So the CIA is operating secret prisons in Soviet-era compounds in Eastern Europe and seeking exemption from rules against torture. And many people see in that confirmation of the old leftist warning that the CIA has become a dangerous shadow government, with global reach and an amoral, self-serving agenda that runs counter to basic American values.

So will those same folks give credence to the proposal that the Joe Wilson-Valerie Plame campaign to undermine the U.S. executive also was the work of an amoral, self-serving rogue CIA?

The woman was running her own covert CIA operation to undermine the Bush Administration’s war plans and she used her husband, Joe Wilson, to do it. We still have no information on who at the CIA actually dispatched Joe Wilson to Africa. Lewis Libby’s mistake was not telling the American people that indeed he told reporters about Plame and perhaps there should have been a televised press conference announcing the deceit of Wilson and Plame and illegal operations being conducted within the continental United States by an out-of-control intelligence agency.

And that the fix was in before the war began?

The Arizona Republican [Sen. John McCain] accused disloyal elements within the CIA of working to undermine President Bush, complaining that they had engaged in “leaking information that could be damaging to the president prior to the election – using a compliant media, if I may say so.”

Because, you know, there’s only one CIA. Not two.

[I’m perfectly aware that you could reverse the terms of that question and ask it of a hawk. But as one who was never fond of the CIA, however necessary it is, and who was taken aback to learn during the Afghanistan invasion that the CIA has its own army and air force, it interests me to frame it thus.]

Politics Good Spy, Bad Spy