Sunday, January 21, 2007

On Kelly: More Bumbling by the FBI

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret who was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan administration. He is presently a columnist at the Post-Gazette, and can be described as a reliably hawkish unilateralist and free-market fundamentalist. As a special feature of the Comet, we will attempt to debunk the dangerous and foolhardy ideas put forth by Pittsburgh's most prominent ultra-conservative.

In an obvious effort to switch terrain, so as to steer clear of Comet criticism (unlikely), or to avoid the phenomenal crisis-at-hand for which he continues to accrue liability (more likely), Jack Kelly spends this week's column on the recent history of domestic counterintelligence.

I'll get you next time, Kelly. Next time!!!

Seriously, this week's offering exposes the flaw in promising to fully critique a Jack Kelly column on the same day it was published, every week. Lacking extensive knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center plot, we would have to research these events and the four books he cites by Peter Lance and Bill Gertz. Well played, Mr. Kelly. No longer will the Comet promise same-day debunkery, but rest assured it will always arrive in its own sweet time. You'll just have to stay tuned like everybody else.

We will say those books don't look like serious works of scholarship, but rather like pulp on O.J. Simpson or Natalee Holloway. But you can't judge a book by its cover; maybe the liberal publisher is to blame. Meanwhile, we highlight today's upshot:

The revelations in Mr. Gertz's book make it all the more urgent that responsibility for domestic counterintelligence be removed from the FBI and placed in competent hands.

We sure hope Kelly's not talking about the Pentagon. The culture of the military, though admirable in many ways, is not at all suited to navigate the actors and associations of the domestic theater, and possesses nowhere near the requisite institutional transparency.

If he means the CIA, (didn't we consolidate these?) it's not as though they've been a bumble-free, bullet-proof, slam-dunk of an operation. Maybe that's why he declined to name his alternative intelligence outift. As someone in Jack Kelly's own party once said, "Criticism alone is not a strategy."

Maybe same-day debunkification is possible after all! But no more promises.

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