I kept asking myself, why would Senator Feinstein approve a “report” whose main effect inevitably would be to damage America? And it occurred to me that it might be a mistake to try to understand this bizarre event in the usual context of domestic politics. It probably belongs to a different realm of analysis: national security, international affairs, and espionage. Maybe that was really the point of the operation.
It benefits our enemies, after all. It undermines other countries’ willingness to share information, and to work with us “in the field.” Anyone who takes life seriously must acknowledge that, quite aside from the merits of the “case” brought by Democrat staffers on the Senate Intel Committee, we’ve been damaged. It’s not the first time, but it hurts — it hurts even those of us who are not great admirers of CIA, and maybe it will hurt a lot more.
As Andy McCarthy puts it:
It has been one thing to tell our ascendant enemies — in actions and omissions that speak louder than words — that we have no stomach to fight them where they must be fought: on the ground where, we know, given time and space, they plot to kill Americans. It is quite another thing to buoy them with the assurance that a major party in this country has a bottomless appetite to fight Americans whose major allegiance is to America.
Time will tell.
It’s not the only case of its kind. I hope you noticed the news that German investigators have been unable to find any evidence that NSA actually snooped on Chancellor Merkel. You’ll recall that this explosive and very damaging allegation came from Edward Snowden, whose enormous dump of classified information has, we are reliably told, wreaked terrible havoc on the intelligence community.
Now it turns out that the top German prosecutor is considering the possibility that Snowden’s “NSA document” is a phony. Indeed, he seems to be certain it is:
the document presented in public as proof of an actual tapping of the mobile phone is not an authentic surveillance order by the NSA. It does not come from the NSA database.
There is no proof at the moment which could lead to charges that Chancellor Merkel’s phone connection data was collected or her calls tapped.
If that is confirmed, it will automatically throw a veil of doubt over other stuff Snowden claims to have stolen from NSA. In like manner, if, after five years of investigations, the Feinstein “report” contains false allegations, it undermines the whole thing.
Remember that the bulk of the Feinstein “report” is still classified, and that CIA officials are sticking by their claims that there are all manner of false allegations in the report.
So we’ve got two recent blows to our most important intelligence agencies, and for all we know the world-wide scandals, demonstrations, editorials and opinion pieces are based on bogus information. Maybe that bogus stuff is accidental, the result of the human errors that define our existence. But maybe it’s deliberate…after all, we’re in pain but others are popping corks.
How to think my way out of all these questions? I’m not smart enough, so I dialed up the greatest expert, the late James Jesus Angleton, who years ago headed CIA counterintelligence. Happily, my (very) unreliable ouija board worked right away, and there was Angleton (I’ve never been quite sure about the location of “there” and don’t expect to find out), raspy voice and all (he seems to have access to Camel cigarettes, or maybe his later favorites, Virginia Slims).