Apr 24 2006

McCarthy Lawyers Up

*** Captain Ed Morrissey has some excellent thoughts on this matter here. Interesting to see the good Captain was an FSO, so was I at one (brief) time. ***

Well, this is a surprise. Mary McCarthy, who according to government sources admitted to exposing classified information to reporters, and possibly specifically Dana Priest of the Washington Post, and who is characterized as a serial leaker to many reporters on a variety of topics is claiming innocence through her lawyer:

A lawyer representing fired CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy said yesterday that his client did not leak any classified information and did not disclose to Washington Post reporter Dana Priest the existence of secret CIA-run prisons in Eastern Europe for suspected terrorists.

The statement by Ty Cobb, a lawyer in the Washington office of Hogan & Hartson who said he was speaking for McCarthy, came on the same day that a senior intelligence official said the agency is not asserting that McCarthy was a key source of Priest’s award-winning articles last year disclosing the agency’s secret prisons.

Emphasis mine. McCarthy has allegedly already made one error in gullibility and being seduced by ‘the plan‘ and promises of a brighter future. She better be careful she doesn’t make another mistake in judgement. I have lawyers in my family (all great) and have dealt with them many others of various types on too many occasions (note: interrupted postings result in ugly sentence fragments). There are two flavors of lawyers. Those who try to do the right thing and those who try to do the right thing for themselves.

McCarthy’s lawyer could be playing a dangerous game. If she is talking to investigators, he better not be out there playing PR games right now. Laying low and cooperating is the best plan if she admitted to exposing classified material. A public push back could paint a target on her she will forever regret.

Cobb said that McCarthy, who worked in the CIA inspector general’s office, “did not have access to the information she is accused of leaking,” regarding classified information about any secret detention centers in Europe.

Cobb is naive. The secret ‘detention centers’ were likely just CIA safe houses for holding prisoners while low profile transportation was made available. I see some pathetic word parsing here, starting with the idea she was the ‘main source’ verses a collaborating source. In the world of classified information there is no distinction. Misrepresenting them in the press is not going to save her from divulging or confirming the existence of CIA facilities in Eastern Europe.

Cobb may be a leftwing plant meant to get McCarthy to hold of agreements with the Feds. My guess is he pressured McCarthy to put up a fight. Win or lose Cobb is safe and paid for. In fact, he is apparently denying is media speculation, which means nothing if she did leak classified information.

Nowhere in the CIA statement last week was McCarthy accused of leaking information on the prisons, although some news accounts suggested the CIA had made that claim.

Conversely, nowhere in the CIA statement was McCarthy exonerated – just the opposite. And the sources to this story seem to be in the CYA mode – which is bad for McCarthy. If she is even once tries to cover for someone else her leniancy deals are off

Though McCarthy acknowledged having contact with reporters, a senior intelligence official confirmed yesterday that she is not believed to have played a central role in The Post’s reporting of the secret prisons. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing personnel matters.

Central role? Not relevant. Personnel matters? Is the source under investigation too? The Washington Post has a lot of guts trying to make the case McCarthy is innocent using someone else who may be guilty as well. Strangely, it seems many in the agency are jumping in front of the crackdown – which only those with something to worry about would do:

“Firing someone who was days away from retirement is the least serious action they could have taken,” said a former intelligence official who is friendly with McCarthy but spoke on the condition of anonymity because of speculation on the administration’s motive. “That’s certainly enough to frighten those who remain in the agency.”

This person (Beers, Johnson, McGovern?) is safe to comment because they are outside the agency, and therefore shouldn’t have half a clue as to what is happening. Brave soul.

The PR effort is a full court press, likely to backfire on poor McCarthy, unless this is part of the sting – get her cohorts to expose themselves through public demonstrations of support. For example:

A counter-terrorism official acknowledged to Newsweek today that in firing McCarthy, the CIA was not necessarily accusing her of being the principal or sole leaker of any particular story.

Did this person just ‘jump into jail’ by associating themselves with McCarthy. These leaps of support make no sense in a town known to run from scandals to protect six figure salaries and notoriety. McCarthy was an unknown set of damaged goods who could easily disapear from the news cycle if she had nothing to link to anyone in power. One wonders why people are rushing to associate their name with hers when no association is the best PR course of action.

The VIPS have come out of the leftward fringes to defend McCarthy on PBS no less!

Mr. Kerr, should Mary McCarthy have been fired for what she did?RICHARD KERR, Former Deputy Director of Central Intelligence: Yes, I believe so.

RAY MCGOVERN: We’re not talking about petty crimes or misdemeanors; we’re talking about war crimes. She was cognizant of war crimes. She needed to do something about that, from a moral and a legal perspective. And she chose this way to do it, because the other ways were blocked for her.

Is this the promised PR support for McCarthy if she goes with Cobb’s plan of defiance? If so, this kind of assistance is going to put McCarthy away behind bars. While Cobb claims she had no access, McGovern is saying she did and she had to expose the classified information because she had no other way out.

JIM LEHRER: … the allegation that she gave the Washington Post information about these so-called prison camps in Eastern Europe?


Ray McGovern is saying she did it – who am I to argue with the intel expert! Even Andrea Mitchell jumped into the fray:

Keith Olbermann, referring to how she was fired after she had already quit: “But does it not support her theory, or what would be behind her claim, that scape-goating might not be an inappropriate term here?”

Andrea Mitchell, from NBC’s Washington bureau: “Well she hasn’t said that, but certainly her friends are saying that.

Her friends? What do her friends know about this?

