Thursday, August 5

Fifth Column

Republicans have long been charging that those of us whose political leanings are left of center form a treacherous fifth column in the heart of America. The book titles favored by conservative pundits have generally leaned towards comparing liberalism with dictatorship, if not outright treason. How curious then that a preponderance of recent security snafus are so closely linked with the Republican party that it almost seems unkind to bring it up. Almost.

-- Going to the most recently uncovered travesty, Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) is currently under investigation for revealing classified information to a FOX News anchor.

-- As previously mentioned here, a long-time conservative crony has facilitated North Korea's purchase of a dozen subs from Russia with their underwater launch capabilities intact. The fixer? The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, owner of the conservative Washington Times and friend of Bush. Apparently the Japanese media has been all over this, but our press corps has been missing in action, as usual.

-- Katrina Leung was a Republican party activist and fundraiser in California who used a relationship with an FBI agent to pass secrets to the Chinese government.

-- Ahmed Chalabi was formerly Bush's man in Baghdad, and the above link has a nice picture of him sitting just behind the First Lady during this year's State of the Union address. A "drunk" neoconservative revealed to Chalabi that the U.S. had broken the codes used by the Iranian government. Chalabi told the Iranians, who at first considered him an untrustworthy source, and the breach was revealed when they used the same compromised codes to report on Chalabi's information. It would be hard to think of a more strategically valuable thing to know about a country than their intelligence communication codes, and Chalabi erased that advantage with one stroke. The irony is that the Iranians, probably knowing of his felonious past in Jordan, were less trusting of him than the Bush administration.

-- Someone as yet unknown among senior White House staff revealed the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to conservative commentator Robert Novak. Apparently, the same source shopped the leak around to several people in the Washington punditry class, but Novak was the only taker. Now that Novak has completely blown her cover, along with the name of a CIA front company, it's been learned that Plame had specialized for a long time in tracking weapons of mass destruction. Though she hasn't been out of the country in a while, she did formerly travel abroad during her missions. This leak has compromised everyone who's ever been in contact with her overseas in one of the most sensitive and crucial areas of investigation. It happened after her husband, one Ambassador Joseph Wilson, revealed that claims about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger were false and shouldn't have been included in the 2003 State of the Union.

These five incidents have all occurred or been uncovered within the span of the Bush administration alone. Five incidents that we know of. Can someone explain to me why the Republican party is considered strong on the defense of this country?


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