Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff report for Newsweek that Mary McCarthy “has denied she was the source of a controversial Washington Post story about alleged CIA secret detention operations in Eastern Europe.” Further,
McCarthy’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, told NEWSWEEK this afternoon that contrary to public statements by the CIA late last week, McCarthy never confessed to agency interrogators that she had divulged classified information and “didn’t even have access to the information” in The Washington Post story in question.
Larry Johnson had said as much on his blog a couple of days ago:
In fact, there are some things about the case that puzzle me. For starters, Mary never worked on the Operations side of the house. In other words, she never worked a job where she would have had first hand operational knowledge about secret prisons. She worked the analytical side of the CIA and served with the National Intelligence Council. According to press reports, she subsequently worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) from 2001 thru 2005. That is a type of academic/policy wonk position and, again, would not put her in a position to know anything first hand about secret prisons.
According to Hosenball and Isikoff, “McCarthy did acknowledge that she had failed to report contacts with Washington Post reporter Dana Priest and at least one other reporter. … McCarthy has known Priest for some time. … the CIA was not necessarily accusing her of being the principal, original, or sole leaker of any particular story.” (Emphasis added.)
It is possible, then, that McCarthy had absolutely nothing to do with the secret prison story. In fact, Hosenball and Isikoff report, other journalists reporting on this story say they got most of their information from unclassified sources.
Glenn Greenwald: “Priest’s original story itself made clear said that her reporting was based upon ‘current and former U.S. intelligence officials and foreign sources.'”
When she was fired, McCarthy was told her identity would be protected. The next day it was all over the news.
Keeping in mind that everything we say is speculative … Steve M. writes,
I find myself thinking about this recent Molly Ivins column:
…[Karl] Rove, as all the world knows, has been a longtime Republican political operative in Texas prior to heading to Washington with Bush. During that time, Texas Democrats noticed a pattern that they eventually became somewhat paranoid about: In election years, there always seemed to be an FBI investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press.
After the election was over, the allegations often vanished….
Ivins goes on to note that one particular FBI agent seemed to be Rove’s go-to guy back in Texas. Now, though, Rove has the whole federal government to play with — he doesn’t need just one pal.
If the accusations against McCarthy turn out to be one of Karl’s red herrings, this could come back to bite him, big time.
Naturally, righties are still howling for McCarthy’s blood. The rightie blog Hot Air provides a handy-dandy roundup of rightie groupthink regarding McCarthy and why the revelation proves that just about every Democrat on the planet must be guilty of something. This paragraph in particular caught my attention:
And man, did she [McCarthy] ever get caught. WaPo says she failed multiple polygraphs before confessing. AJ Strata cites reports describing a â€œpattern of behaviorâ€. But whatâ€™s really got right-wing bloggers exercised is the discovery that McCarthy and her husband have donated upwards of $10,000 to Democratic political campaigns and organizations since 2004. Curiously enough, certain mainstream media outlets have had trouble nailing down the exact figure despite the fact that Ace and Tom Maguire were able to find it on OpenSecrets.org in about thirty seconds. And thatâ€™s not the only convenient omission from their predictably sympathetic coverage. Sweetness & Light looks at two of the pressâ€™s go-to guys on this story â€“ former CIA analysts Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson â€“ and reveals a few salient facts about their views on intelligence that somehow have managed to fly under the mediaâ€™s radar.
I doubt the “certain media outlets” weren’t able to find the amount of money McCarthy and her husband donated to Democrats. Rather, to someone who’s not a blazing-hot partisan the information is not particularly significant, especially before McCarthy has actually been convicted of anything. No rational person would jump to the conclusion that someone in McCarthy’s position would risk arrest and tarnish a many-years-long career over mere party politics. And, of course, the “salient facts” about Johnson and McGovern are that they’ve spoken out against the Bush Administration’s deceitful manipulation of intelligence. In RightieWorld only other righties are allowed to be “go-to guys.”
Speaking of Larry Johnson, he writes in “Between Conscience and Unconscionable“:
And what have we learned this week? If you have contributed any money to Democrats you are a traitor if you criticize the President. Rand Beers, a senior national security advisor who served in the Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush administrations was labeled a turncoat. Joe and Valerie Wilson? Guilty because they had the temerity to participate in politics and contribute to Al Gore (although they also contributed to George Bush senior). Mary McCarthy? Guilty as well for contributing to John Kerry. Of course, we can conveniently forget that she stood up to the Clinton Administration for its unjustified bombing of a factory in Sudan. Why worry about facts? Bush finds them convenient to ignore.
What we are witnessing is a political purge of the CIA. The Bush Administration is working to expel and isolate any intelligence officer who does not toe the line and profess allegiance to George. It is no longer about protecting and defending the Constitution. No. It is about protecting the indefensible reputation of George Bush.
The firing of Mary McCarthy and her trial in the media is a travesty. Particularly when George Bush continues to harbor leakers who put selfish political motives above the welfare of this nation. It remains to be seen if Mary McCarthy had anything to do with the leak of secret prisons. There is no doubt, however, that Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Stephen Hadley, Dick Cheney, and George Bush directly participated in a campaign to leak misleading intelligence information to the American people. Patrick Fitzgerald’s court filings make that point abundantly clear. Under George Bush, America is being asked to tolerate Gulag Politics. That is something I find intolerable and unconscionable.
Glenn Greenwald: “A Political Movement Built on Rage”
Digby: “Agitating for a Crackdown”
Taylor Marsh: “McCarthy as CIA Scapegoat“