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July 9, 2006
Tom Maguire Destroys The Times And The Post

I had looked forward to blogging about two stories this morning on a letter sent to the White House by House Intelligence Committee Chairman by the New York Times and the Washington Post. In the letter, Peter Hoekstra complains that the Bush administration has not kept his committee briefed on national-security strategies and operations in the manner prescribed by law, and he wants a better accounting from the intel community.

Interestingly enough, this came up at the same time that General Michael Hayden's nomination for CIA Director came to the Senate, along with the nomination of Stephen Kappes for DDO. In fact, the Times never mentioned one of the themes of Hoekstra's letter and his frustration with the intel community more than the White House. Now, I had a full head of steam on talking about this, but the always-excellent Tom Maguire beat me to it -- and it's hard to top his analysis and research in this omnibus post:

The NY Times yesterday featured a Lichtblau-Shane story centered around a once-confidential letter to President Bush from Peter Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Here is the Times lead, but stay with me, since they buried a great tidbit:
In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.

The letter from Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, did not specify the intelligence activities that he believed had been hidden from Congress.

But Mr. Hoekstra, who was briefed on and supported the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program and the Treasury Department's tracking of international banking transactions, clearly was referring to programs that have not been publicly revealed.

Yeah, yeah. But the Times also offers a .pdf of the letter itself, which includes this (my typing, and emphasis added) on the topic of Bush's decision to bring back Steve Kappes as Deputy Director of the CIA:

I understand that Mr. Kappes is a capable, well-qualified, and well-liked former Directorate of Operations (DO) case officer. I am heartened by the professional qualities he would bring to the job, but concerned by what could be the political problems that he could bring back to the agency. There has been much public and private speculation about the politicization of the Agency. I am convinced that this politicization was underway well before Porter Goss became the Director. In fact, I have long been convinced that a strong and well-positioned group within the Agency intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies. This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson/Valerie Plame events, as well as by the string of unauthorized disclosures from an organization that prides itself with being able to keep secrets. I have come to the belief that, despite his service to the DO, Mr. Kappes may have been a part of this group. I must take note when my Democratic colleagues - those who so vehemently denounced and now publicly attacked the strong choice of Porter Goss as Director - now publicly support Mr. Kappes’s return.

Tom picks up on something that I missed on my reading of these two articles and the letter. My analysis ran to the simpler notion that the Times buried the criticism of Kappes because of his association with the long-known faction within the CIA that has consistently resisted direction from the elected officials of this country, a problem regardless of which party holds power. Our system is based on civilian control of the government in all its facets through elections, and that means that the people we elect make policy. I also thought that maybe the Times didn't want to make its source and one-time columnist, Joe Wilson, look bad by showing the contempt that the HIC has for him.

However, Tom sees something entirely different in the Times' gloss-over. He sees (and I wish I'd caught this) Hoekstra accusing Kappes of being one of the leakers at the CIA, presumably to the Times. Why wouldn't the Times include this as part of their report? Perhaps because they want to protect their source.

Read all of Tom's post, and note how the Washington Post manages to slip the word "domestic" into the report where it doesn't belong and isn't appropriate.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 9, 2006 10:21 AM

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» A CIA faction is trying to undermine the Bush administration from Pro Cynic
That according to Rep. Peter Hoekstra. The New York Times discusses his letter to the administration to that effect, but buries the issue of the rogue faction. Tom Maguire (via Captain's Quarters) has an analysis. [Read More]

Tracked on July 9, 2006 1:13 PM

» The Hoekstra Letter from Flopping Aces
Is anyone really surprised that the New York Times would write a whole article about a once secret letter (nothing is ever secret when it comes to the NYT's) to President Bush from Peter Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 9, 2006 9:57 PM


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