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Friday, June 16, 2006

Crackpot Larry Johnson

Who is Larry Johnson and why are people talking about him? Well, for one reason, he is and ex-CIA employee and he wrote what could well be the most mistaken and mistimed op-ed in modern history.

Byron York wrote:

On July 10, 2001, the New York Times published an opinion article titled “The Declining Terrorist Threat.” It was written by Larry C. Johnson, a former CIA analyst and State Department counterterrorism official, who argued that Americans spent too much time worrying about terrorist attacks that would likely never come. “Judging from news reports and the portrayal of villains in our popular entertainment,” Johnson wrote, “Americans are bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism.” And then:

They seem to believe that terrorism is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming more widespread and lethal. They are likely to think that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists. And they almost certainly have the impression that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism. None of these beliefs are based in fact.

Surveying the security situation around the world, Johnson sought to reassure readers. “The greatest risk is clear: if you are drilling for oil in Colombia — or in nations like Ecuador, Nigeria or Indonesia — you should take appropriate precautions,” he wrote. “Otherwise Americans have little to fear.”

Two months later, the planes of September 11 crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. And Larry Johnson became known, at least in the eyes of some of his former colleagues, as the author of perhaps the most embarrassing op-ed ever published. “The worst,” says one such colleague. “On an issue of national interest, has there ever been a worse prognostication in the history of man?”

Probably not. Yet Johnson’s career as a commentator did not just continue after September 11 — it thrived ....

In just the last few months, his observations about intelligence matters have appeared in or on the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New York Daily News, the Sunday Times of London, the Guardian, the Associated Press, Knight-Ridder, National Public Radio, CNN, MSNBC, and more..

Johnson has a web site on which he writes of Karl Rove:

Karl is a shameless bastard. This could explain why his mother killed herself. Once she discovered what a despicable soul she had spawned she apparently saw no other way out. It would be one thing if his vile tactics were simply mere smears of politicians like Kerry and Murtha. They are big boys and should be able to defend themselves quite ably against this turd. But Rove, like Josef Goebbels, has used fear and smear as his primary tools to keep George Bush in power.

Thanks to the Internet and the blogosphere, the drive-by-media can no longer present cretins like Johnson as the go-to "experts" when they want an anti-administration quote. Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom has it right when he says:

And yet these people—thanks mostly to their enablers in the press—are often trotted out as serious critics of the administration, and seldom shown for the vile and vicious anti-intellectual thugs that they are. Whether it’s Howard Dean calling Republicans evil and saying he “hates” them; or John Murtha convicting soldiers of murder in advance of a full investigation; or a low-rent castoffs like Johnson, who the MSM routinely turns to when they need a good anti-war intelligence source, mustering up the guts to say that Karl Rove is responsible for his own mother’s suicide—the bile is there for all to sample, if only the MSM weren’t so good at controlling the information flow.

But the question is, how long will the legacy media be able to keep a lid on this stuff now that the information superhighway has so many toll free lanes?

On the way to work this morning I plan to tune in NPR, fully expecting to hear Larry Johnson being asked why, if we got Zarqawi we can't get Osama. The answer will involve Karl Rove, Goebbels, and the peacefulness of Islam.

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