When the Washington Post's David Ignatius writes a column headlined "Putin Steals the CIA's Playbook on Anti-Soviet Covert Operations," is that supposed to be a criticism or a compliment?
If you were concerned that the Syria WMD stories didn't already feel enough like the Iraq WMD reports, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius had one just for you. It's not that Ignatius doesn't know that this story sounds, well, familiar–but it's important to recall more of the journalism from the Iraq invasion era.
There's no doubt that the sex scandal that prompted CIA director David Petraeus's sudden resignation late last week is a big story. New details–verified or not–seem to arrive almost by the hour. But the reason it seems to have shaken so many media figures is because Petraeus was uniquely beloved by many in the corporate media, who considered him both an accessible source and a war hero. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams called him (11/9/12) a "a man of such sterling reputation," and confided on the air to one guest that "it is impossible to be a member of […]
Sam Husseini asked a tough question of a member of the Saudi royal family at a National Press Club event–which got him into some trouble with folks at the Press Club. (Good news–his suspension has been lifted.) Part of what motivated Husseini to question Turki al-Faisal was the fact that a representative of such a repressive regime would have the nerve to give a talk about Arab democracy. Elite journalists, on the other hand, don't spend much time worrying about this. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius filed his Sunday column (11/27/11) from Riyadh, where he was speaking about, what else, […]
David Ignatius of the Washington Post (12/29/10): I've seen Petraeus give many briefings over the years, and it's a bit like watching a magician at work. Even though you've seen the trick before, and you know the patter, you still get mesmerized. He has the ability to make people believe the impossible might be doable, after all. That sounds bad, but then I remembered this from ABC's Martha Raddatz (6/23/10): A warrior and a scholar, Petraeus is sometimes jokingly referred to as a water walker, since almost everything he touches seems to turn to gold. Joke's on us, I guess.
Yesterday (11/22/10) Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post wrote a column headlined "Obama's Foreign Policy Needs an Update," where he worried that the White House suffers from a"lack of grand strategy — or strategists. Its top foreign-policy makers are a former senator, a Washington lawyer and a former Senate staffer. There is no Henry Kissinger, no Zbigniew Brzezinski, no Condoleezza Rice; no foreign policy scholar." The irony inherit in complaining that Obama's foreign policy is too old-fashioned and in need of some of the old Kissinger magic should be obvious enough. Less clear is why anyone would single out Condoleezza […]
A meeting of the minds between NBC host Chris Matthews and Washington Post columnist David Ignatius (Chris Matthews Show, 11/29/09): IGNATIUS: The long period of analysis, very deliberative, robs this of passion. This is–he was going to be a wartime president now, and he has to sell the country on the idea that our young men and women are going to go there, fight and get killed. MITCHELL: Yes. IGNATIUS: And, you know, I think this, you know, this is not going to…. MATTHEWS: So too much Chamberlain, not enough Churchill. IGNATIUS: Well, too much–too much college professor.
David Ignatius starts off his Washington Post column today ("A New Deal for the CIA," 9/17/09) with a story about Jeannie de Clarens, a 90-year-old Frenchwoman who infiltrated the Nazi army, discovered information about German rockets that "saved London," was captured by the Gestapo and survived a year in a concentration camp without betraying her secrets. De Clarens sounds like a real hero with a great story. But the moral Ignatius draws from it is not so great: "When we read about waterboarding and other techniques that shock the conscience, it's easy to lose sight of what intelligence agents like […]