Now, five years later, what once was judged legal is now to be declared illegal, and some agents will find their names made public, and their careers ruined. As Bret Stephens points out in a wonderful column in today’s Wall Street Journal, those same liberals who yelled bloody murder about the exposure of Valerie Plame Wilson a few years ago- supposedly done by people in the Bush administration so their critics of the Iraq war would be punished-are today calling for the betrayal of “covert CIA operatives as if it were the very essence of virtue.” He notes that last year, The New York Times published the name of a CIA case officer who interrogated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, despite the protests of the officer and the Agency that he would be put at the risk of retaliation from terrorists or harassment by CIA critics. And photos taken secretly outside current agents’ homes by the ACLU and others were ready to be used if terrorist’s clients are tried in federal court or by military commissions, so that they can be called to testify. In other words, they have already broken provisions of the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which prevents exposing the identity of covert agents to anyone not authorized to receive that information.
It is clear from many reports that the announcement of the Special Prosecutor has all but destroyed morale at the CIA. Any current interrogator or field agent will think twice about doing what he has been told to do by his superiors, out of fear that in the future, actions he was told are legal will lead him under a future administration to possible trial and even prison. And now that the President has said that interrogations will be taken from the Agency and the new federal outfit led by the FBI will carry them out, in strict accordance with the Army Field Manual of interrogation techniques, one can rest assured that the terrorists are breathing a heavy sigh of relief, and will be well prepared to easily resist any of the “soft” methods the Bureau interrogators will use.
While the Obama administration has signaled the war on terror is over, it seems to have been replaced by a new war against the CIA. If the Attorney General and the liberals in Congress like Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-NY) have their way, the near future will see prosecutions not only of field agents who were doing their job, but those in the Justice Department and others in the previous administration who told them what to do. Their efforts made our nation safer. The public knows this, and if God forbid another attack takes place- something experts say is still more than likely- the American people will not look kindly on the current actions of the Obama administration. Is this what they really want?