By: Robert Scott
All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser
Whether you get your news from the internet, from television, or the reliable, old-fashioned way – from newspapers like The Edgefield Advertiser– there is always a question: what news is accurate rather than just opinion or worse, biased reporting? Journalism is the first draft of history, and we all know that rough drafts change when new information supplements or even supplants that first draft. Occasionally, though, you will have first-hand knowledge about big-news events or big-news people, and that knowledge provides valuable insight in evaluating the first draft. This week’s news finds me in a position like that.
As is often the case these days, one of the top Washington stories of the week is a toxic mixture of foreign policy, domestic policy, and politics. It touches on relations of the US with the former USSR member state of Ukraine, on how our non-partisan Intelligence Service works, and on the extent that current law requires the Democratic-led House of Representatives to provide oversight over the Republican-led White House and Executive Branch of government.
How much trust we, you and I, should put into such a process is often unknown and even unknowable, because all we know about those real people with real power is what we read or see through a lens controlled by the media, the press, or our favorite politicians. For me, every once in a while, there is a more personal connection: one of the key figures is somebody whom I know personally, or have known for years or even decades, and whom I have learned to trust in the crucible of military service. This week’s news includes one such figure: Joseph Maguire, the newly appointed Acting Director of National Intelligence. Retired Vice Admiral Maguire is presently the responsible official whom Congress is directing to provide all information about a “Whistle Blower” with information about President Trump and the President of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the White House Counsel and reportedly the Attorney General are directing Mr. Maguire to do precisely the opposite: to withhold that information as being privileged communications of the President of the United States.
My insight into Ukraine and the Whistle Blower law is very small indeed, but my insight into Joe Maguire isn’t. Over our Navy careers, Joe and I served closely together during three different tours in three different decades, and we became close friends and respected shipmates. Joe is one of those Navy colleagues whom I would trust – and have – with my life. His background is Special Warfare, a field with many opportunities to ignore the rules and get away with it; Joe never did. In 30 years in the Navy, I never served with another individual with a higher sense of ethics, with the personal values of leadership and physical courage to match.
I don’t know how this latest scandal within our national government is going to turn out, but I do know this: to the extent that Joe Maguire is involved, it will turn out morally and ethically right. You can bank on that.