Category "The Politics of Intelligence"

In Defense of Bradley Manning

October 2nd, 2012 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

From one of the best publications coming from a conservative perspective, and better than many from any political persuasion, this article by Chris Bray in The American Conservative, in which he reviews a new book on Manning by civil rights lawyer Chase Madar, makes one of the best cases I’ve read in quite awhile, in the defense of Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private accused of releasing files to WikiLeaks. It is an argument where the fundamental American principles as defined and understood through the languages of the left and the right come together.

It is ironic that Pat Buchanan’s magazine is forwarding such a sound defense of Manning, while there has not been a single Democratic office holder in Washington who has expressed anything remotely as intellectually cogent or ethically valid as this on Manning’s behalf. This, in spite of the flagrantly egregious and unconstitutional treatment inflicted upon him, and in total disregard to any of the morally valid arguments put forth in the defense of the actions for which he has been charged with.

Madar is most successful at two points. First, he places Manning’s attempt to explain himself against the explicatory efforts of an exhaustingly banal news media. In chat sessions with a stranger on the Internet who (shockingly enough) turned out to be an FBI snitch, Manning is said to have written that he wanted to share “the non-PR versions of world events and crises” with his fellow citizens. Information, he wrote, “should be a public good,” allowing people to assess state action with something more than the information the state chooses to provide. Like Madar, Manning appears to have blended the premises of the left and the right, promising to reveal “how the first world exploits the third” in very nearly the same breath with which he compared his own alleged leaks to the release of the Climategate emails. However it varies in theme and perspective, though, Manning’s discussion focuses on state power and public engagement: what is government doing, and what do we know about it?

“The intel analyst’s intent is conscious, coherent, historically informed and above all it is political ,” Madar concludes. Manning is alleged to have leaked to an organization that “quotes Madison and the Federalist Papers ” in its mission statement. The people behind Wikileaks, Madar writes, “are, essentially, eighteenth-century liberals who are good with computers.” Pulling at the masks that cover neoconservative and neoliberal foreign policy, Manning seems to have been engaged in a small-r republican project, looking for ways to give informed citizens the knowledge to restrain state power.


Madar cogently examines the culture of unchecked government secrecy. There’s something vaguely Soviet about the American security state these days, a familiar sense that the surreptitious and the pathetic are one in the same. In 1991, Madar writes, the federal government classified six million documents; in 2010, it classified 77 million. The rapid growth of secrecy matches the rapid growth in bad ideas and administrative incompetence, as overclassification protects “the delicate ego of the foreign policy elite, whose performance in the past decade has been so lethally sub-par.”

The phrase at the end of that sentence is my favorite moment in the book. Nor is it only in foreign policy that our political elites are implicated in this lethal mediocrity. The worse they get, the more they hide…

A government that increasingly targets leakers and whistleblowers from its lower and middle ranks is the same government that leaks constantly from the top. But the difference is in the use of those leaks, as senior officials shape political perception by the process of control. Leaks are okay, as long as they serve the interests of power; “when official Washington decides to leak, the law fades away.” Again, the taste is faintly Soviet, and Madar correctly describes the effect of metastasizing classification in a government that also freely hands out secret information when it serves state purposes. “If a rule is selectively only enforced it ceases to be a rule and becomes something else—an arbitrary instrument of authority, a weapon of the powerful—but not a rule.”


“If we hope to know what our government is so busily doing all over the world, massive leaks from insider whistleblowers are, like it or not, the only recourse,” Madar concludes. We need Bradley Manning.

Read The Full Article

Fire The Liar! End The Bush Crime Spree

April 9th, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

Its time for the Bush Crime Family’s reign to end. There needs to be a grassroots push for Bush’s impeachment. Call or write your senators and congresspersons and demand they support an impeachment resolution. Tell everyone you know to do the same. You can contact them by calling the Capitol Toll Free at 1-888-355-3588. Censure would be good, but inadequate. Bush has to be removed from office. He cannot be allowed to get away with such blatant criminal behavior. It will not happen unless there is overwhelming bottom up noise

This is the second major instance (about which there is no uncertainty) of Bush intentionally lying to the American people about matters that are pivotal to the security and of the United States. The first being the Weapons of Mass Destruction lie, which resulted in thousands of deaths of US soldiers, children, and other innocent civilians in Iraq, whose only crime was having the misfortune to be born into a country ruled by a dictator who was supported by the US government for many years until they needed Iraq’s oil more than they needed Saddam.

