ABC News and the equivalency card

Posted by: ST on April 25, 2006 at 8:57 am

When it comes to leaks which undermine our national security, we can always count on our media to come to the defense of those who leaked the information by either a) referring to them as “whistleblowers” or b) utilizing the “everybody does it” defense.

Option B has been deployed by ABC news in what can only be described as a flimsy attempt at defending Mary McCarthy, the former CIA officer accused of leaking classified information about secret CIA prisons in Europe to the media. From the ABC News report:

April 23, 2006 — The firing this week of a veteran CIA analyst for disclosing confidential information is just the latest reminder that leaking government secrets can be a dangerous and risky game.

After all, leaking has been around as long as the nation itself.

In 1794, George Washington was outraged when Alexander Hamilton released details of a treaty negotiation.

Benjamin Franklin lost his job as postmaster after he leaked private letters to reveal political leanings of colonial leaders — letters that helped fan the flames of the Revolution.

“Leaks have been around since Jefferson was complaining about newspapers and what they were doing to him,” said Howard Kurtz, media critic for The Washington Post. “The difference now is you have so many more media outlets and a 24-hour digital world [so] that the leak can instantly go around the globe. You don’t have to wait for the newspaper to be delivered on horseback.”

Not that there was any shortage of horseback riding leakers in the old days. In fact, you might say it was the “midnight ride” of Paul Revere and his unauthorized disclosure of British troop movements back in 1775 that led to the birth of our nation.

Since then, our leaders have relied on leaks as an essential political tool, with everyone from Honest Abe Lincoln to FDR, Dwight Eisenhower and JFK.

Kim Priestap at Wizbang slams this lame “everybody does it” defense.

Hat tip: Betsy Newmark, who has a few choice words of her own for ABC:

Bleh. How dumb is this? As if spying on an enemy army and giving that information to your side’s forces is a “leak.” Do these people have any understanding of logical reasoning at all? Or is it all fair when the need is to give a patriotic patina to breaking the law? If we’re going to close our eyes to such behavior then the message will go out to all our intelligence agents that they too can be a modern Paul Revere and get John Kerry’s praise if they leak to secret information.

Andrew McCarthy over at NRO’s “The Corner” blog nails it:

That’s because McCarthy’s situation cannot be considered in a vacuum. Even with McCarthy considered alone, we are not talking about a single leak – the reporting indicates that she may be a serial leaker, the black-sites story being only the most prominent instance. But the broader context here is an intelligence community that was, quite brazenly, leaking in a manner designed to topple a sitting president. A big question here — maybe not for purposes of guilt under the espionage act, but for the more important policy issue of a politicized CIA — is whether she was part of a campaign that was grossly inappropriate for the intelligence community to engage in.

Remember Michael Scheuer, aka “Anonymous.” It is simply dumbfounding that, as an intelligence officer heading up the bin Laden team (i.e., the unit targeting the number one, active national security problem facing the country) he was permitted by the CIA to write books about what he was doing. He has indicated, though, that it was fine with the agency as long as he was slamming the Bush administration.

Valerie Plame Wilson thought the whole Bush administration notion that Saddam was trying to arm up with nukes was crazy. She maneuvered to have, not an objective analyst, but her husband – with no WMD expertise but an enemy of the president’s policy – sent to Niger, whence he returned and wrote a highly partisan, misleading and damaging op-ed in the NYTimes about the Bush administration’s case for toppling Saddam … which op-ed he was permitted by the self-same CIA to write notwithstanding that his trip was (and should have been) classified.


Remember: A leak is a good leak if it hurts a Republican. It’s a bad leak if it hurts anyone else.

Update: Chris Hitchens asks “Why no special prosecutor for the latest CIA leak case?”

Update II: A “former colleague” is saying that Mary McCarthy has denied being the source of these leaks.

Update III: The FBI is conducting its own probe into classified leaks.

Reminder: For those who still want to claim that Bush “leaked” classified information (re: pLamegate), click here for a refresher as to why you are wrong.

