The Right Coast

April 12, 2004
Chun can be avoided
By Tom Smith

Chun the unavoidable seems to think I don't know what I am talking about in suggesting that debka has good contacts in the intelligence world. From a quick look at his site, I guess that his politics are of the left-wing variety. But he claims that the average homeless person in San Diego has better contacts with intel types, and that reminds me of a story I can't resist telling.

When I worked in the White House in the last year of the Reagan administration, I used to walk down Connecticut Ave. to get to work, and would sometimes come in pretty early. I had had to go through security clearance like everyone else, and one of the things you learn is how you dispose of classified documents. For garden variety "Secret" you would put them in a "burn bag", which was a distinctive looking brown paper bag, about the size of a tall kitchen trash can. They were made out of heavy duty brown paper with crisp folds, and there was no mistaking what they looked like.

As I approached the Old Executive Office Building where I worked (people who worked for the CEA, NSC etc. in the OEOB say they work in the "White House"-- it's an accepted Washington affectation. If you actually work in the White House, you say you work in the "West Wing", to distinguish yourself from people like me, who say they work in the White House), I saw this homeless person walking down the otherwise deserted street with a full burnbag over his shoulder. Where was he going? What was he going to do with it? Was he going up the street to the Soviet embassy to sell it for Thunderbird money? I didn't know what to think except, "There goes a [person of] bum[hood] with a burnbag, that looks like it's full. I wonder where he's going?"

I thought about telling the Secret Service about it. Maybe I should have. But if you have dealt with the Secret Service you will understand my conclusion was only two things could have happened. One, absolutely nothing. Two, I would get in potentially a lot of trouble for embarrassing someone in the scary if often completely ineffective security infrastructure of the White House. So I just decided I had not seen what I had seen. Perhaps not very patriotic, but then I know how things work in the big bad world of Washington, and you probably don't.

As to Chun, I don't have any reason to think he knows anything about intelligence, the Middle East, and all of that. Lots of people who follow Israel closely take debka to be a must read. That doesn't mean you buy their spin. I have read debka for a long time, and have often found them 10 to 20 days ahead of the learning curve on matters directly related to such things as military deployments in the Middle East. If they say, for example, that there are Delta operators in Jordan, there probably are. I don't find it implausible at all that there are right-wingers in Mossad and IDF who hate Sharon and leak stuff to debka.