The Guardian published an NSA story based on "revelations" from Wayne Madsen
, a former NSA employee who has had a prominent and controversial blogworld presence for roughly a decade. The Guardian later took down the story, "pending an investigation."
Looks like someone belatedly told the Guardian's editors about Madsen's oddball history. Time and again, he has frustrated observers by making huge (and I mean huge
) claims about hot issues -- but when push came to shove, the only proof he would offer would be his seemingly endless list of invisible, nameless sources. Although Alex Jones features Madsen prominently on his show, I learned a long time ago to treat this man with caution.
Most respectable websites avoid him altogether.
In the past, I've put it this way: Madsen is probably right about half the time, but I often don't know which half is which
. That assessment may have been a bit too kind, since there have been many occasions when the "hooey factor" was pretty damned obvious.
For example: He claimed that Mossad had some connection with the prosecution of Eliot Spitzer. I don't buy that. Madsen has claimed that Barack Obama is gay. I don't buy that. Madsen has claimed that the Kenyans found a Kenyan birth certificate for our gay President. I don't buy that. He has claimed that the USS Cole was attacked not by Al Qaeda but by an Israeli submarine. I don't buy that.
Madsen is most famous for writing a series of articles on the possibility that both Barack Obama and his mother had CIA backgrounds. (He recently came out with a book on the subject, unread by me.) Madsen took his cue from my own "Obama and the CIA" series, which predated his work. He never saw fit to credit or even to mention me. Perhaps I should consider myself fortunate. At any rate, many of the verifiable
claims in Madsen's articles first appeared here
). He also came up with some material that was both original and checkable. I'm grateful for that stuff. And then there are those other
claims, the ones that depend on unnamed sources and which thus resist any attempt to double-check. What on earth are we to do with those?
(For example, Madsen thinks that Obama's grandmother had some link to the long-forgotten Rewald scandal. If so, where's the evidence?)
The current Madsen imbroglio
will do nothing to aid the Guardian's credibility. Pity, that. Unlike the nonsensical claims listed above, the things Madsen had to say about NSA collusion with foreign agencies
were much more plausible. Hell, just a week ago
, I wrote about NSA's longstanding data-sharing agreements with its British counterpart, GCHQ; those agreements can be traced back to 1947. But spook-watchers have known about that stuff for a couple of decades, so it's not as though we're talking about anything truly new