And frankly, people within the CIA, even critics of administration pre-war intelligence and all the rest, former and current CIA officers, say that leaks are terrible and that no one should leak national security.

Pick a side Andrea.

Addendum: Malkin’s new endeavour Hot Air has a post on the matter, referencing yours truly. More here.

18 responses so far

18 Responses to “McCarthy Lawyers Up”

  1. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    I left a link at JOM, but Ty Cobb was John Huang’s attorney

  2. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    Funny, Ty Cobb was also quoted in this AP Story by TONI LOCY, and familiar name

  3. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    Oops, the AP story –about Libby — I meant to add.

  4. AJStrata says:

    John Huang? Then he is definitely a leftwing controller. McCarthy is in serious trouble. Cobb gets paid no matter what happens to her.

  5. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    Yes, he does…I should add…can’t judge an attorney by the client though.

  6. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    on the otherhand he has some experience here:

    “Represented a high ranking White House official in Congressional and DOJ investigations involving the White House Travel Office.

    Represented a former U.S. Senator and, separately, a member of the First Lady’s staff in connection with the Congressional and Independent Counsel investigations into “Whitewater.”

    Represented other Cabinet and Cabinet level officials on three separate occasions in DOJ investigations.

    Represented a former Commerce Department official and Democratic National Committee official, John Huang, in connection with Congressional and DOJ investigations (and related civil actions) involving campaign finance and the Clinton-Gore campaign of 1996.

    Special Trial Counsel, Office of Independent Counsel (HUD investigation). ”


  7. Kaz-Man says:

    Just amazing how many of her “friends” know the particulars about leaking classified information. Andy McCarthy over at National Review seems to think she should get cuffed right now. But there was quiet genius behind turning her loose. The ones who stand by her and scream the loudest are probably guilty as hell, too.

  8. Jane W says:

    I don’t see anything insidious in any of this. First of all you want a lawyer who is familiar with the terrain. Cobb is. He clearly understands presenting a defense in a highly charged political atmosphere. That’s good.

    Secondly she should have a lawyer. We want her to have a lawyer. We want all her constituional protections to be assured.

    In a criminal case, you are not going to have a lawyer who runs out and proclaims your guilt. That’s just silly. And frankly I don’t think it matters if McCarthy leaked the story or confirmed it. If she was the confirmation that just means there are more leakers out there, and we already knew that. It’s not much of a cabal if Mary McCarthy is the only one in it!

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Remember the real goal has nothing to do with the democrats and everything to do with national security.

  9. Jlmadyson says:

    Congress cracking down on U.S. leaks


  10. AJStrata says:


    Don’t get me wrong, she deserves a good lawyer (I had to fix the text to more accurately reflect my opinion of lawyers, since an interruption while writing caused an ugly fragment). What is a dangerous game is playing the media PR against the government if you are in negotiations, or will be soon, with the government. Legal counsel is a must.

    Legal strategy is debatable.

  11. Kitty Litter says:


    AJ Strata discusses McCarthy Lawyers Up: McCarthyÂ’s lawyer could be playing a dangerous game. If she is talking to investigators, he better not be out there playing PR games right now. Laying low and cooperating is the best plan if she admitted to ex….

  12. Sue says:

    Read carefully the denial. Maybe she wasn’t the source for the CIA prison story. They aren’t saying she wasn’t the source for any story.

  13. McCarthy Denies Being Leaker…

    Ty Cobb, the lawyer representing CIA officer and alleged secret prison leaker Mary McCarthy, claims that his client is innocent. The Washington Post reports: A lawyer representing fired CIA officer Mary O. McCarthy said yesterday that his client did no…

  14. J2 says:

    Legal strategy is debatable.

    Depends on who’s running the table. And is McCarthy even in the game?

    Hiring Clinton-vetted legal team – Mary, you just sunk the eight ball.

  15. topsecretk9@AJ says:


    Secondly she should have a lawyer. We want her to have a lawyer. We want all her constituional protections to be assured

    Yes she should, totally agree and would be surprised if she didn’t.

    What I find interesting is she is a woman who is still availed her pension, says she is not guilty of leaking classified and perhaps not facing prosecution…retains a $750 an hour DC Power Attorney?

    Cobb is not the kind of lawyer you retain to just manage the PR offensive, to field press questions, etc. — Cobb is the kind of attorney one retains when they are worried, IMHO.

  16. Jane W says:

    Legal strategy is debatable.

    I’m not sure we’ve seen a legal strategy yet. What it looks like to me is what happens in every criminal matter when a lawyer gets involved. You take the case, you proclaim your client’s innocence and you get to work.

    The reason you want McCarthy to have a good lawyer is so both sides, clearly understand the stakes. A good lawyer is a mouthpiece sure, but he also can see the forest for the trees. He knows when and where his client’s best interest diverges from his client’s cronies’ best interest. And in this case I think that is important.

  17. AJStrata says:

    Jane W,

    No one is arguing she doesn’t deserve a good lawyer. We disagree that she has one at the moment in Cobb, who may not have her interests as a priority over everyone elses interests. That would make him a not-so-good lawyer. They do exists.

  18. Jane W says:

    Oh I wasn’t talking about what she “deserves” , trust me. She may deserve a good lawyer but I don’t care about that particularly. What I want is a lawyer who can clearly see the risks and rewards of a particular course of action.

    And you are right. I don’t know much about Cobb, and if he is not putting her best interests forth she should fire him. (Then again who knows if she actually hired him.)

    The point I was trying to make, albeit poorly, is that if your case is good, you would always prefer a skilled lawyer on the other side to something else.