Democrat George Smith tells the tale in the Village Voice of how he came to be, for a one-week media cycle, what he calls "an unwitting hit man for the right" for a column he wrote a year ago critical of ex-Bush Administration whistleblower/turncoat (take your pick) Richard Clarke. Drudge, Rush, Fox News, Savage, Opinion Journal -- all cited Smith or beseeched him to come on the air. Frothing email from the left filled his in-box.
I'd written many columns about Clarke since 1998, all uniformly scornful and critical of his obsession with cyberterror. He bequeathed the nation a haystack of quotes leading idiots to believe terrorists were going to devastate us through computer networks. That, and a claim that the Freedom of Information Act was a legal impediment to the sharing of information, in need of an alteration to fix it.
No one had been particularly interested in what I'd written back then. Just mentioning anything having to do with Richard Clarke was generally enough, I found, to make the head of the average person nod with boredom.
However, the first sentence of this particular column proved to be a time bomb: "The retirement of Richard Clarke is appropriate to the reality of the war on terror." That was what got me in trouble.
Who is George Smith? Global Security.org says of him: "Smith has commented on the science and technology of national security for the last ten years in publications ranging from the Village Voice to the Wall Street Journal. In 1992 he founded the Crypt Newsletter, an electronic publication which was the first to shed light on the illicit world of malicious software coders and computer virus-writers...Smith was the first scholar to critically analyze the American government's claims on the national infrastructure's vulnerability to electronic attack." He has a Ph.D in chemistry and writes from Pasadena.