Friday, April 07, 2006

Elected officials vs. career bureaucrats

Who should control the government’s foreign policy? It appears that defenders of Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame can’t abandon their “Treason!” mantra to address that fundamental question. When Joseph Wilson returned from Africa and wrote an op-ed for the New York Times, this overt act was designed for no other purpose than to subvert U.S. policy set by the Bush Administration. This is undeniable since the report was made up of untruths:

The [Senate Intelligence Committee] panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts. And contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence that made its way into 16 fateful words in President Bush's January 2003 State of the Union address.

The report turns a harsh spotlight on what Wilson has said about his role in gathering prewar intelligence, most pointedly by asserting that his wife, CIA employee Valerie Plame, recommended him.
Rick Moran perfectly encapsulates my opinion on the matter:

But the question unanswered by the President’s critics is how do you pushback against unelected bureaucrats who are not only undermining policy, but also attacking the credibility of the Chief Executive of the United States of America? Do you sit in the Oval Office and simply take it? Do you allow these partisans who used selective leaking of classified information in order to deliberately try and defeat a political rival at the polls, to operate with impunity while American men and women are fighting and dying overseas?

The arrogance and hubris exhibited by the leaking clique in the CIA and State Department – unelected, unaccountable, unhinged – demonstrates the dysfunctionality of those vital departments. This incompetence and bureaucratic game playing led directly to the tragedy of 9/11 and will, if not stopped, be the death of many more of us.
So far, the Bush administration has been mum on the Plame investigation but I wish the President would come out and state the obvious: government officials, especially those who putatively report to the Executive Branch, cannot expect to make up lies out of whole cloth and then expect immunity when the game is exposed.

Extra – There’s probably no issue that has illuminated the importance of the blogosphere as a counterbalance to the fifth column fourth estate than the Plame case. See also Decision 08, Powerline, MacRanger, and the irreplaceable Tom Maguire who neatly rebuts the always-outraged MSM writer Andrew Sullivan thusly: “Call me naive, or old-fashioned, but I would like to see a scintilla of evidence before concluding someone is "nailed".”

Follow-up - Sullivan surrenders: “The president seems to have the power to do what he did.” But he tries to save face with the argument that the National Intelligence Estimate was only “selectively leaked” so that’s not right either. Try putting that on a bumper sticker.

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