Valerie Plame Wilson, C.I.A. Agent and a Diversion from the Real Issue

It would be hypocritical of me to condemn Mr I Lewis Libby Jr, the indicted chief of staff for Vice President Cheney and, don’t forget, assistant to the president. He outed a CIA agent who was assigned to the CIA’s Weapons Intelligence, Non-Proliferation, and Arms Control (WINPAC) unit although he was not explicitly charged for that offense. I also think we need to move beyond outing intelligence agents and abolish intelligence services. The CIA, NSA, DIA, and other intelligence agencies are quite symptomatic of the imperial desire to control and dominate other nations. Yes many of the personnel are professionals, many are bureaucratic and apolitical positions, but it is unfortunate that the crimes they commit: torture, secret wars, abuse of foreign nationals and invading the legitimate privacy of foreign nationals are ignored while the exposing or lying about the revelation of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame Wilson, is elevated almost to Watergate crime status.

I disagree with Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald and the politically Machiavellian Democrats who allege Mr Libby posed a grave threat to national security. It’s the permanence of these intelligence agencies even after the Cold War that is more of a threat to the vital interests of the United States. All this talk about national security being undermined by Ms. Wilson’s identity being compromised is frankly absurd. It is Cold War patois that does little to advance the need to transform America and subvert its muscular and robust obsession with “national security.”

I just don’t believe this prosecution of Mr Libby is relevant. Instead of punishing those who perjure or obstruct justice in alleged identity leaks of intelligence agents, we should focus on the violent and disruptive impact of American intelligence on the international community. I do hope fewer recruits will join these militaristic agencies and that the outing of CIA agent by presumably Mr Libby and perhaps Karl Rove will reduce the glamour or lure of being a spy in a world that needs greater and not less openness. President Wilson was correct in 1918 when he called for “open covenants, openly arrived at.” It was one of his 14 points as he decried the secret diplomacy and alliances that preceded the Great War.

The aristocratic Henry Stimson served as Secretary of War (1911-13) (1940-1945) and Secretary of State (1929-1933), In 1929 he shut down MI8, the State Department’s cryptanalytic office saying, “Gentlemen don’t read each other’s mail.” This was a rather quaint and innocent rejection of espionage and intelligence agencies as inappropriate intrusion into the affairs of nations. He obviously reversed himself later in his long career, but in the day of Kellogg-Briand (1928) and Washington Naval Disarmament conferences, Americans seemed much less infatuated about militarism, standing armies and imperial overstretch.

I would hope that the focus in this country would be the frequently immoral and violent conduct of these components of an invisible government that operates with relatively little oversight or control: I doubt the 9/11 Commission really matters much.

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