Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 9, 2008
WAR: A Traitor Dies In Exile

Philip Agee has died:

Philip Agee, a former CIA agent who became an outspoken critic of the agency and opened a travel site to bring Americans to Cuba in defiance of U.S. law, has died following ulcer surgeries, Cuban state media reported Wednesday. He was 72.

Agee quit the CIA in 1969 after 12 years working mostly in Latin America at a time when leftist movements were gaining prominence and sympathizers. His 1975 book "Inside the Company: CIA Diary" alleged CIA misdeeds against leftists in the region and included a 22-page list of purported agency operatives.

Leaving aside the benefits to Mr. Agee of Fidel Castro's world-class health care system, there is no doubt that his deliberate exposure of scores of active undercover CIA operatives - which led to the passage of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 - was a calculated effort to undermine the security of the United States, at cost to the lives of those who serve us in most dangerous capacities.

He will not be missed.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 12:04 PM | War 2007-14 | Comments (20) | TrackBack (0)

I had no idea that he'd ended up in Cuba. His actions in exposing CIA operatives were truly despicable, but now that he's dead, I will emulate William F. Buckley and say only RIP.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at January 9, 2008 12:35 PM

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Posted by: largebill at January 9, 2008 5:13 PM

It's hard to feel empathy for those who expose CIA operatives and undermine the security of the United States, at cost to the lives of those who serve us in most dangerous capacities.

Agee, Rove, Novak, Libby, Cheney.
Bad rubbish indeed.

Posted by: Robert in BA at January 9, 2008 6:08 PM

Yes, Robert. Valerie Plame was in an exceedingly dangerous, deep-cover post in Washington D.C.

Not to mention the fact that you omitted the person who did the actual leaking - Armitage.

Posted by: Joel B. at January 9, 2008 6:38 PM

Agee exposed CIA crimes and told the truth. For that, he should have been commended. The real criminals were the low-lifes in the U.S. government who commited the foreign policy disasters that Agee exposed.

Posted by: Michael at January 9, 2008 8:35 PM

As Joel pointed out, Armitage ALSO did the leaking, which exposed a CIA agent and put an entire group of CIA agents, working undercover to assess Iran's nuclear programs (like that's important), at risk.

Thanks Joel B. for pointing out I omitted Armitage who along with Rove, Novak, Libby, and Cheney exposed a CIA agent during wartime.
Fortunately for them, the Party of (No) Accountability was in charge when it happened.

Posted by: Robert in BA at January 9, 2008 11:37 PM

Robert: How did revealing Plame's name put an entire undercover group at risk? She had a desk job at Langley and had not been covert for six years. Do you have a source for your statement that any agent was compromised, or even jeopardized?

Posted by: WD at January 10, 2008 10:39 AM

I really wonder just what goes through someone's mind that they would betray their own country (whatever country you are a citizen of), and feel more welcome somewhere else. We have few defectors of course, but you have to wonder just what kind of interview process is in place when someone like Agee would rather live in Cuba--or those who choose North Korea (which makes it the last choice they are allowed to make)--and we hire them for sensitive jobs.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at January 10, 2008 11:07 AM


The CIA says she wasn't just a desk jockey in Langley, that the "company" she worked for had to be shut down because their cover was blown, and thought the outing was serious enough to warrant an investigation (obstructed by one of those who thought it was no big deal to blow the cover in the first place. BTW, does that make ANY sense to you? Forget "who was Libby protecting?" and ask yourself "what was he protecting them from?")

But this is America. You are certainly free to take the word of Rush and the corrupt Bush Administration's mouthpieces over the CIA if it makes you feel better.

Posted by: Robert in BA at January 10, 2008 11:40 AM

Robert: I followed the story pretty closely and don't remember the CIA ever saying agents were at risk or a group had to be shut down. I am simply asking for your source for saying that. I did a few Google searches and couldn't find anything. Do you have a source?

Posted by: wd at January 10, 2008 12:08 PM

Any serious examination of the Patrick Fitzgerald investigation shows that there was no actual intelligence crime at hand, any more than Bill Clinton broke the law by having illicit relations with an intern. Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, not for a violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

According to Bob Woodward (hardly a Bush partisan): "They did a damage assessment within the CIA, looking at what this did that [former ambassador] Joe Wilson's wife [Plame] was outed. And turned out it was quite minimal damage. They did not have to pull anyone out undercover abroad. They didn't have to resettle anyone. There was no physical danger to anyone, and there was just some embarrassment."

The same cannot be said in the Agee case.

Posted by: Joel B. at January 10, 2008 1:00 PM

Robert, if you're really that outraged about leaks that shut down intelligence programs, you might want to take on the New York Times.

Posted by: Henry at January 10, 2008 1:30 PM

Here you go:

BTW, Joel B., the article also had this:
The document establishes that Plame has worked undercover within the past five years. The time frame is one of the standards used in making determinations about whether a disclosure is a criminal violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.

I'll take on the NYT all day long. It's a fake 'liberal' newspaper which ran with the trumped-up Clinton/ Whitewater scandal (Note: I don't like Clinton and think he was a terrible President), printed unsubstantiated rumors about Saddam's WMDs (i.e. was used by the Bush Administration) to rally public support for an illegal and unnecessary war, and continues to pass off Maureen Dowd and Bill Kristol (who both manufacture facts out of whole cloth) as serious political opinion writers.

