11/19/2004

CIA 'Purge'? What is This, the USSR?

Whilst the punditry wanders weak and weary in the deep fogs of the 'moral values debate,' what say we pay some attention to what is going on, eh?

According to Newsday, 'The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden ...'

Bad Nooz. In the first place, the concept of 'purge' has not hitherto played much part in our history, and now is no time to start. Considerable pains have been taken to protect the civil service from partisan pressure.

'Disloyalty to Bush,' or any president, is not the same as disloyalty to the country. In fact, in the intelligence biz, opposing the White House is sometimes the highest form of loyalty to country.

I would not have been troubled to learn there was to be a 'purge' at the CIA of those responsible for giving bad information to the administration about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Even a 'purge' of those who caved in under pressure from the White House to confirm the dubious WMD theory might be useful. (George Tenet is already gone.) But this is not a purge of incompetent officers or of those who have caved under political pressure "

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