“Journalism” versus the National Interest

January 16, 2005

I just watched part of Wolf Blitzer’s interview of Seymoour Hersh on CNN’s Late Edition about Hersh’s New Yorker magazine article published today. Hersh reports that the U.S. “has been conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets.” In the interview Hersh said that he believed President Bush has given Donald Rumsfeld and his neoconservative cabal at the Pentagon the authority to go ahead with this planning, basically cutting the CIA out of the process. Hersh reports, incredulously, that the Pentagon views war against terrorism as a global phenomenon with Iraq being just one campaign. Duh!.

Iran is just the beginning. Other rogue nations are potential targets as well. And Hersh believes, it seems, that there is a sinister method to Bush’s madness in characterizing these various operations as primary military rather than intelligence: it will allow him to circumvent legal restrictions imposed on the CIA’s covert actions overseas. (Of course it was liberals like Hersh who saw to the implementation of such restrictions in the first place.)

So far, it appears that the White House is denying the factual accuracy of Hersh’s report. They should, regardless of whether it’s true or not, if our national security interests are to mean anything. Can you imagine the kind of journalistic ethic we are operating under that would celebrate, rather than condemn, the type of report that Hersh has just belched forth? If in fact the United States is engaged in covert operations to determine the nature, extent, and location of WMD and WMD delivery systems in Iran, what possible constructive purpose can be served by the publication of such information — unless you consider helping our enemies in the War on Terror, such as Iran, a constructive purpose?

People in the liberal media, like Hersh, apparently are so distrustful of the Bush administration and so fearful of the “neocon” influence at the Pentagon that they are apparently willing to subordinate our national security interests to undermine this influence in the administration. During the interview I didn’t notice Wolf raising one question with Hersh about the propriety of his report. These self-anointed journalists of the Old Media believe their motives are beyond scrutiny. They serve a higher calling. Their wisdom transcends national loyalties; they goodness cannot be confined to artificial nation state constructs.

Hersh’s report — true or not — is shameful and disgraceful and people should call him to the carpet for it. I suppose we’ll see the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and other MSM dinosaurs railing against this over the next few days. It’s time that the New Media jumped all over this and called into question Hersh, the Old Media and their unpatriotic reporting here.

Yes, I said it: unpatriotic. If tipping off the enemy isn’t unpatriotic can you tell me what is? And don’t you dare tell me the public has a right to know. There are certain things the public must not know, because if it knows, so does the enemy. You can’t protect a public that insists on being informed as to sensitive intelligence and military operations. It’s time we remove this artificial halo from this public’s right to know construct.