Others blogging about this: AllahPundit at Hot Air, Jeff Goldstein, AJ Strata, Macsmind, Tom Maguire, Decision ’08, The Real Ugly American, Dafydd at Big Lizards, Captain Ed, Rick Moran, Sweetness & Light, Gary Gross at California Conservative, Varifrank

Related Toldjah So posts:

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14 Responses to “ABC News and the equivalency card”


  1. Severian says:

    And the Dems and libs wonder why we don’t trust them, and think they are so partisan they put party above country. Sheese. There appears to be no crime so heinous that a Dem/lib will actually condemn it if it’s done by another Dem/lib.

    Once again, moral relativism means never having to say you’re sorry. Feh! :o

  2. steve says:

    I want to Not have secret prisons in third countries. I’ll bet that a majority of “we the people” do not want secret prisons in third countries, especially if there is torture going on. From the Left’s perspective the Republicans believe that leaks that benifit the American people are bad and leaks that protect the Republicans are good. What if there were secret executions going on, would the Republicans leak that? Peace

  3. PCD says:

    steve(FSMB), there are NO SECRET PRISONS! There are TWO EU commissioned reports that say so. You aren’t listening or are determined to spread lies (Again).

    steve(FSMB), you have no honor and don’t know how to act in an honorable way. I just want to be there when Jesus Christ disowns you and the Lord God pays your wages of sin.

    Then there will be peace.

  4. Lorica says:

    OMG I have an idea!!!! Let’s put Mary McCarthy’s face on Mount Rushmore. She should be sainted too. Hell’s Bells Maybe she should be considered to be our greatest American EVER!!!

    What a bunch of pathetic, simple minded, BB brained sloths. (My apologies to the sloth world) How did these people get out of childhood knowing so little about life. Lord help us if this stupidity is what is passing for inteligence these days. – Lorica

  5. – The press as a group, not just the left-wing press intent on bringing down Bush, all of the press, has a vested interest in keeping the “pipelines” open to anyone in any administration that has enough of a gripe, or is enough of a political ideolog to be willing to cooperate. Thats yet another layer beyond the “get Bush” cabal aspect of this. But if this story has legs and gathers steam, mainly Goss has more revalations to come, then they’ll have no choice but to “get on board” with the story. At some point the story can get too big to suppress, and circulation is circulation. Also is there possibly a single reporter out there that doesn’t dream of a Pulitzer on his or her mantle? So we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

    – The Agency for its part, very well might decide to simply fire everyone involved in the mess “en masque'”, without ever making any of the actions of the leakers public, or revealing any of the details of the story. It will depend on whether there are charges/trials as an outgrowth, or simply firings, which in turn will be decided most likely on the possibility of further damage to American interests just because of potential exposure in a court.

    – The next few months will be interesting to say the least. The biggest problem for the Democrats will come if this drags out, expands, and lingers into the fall election cycle, particularly if it reaches up into the Congress, as there is some evidence that it just might. We may soon be talking about a “culture of treason” as a counterpoint to the Dems oft stated accusation against Republicans of being a “culture of corruption”. One thing is sure. If any or all of the above happens it could spell disaster to the hoped for turn around of the Democrats in Congress this fall.

    – Bang **==

  6. PCD says:

    Bang, as if Kerry, Rockefeller, David Bonior, Jim McDermott aren’t part of the culture of treason already?

  7. Baklava says:

    BTW, “secret” prisons in “third” world countries (European countries would quibble with that label because they were one of the alleged locations – though nobody can find them there) is just that – alleged. It could’ve been that Mary McCarthy was slipped info to see if she was the LEAKER.

    It’s a classic offensive strategy to find out who has been leaking other classified information out of an organization is to slip individuals bogus information to see which bogus info gets out there.

    On top of that the European countries can’t find these alleged secret prisons….

