All about Mary McCarthy 2
In From the Cold has some opinions on Mary McCarthy's career. The key paragraph:
Equally interesting is her meteoric rise within the intelligence community. According to her bio, she joined the CIA as an analyst in 1984. Within seven years, she had rise to a Deputy NIO position, and reached full NIO status by 1994. To reach that level, she literally catapulted over dozens of more senior officers--and I'm guessing that her political connections didn't hurt. By comparison, I know a current NIO, with a resume and academic credentials more impressive than Ms. McCarthy's, who reached the position after more than 20 years of extraordinarily distinguished service. McCarthy's rapid advancement speaks volumes about how the Clinton Administration did business, and sheds new light on the intelligence failures that set the stage for 9-11. We can only wonder how many other political hacks climbed the intel food chain under Clinton--and remain in place to this day.
OK. It's an opinion. Then In From the Cold makes a prediction:
Within a few weeks, fired CIA officer Mary McCarthy will take her place in the pantheon of liberal heroes. Democratic politicians, left-leaning pundits and analysts in the drive-by media will hail her "courage" in exposing secret CIA prisons in eastern Europe, and providing that information to the Washington Post. There will almost certainly be a book and movie deal; I'm sure Joe Wilson's literary agent will be in touch, if he hasn't called already. However, timing for those media events will probably depend on whether Ms. McCarthy spends any time in jail for her "disclosures."
Which has already come true. The New York Times has a special on Mary McCarthy called Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules. You may have to go through registration to view it.
As a senior National Security Council aide for intelligence from 1996 to 2001, she was responsible for guarding some of the nations most sensitive secrets.
"We're talking about a person with great integrity who played by the book and, as far as I know, never deviated from the rules," said Steven Simon, a National Security Council aide in the Clinton administration who worked closely with Ms. McCarthy.
In the view of the Times, McCarthy was not somebody who 'rose meteorically' -- as In From the Cold believes -- but rather a hard working gal who rose by merit to the loftiest positions in intelligence.
Though she was a C.I.A. employee for more than 20 years, associates said, her early professional experience was not in the world of spying and covert operations. After a previous career that one former colleague said included time as a flight attendant, she earned a doctorate in history from the University of Minnesota. She worked for a Swiss company "conducting risk assessments for international businesses and banks," Ms. McCarthy wrote in a brief biography she provided to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also called the 9/11 Commission. She testified before the commission in 2003. The biography notes that she once wrote "a book on the social history of Ghana."
Even after joining the C.I.A. in 1984, Ms. McCarthy, who was hired as intelligence analyst for Africa, was far from a covert operative. In the late 1980's, she was promoted to management, taking over as chief of the Central America and Caribbean section, though she had no previous experience in the region, said a former officer who worked with her.
But "By 1991, she was working as deputy to one of the agency's most senior analysts, Charles E. Allen, whose job as 'National Intelligence Officer for Warning' was to anticipate major national security threats. Ms. McCarthy took over the job from Mr. Allen in 1994 and moved to the Clinton White House two years later." Yet her competence is established in the next paragraph by a glowing comment from Rand Beers:
who at the time was Mr. Clinton's senior intelligence aide on the National Security Council, said he hired Ms. McCarthy to be his deputy. "Anybody who works for Charlie Allen and then replaces him has got to be good," said Mr. Beers, who went on to serve as an adviser to Mr. Kerry's campaign in 2004. She took over from Mr. Beers as the senior director for intelligence programs in 1998.
And Rand Beers turns out to be, according to this cached news article, John Kerry's foreign policy advisor while on campaign.
Washington, DC – Kerry Foreign Policy Advisor Rand Beers issued the following statement today: "John Kerry rejects any association with former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, an avowed anti-Semite whose views are totally deplorable. The world needs leaders who seek to bring people together, not drive them apart with hateful and divisive rhetoric."
He was was also, according to this Washington Post article (hat tip Riehl's World), adamantly opposed to OIF; believed that Afghanistan "was a job begun, then abandoned", and a believer in the primacy of multilateral and diplomatic effort in the War on Terror. The Post article closes in this way:
On a recent hot night, at 10 o'clock, Beers sat by an open bedroom window, wearing a T-shirt, his bare feet propped on a table.
Beers was on a three-hour conference call, the weekly Monday night foreign policy briefing for the campaign. The black, secure phone by his bedside was gone. Instead, there was a red, white and blue bumper sticker: "John Kerry -- President." The buzz of helicopters blew through the window. Since Sept. 11, 2001, it seemed, there were more helicopters circling the city. "And we need to return to that kind of diplomatic effort . . . ," Beers was saying, over the droning sound. His war goes on.
From the National Review:
If you want a good sense of where the media's mind is in the wake of the Mary McCarthy story, check this out. . It's an AP story about McCarthy's firing. Guess whose picture is at the top? Not McCarthy. Not Dana Priest. Not anybody involved in the story at all, actually. It's a picture of Scooter Libby -- who's not even mentioned in the article. I won't be surprised if they end up fixing it soon. But it's there now.
It was there when I checked. But then, maybe the stories are related in some way.
To supporters, McCarthy is a woman of conviction who exposed actions she believed were against the law. "This a matter of principle," said Ray McGovern, a former fellow CIA analyst, "where she said my oath, my promise not to reveal secrets is superceded by my oath to defend the constitution of the U.S."
Here comes the "higher loyalty" argument. Except in this case the higher loyalty may be to a political party.
Still more ...
Larry Johnson at TPM Cafe has an interesting article on Mary McCarthy, the gist of which is that Ms. McCarthy was not in a position to know anything operational about the intelligence, but may have stumbled across it while at the Inspector General's. Johnson then goes on to distinguish McCarthy's "service to her country" leak to the despicable leaks engineered by the President of an undercover operator, presumably one Valerie Plame.
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. ... Sometime within the last year she returned to CIA on a terminal assignment. I've heard through the grapevine that she was attending the seminar for officers who are retiring while working with the Inspector General (IG). Now things get interesting. She could find out about secret prisons if Intelligence Officers involved with that program had filed a complaint with the IG or if there was some incident that compelled senior CIA officials to determine an investigation was warranted. ...
I am struck by the irony that Mary McCarthy may have been fired for blowing the whistle and ensuring that the truth about an abuse was told to the American people. There is something potentially honorable in that action; particularly when you consider that George Bush authorized Scooter Libby to leak misleading information for the purpose of deceiving the American people about the grounds for going to war in Iraq. While I'm neither a fan nor friend of Mary's, she may have done a service for her country. She was a lousy manager in my experience, but she is not a traitor and has not betrayed the identity of an undercover intelligence officer. That dirty work was done by the minions of George Bush and Dick Cheney. It is important to keep that fact in the forefront as the judgment on Mary McCarthy's acts is rendered.
Request to commenters
Keep your comments on topic. And try to limit yourself to four or five comments per post