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Friday, August 27, 2004
An Israeli Spy? A CBS Spy? Both?

CBS broke an exclusive story this evening that the FBI is investigating someone "at the highest levels" in the Pentagon for allegedly spying for Israel. This official is reported to be in a position to have passed classified documents to the Israelis and to have influenced Bush Administration policy on Iran and Iraq. If this is true, it's a big deal.

Israel will deny it, of course - probably already has, in fact. I wouldn't be surprised if they are engaged in espionage against the United States. Israel is a nation which appears consistent over the years in its understanding of the value of human intelligence, unlike the United States. And given the vagaries of the American political system, which could turn on any long-time ally almost overnight, depending on who wins the White House in November, it's hard to make the "why are you spying on your friends?" argument with a straight face.

I have several questions, however. First, is this story part of CBS's ongoing, thinly-veiled alliance with the John Kerry campaign? Second, if the suspected mole is guilty, should he be executed or just imprisoned for a very long time? (Treason is treason - or at least it ought to be, or it used to be, or it is for a Republican administration, or something like that.)

Here are three bigger questions:

  1. How did CBS find out? I heard no report of an arrest, and I'm pretty sure the FBI doesn't hold press conferences to announce ongoing counter-espionage operations.
  2. Did CBS's story jeopardize the FBI investigation, or the likelihood of arrest or conviction? The spy, if there is one, has to know that he or she is a spy, and cannot reasonably be expected to hang around, or to do anything further which might be incriminating, now that this story is bouncing around the airwaves.
  3. Does this mean that someone at the FBI is spying for CBS? Shouldn't we investigate that, too?

I'm not holding my breath.

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