Not so long ago, there was a furious fight among different tribes in the White House, CIA and State and Defense departments over the correct war-fighting strategy. The coin of the realm back then was intelligence. Intelligence that pointed in the right policy direction was cherry-picked and shown to the public; covert players connected to undesirable conclusions were outed or disparaged. This fight for the hearts and minds of Washington opinion shapers was fought out on the battlefields of The Washington Post and The New York Times -- and from them to the networks and news outlets across the country and around the world.
These descriptions may remind you of Valerie Plame -- a CIA operations officer with relatively minor responsibilities who was outed by someone in the George W. Bush administration. As soon as the press corps came to believe that someone -- perhaps close to the president -- had leaked her name to Bob Novak, the hunt was on. The media screamed for investigations. The CIA called for a Justice Department investigation. The opposition Democrats called for a special prosecutor to probe the unconscionable breach. The prosecutor was appointed by Bush. A trial was held.
People were less concerned with what they substantively had learned about Iraq's yellowcake uranium policy -- that the past decision to go to war in Iraq may have been made against the advice and proffered ambiguous evidence of Plame's husband -- than with the identity of the government official who despicably and feloniously had "blown her cover."
Well, last week, The New York Times again published on the front page the name of an alleged CIA-paid undercover asset. This time, it was none other than Ahmed Wali Karzai, the powerful brother of the Afghan president. The Times cited, on background, Obama administration "political officials," "senior administration officials" and others as its sources to the effect that Karzai has been secretly on the CIA payroll for eight years and has been helping the United States with intelligence, logistic and base support for our special forces, and recruiting and running an Afghan paramilitary force on the instruction of the CIA -- as well as being a major narcotics trafficker.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.