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One MORE Reason to Elect Principled People

After a rigorous investigation regarding who leaked information on the CIA's secret prisons overseas, the CIA has fired Mary McCarthy, a senior official in the CIA's Inspector General's office. They used lie detectors to discover her involvement in the leak.

I am generally a great advocate of "principled leaking", mostly because the United States has become a government ruled by a cult of National Security, obsessed with secrecy. This opens the door to the worst sort of corruption and a dangerous undermining of the Constitution.

In theory, the CIA should be able to keep its secrets without being liable to damaging leaks. That would be the best thing, but only if we assume that our elected leaders are exercising proper oversight of the National Security cult.

Since Republicans have taken control of Congress, both houses have apparently forgotten not just how to spell the word "oversight", but also what it means to practice it.

I don't want a branch of my government running secret prisons. Why? Because I support the terrorists? That is the idiot, Republican, National Security cult answer. The real answer is: secret prisons don't make distinctions about who they imprison. They simply imprison, secretly. If my government is running secret prisons, I want to know about it so I can advocate getting rid of them. Obviously there are others who agree with me inasmuch the stories born of McCarthy's leaks won the Washington Post a Pulitzer Prize.

It's pretty simple, really. Leaks would not be necessary if we elected members of Congress who actually understood the importance of their oversight duties. Principled leakers are and should be nothing more than last resorts. And now the National Security cult is vigorously using lie-detectors to ferret them out, producing evidence not admissible in court (yet), but obviously sufficient to get you fired. Inevitably, the leaks -- our principled last resorts -- will completely dry up.

And that would be fine, actually, if we had a Congress willing to conduct principled oversight of the National Security cult, but we don't. This makes the Republican Congress a serious danger to the Constitution.

If Google News is any measure, this story will receive moderate to heavy coverage, and it will certainly be flogged to death by the Republicans inasmuch as McCarthy worked for the Clinton Administration and gave $2,000 to the Kerry campaign in 2004. The angle will be: "Democrats support the terrorists", of course, when the true story is: the National Security cult is winning big and if members of Congress won't stop it, and if principled leakers are going to be tracked down, fired and possibly prosecuted, then frankly I don't see how we can save ourselves.

It isn't Mary McCarthy who should be let go; it's the Republican Congress.


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