Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Secrets in the Senate: Don't count Senators being able to keep a secret, especially when they know they shouldn't be telling it on national TV.
Mr. Smith came to Washington again Monday, as an alias for a Central Intelligence Agency officer who works covertly. Senators, however, may have blown his cover.
During questioning on John R. Bolton's nomination to be President Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, Bolton and members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee referred to "Mr. Smith" as one official among several who were involved in a dispute over what Democrats asserted was Bolton's inappropriate treatment of an intelligence analyst who disagreed with him.
"We referred to this other analyst at the CIA, whom I'll try and call Mr. Smith here, I hope I can keep that straight," Bolton said at one point.
Committee Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., both mentioned a name, [name redacted], that had not previously come up in public accounts of the intelligence flap.
It is not clear whether [redacted] is the undercover officer, but an exchange between Kerry and Bolton suggests that he may be.
Lugar doesn't have any military background, so maybe he is slightly less culpable for his loose lips -- slightly. Sen. Kerry, however, ran for president largely on his military credentials -- which included a covert CIA mission to deliver arms to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. You'd think that someone with the wealth of experience the junior senator from Massachusetts has in the military arena, he'd manage to not drop the name of what appears to be a cover agent.
I realize that my feeble effort not to spread "Mr. Smith's" real name is just that, feeble, but at least I can keep a secret.