The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: The time has come, boys and girls, for yet another one of Uncle Akaky’s patented thought experiments. Today, let’s imagine that you are the head of MI-6 or the Mossad or the BND. You need American cooperation on a politically sensitive intelligence operation, but the Americans want to know how reliable your information is, how well placed your agent is, or worse, who your agent is. This might not be a problem at any other time, but at the moment you’ve got that gurgling in your guts that tells you that something bad is about to happen. It’s not your CIA, DIA, or FBI counterpart that’s causing the intestinal distress; no indeed, it’s knowing that however much you might trust the guy across the table from you, he or she still has to share your valuable information with Congress, which may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your point of view, and that the next head of the House Intelligence Oversight Committee might be Rep. Alcee Hastings, Democrat of Florida.

Now, that name may not mean anything to the average citizen of your country, who has better things to do with his or her time than know who represents Florida's Twenty-third Congressional District in the the House of Representatives, but you are the head of an important and top secret government agency and it’s part of your job description to know who Congressman Hastings is. Therefore, you already know that in a former incarnation Congressman Hastings was Justice Hastings of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and that as such he was only the sixth Federal judge in American judicial history to be impeached by the Senate on charges of perjury and bribery. Given that Rep. Hastings has already demonstrated a problem with peculation and malfeasance, do you (a) share all of your operational secrets with the Americans, confident that Rep. Hastings has learned his lesson, (b) tell the Americans as little as humanly possible, or (c) tell the Americans that they should check out the horoscopes in the Washington Post if they want to find out what happens in the world tomorrow?

UPDATE: Well, this will remain an experiment, as I see on Instapundit that Rep. Hastings is not going to be the next chairman of the House Intelligence Oversight Committee. And all of God's espionage agents sighed, Hallelujah!


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