Scoot over, yellowcake—a different leak scandal is flooding the blogosphere. Pundits are also trying to sort out the racial politics of New Orleans' post-Katrina primaries and decoding the newest Osama Bin Laden tape.
Mary quite contrary: On Friday, the CIA dismissed Mary McCarthy, a 61-year-old analyst who leaked information about secret CIA prisons to Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who recently won a Pulitzer for her coverage of the CIA and the war on terror. McCarthy, who worked for both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, has become a cause célèbre for the left and a whipping girl for the right.
Sweetness & Light, a conservative blog run by a self-described citizen-journalist, compares McCarthy's case with the Plame scandal. He notes that McCarthy's defenders include Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson, two former CIA workers who protested the leaking of Valerie Plame's identity. "You see, you can only leak to help our enemies," he mocks. Johnson himself checks in at TPM Café, where he declares that though he "could not stand working" for McCarthy, his former manager, "she is not a traitor."
Liberal bloggers believe that McCarthy's firing indicates that there is a double standard in terms of disciplining leakers. "Leaks committed by Bush allies or with the intent to promote the President's political agenda prompt nothing but silence from him, and sometimes even a defense of the leakers," writes Glen Greenwald in an extensive post on Unclaimed Territory.
On the Wayne Madsen Report, the progressive journalist posts that McCarthy was the victim of "a White House-launched political vendetta designed to ferret out pro-Democrats in the CIA." As several conservatives, including Tom Maguire of Just One Minute, have pointed out, McCarthy donated money to both the John Kerry campaign and the Democratic Party of Ohio in 2004.
But at Captain's Quarters, conservative Captain Ed isn't buying the martyr defense. "A principled dissenter would have gone through available channels, such as to the FBI, to Congress, or to the White House, to express her discontent on an issue. Failing that, she would have resigned and spoken openly about what she knew," he opines.
New Orleans runoff: On Saturday, New Orleans voters went to the polls for the first time since Katrina, voting in a mayoral primary. Current officeholder Ray Nagin and Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu face a runoff in May to decide who will lead the city's next phase of recovery. The changing composition of the electorate means that New Orleans could elect its first white mayor in decades.
On the progressive blog Facing South, Chris Kromm shakes his head, calls the election "just more of the status quo," and bemoans "the absence of any true reform or 'people's' candidate." Metroblogging New Orleans' Craig Giesecke, a journalist who has been following his hometown election, agrees. He is unenthusiastic about both the candidates and beseeches, "Gimme something to vote FOR, you guys, instead of simply voting against something. I dare ya."
Ernie the Attorney, a New Orleans-based lawyer, worries that race will trump all other issues during the runoff. "We have one chance to get it right, and our margin for error is zero. We don't have time for racism, favoritism or fear-mongering," he reasons.
Many outside of New Orleans are aghast that Ray Nagin is still in the running. "For those who placed a vote for this inept buffoon—what were you thinking? Nagin, along with a host of other idiot government officials, failed you. Why are you rewarding them?" scoldsAstrazoic's Phil Smith.
Bin Laden been talkin': In the latest tape attributed to Osama Bin Laden, the al-Qaida honcho expressed more displeasure with the West. Counterterrorism Blog, a group effort by various security experts, has extensive coverage, including Walid Phares' coverage of the main points of Bin Laden's address. In a later post, Phares, a professor at Florida Atlantic University, calls the tape a "state of Jihad address" and compares it to "the February 1998 declaration of war against America, the Crusaders and their allies."
On The Liberal Wrong Wing, Kevin, a conservative Republican from Massachusetts, calls the tape the "usual nonsense" and suspects that the release of the tape and Monday's bombing in Egypt may be related. "Intelligence patterns suggest that with the release of such tapes, terrorist attacks often occur in the near future," he posits.
On group blog The Blue Voice, "Jacksonian Democrat" Bruce Miller notes that Bin Laden did not discuss the current controversy surrounding Iran. "Iran is Shi'a, and Al Qaida is radical Sunni Salafist. They hate Shi'a Muslims," he writes. He supposes that because Iran is Shiite, Bin Laden would "probably have no great objection" if "the US now tries to weaken Iran."
Read more about the new Bin Laden tape.