Pat Buchanan

Mary McCarthy, special assistant to President Clinton and senior director of intelligence in his White House, has been fired by the CIA.

McCarthy allegedly told The Washington Post our NATO allies were secretly letting the CIA operate bases on their soil for the interrogation of terror suspects. Apparently, McCarthy failed several polygraph tests, after which she confessed.

If true, she was faithless to her oath, betrayed the trust of her country, damaged America's ties to foreign intelligence agencies and governments, and broke the law. The Justice Department is investigating whether McCarthy violated the Espionage Act.

Yet, while she may be headed for criminal prosecution and prison, the Post reporter to whom she leaked intelligence on the secret sites, Dana Priest, just won a Pulitzer Prize for revealing the existence of these sites.

Also copping Pulitzers were two reporters for The New York Times who revealed that, since 9-11, U.S. intelligence agencies have been intercepting calls and e-mails between terror suspects and U.S. citizens.

President Bush had implored the Times not to publish the story, lest exposure of the spying program alert al-Qaida to U.S. capabilities and operations.

For one year, the Times held the story -- then, it went with it. While the delay has been criticized by some journalists, most applauded exposing the spying program and the U.S. secret bases, and the Pulitzers that went with their exposure.

On ABC's "This Week," Sen. John Kerry, to whose campaign McCarthy made a $2,000 contribution, was his usual ambivalent self when asked whether he approved of what she had done:

"Of course not. A CIA agent has the obligation to uphold the law, and clearly leaking is against the law, and nobody should leak. I don't like leaking. But if you're leaking to tell the truth, Americans are going to look at that, at least mitigate or think about what are the consequences that you ... put on that person. Obviously they're not going to keep their job, but there are other larger issues here."

What "larger issues" there were, Kerry did not say.

Pressed by ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Kerry blurted, "I'm glad she told the truth, but she's going to obviously -- if she did it, if she did it -- suffer the consequences of breaking the law."

Kerry was prepared for the question, so he has to be held to account. When he says, "I'm glad she told the truth," one has to ask: What is Kerry talking about?

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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