The WMD lie led in turn to this second proven lie about whether the White House was involved in exposing a US intelligence operative to punish Ambassador Joe Wilson for exposing the WMD lie. Either of these alone would constitute grounds for impeachment (not to mention that the first lie should result in Bush and company standing trial for war crimes), but taken together they show an arrogant disregard for the voters of this country, for the human rights of people here and around the world, and for the truth itself. I would be very surprised if the television news media bothers to provide the public with the context for this latest revelation, that context being the long chain of indignant denials by George Bush, Dick Cheney, official White House liar Mark McLellan, and others. If we had any real journalism at the networks, those clips would be all over the television tonight, but of course they won’t be.

As writer William Rivers Pitt pointed out in his column

“I don’t know of anybody in my administration who leaked classified information,” said George W. Bush on September 30, 2003. “If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action.”

“If someone leaked classified information,” said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan on October 7, 2003, “the President wants to know. If someone in this administration leaked classified information, they will no longer be a part of this administration, because that’s not the way this White House operates, that’s not the way this President expects people in his administration to conduct their business.”

“I’d like to know if somebody in my White House did leak sensitive information,” said Bush on October 28, 2003. On this same day, Bush said, “I have no idea whether we’ll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers.”

On Thursday, we found out who the leaker is.

We sure did. Read his full report here

These petty self-serving creeps cannot be allowed to continue spewing epistemological pornography on the public dime. I’m reminded of the McCarthy Army hearings where Army Attorney General Joseph Welch became exasperated with the mendacious Senator Joseph McCarthy and asked: “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” (But don’t mind me, I’m just caught up in “reality-based thinking,” which is the term the Bush spin-doctors use for truths they don’t like. It seems to me that we could use a whole lot more reality-based thinking and a whole lot less corporate smoke and mirrors.)

Go Here to send a message to President Bush calling on him to finally come clean with the American people about his role in the leaks of classified information.

- Ed Lacy
USTV Media

The Last Straw - Libby Testifies That Bush Authorized Leak

April 8th, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

This really is the last straw! If the congressional Democrats don’t support Russ Feingold’s proposal to censure George W. Bush now, when the hell will they! Really, censure is too mild - he needs to be ousted.

Not only did Bush leak, but he lied about it and had all of his lackeys like Scott Mclellan lie about it in the most indignant tones. I still am amazed that Kerry apologized for his remark in Philadelphia that this administration is the worst bunch of liars he’s ever seen.

Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide testified that President Bush authorized the release of parts of a classified report on Iraq to rebut criticism of the case for the 2003 invasion, federal prosecutors disclosed in documents released Thursday.

Read The Full Report Here

I wonder if anyone seriously doubts that the Bush, Cheney, Rove triumvirate was behind the “outing” of Valerie Plame in revenge for the Wilson article? I certainly don’t. As my friend Pat pointed out in reference to this whole sordid affair….

Clearly, Bush et. al. have an exaggerated sense of entitlement to do whatever suits their agenda, regardless of whether it is illegal or unethical. If Bush were a Democrat even with the current Republican Congress, we’d probably have another impeachment trial—and the issues would be a lot more serious than the Clinton fiasco. Clinton’s actions were sleazy, but nobody died from them.

Bush, on the other hand, perpetrated a lie about WMDs that ultimately cost thousands of young Americans, including my brother’s only son, their lives, not to mention the lives of many more thousands of Iraqis. It made the world an infinitely more dangerous place and opened the door for terrorists to recruit and train more crazies who think killing innocent people is the preferred way to deal with differing beliefs. And, the United States has clearly forfeited the moral high ground in the world community by ignoring its citizens’s civil rights and sanctioning the torture of prisoners.

Planning ongoing action regarding this would be useful, including letters to media as well as creating forms people can use to write/email/petition their reps, Senators and Democratic Party hacks who need a fire under their butts.

I also think that municipal governments and possibly even a state or two might be encouraged to pass resolutions calling for impeachment on grounds of treason and and other high crimes. I’m looking to network with people about that as well as about keeping pressure on Congress to respond definitively (as constitutionally mandated) to this virus that has depleted our republic’s political health. Email me at if you would be interested in helping to pursue this course of action, or post your comments and suggestions, as well as calls to action on this below in our comments section.

