I'm in D.C. on business this week. While the chattering class is positively atwitter at the prospect of possible indictments in the Valerie Plame affair, average Washingtonians view the case with a collective shrug. Most would rather discuss this weekend's Giants-Redskins game than speculate about possible charges against Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, or even Joe Wilson.
The ho-hum attitude even extends to the hallways of Ms. Plame's employer, the CIA. I was at Langley for a function on Wednesday afternoon, and I didn't detect much excitement or interest in Plamegate. In fairness, the CIA employees I spoke with are not assigned to the same division as Ms. Plame; additionally, the agency is a huge bureaucracy, so I couldn't find anyone who knows her, let alone someone who felt her "outing" jeopardized U.S. national security.
Spend a little time at Langley and you will find agency employees are more upset about past leaks of classified information that jeopardized real undercover operatives, or blew intelligence sources and collection methods. Those leaks--which the MSM has absolutely no interest in--have caused serious damage to U.S. national security and the efforts of the CIA. But there's no groundswell from the press to appoint a special prosecutor to look into those matters. Meanwhile, those types of leaks will only continue...
I have to say that the Government's apparent blind eye towards leaks of classified information really pi** me off. The worst one was Sandy Berger's apparent slap on the wrist legally for sneaking classified info out of the National Archives in his socks, underwear, or however he did it. If he had been a member of the Armed Forces, an employee of a defense contractor, or other non-political citizen engaging in this activity, he could have been tried for treason, and handed a 20 year appointment at Leavenworth.
I have as an acquantance (of sorts), someone that possibly you know of, at least as a professional acquaintance, who helped out someone close to me when she was younger.
When 9/11 happened, I worked for one of the "big three", and my L2 clearance application was at "interim" status.
That night, my friend was at my house and she was on the phone with this person. Across the room, I overheard snippets of their conversation, which eventually went to discussing an incident in NYC that I knew had not been reported. Fearing that the conversation could possibly be picked up by DSS (and screw my clearance app), I called out to her, asking if the thing they were talking about had been reported in the media. When she told me "no", I hollered at her to tell him to SHUT UP!!!
(As it turned out, I think that incident they were discussing was eventually reported by the MSM several months after the fact, but only as a minor headline, nothing more.)
My point being that if someone wanted to, they could have construed that because the conversation happened on my phone, I might possibly represent a security risk, causing my clearance app to be declined.
(Don't laugh - the contractor I worked for had a link on its Internet site to the website published by DOD for security clearance reviews, at Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, Industrial Security Program - and I recall having read through quite a few "denial" judgements based on incidents that most people would laugh at, but represented potential security compromises, such as financial problems or historical drug use.)
Sandy Berger's information pilferage from the Archives has been examined by several (I think including here at your blog) in terms of covering up Clinton-era complicity in the information firewalling that precipitated the 9/11 attacks. If this allegation can be proved, I see it as no different than the breaches to US national security caused by John Walker, Aldrich Ames, or anyone else in recent years whose breaches led to the deaths of US citizens, and to the compromising of US foreign policy interests. Yet Mr. Berger, like other political leakers, is allowed to go with a mere slap on his wrist, unlike the Walkers of the world, or worse.
And no, I'm certainly not Pollyanna, in that I don't expect this situation to change. But ranting makes me feel a bit better, if only for the moment.
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