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Walkerville, VA
Monday, April 22, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Democrats champion CIA secrecy

Democratic lawmakers have vowed to end the domestic intelligence loophole that allows criticism of the CIA if that criticism involves domestic employees.

Democratic lawmakers in congress have gone on the record supporting a stronger role for the CIA in domestic intelligence activities, and have also called for greater restrictions on what critics can say when talking about CIA employees.

Democrats have been crafting a pro-secret police intelligence policy since the last year’s election, when Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called for giving “greater power and leverage” to a new intelligence czar. President Bush had opposed the new intelligence czar post, citing privacy concerns. Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey said that the post was necessary despite Bush’s civil liberties concerns because “the enemy has no concerns for civil liberties.” The President eventually acceded to Democratic demands and appointed John Negroponte to the post.

In the wake of the Valerie Plame scandal, Democrats are moving to strengthen domestic intelligence on two fronts. Currently, the CIA has limited power domestically. Laws against discussing the CIA’s role are generally limited to restricting only the discussion of foreign activities.

Writers on the left are decrying that “domestic intelligence loophole” and calling on congress to close it. The Daily Kos argued that the law restricting discussion of CIA activities must be interpreted as loosely as possible, and the Sideshow added that even if “the facts of this case may not be stretched to fit the crime, we must search out or create other laws that it will fit.”

A Democrat writing on one high-profile blog wrote that “the CIA is very trustworthy, and we support it completely. If they said that a person working a desk job at Langley is an undercover agent in a foreign country, all patriotic Americans must take their word for it. What the law says is irrelevant.”

According to cartoonist and liberal columnist Ted Rall, “the CIA needs full authority during wartime, and we are now at war. Any criticism of any CIA employee is treason and deserves the death penalty. Karl Rove must die.”

Democratic lawmakers have answered the blogsphere. According to Senator Barney Frank (D-MA), “While it may be true that Mr. Rove has avoided breaking the law on a technicality, that technicality is, in fact, immoral.” Senator Frank is considering starting an impeachment trial against Rove. “When a political leader hasn’t committed a crime, but we want to get rid of them anyway, that’s what impeachment is for.”

House member Mike McNulty (D-NY) added that “I think that discussing agency management is a very, very serious matter. It puts management’s life in jeopardy.” McNulty said that “if Rove was personally involved in discussing a CIA office worker’s role in agency politics, he should be fired. There is no excuse for that in America. The agency deserves total secrecy.”

CIA spokespersons have anonymously stated that they support the movement for strengthening the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. “Currently, our budget is secret and our overseas operatives are secret. But it is very important for the future of this agency, and thus for the United States itself, that everything the agency does be kept secret. We’re a very egalitarian employer, and we believe that janitors and desk workers deserve the same protection that covert operatives enjoy.”

Former CIA General Counsel Jeffrey Smith agreed. “Nobody who works for the CIA should be subject to any public inquiry. If any one member of the CIA has their identity publicized, then everyone they’ve dealt with in the past or will deal with in the future is at risk. We require total secrecy at the CIA.” Smith echoed Rall’s view that “all patriots understand the need for a truly secret secret police.”

The CIA sources suggest that it will be easier, in the future, to ensure that no law is broken if all newspaper articles are first sent to the CIA so that the agency can remove any illegal material. “We’re working with Democratic lawmakers to craft an appropriate bill.”

According to beltway insiders, Republican policy-makers are in disarray over what to do about Democrats co-opting what was once a Republican issue. One anonymous source said that “half of the Republicans want to go along with the Democrats right now and strengthen the CIA immediately, and the other half want to string the Democrats along for a few more days before we strengthen the CIA.”

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