‘Chief of Station,’ &c.

Meet the press (Alex Wong/Getty Images)


During the 2012 campaign, especially in the final weeks, the media were pounding the hell out of Mitt Romney. I remember, in particular, that they were accusing him of politicizing the Benghazi attack. This was supposed to be the height of crudeness and unpatriotic exploitation. Meanwhile, the media were treating President Obama with tender loving care.

Beholding the treatment of Romney, I said, “Oh, yes: This is what an adversarial press looks like. I had sort of forgotten, in the four years of Obama. If Romney is elected, we will see the return of the adversarial press. Relations between the media and the White House will be something like back to normal.”

But, of course, Romney did not win. The American people, in their wisdom, reelected the Democratic ticket. So, the press, along with the rest of us, I suppose, is enjoying four more years of O.

I thought of all this when considering the CIA station chief in Kabul — whose cover was blown by the White House press office. President Obama traveled to Afghanistan, and, as he did, the press office distributed a list of all the officials he would be meeting with. The list went out to some 7,000 people.

On this list was a particular name, followed by the person’s job title: “Chief of Station.” He was the head of CIA operations in Afghanistan. Not any longer, presumably: because the White House exposed him. Oops, to put it mildly.

Now, everyone makes mistakes — it is part of human life. And there is almost nothing that is not forgivable. But the release of a station chief’s name is a gross mistake, a spectacular error. And, so far as I can tell, it has occasioned barely a murmur in the press. I realize there are other things going on, such as the Bergdahl swap. But still . . .

Can you imagine the outcry if a Republican administration released the name of a CIA station chief? Do you recall the fuss made over Valerie Plame, in the George W. Bush administration? Hollywood even made a movie about her and that affair.

There will be a Republican president again, someday, and then we’ll say, “Oh, yes, an adversarial press: I remember that.”

I recommend this Associated Press report on the Tiananmen Square anniversary. (Yesterday, it was 25 years since the massacre.) The report begins,

Yin Min held the ashes of her son and wept, she said, as she marked 25 years since he was killed in the crackdown . . . Outside, guards kept a close eye on her home while police blanketed central Beijing to block any public commemoration of one of the darkest chapters in recent Chinese history.

“How has the world become like this? I don’t even have one bit of power. Why must we be controlled so strictly this year?” Yin said in a telephone interview.

Police had been surrounding her home since April, day and night. Yin and other relatives of the dead had no chance of joining for a public commemoration. Yin told the police minders, “You’re not only reopening my scars, you’re spreading salt and chili powder into them.”

By the way, I salute the AP for diligent and conscientious reporting of this 25th anniversary, and the CCP’s effort to erase the massacre from history.

The PLO has joined with Hamas for a “unity government.” The United States, apparently, is unconcerned. Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, said, “I’m deeply troubled by the announcement that the United States will work with the Palestinian government backed by Hamas.” The group, after all, has murdered “countless civilians,” said the PM. “All those who genuinely seek peace must reject President Abbas’s embrace of Hamas, and most especially, I think the United States must make it absolutely clear to the Palestinian president that his pact with Hamas, a terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s liquidation, is simply unacceptable.”

I agree with Netanyahu.

The headline read, “Putin looks east to bolster ties with North Korea.” (Article here.) I thought, “Why not?”

This story begins, “The Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders say they’ve had a ‘constructive’ meeting about racial issues in the NBA with Commissioner Adam Silver.” Uh-huh. Years ago, Jesse Jackson was considered the “president of black America.” At some point, Sharpton assumed the office, it seems to me.

My question is, Did black Americans ever have a chance to vote on this? And if they were to have such a chance, how would they vote?

If someone claimed to speak for me — and I don’t think anybody does — I would want some say in the matter.