Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
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Gary Hart's Words On CIA Coverup Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Denver Post ran a great editorial by former U.S. Senator, Gary Hart. Hart ran for president back in the 80s and might have made a good one except he had problem with liking the ladies. He challenged the Miami Herald to catch him folling around and they promptly did just that. It ruined his political career. He's still thoughtful and introspective. If one didn't know better, one would think he might be looking to run but it's doubtful he's got the stamina or the name recognition to make a national run.

Here is the crime in outing of CIA agent
By Gary Hart
Denver Post Guest Commentary

It is now fashionable among columnists supporting the Bush administration, New York Times journalist Judith Miller, Robert Novak and the increasing network of senior administration officials implicated in the Valerie Plame Wilson outing to say, "So what? Where's the crime?"

The federal statute making it a criminal penalty to knowingly divulge the identity of anyone working undercover for the Central Intelligence Agency was not enacted in a vacuum. In the early 1970s, in part as a result of the radicalization of individuals and groups over the Vietnam War, a former CIA employee named Philip Agee wrote a book revealing the identities of several dozen CIA employees, many under deep cover and some including agency station chiefs in foreign capitals.

Many of the countries in which those CIA employees were working themselves had extremely radical and violent elements stirred to hatred over their opposition to America's conduct in the Vietnam War. So, by revealing their identities, Agee had knowingly and willingly placed these American citizens at risk. Violent consequences were predictable.

Richard Welch, a brilliant Harvard-educated classicist, had been stationed in Greece as CIA station chief only a few months before he was murdered, by a radical Greek terrorist organization called the 17th of November, in the doorway of his house in Athens on Dec. 23, 1975. Had Agee not divulged his name, there is every reason to believe that Welch would be alive today after decades of loyal service to his country.

Largely as a result of Agee's perfidy and Welch's unnecessary death, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) of 1982 was enacted, making it a felony to knowingly divulge the identity of a covert CIA operative. It carries penalties of 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for each offense. There are those who dismiss the crime by saying, "Oh, Wilson only had a desk job." That is not a defense under this felony statute. It is for the CIA, not Karl Rove or Robert Novak, to determine who requires identity protection and who does not.

The political irony of all this is that conservative elements in America have always proclaimed themselves more concerned than anyone else with national security, the sanctity of classified information, protection of sources, support for our intelligence and military services, and so on. At radical times in our past, irresponsible leftist groups thought it was their duty to try to reveal the names of CIA agents. Now, under a conservative administration, it is these conservative national security champions who are saying, with regard to the "outing" of a CIA undercover


It's nice to see Hart making thoughtful commentaries. It shows he's still got fire in his belly. He would make a decent leader in many ways, to help revitalize the party at least on the surface. Unfortunately though, our party doesn't have unifying leader like we had in Bill Clinton. He had the charisma and intelligence to do things for himself. Bush doesn't have those. He's got some charisma but it stops there.

Many on the conservative side, including the Wall Street Journal maintain Plame wasn't undercover at the time. If that's the case, then what was the point in bringing up the whole issue? What was the reason behind attempting this smear campaign against Joe Wilson if they didn't believe that naming his wife as a CIA agent wouldn't bring him and her some grief out of this. Wilson got his job as a diplomat When Bush's father was running the show. He spoke out against the information from the current administration and they attempt to destroy him and his wife perhaps even physically.

posted by Stithmeister @ 10:53 PM

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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