If two smoking guns aren’t enough, what is?

- Ed Lacy
USTV Media

Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq

April 4th, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

The Bush Administration Politicized the Intelligence Process?

No surpirse here, to anyone paying any attention to this issue over the past few years. This is something USTV has been discussing and informing people on since the inception of the program.

Paul R. Pillar, former career in the Central Intelligence Agency who served as National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005 elaborates in this article in “Foreign Affairs”.

The Bush administration deviated from the professional standard not only in using policy to drive intelligence, but also in aggressively using intelligence to win public support for its decision to go to war. This meant selectively adducing data - “cherry-picking” - rather than using the intelligence community’s own analytic judgments. In fact, key portions of the administration’s case explicitly rejected those judgments. In an August 2002 speech, for example, Vice President Dick Cheney observed that “intelligence is an uncertain business” and noted how intelligence analysts had underestimated how close Iraq had been to developing a nuclear weapon before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. His conclusion - at odds with that of the intelligence community - was that “many of us are convinced that Saddam will acquire nuclear weapons fairly soon.”

Read The Full Article Here

Faulty Intelligence? Bush Knew

March 29th, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

Murray Waas, that endangered species of American journalist (the investigative reporter) does more great work here with his expose on the role of manipulated intelligence and selling of bogus information to convince Americans of the need to support an illegal and pre-meditated act of war.

Two highly classified intelligence reports delivered directly to President Bush before the Iraq war cast doubt on key public assertions made by the president, Vice President Cheney, and other administration officials as justifications for invading Iraq and toppling Saddam Hussein, according to records and knowledgeable sources.

“We could not have anticipated…” and “we didn’t know” are mantras of what can arguably be called a gang of criminals running our government (and nation right into the ground). What they have done here is right in line with the deceptions and pre-meditated plans of the totalitarian states that launched WWII (and most other wars, actually), and what earned those people dates with the hangman’s noose.

Read The Full Report from The National Journal Here

September 11 Revisited

March 21st, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

William Rivers Pitt points out some salient facts and makes some bullseye points in this recommended essay. Unfortunately, not enough Americans are aware of or even care to make themselves aware of these kinds of facts, or ask these kinds of questions of power.

    In 1993, a $150,000 study was undertaken by the Pentagon to investigate the possibility of airplanes being used as bombs. A draft document of this was circulated throughout the Pentagon, the Justice Department, and to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    In 1994, a disgruntled Federal Express employee invaded the cockpit of a DC10 with the intention of crashing it into a company building.

    Again in 1994, a pilot crashed a small airplane into a tree on the White House grounds, narrowly missing the building itself.

    Also in 1994, an Air France flight was hijacked by members of a terrorist organization called the Armed Islamic Group, who intended to crash the plane into the Eiffel Tower.

    The 1993 Pentagon report was followed up in September 1999 by a report titled “The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism.” This report was prepared for the American intelligence community by the Federal Research Division, an adjunct of the Library of Congress. The report stated, “Suicide bombers belonging to Al Qaida’s martyrdom battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the CIA, or the White House.”

    Ramzi Yousef was one of the planners and participants in the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. Yousef’s right-hand man, Abdul Hakim Murad, was captured and interrogated in 1995. During that interrogation, Murad described a detailed plot to hijack airplanes and use them as weapons of terrorism. The primary plan was to commandeer eleven commercial planes and blow them up over the Pacific Ocean. The secondary plan was to hijack several planes, which would be flown into CIA headquarters, the World Trade Center, the Sears Tower, the White House and a variety of other targets.

    Ramzi Yousef eluded capture until his final apprehension in Pakistan. During his 1997 trial, the plot described by Murad resurfaced. FBI agents testified in the Yousef trial that, “The plan targeted not only the CIA, but other U.S. government buildings in Washington, including the Pentagon.”

    Abdul Hakim Murad described plans to use hijacked commercial airplanes as weapons in 1995. Ramzi Yousef’s trial further exposed the existence of these plans in 1997. Two reports prepared by the American government, one from 1993 and another from 1999, further detailed again the existence and danger of these plots. The Federal Express employee’s hijacking attempt in 1994, the attempted airplane attack on the White House in 1994, and the hijacking of the Air France flight in 1994 by terrorists intending to fly the plane into the Eiffel Tower, provided a glaring underscore to the data.

