Treason, pure and simple. Here, right wingers, tell me how good this shit sandwich tastes:
Killing the CIA
In Goss, Bush found the perfect hatchet man to take vengeance on a despised agency. Now Goss is gone, scandal looms -- and the CIA is ruined.
By Sidney Blumenthal
May 11, 2006 | The moment that the destruction of the Central Intelligence Agency began can be pinpointed to a time, a place and even a memo. On Aug. 6, 2001, CIA director George Tenet presented to President Bush his presidential daily briefing, a startling document titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Bush did nothing, asked for no further briefings on the issue, and returned to cutting brush at his Crawford, Texas, compound.
In Bush's denial of responsibility after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the search for scapegoats inevitably focused on the lapse in intelligence and therefore on the CIA, though it was the FBI whose egregious incompetence permitted the plotters to escape apprehension. Bush's intent to invade Iraq set up the battle royal that followed.
Tenet, an inveterate staff careerist held over from the Clinton administration, had ingratiated himself with the new White House tenant with salty stories, but it was in his eagerness to please Bush on Iraq that he ensured his tenure and made himself indispensable. At first, Tenet opposed including in the president's speech of October 2002 the disinformation that Iraq was seeking to build nuclear weaponry using yellowcake uranium Saddam Hussein supposedly sought to purchase in Niger, and the reference was knocked out. Yet, having already been discredited, the falsehood was inserted into the president's State of the Union address of January 2003, becoming the now infamous 16 words.
Tenet reassured Bush that the case for Saddam's possession of WMD was a "slam-dunk." At CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., Tenet promised then Secretary of State Colin Powell that for Powell's Feb. 6, 2003, speech before the U.N. Security Council, the information that would be used to prove Saddam had WMD was ironclad. Powell insisted that Tenet be seated behind him while he spoke as visual reinforcement of his statement's unimpeachable character. Yet every piece of it was false, and the humiliated Powell later said he had been "deceived." Tenet resigned on June 4, 2004, and shortly thereafter was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
After the brief interim appointment of CIA professional John McLaughlin, on Aug. 10, 2004, almost three years to the day after the Aug. 6 presidential daily briefing on bin Laden, Bush named Porter Goss the new director of central intelligence. The president was looking for someone to rid him of the troublesome agency. In Goss, he thought he had discovered the perfect man for the bloody job, but the nature of the task undid Goss, and in his unraveling another scandal unfolded.
In the absence of any reliable evidence, CIA analysts had refused to put their stamp of approval on the administration's reasons for the Iraq war. Vice President Dick Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, personally came to Langley to intimidate analysts on several occasions. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his then deputy secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, constructed their own intelligence bureau, called the Office of Special Plans, to sidestep the CIA and shunt disinformation corroborating the administration's arguments directly to the White House. "The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made," Paul Pillar, then the chief Middle East analyst for the CIA, writes in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs. "The process did not involve intelligence work designed to find dangers not yet discovered or to inform decisions not yet made. Instead, it involved research to find evidence in support of a specific line of argument -- that Saddam was cooperating with al Qaeda -- which in turn was being used to justify a specific policy decision."
But despite urgent pressures to report to the contrary, the CIA never reported that Saddam presented an imminent national security threat to the United States, that he was near to developing nuclear weapons, or that he had any ties to al-Qaida. Moreover, analysts predicted a protracted insurgency after an invasion of Iraq. Tenet, despite the lack of cooperation from the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, acted as backslapper for the administration's policy.
The White House was in a fury. The CIA's professionalism was perceived as political warfare, and the agency apparently was seen as the center of a conspiracy to overthrow the administration. Inside the offices of the president, the vice president and the secretary of defense, the CIA was referred to as a treasonous enemy. "If we lived in a primitive age, the ground at Langley would be laid waste and salted, and there would be heads on spikes," wrote neoconservative columnist David Brooks in the New York Times on Nov. 13, 2004, citing White House officials and "members of the executive branch" as his sources. Reflecting their rage, he called on Bush to "punish the mutineers ... If the C.I.A. pays no price for its behavior, no one will pay a price for anything, and everything is permitted. That, Mr. President, is a slam-dunk."
Goss combined the old-school tie with cynical zealotry. A graduate of Hotchkiss and Yale (class of 1960) and married to a Pittsburgh heiress, he had served as a CIA operative, left the agency for residence on Sanibel Island, Fla., a resort for the wealthy, bought the local paper, sold it for a fortune, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1988. There he struck up an alliance with Newt Gingrich and his band of radicals. And after they captured the House in 1994, Goss used his CIA credential to become chairman of the Intelligence Committee.
In that position, he proved his bona fides to the Bush administration time and again. "Those weapons are there," he declared after David Kay, head of the Iraq Survey Group, reported that there were no WMD. He blocked investigations into detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and into prewar disinformation churned by the neoconservatives' favorite Iraqi exile, Ahmed Chalabi. "I would say that the oversight has worked well in matters relating to Mr. Chalabi," Goss said. He also derided the notion of investigating the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson: "Somebody sends me a blue dress and some DNA, I'll have an investigation." Goss was on board with the cavalier way in which Plame was outed, a breach that revealed ingrained contempt for the agency as well as the supremacy of political objectives over national security.
On April 21, 2005, his mission dictated by Bush's political imperatives, Goss became CIA director. Immediately, he sent a memo to all employees, ordering them to "support the administration and its policies in our work." He underscored the supremacy of the party line: "As agency employees we do not identify with, support, or champion opposition to the administration or its policies."
He installed four political aides to run the agency from his offices on the seventh floor at Langley. Within weeks, an exodus of professionals began and then turned into a flood. In the Directorate of Operations, he lost the director, two deputies, and more than a dozen department and division directors and station chiefs out in the field. In the Directorate of Intelligence, dozens took early retirement. Four former operations chiefs, horrified by the carnage, sought to meet with Goss, but he refused.
As a result of hectoring by the 9/11 Commission, Bush established the position of national director of intelligence, a new layer of bureaucracy, but one that lacked operational or intelligence resources of its own. Suddenly, the CIA's preeminence was shattered. Since its creation by the National Security Act of 1947 at the onset of the Cold War, the CIA had dominated the intelligence community. But now the "central" part of the CIA was handed off to the new NDI, whose lines of authority and power were untested and uncertain.
The "global war on terror," meanwhile, was a boon to the concentration of power within the Pentagon, and that department gained control of more than 80 percent of the total budget for intelligence. Without its assigned place at the top of the pyramid, the CIA became disoriented and ever more peripheral. That suited Rumsfeld's empire building. And the CIA's plight was aggravated by the power grabs of the first NDI, John Negroponte (coincidentally an old Yale classmate of Goss'). Without natural functions of its own, Negroponte's office seized them from the CIA.
Acting on the president's charge, Goss in effect purged the CIA. He was even conducting lie detector interrogations of officers to root out the sources of stories leaked to the press -- to the Washington Post, for example, in its Pulitzer Prize-winning exposé of CIA "black site" prisons where detainees are jailed without any due process, Red Cross inspection or Geneva Conventions protection. Last month, a CIA agent, Mary McCarthy, was fired for her contact with a reporter. Like others subjected to questioning, she was asked her political affiliation.
But Goss' purging weakened the agency and his own inherent bureaucratic strength in relation to his voracious rivals at the Directorate of National Intelligence and the Pentagon. The more he served as the president's loyalist, the less was his power. By fulfilling his mission, he diminished himself. The butcher's defense of the integrity of the CIA from the directorate and the Pentagon lacked all conviction.
Last edited by FeelTheLove; 05-11-2006 at 09:31 AM.