Having said that, I don't see the big problem with reporting that the Bush admin. was eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant. Am I to believe that if they had acquired warrants, that someone in the Justice Dept. was going to linform the (alleged) terrorists that warrants had been acquired to eavesdrop on them?
If so, the US has a lot bigger problems fighting the GWOT than I have heard anybody willing to admit.

Granted, you may be writing about a different intelligence program leak.

Posted by: Robert in BA at January 10, 2008 2:00 PM

Even if a criminal intelligence violation occurred, it's a technical one. And it apparently wasn't clear enough that one occurred for charges to be brought, and that's certainly not for lack of willingness on the part of the prosecutor. The upshot is, no one was put in harm's way as a result of what Armitage did.

Agee published the names of dozens of CIA operatives. If, as you claim, he was "exposing CIA crimes and telling the truth," he certainly could have done so without putting in harm's way many people who were simply doing their very dangerous jobs in service of their country.

If you see moral equivalence in their actions, I'm not sure what to say. I can see why you want them to be equivalent, but not how you can genuinely say they are.

Posted by: Joel B. at January 10, 2008 2:22 PM

Joel B,
I think you have me confused with Michael.

I don't know enough about the Agee case to claim "moral equivalence".
I do see a petulant Bush Administration exposing a CIA operative because her husband had the temerity to call out lies they used to gain support for an unnecessary war. If they had a problem with what Wilson wrote, they could have challenged him on it. Instead they got personal because, despite their stance as tough guys, they're a bunch of whiny little babies who cry and throw tantrums if things don't go their way.
I suppose that's what you get when you hitch your wagon to to an immature frat boy, who despite being a lifelong failure, is surrounded by sycophants who refuse to tell him "No".

Posted by: Robert in BA at January 10, 2008 2:41 PM

Robert, it's painfully (okay, laughably) obvious that you know next to nothing about the Plame incident. You should always make sure you use a variety of sources before passing along your opinion. In this case it's apparent you're reciting talking points from the bottom tier of leftist sources.

Posted by: spongeworthy at January 10, 2008 3:30 PM

Thanks for the concern spongeworthy.
So why did Rove, Cheney, Libby, Armitage, Novak, etc expose the CIA operative? I had thought it was because they wanted to show they wouldn't stand for anyone letting the American people know they're BSers who started a war based on lies. Although, I suppose one doesn't need Wilson to spot the obvious.

Perhaps you can point me to more reliable sources. I'm certainly open to them.

BTW, I'm surprised to find I recite talking points. I'm usually a skeptic. I didn't even fall for the WMD claims or the Saddam/ al Quaeda connection back in 2002/ 2003 like so many others.
Neither made any sense at face value. (Saddam in bed with OBL? On what planet?)
Sure, Saddam could have had WMDs, but if he did wouldn't those spouting about it show some proof? When they didn't, I figured it wasn't true. (Or I wouldn't buy what they were selling without proof).

I look forward to your reply with better sources.

Posted by: Robert in BA at January 10, 2008 3:56 PM

Robert: I remembered the disclosure of Brewster Jennings. Yes, that was bad, but that's not what I questioned from your original post. You claimed the disclosure "put an entire group of CIA agents, working undercover to assess Iran's nuclear programs (like that's important), at risk." Are you claiming the Brewster Jennings "contained an entire group of CIA agents working undercover"?

Posted by: wd at January 10, 2008 4:06 PM

Robert, Robert, Robert,

You said "I do see a petulant Bush Administration exposing a CIA operative because her husband had the temerity to call out lies they used to gain support for an unnecessary war."

That leads me to believe you are awfully confused. Her husband, Joe Wilson, wrote an op-ed claiming he was sent at the vice presidents behest to check on whether Iraq was attempting to obtain weapons material from Africa. Turns out the VP did not ask him to go. In that op-ed he also said he found no evidence that Iraq attempted to obtain the uranium. His failure to find evidence is NOT proof that no attempt was made. Wilson was thoroughly discredited by the congressional 911 committee. Additionally, the 16 words everyone points to as a lie from Bush's SOTU were “The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.” At that time and to this date the British stand by that assessment. Not to confuse you with facts, but here is some reading for you:

In refuting "Lyin' Joe" Wilson's attacks (on behalf of the Kerry campaign) the VP's office told some reporters that they didn't send him. When pressed about it by Robert Novak and others the fact that his wife pushed for Wilson to get the assignment got be part of the story. In the long run, Wilson exposed Plame by writing a high profile op-ed piece in the NYT's. Unless he is complete idiot he had to know that the dishonest op-ed would expose his wife's employment.

Posted by: largebill at January 10, 2008 5:08 PM

Robert, if I believed you cared a whit about the facts I might waste my time much as largebill has done his. But I don't believe that you would or even could discern where the known facts depart from your narrative.

Plus, it's much funnier to people who know the facts when you guys just blurt out the numbnuts narrative. Rave on, Corky!

Posted by: spongeworthy at January 11, 2008 12:12 PM
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