    FBI agents in Phoenix issued a warning in the summer of 2001 about suspicious Arab men receiving aviation training in American flight schools. The warning was never followed up. An agent in the Arizona field office commented in his case notes that Zacarias Moussaoui, arrested in August after suspicious activity at one of these flight schools, seemed like a man capable of flying airplanes into the World Trade Center.

    Newspapers in Germany, France, Russia and London reported in the months before September 11th a blizzard of warnings delivered to the Bush administration from all points on the compass. The German intelligence service, BND, warned American and Israeli agencies that terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons to attack important American targets. Egypt warned of a similar plot to use airplanes to attack Bush during the G-8 summit in Genoa in June of 2001. This warning was taken so seriously that anti-aircraft missiles were deployed around Columbus Airport in Italy.

    In August of 2001, Russian intelligence services notified the CIA that 25 terrorist pilots had been trained for suicide missions, and Putin himself confirmed that this warning was delivered “in the strongest possible terms” specifically regarding threats to airports and government buildings. In that same month, the Israeli security agency Mossad issued a warning to both the FBI and CIA that up to 200 bin Laden followers were planning a major assault on America, aimed at vulnerable targets. The Los Angeles Times later confirmed via unnamed U.S. officials that the Mossad warnings had been received.

    On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush received his Presidential Daily Briefing. The briefing described active plots to attack the United States by Osama bin Laden. The word “hijacking” appeared in that briefing. Shortly after this briefing, George W. Bush departed to Texas for a month-long vacation.

   ”No one could have anticipated an attack like this,” right? Nonsense. Just as with the hurricane, the warnings were there but the disaster happened anyway. The attacks became enveloped in this asinine mysticism, as if they were magic, as if they were some kind of unstoppable bolt from Heaven itself. This was politically expedient, and was also the product of a stunned populace that didn’t want to even begin to consider the possibility that their leadership could screw up so catastrophically. In fact, the attacks had been anticipated, feared, described before they ever happened, and warned against. The attacks should have been stopped, should never have happened in the first place. Such is the only available conclusion to be reached once the mystical nonsense is ripped away.

Read the full essay

CIA Warned of Attack Six Years Before 9/11

March 20th, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

CIA Warned of Attack 6 Years Before 9/11
By John Solomon
Associated Press

Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA warned in a classified report that Islamic extremists likely would strike on U.S. soil at landmarks in Washington or New York, or through the airline industry, according to intelligence officials.

Though hauntingly prescient, the CIA’s 1995 National Intelligence Estimate did not yet name Osama bin Laden as a terrorist threat.

But within months the intelligence agency developed enough concern about the wealthy, Saudi-born militant to create a specific unit to track him and his followers, the officials told The Associated Press.

Read The Full Article

Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Dismantles Porter Goss’s BS

February 13th, 2006 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

This open letter from American patriot and former FBI translator and American patriot Sibel Edmonds is a thing of beauty to behold. She effectively tears apart the false statements and disingenuous falsehoods propagated by current CIA chief Porter Goss in a recent editorial published in The New York Times. What is really good about this piece is how it goes into good analysis of the nature of what is considered ‘classified’ information and who decides on that status.

Read The Letter Here

Testimony of Former CIA Official Marcinkowski

August 1st, 2005 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

Testimony of James Marcinkowski
Special Congressional Hearing
July 22nd, 2005

Transcript of testimony by a former CIA Case Officer and former prosecutor, given to a joint hearing conducted by Democratic Special Investigations Division of the Government Reform Committee and the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. The purpose of the hearing was to examine the national security implications of resulting from the disclosure of the identity of a covert intelligence officer.

The hearing was co-chaired by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), Ranking member of the House Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Senate DPC Chairman.

What is important now is not who wins or loses the political battle or who may or may not be indicted; rather, it is a question of how we will go about protecting the citizens of this country in a very dangerous world. The undisputed fact is that we have irreparably damaged our capability to collect human intelligence and thereby significantly diminished our capability to protect the American people.

