December 28th, 2005

Washington Post Fine Print

by Philip Baruth

Blogging from Washington, D.C, for a few days, and one of the brilliant things about waking up here is that when you go to the coffee shop, there’s the Washington Post in three-dimensions.

For thirty-five cents. What a sweet deal.

And it means that I go through sections of the paper that I avoid electronically, like the letters to the Editor. And occasionally in those letters, you find something that goes by you like a brushback pitch. Here’s an excerpt from a letter that appeared on the 26th:

“While I’ve admired the Post’s overall coverage of issues related to intelligence and terrorism, the paper’s approach seems to be to shoot missiles at isolated targets — the CIA, CIFA, the National Security Agency, etc. I would suggest burrowing in and finding out what the larger picture is here.

“In particular, I have seen little of John D. Negroponte, who was supposed to bring control over and harmony to disparate, decentralized intelligence services and activities.

cheney“Where does [Negroponte] stand on CIA secret prisons and renditions and on Pentagon and NSA spying programs?”

Most excellent point. Anyone seen coverage of Negroponte in the last, I don’t know, six months? Are we talking about another secure location scenario? When only Cheney had one, I was fine with that; less of Cheney is less of Cheney, after all.

But are we moving to a system of permanently cloistered top officials in the War on Terror?

By the way, the above letter is signed, “Charles M. Franklin,” and followed by this biographical note: “The writer worked in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) from 1992 until he retired in 1996.” You know the Bush Presidency has officially reached the embattled phase when not only the front pages, not only the op-ed section, but the letters to the Editor are full of recriminations from former and current highly placed government officials.

Franklin was clearly a first-term Clinton man, but that’s the point again: Bush’s conduct has been so egregious that all traditional rules about decorum between administrations past and present have been scrapped. As they should be, in this bizarre historical moment.

You go, Charles M. Franklin. VDB has got your back. Word is bond.