by Patrick Lang

I had many levels of security clearance during my long government life as well as access to many “compartments” of information involving projects and intelligence “products” so dear to the state that access to them was limited to those on special “bigot lists.”

Col. Patrick W. Lang (Ret.), a highly decorated retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, served as “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism” for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and was later the first Director of the Defense Humint Service. Col. Lang was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. For his service in the DIA, he was awarded the “Presidential Rank of Distinguished Executive.” He is a frequent commentator on television and radio, including PBS’s Newshour, and most recently on MSNBC’s Hardball and NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

His CV and blog are linked below the fold.

I understood that with that access came an obligation to the state to protect the secrets of the American government. This obligation was entered into freely as a member of “the team.” At times a written undertaking of confidentiality was required before access was granted. I accepted that because I was a public servant.

It could be argued that as historic events recede in time this obligation becomes problematic when confronted with the need to complete the public record, but at the time when access is granted there was not and is not any doubt that someone who accepts secret information from the government, any government, has accepted the government as his/her master,

What then are we to make of the news that Judith Miller was granted some sort of security clearance by the Defense Department so that she could participate in the hunt for Iraqi WMD and presumably “write up” the successful result of that search when it occurred. She had previously written in breathless anticipation that such weapons would be found in Iraq after an American invasion, and now we know that the government provided her with access to classified information to facilitate a continuation of her attempt to validate the causes for which we fought. This continued validation was to be conducted in the pages of the New York Times (“All The News That Is Fit To Print”). This knowledge of her status as a “trusted person” in the eyes of the Bush Administration and her continued “stonewalling” of her colleagues at the Times with regard to the details of her relationship with Administration personalities leads me to the OPINION that her loyalties were divided in at least two directions.

Was she alone in this bifurcated allegiance (government and the news)? It hardly seems likely. There were other nationally know journalists who were treated in a very special way by the Bush Administration. They were welcome guests of the various people of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, were briefed there regularly, given access to serving military officers to make their “research” more authoritative. No. we should not believe that it was only Miller who in my OPINION owed the “right” story to the government.

In Kubrick’s brilliant film, “Full Metal Jacket,” “Joker” the enlisted “Stars and Stripes” reporter is told by the Saigon bureau chief, a marine lieutenant, that he is to go out and find good news because the “troops need it.” “Stars and Stripes” is a “house” newspaper for the armed forces.

Are the New York Times and other media who have gone out to find “good news because the troops need it? house media of the government?

How many more “Millers” are there?

Pat Lang

LIST of articles continued BELOW:

Article available with TimesSelect subscription or for purchase THREATS AND RESPONSES: BAGHDAD’S ARSENAL; White House Lists Iraq Steps To Build Banned Weapons 

… By JUDITH MILLER and MICHAEL R. GORDONView free preview

September 13, 2002 – InternationalNews853 words

September 13, 2002 – InternationalNews853 words



September 8, 2002 – InternationalNews3603 words

Article available with TimesSelect subscription or for purchase U.S. Germ Warfare Review Faults Plan on Enforcement 

… By MICHAEL R. GORDON and JUDITH MILLERView free preview

May 20, 2001 – InternationalNews1844 words

Article available with TimesSelect subscription or for purchase U.S. and Russia Seek New Ways To Detect Cheating on Test Ban 

… By MICHAEL R. GORDON and JUDITH MILLERView free preview

October 4, 1999 – InternationalNews1278 words


Personal Blog: Sic Semper Tyrannis 2005 || Bio || CV
Recommended Books || More BooTrib <a href="Posts

Novel: The Butcher’s Cleaver (download free by chapter, PDF format)

Drinking the Kool-Aid,” Middle East Policy Council Journal, Vol. XI, Summer 2004, No. 2

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