Understandable to all Americans is a simple, incontrovertible, but damning truth: the United States government exposed the identity of a clandestine officer working for the CIA. This is not just another partisan “dust-up” between political parties. This unprecedented act will have far-reaching consequences for covert operations around the world. Equally disastrous is that from the time of that first damning act, we have continued on a course of self-inflicted wounds by government officials who have refused to take any responsibility, have played hide-and-seek with the truth and engaged in semantic parlor games for more than two years, all at the expense of the safety of the American people. No government official has that right.

For an understanding of what is at stake it is important to understand some fundamental principles. No country or hostile group, from al Qaeda to any drug rings operating in our cities, likes to be infiltrated or spied upon. The CIA, much like any police department in any city, has undercover officers–spies, that use “cover.”

To operate under “cover” means you use some ruse to cloak both your identity and your intentions. The degree of cover needed to carry out any operation varies depending on the target of the investigation. A police officer performing “street buys” uses a “light” cover, meaning he or she could pose as something as simple as a drug user, operate only at night and during the day and, believe it or not, have a desk job in the police station. On the other hand, if an attempt were made to infiltrate a crime syndicate, visiting the local police station or drinking with fellow FBI agents after work may be out of the question. In any scenario, your cover, no matter what the degree, provides personal protection and safety. But it does not end there. Cover is also used to protect collection methodology as well as any innocent persons a CIA officer may have regular contact with, such as overseas acquaintances, friends, and even other U.S. government officials.

While cover provides a degree of safety for the case officer, it also provides security for that officer’s informants or agents. In most human intelligence operations, the confidentiality of the cover used by a CIA officer and the personal security of the agent or asset is mutually dependent. A case officer cannot be identified as working for the CIA, just as the informant/agent cannot be identified as working for the CIA through the case officer. If an informant or agent is exposed as working for the CIA, there is a good chance that the CIA officer has been identified as well. Similarly, if the CIA officer is exposed, his or her agents or informants are exposed. In all cases, the cover of a case officer ensures not only his or her own personal safety but that of the agents or assets as well.

The exposure of Valerie Plame’s cover by the White House is the same as the local chief of police announcing to the media the identity of its undercover drug officers. In both cases, the ability of the officer to operate is destroyed, but there is also an added dimension. An informant in a major sophisticated crime network, or a CIA asset working in a foreign government, if exposed, has a rather good chance of losing more than just their ability to operate.

Any undercover officer, whether in the police department or the CIA, will tell you that the major concern of their informant or agent is their personal safety and that of their family. Cover is safety. If you cannot guarantee that safety in some form or other, the person will not work for you and the source of important information will be lost.

So how is the Valerie Plame incident perceived by any current or potential agent of the CIA? I will guarantee you that if the local police chief identified the names of the department’s undercover officers, any half-way sophisticated undercover operation would come to a halt and if he survived that accidental discharge of a weapon in police headquarters, would be asked to retire.

And so the real issues before this Congress and this country today is not partisan politics, not even the loss of secrets. The secrets of Valerie Plame’s cover are long gone. What has suffered perhaps irreversible damage is the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince our overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance to us. How are our case officers supposed to build and maintain that confidence when their own government cannot even guarantee the personal protection of the home team? While the loss of secrets in the world of espionage may be damaging, the stealing of the credibility of our CIA officers is unforgivable….

And so we are left with only one fundamental truth, the U.S. government exposed the identity of a covert operative. I am not convinced that the toothpaste can be put back into the tube. Great damage has been done and that damage has been increasing every single day for more than two years. The problem of the refusal to accept responsibility by senior government officials is ongoing and causing greater damage to our national security and our ability to collect human intelligence. But the problem lies not only with government officials but also with the media, commentators and other apologists who have no clue as to the workings of the intelligence community. Think about what we are doing from the perspective of our overseas human intelligence assets or potential assets.

I believe Bob Novak when he credited senior administration officials for the initial leak, or the simple, but not insignificant confirmation of that secret information, as I believe a CIA officer in some far away country will lose an opportunity to recruit an asset that may be of invaluable service to our covert war on terror because “promises of protection” will no longer carry the level of trust they once had.

Each time the leader of a political party opens his mouth in public to deflect responsibility, the word overseas is loud and clear–politics in this country does in fact trump national security.

Each time a distinguished ambassador is ruthlessly attacked for the information he provided, a foreign asset will contemplate why he should risk his life when his information will not be taken seriously.

