the request, noting that Mr. Martinez had never worked under cover and that others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news stories and books. The editors judged that the name was necessary for the credibility and completeness of the article.
The Times’s policy is to withhold the name of a news subject only very rarely, most often in the case of victims of sexual assault or intelligence officers operating under cover.
Mr. Martinez, a career analyst at the agency until his retirement a few years ago, did not directly participate in waterboarding or other harsh interrogation methods that critics describe as torture and, in fact, turned down an offer to be trained in such tactics.
The newspaper seriously considered the requests from Mr. Martinez and the agency. But in view of the experience of other government employees who have been named publicly in books and published articles or who have themselves chosen to go public, the newspaper made the decision to print the name.
—Mick Wright is a freelance journalist who lives in Memphis, Tennessee. His personal blog is at mickwright.net.