Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Leak that Mattered

Obviously the news is all about Rove and Plame and Cooper and Miller...but as leaks go...was this really such a big deal?

Powerline says no, and backs that up by comparing it to a much more devastating leak:
In all of the liberal huffing and puffing over the supposed "outing" of Valerie Plame--as though she might be in danger as she drove to and from her desk job in Langley, and as though she hadn't posed for a photo shoot in Vanity Fair, dressed up as a spy--I've seen no liberal criticism of a more recent, real outing of a clandestine CIA operation. In this case, those who outed a CIA operation exposed secret agents operating in the field, in circumstances of great personal danger, not a civilian desk employee. The outing of the CIA operation undoubtedly forced the CIA to terminate or change what had been an effective means of protecting the nation's security, and likely did endanger the lives of real covert agents.

I'm referring, of course, to the exposure of a purportedly civilian airline as a CIA operation:
While posing as a private charter outfit - "aircraft rental with pilot" is the listing in Dun and Bradstreet - Aero Contractors is in fact a major domestic hub of the Central Intelligence Agency's secret air service. The company was founded in 1979 by a legendary C.I.A. officer and chief pilot for Air America, the agency's Vietnam-era air company, and it appears to be controlled by the agency, according to former employees.
An analysis of thousands of flight records, aircraft registrations and corporate documents, as well as interviews with former C.I.A. officers and pilots, show that the agency owns at least 26 planes, 10 of them purchased since 2001. The agency has concealed its ownership behind a web of seven shell corporations that appear to have no employees and no function apart from owning the aircraft.

The planes, regularly supplemented by private charters, are operated by real companies controlled by or tied to the agency, including Aero Contractors and two Florida companies, Pegasus Technologies and Tepper Aviation.

Who was it who "outed" these CIA employees, blew their cover and perhaps endangered their lives? The New York Times, of course! In an article that was based largely on leaks by former CIA employees, who were out to embarrass the administration. Ah, but that's the "good" kind of leak--the kind that exposes the Agency's real covert operatives, not the kind that tries to correct lies told by Democratic Party loyalists in the pages of the New York Times.

It's worth reading the Powerline post from the beginning as it does contain some good fisking of a fishy New York Times Editorial. And what does John of Powerline think of Joe Wilson:
That's why our opinion of Joe Wilson is so low. He leaked the contents of his own report to the CIA--in the pages of the New York Times!--only he lied about his own report. He "peddled disinformation," falsely claiming to have found no evidence of an Iraqi effort to buy uranium from Niger, in order to "harm a political adversary," President Bush. The Times didn't mind that particular disinformation, however, since it fit the paper's political agenda.

Talk about an axe to grind. The New York Times and the Democrats in Congress have totally lost their perspective. When the CIA was leaking left and right in order to harm the Administration and the press ate it up. They would have welcomed a leak from the administration at that time.

This airline leak is much more harmful as it was obviously being used in covert operations. A claim that cannot be so easily made about Officer Plame.