Each time there is a perceived political “success” in deflecting responsibility by debating or re-debating some minutia, such actions are equally effective in undermining the ability of this country to protect itself against its enemies, because the two are indeed related. Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere “paper-pusher,” or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers, or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it is a disservice to this country. By ridiculing, for example, the “degree” of cover or the use of post office boxes, you lessen the level of confidence that foreign nationals place in our covert capabilities.

Those who would advocate the “I’m ok, you’re ok” politics of non-responsibility, should probably think about the impact of those actions on our foreign agents. Non-responsibility means we don’t care. Not caring means a loss of security. A loss of security means a loss of an agent. The loss of an agent means the loss of information. The loss of information means an increase in the risk to the people of the United States.

There is a very serious message here. Before you shine up your American flag lapel pin and affix your patriotism to your sleeve, think about what the impact your actions will have on the security of the American people. Think about whether your partisan obfuscation is creating confidence in the United States in general and the CIA in particular. If not, a true patriot would shut up.

Those who take pride in their political ability to divert the issue from the fundamental truth ought to be prepared to take their share of the responsibility for the continuing damage done to our national security.

When this unprecedented act first occurred, the president could have immediately demanded the resignation of all persons even tangentially involved. Or, at a minimum, he could have suspended the security clearances of these persons and placed them on administrative leave. Such methods are routine with police forces throughout the country. That would have at least sent the right message around the globe, that we take the security of those risking their lives on behalf of the United States seriously. Instead, we have flooded the foreign airwaves with two years of inaction, political rhetoric, ignorance, and partisan bickering. That’s the wrong message. In doing so we have not lessened, but increased the threat to

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.) the security and safety of the people of the United States.

Former Agents Criticize Bush Over CIA Leak

July 30th, 2005 by Andy in The Politics of Intelligence

Former Agents Criticize Bush Over CIA Leak
July 22nd, 2005

Washington - President Bush’s failure to take action against a top aide involved in the outing of a covert CIA operative sends “the wrong message” overseas, former US intelligence officials said on Friday.
At a hearing sponsored by Democrats, the retired agents said US intelligence gathering had been damaged by the leak of Valerie Plame’s name two years ago after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, criticized the White House’s justification for going to war in Iraq.

Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper told a federal grand jury that presidential adviser Karl Rove told him that Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, but did not disclose her name.

Cooper has also said he discussed the Wilsons with Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

“What has suffered irreversible damage is the credibility of our case officers when they try to convince an overseas contact that their safety is of primary importance to us,” Jim Marcinkowski, a former CIA case officer, said.

He also criticized Republican efforts to minimize the damage caused by the leak.

“Each time the political machine made up of prime-time patriots and partisan ninnies display their ignorance by deriding Valerie Plame as a mere paper pusher or belittling the varying degrees of cover used to protect our officers or continuing to play partisan politics with our national security, it’s a disservice to this country,” he added.

Bush vowed this week to fire anyone found to have acted illegally in the controversy, backing away from a broader pledge to dismiss anyone found to have leaked information in the case.

Criminal Standard

Marcinkowski said the criminal standard was too high and that Bush should take action against those involved.

“Inaction itself sends the message - the wrong message,” he said.

As controversy over the matter heated up in recent weeks, the White House has refused to answer questions about Rove, who is credited with being the architect of the president’s election victories.

So far, the only person to suffer legal sanction in the case is New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who has been jailed for refusing to testify about her sources.

Congressional Republicans have rushed to defend Rove and criticize Wilson, who took a CIA-funded trip in 2002 to investigate a charge that Iraq tried to buy nuclear materials in Africa, and later accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the Iraqi weapons threat. They said Rove is a “whistleblower” because Wilson told lies about the trip and he was trying to set the Time reporter straight.

Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst who said he was a registered Republican, spoke harshly of the criticisms of Wilson and efforts to minimize his wife’s job at the CIA.

“This is wrong. This should stop. And it could stop in a heartbeat if the president would simply put a stop to it - he hasn’t,” Johnson said. “That speaks volumes.”

White House officials have sought to put the controversy behind them pending the outcome of a federal investigation.

But the matter continues to dog the administration, with key Bush aide Karen Hughes facing questions from reporters on Friday after testifying on Capitol Hill.

“There’s an ongoing investigation,” she said.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

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