April 24, 2006

Now that Mary McCarthy has "categorically denied" disclosing classified information on Bush's secret prisons, the political debate shifts a bit. Instead of assuming that McCarthy was responsible for leaks, we now have to wonder why, exactly, CIA Director Porter Goss sacked a veteran intelligence analyst. It's too soon to say with any certainty whether Goss, who personally oversaw the investigation into this leak, was driven by partisan motivations, but there's reason to believe the director of central intelligence was not acting on principle. After all, McCarthy was a Democrat and hold-over from the Clinton years -- and Goss is a former House Republican who has tried to purge top-ranking CIA officials of anyone who wasn't loyal to Bush. Let's not forget this Newsday report from November 2004 and how it might apply to the McCarthy controversy.

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, according to knowledgeable sources. "The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda." (emphasis added)

And now we're supposed to believe that Goss, whose history of rigid partisanship is overwhelming, ran a fair and objective investigation of McCarthy? Please.

-- Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report

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