    Triply. Even if there are alternate locations than G’tmo it is a secondary allegations that torture is happening at these locations. The left can only make stuff up and SPECULATE.

  8. forest hunter says:

    PCD, are you one of the “lucky” ones suffering from the I-5 virus, in big D two t (McDermott) country?

    Bak, the speculation thing is what I find most irritating. Take the Duke or the Holloway thing, as just a couple examples that aren’t even important in the big picture (except as was stated by an earlier post by someone who points out the obvious lack of moral and sound decision making process), but look how much air time is wasted on so many networks rehashing the rehashing of the speculative “wonder if’s”. Never mind the National sabotage, by sustaining such complete nonsense about nonexistent issues. The lie was told too many times to not be believed by those who simply hate our country, republicans, and President Bush and choose to believe it.

  9. PCD says:

    Forest, nope, not there. I live in Iowa where we have an absentee US Senator, Tom Harkin, who spends more time at his Bahamas estate in one year than he does in the farm house he bought to maintain an Iowa residence.

    Oh, just need to hijack a thread. Here’s a link to Sen. Bingamon’s Opponent who is walking the entire New Mexico/Mexico border to highlight Bingamon doing nothing to stop Illegal Immigration.

  10. – Well of course Bak, thats the lefts favorite tactic. Demonize things up front by using imflamatory discriptions and words first, and then launch the “Bush bad” attacks from there.

    – Whats most likely true is that as aa part of normal transporting of captured al Qaeda prisoners we’ve used already long time established prisons in various countries during momentary stop-overs. But that wouldn’t set the stage for riling against the evil Neocon conspiracy, so they bracket the truth with lots of propaganda, inuendo, and self formed rumors, always inserting “conspiracies” in an effort to incite concerns in the public.

    – The left have adopted every dirty trick and dis-information invention of Trotsky, Marx, and Ghoring. I’ve said it before. Knowing the viciousness of these people, I wouldn’t vote for any of them for dog-catcher. I fully believe what they really dream of in the hidden recesses of their own minds, is to be the ones who weild the whip of Totalitarianism. I think they’re anti-American traitors, hiding in the Democratic party. For the Democrats part, they should be ashamed of themselves for not simply disavowing themselves of these jackals completely.

    – But the good news is that every day more and more average citizens become aware of the dark cloud of Marxism that has wormed its way into Americas politics, colleges, and left-wing media, and I believe in the end the long standing fierce American love for independence will always expose and beat down the anti-religious monsters of “relatavism” and “moral equivalency” in the end.

    – Bang **==

  11. Baklava says:

    Liberalism is born of a few things and one of those is laziness. Some liberals are dilligent and work hard and their liberalism is based in “feelings” and being “well-intentioned”. But they fail to understand economic concepts or science that closes the loop on facts and understanding results of said “well-intentioned” solutions.

    It is highly probable that people will want to care for the environment and believe that conservatives don’t want to. That one is laziness. But some liberals go further and research their solutions and think their answer is better than conservatives when in fact the results of their solutions would NOT be better for the environment or the country in general.

    Moving to the Duke or Holloway thing, laziness happened. Misinformation got halfway around the world before truth could get it’s boots on. And this is the case in almost EVERY story. Including the Ports deal, NSA surveillance, etc. If people would do more due diligence before they attacked someone elses motives or whether they care or not they would live a less hate filled life. It’s easy to be angry and full of hate. It’s harder to move past confusion and strive for clarity.

  12. – Its probably another “self leveling” process Bak. enough of the empty feckless non-stories, and eventually the public will grow weary of stories that start off with a flash and a bang and go nowhere. Sensationalism does sell. People love fantasy. But its generally been the providence of the grocery store rags in the past. the mainstream media is dipping in that well, hoping to halt flagging circulation and watching the “reality TV” shows as a guide. But like all fads, this will wear off eventually also, like just another hulla hoop, pet rock, or Disco beat movement. (I loved Disco, by lord did we ever over do it….. *chuckle*)

    – Bang **==