ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Norman Mailer Is Batty

I wanted to comment on the Mailer item that the good Saint linked to below. It's short so bear with me as I excerpt it again:

Intelligence 101A

I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog. At present, I have a few thoughts I can certainly not prove, but the gaffe over the Michael Isikoff story in Newsweek concerning the Koran and the toilet is redolent with bad odor. Who, indeed, was Isikoff's supposedly reliable Pentagon source? One's counter-espionage hackles rise. If you want to discredit a Dan Rather or a Newsweek crew, just feed them false information from a hitherto reliable source. You learn that in Intelligence 101A.
This pre-supposes one thing. That your false information won't be discovered as false before its used. Then you've "burned" your source. In these particular instances, its even easier than in the espionage game since all the reporters in the NEWSWEEK and CBS stories had to do was to not publish! Then no trap is sprung and the indvidual reporters (as well as the media as a whole) keeps its credibility.
Counter-espionage often depends on building "reliable sources." You construct such reliability item by secret item, all accurate. That is seen by the intelligence artists as a necessary expenditure. It gains the source his credibility. Then, you spring the trap.
The easy solution to a reporter caught in this trap is to simply reveal his source. Then the swarm (blog and MSM) will descend on the source, questions will be asked, truths will be revealed. Including, if it was all just a sting by administration officials. But the reason the sources haven't been revealed in just these two examples is simple. The sources, if exposed, would be proven to be people with axes to grind against the current administration, and as such, would further diminish the credibility of the reporters in question. So instead they "half-retract" the story, continue with the "fake but accurate" line, and rely on media defenders to whip up conspiracy theories about a Rovian plot.

Revealing the sources also insures that such a trap could never be sprung again, since the risk would be too great for the source.
As for the riots at the other end, on this occasion, they, too, could have been orchestrated. We do have agents in Pakistan, after all, not to mention Afghanistan.
Wow, imagine if that was actually the case. What a story! It would make Watergate look like a 3rd rate burglary. Bush, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld, would be removed from office in relatively short order. The reporter responsible for discovering the story would be rich and be the preeminant journalist of the new century. And it would be discoverable. Such an operation would require lots of resources, government records, agents willing to spill the beans. If there's anything Harlot's Ghost taught me (other than Mailer has a serious kink about homosexuality), it's that the government can't do anything without a lot of people eventually finding out.

But of course you can't even get to that story until you REVEAL THE SOURCE!

p.s. Norman, when is the sequal to Harlot's Ghost supposed to be released? Its been almost 15 years! Or was the "to be continued" an inside joke? Rumor was that the Kennedy assasination and Watergate were to be perused in your followup to the novel, after you reviewed all those papers about Lee Harvey Oswald. Anything? An outline? If I went through 1400 pages to leave that much unresolved (other than a lot of the CIA in the 50's, 60's were bisexual, or at least thought about being bisexual) then I want my money back. With interest. And 15 years worth of interest is not pretty.

The Conservative Cat weighs in as well.... heh

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian