Is the CIA Impeding the President’s Ability to Act on Foreign Policy Matters?
Paul over at Power Line poses a fascinating question — in subtext — in a recent post:
How does the CIA protect its turf so well? Its skill in the art of the leak must play a major role. For one thing, this skill helps explain how the agency exerts so much control over those in the mainstream media who cover it.
The subtextual question is, of course, what to do about this?
My suggestion is that the Bush administration must realize that this is a terribly dangerous situation: at a time of national danger, when we are at war, the CIA has become a rogue agency, uncontrolled by any branch of the federal government. It conducts its own foreign policy; it dictates military policy (through control of the intelligence the Department of Defense needs); it has seized control of a significant portion of the powers of the elected Executive.
It’s time to fight back… and best and quickest way to do so would be for President Bush to direct Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to immediately begin Justice Department investigations of this rash of recent leaks from the CIA, including the decision to allow Joe Wilson to go public with his lying claims in the New York Times about “what [he] didn’t find” in Niger; the leak about the previously secret prison facilities for terrorists; and so forth.
Reporters should be subpoenaed; if they refuse to testify, put them in jail for contempt until they do. Use the full powers of the Patriot Act to seize records and find out who is doing the leaking. And then drop the hammer on them: prosecute them for misuse of classified information or even worse criminal violations. At the very least, get enough evidence to strip them of their security clearances… make it plain that leaking to the press to damage the administration is a career-terminating offense and might even lead to prison time.
Also, be sure to widely publicize the names of leakers as soon as you dredge them up. These people rely upon anonymity; if word gets around that whatever you tell Harry ends up in a Walter Pinkus column tomorrow, the leakers will be shunned by many of the folks who have unwittingly been helping them funnel damaging information to the mainstream leftist media.
Bush can do all of this without Congress lifting a finger. He can do it over the Thanksgiving Day weekend, and he doesn’t need any votes from the Democrats. The press will scream; but if Bush were to demand time to give a short speech for broadcast and explain his reasons to the American people, I think they would not only back him, they would applaud lustily: “My fellow Americans, this constant stream of political leaks from the CIA has just got to stop… for God’s sake, we’re in a war! It’s time for the Central Intelligence Agency to get out of politics and back to their actual job: gathering intelligence on our enemies, not leaking stories to the press.”
JunkYardBlog has more.