Throw Away The Key

Mary McCarthy, a former Clinton appointee and Kerry campaign donor who was hired by none other than convicted classified information thief Sandy “Pants” Berger, was fired from the CIA yesterday after admitting to revealing classified information to the Washington Post.

Let me put this in perspective.

I’ve had a security clearance for over a decade now. Every time that clearance is renewed or changed, I have to read and sign a stack of legal papers affirming my understanding of Federal law, which can be summarized as Thou Shalt Not Reveal Anything Classified Or Allow It To Be Revealed To Those Who Ain’t Cleared For It.

Now, let’s just suppose that during the last election, I had taken it upon myself to go and leak classified information about the F-22 fighter to, say, Bill Gertz at the Washington Times, in the hopes that such information would bolster the campaign of George W. Bush. Or what if I’d leaked that information before last year’s budget was finalized, trying to get a competitive advantage over rival aircraft? (There are no rival aircraft when the F-22 is in the air, but that’s beside the point.) Or what if I just did it to make myself look and feel cool?

I’ll tell you what would happen. I’d be fired, and then I’d be locked up, and I’d deserve it.

It’s not my place to make that kind of decision. It wasn’t Mary McCarthy’s place, either. Neither of us were elected. Neither of us are responsible for deciding what can or should be released from the classified world. Contrary to the bleatings of McCarthy’s partisan cohorts editing the Washington Post and New York Times (who are actively soliciting classified information, even today, which I should note is itself an illegal act), neither is anybody in the press.

Are many things classified that shouldn’t be? You bet. Is it legal, moral, or ethical for somebody who has sworn to keep those secrets to unilaterally reveal them, for political reasons?

Hell no, it isn’t. And suggesting that McCarthy should get some kind of pass just because a bunch of ideological yahoos who work for newspapers like what she did is beyond asinine. What she did is no different, and no less unforgivable, than if she were an al-Queida spy. Her actions had the exact same outcome of aiding deadly enemies.

Lock her up.