Pundita has dragged herself out of retirement to comment on John Batchelor's latest post at Red State titled Joe Wilson and the Spooks. I missed several segments of John Batchelor's show last week, so it was news to me that Larry Johnson, an ex-CIA employee who posts at the Counterterrorism Blog, jumped into the Joe Wilson-Paul Vallely tiff by calling Maj. General Vallely a liar. (1)
Not content with that salvo, Johnson blabbed to Jed Babbin at The American Spectator that he was getting information from "active duty" CIA workers about the Wilson/Plame affair. (See Batchelor's post for details.)
Talk about loose lips sinking the ship. It's a no-no for the CIA to run operations against US citizens; in fact, it's against the law. This point galvanized John Batchelor to raise tough questions in his latest blog:
[...] To communicate that Johnson and the Wilsons (who [Johnson] says he has spoken with since Vallely was on my show) are aided and abetted by active CIA officers is to warn ham-fistedly that the abuse thrown so far by Wilson, his lawyer Wolf, Johnson, and not a small number of unnamed voices in cultish blogs, is part of some action from a government entity that, last time I checked, is prohibited from practicing its magic inside the United States.The present CIA reminds me of New York City's embattled police force during the 1970s. The NYPD was under fire from the public on many fronts, while at the same time officers were being shot down right and left in the line of duty.
It invites speculation as to how far back this unnamed group, including serving active CIA officers, has abetted the Wilsons. As early as the criminal referral by the CIA to the DOJ in September, 2003?
As early as the Novak columns in July 2003, when we now learn the CIA did not make much protest to Novak's inquiry before he published?
As early as Wilson's op-ed in the NYT in June, 2003, when, we now learn, there was no CIA requirement that Wilson submit his version of his Niger trip to the CIA for review?
As early as the Kristoff column in the NYT in May 2003, when we now learn Wilson participated in the preparation and yet was not contacted by the CIA about creative uses of information that was stamped as classified when it was sent to the [Vice President's] office in March 2002?
As early as February 2002, when Valerie Plame identified her husband Wilson as the man to go to Niger, despite the facts that he was not trained in WMD, had not been in Niger in two decades, was not a CIA officer or asset?
In sum, how long have active officer[s] in the CIA been running alongside the Wilsons?
And when did the actives get in, and are officers who have subsequently retired since February 2002 still involved in the unnamed group? And are the active and retired officers from that treasured gang that is now celebrated as NOCs?
Are we dealing with a clique that regards itself as exempt because of the convenient uses of the 1982 law? Do we go forward with the Libby prosecution while ignorant of the names of the active officers at the CIA who are participating in Joe Wilson's adventures? [...]
This was during an era when it was fashionable to call cops "pigs;" an era when the NYPD was overwhelmed in trying to deal with crimes related to the flood of heroin into the city. An era when the mayor's office was not giving the police the support they needed, while at the same time scoring off the NYPD to make political points.
The upshot was a bunker mentality among police; you didn't betray the Brotherhood at any cost, as Frank Serpico learned the hard way.
The CIA found themselves in much the same position after 9/11. Despised by many Americans because they fell down in dealing with the al Qaeda threat. Then caught up in a tug-of-war between the White House and the State Department, and a war between factions at State and Pentagon.
One can sympathize with the CIA's difficult position but Batchelor's questions need to be answered. If the CIA has stepped over the line to defend their own, this is not serving the US intelligence community and the national interest.
For more on the mess see Jed Babbin's The CIA Disinformation Campaign.
(1) If you need refreshing, Vallely said on Batchelor's show that he recalled Wilson telling him back in 2002 that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA. Then Joe Farah at World Net Daily picked up the story. Then Wilson jumped into the fray by hinting that he would sue Vallely and WND for publishing Vallely's letter. At which point Pundita fogged out, after warning that Joe Wilson is Bre'r Rabbit. (A reader disagreed; he wrote it was plain to see that Wilson is Yosemite Sam).
By the way, I was wrong when I told readers last week that Batchelor's post about the tiff between Wilson and Vallely represented his first entry into the blogosphere. His latest post at Red State is attached to earler posts, which show he's been blogging at least since October 23. Pundita really must poke her nose out of her cave more often. The earlier posts, including Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Wilson, and Who Tasked Plame? are also a window on the Beltway Wars.
Update 4:45 PM ET
From Red State site
More on Vallely and Wilson
Apparently some lefty websites, as well as some of our own lefty denizens, have picked up the theme that General Vallely and Joe "My Wife is in the CIA" Wilson never appeared on FoxNews together.
Unsurprisingly, former CIA agent and egregious tool Larry Johnson is in that slobbering pack.
Alas and alack, Brit Hume reports:
This as liberal Websites say they have proof Vallely is lying, saying research service LexisNexis shows Vallely and Wilson never appeared on FOX on the same day. But in fact, Vallely and Wilson appeared on the same day nine times in 2002, and on the same show twice -- on September 8 and September 12, when both men appeared within 15 minutes of one another. [...]