WASHINGTON, D.C.—Outing Ambassador Wilson’s wife as a covered CIA employee is another predictable step in the Bush government crude witch hunt politics.
Washington is crawling with covered and uncovered CIA employees as well as spooks from other agencies, such as the Defense Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Many people cooperate with and/or are employed by the spy agencies. In the past they have included prestigious university professors along with any number of journalists. Ramparts Magazine rose to fame in the 1960s with its revelation of various student organizations used as CIA fronts. Ivy League universities recruited spies. Publishing companies have been financed and directed by the intelligence services.
So, it is inconceivable that Ambassador Wilson’s wife was identified without everyone involved—from reporters to editors to lawyers to newspaper owners—knowing perfectly well that placing her name amid such an incendiary case in a major newspaper would lead to her ruin. And as a
warning to everyone else in or around the spook community to shut up on the Iraq war or stand ready to be taken down. As Wilson told Reuters back in August: “The reason for it was not to smear me or to even smear my wife,” Wilson said. “The reason was to intimidate others from coming forward.”
Wilson himself is a whistleblower. And the Bush administration, with cooperation of the Congress, has successfully sought to curb what modest laws exist to protect whistleblowers. No one within the government—Democrat or Republican—has ever seriously tried to promote whistleblowing. This government, perhaps more so than the others, thrives on secrecy.
The outing represents yet one more step in the Bush’s administration’s open and altogether successful effort to stifle freedom of speech. After all, what can
be more basic than the right of government employees to assess and report the truth of events leading to war. It is directly comparable to what the Blair government did with David Kelly, the leading arms expert who killed himself after he was exposed in public.
In the case of the Bush administration it is a further example of its capricious invasion of constitutional rights. Take another look at what is going on here:
People who look like what the government thinks Muslims look like are stopped and searched because of what they look like, not because they ever did anything. They are imprisoned for months with no charges. They often never see a judge They never see a federal agent. They are sometimes arrested on petty charges, minor larcenies, for example. Trials are held in secret on grounds of national security. The Office of the president—not the courts—decides whether a suspect is tried in civil or military court. The President alone can decide whether you are even able to see an attorney. The government can declare anybody as an enemy combatant on no evidence. It can declare you a terrorist suspect if you buy a plane ticket and board a plane. It can prosecute you on the basis of what books you take out of the library, and so on. (Read the assembled articles of Nat Hentoff.)
And now, if you have ties, even tenuous one, to the government and say something in public the Bush administration doesn’t like, you will be ruined. People who think they’re safe because they are American citizens and not immigrants now know they are no different than immigrant detainees. What will
happen to the person or persons the White House decides to sacrifice in order to squelch political scandals? Will he or she be indicted on mere suspicion and tried in secret on grounds of national security? Will trial evidence be held forever in secret on national security grounds in order to protect the presidency? Or perhaps the scapegoat will be driven to kill himself as did Kelly.
Research: Ashley Glacel