Monday, April 24, 2006

The Gun That Wouldn't -- Couldn't -- Smoke

Mary McCarthy – is she to the CIA in the 21st century what Daniel Ellsberg was to the Pentagon in the 20th?

Is she a person whose sense of morality extended to and so infused her loyalty to the nation that she could not condone renditions and other acts of or leading to torture?

Was she fired from her CIA job for unauthorized contacts with reporters during which she allegedly revealed highly classified information about secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe – as opposed to authorized leaks of previously highly classified information that the Vice-President said the President personally had declassified so that, allegedly, Scooter Libby could tell reporters?

Had she gone to and through her superiors, right up to the top, with her objections (and that assumes she did object, which she has declined to confirm or deny so far)? Did she go to the CIA Inspector General who is suppose to be the independent in-house watchdog of Agency compliance – but who in this instance happened to be McCarthy’s supervisor?

The CIA isn’t even confirming that McCarthy was fired, let alone why she was fired. Part of the reason is the Agency has never admitted it had any overseas rendition locations that it ran. But considering the high profile accorded Guantanamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib scandal, logic suggests that the CIA would have its own prisons to avoid the limelight.

As so often happens in the intel world, most of what has been reported about this saga originated from “open sources” with insiders confirming – anonymously – the general thrust of the story and some public events – e.g., McCarthy was escorted from the CIA building. In fact, assuming she did talk to reporters on the rendition issue, McCarthy may very well not have been the original source but the secondary source -- which means the CIA either has another, primary leaker or the Agency left so many loose ends that good reporters put it all together.

McCarthy denies, through friends, that she was the source. Reportedly she failed a polygraph test, but results of such tests still are not accepted in court cases. (As far as I am aware, Bush has not decreed otherwise and there are no special polygraph courts.)

Details of investigations allegedly are in the hands of the Justice Department, but there may not be enough for a case or the Agency may have more to lose in pursuing charges.

Might this be the CIA gun that misfired?

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