Politics & Policy

Overt Inconsistency

The Washington Post plays covert games.

Moral consistency may never have been a strong virtue of the Left or the Mainstream Media (Am I being redundant?). I suppose, then, we should perhaps thank Joe Wilson for getting the Left and the MSM to finally support and think of the value of the CIA and its agents, even its agents whose jobs are classified.

However, that support for the CIA, and that respect for secrecy in war and intelligence, lasted only as long as they thought it might bring down a high official like Karl Rove. Now they’re back to their old selves.

Item: Dana Priest of the Washington Post writes a front-page story on Wednesday headlined, CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons. Pay close attention to the second sentence of the story: “The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.”

“Secret”! “Covert”! So after the press and the Left make a meal of the allegation that people in the White House might have leaked the name of a covert operative, and after we find out that Plame was indeed not a covert operative under the law, the Washington Post–by its own admission–can print classified information that involves covert CIA activity?

This is an outrage. It took less than a day for al Jazeera to run with the story. And by Dana Priest’s own admission in an online discussion forum on the Washington Post’s website she states, “The article [I wrote] is bommeranging [sic] around Europe, especially Eastern Europe.”

It sure is, and now the European Union, the Hague, and other organizations are investigating our allies who are working with us in holding high-value targets like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin Al-Shib. It’s not enough that our allies in Europe have suffered terrorism (cf. Spain, the U.K.) because of their siding with us–we now have to expose others, and give more justification to terrorists to attack our allies? And we have to suffer the war-time distraction of rebuilding sites and moving these prisoners?

This is irresponsibility at its highest; it’s also hypocrisy. As for Plame? Well, here again is Dana Priest in her online forum: “I don’t actually think the Plame leak compromised national security, from what I’ve been able to learn about her position.”

You wouldn’t know the foregoing from the way the Left and the press have handled the Scooter Libby story. Not only did he not out a covert agent, neither did Karl Rove–who is now the focus of the Left’s wrath and the media’s investigation. Who did out a secret and covert operation? The Washington Post. Shame on them. The consequences of what they’ve done will continue to rattle and distract our efforts–so too our allies’. In the meantime, the next time a White House correspondent tries to put Scott McClellan on the line for his involvement in the Wilson-Plame affair, I hope he unloads on them for what they’ve done here. I hope, too, that Jay Rockefeller and Harry Reid call for an investigation of just where this leak came from.

William J. Bennett is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Bill Bennett’s Morning in America, and the Washington Fellow at the Claremont Institute.

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