Somehow blaming everything on outspoken Hollywood liberals like Michael Moore or Jane Fonda who have zero influence in Washington just doesn’t quite cut it. So now we have a concerted effort to shine the light of culpability on Mary McCarthy, a veteran CIA analyst who was just 10 days away from retirement when she was “fired” for undisclosed contacts with the media and for allegedly leaking classified materials — a charge that she denies.
Rightwingers have been making a big deal out of the fact that McCarthy gave $2,000 to the Kerry campaign during the last election cycle and they have insinuated darkly that she sought to use her insider status at the Agency to damage the White House and hurt Bush’s chances at re-election. But the CIA has said she was not believed to be the person who exposed the CIA’s rendition program and its secret prisons in Eastern Europe, and they are apparently not taking the case all that seriously. They are not charging her with any kind of crime, nor are they launching a specific investigation targeting her. They are not even trying to penalize her by taking away her pension, thus the firing 10 days before her retirment has practically no ill effect on her whatsoever other than causing some embarrassment and spreading her name all over the news.
Meanwhile, these same rightwingers while pointing out McCarthy’s political ties have conveniently ignored the fact that the person who chose to fire her is Bush’s hand-picked choice for CIA director Porter Goss, a right-wing Republican and former congressman from Florida.
The Washington Post the other day had an editorial criticizing Goss for his selectivity in going after McCarthy while doing nothing on many other more pressing matters.
“He has taken no disciplinary action against CIA personnel identified by his inspector general as having played a part in the failure to prevent the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He has taken no action against CIA interrogators known to have participated in the torture and killing of foreign detainees, or against those who knowingly violated the Geneva Conventions in Iraq.”
So the Mary McCarthy firing seems little more than a PR ploy by Mr. Goss. But conservatives like my friend Bill Crawford are almost desperate to make it into something much more convoluted than that.