Monday, November 15, 2004


If this were the premise for a thriller, you'd put it down after page 1

From the brilliant Charles Pierce at Altercation:
"The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

And there it is. Courtesy of a former (you freaking bet!) top-level spook, as relayed by Knut Royce of The Baltimore Sun yesterday, the single dumbest notion yet to leak out from under the Mayberry Machiavellis. I have enormous respect for the Newsday guys, and I have no illusions that this would ever happen in any major newspaper, but ought not the next piece of the story read something like this?
"Of course, as history and common sense would tell us, this perception no more conforms to reality than it would if the White House perceived the CIA to be a pod of humpback whales, an exaltation of larks, a gathering of the Inuit tribes, or an alternative rock band from Pullman, Washington. Sources have declined comment on whether or not the White House political operation has stopped its brief experiment with psilocybin mushrooms."
The reality is no joke. The CIA is on its way to becoming the enforcement arm of whatever the foreign policy fantasts next want to foist on the nation. Unless, of course, the CIA decides to fight back. There's progressive politics for you in November of 2004 -- hoping that the spooks will covertly undermine the lunacies of an elected government. Thanks again, America.
The CIA, of course, is not supposed to obstruct the president's agenda. But then, the president's agenda is not supposed to include starting an unnecessary war by pipelining and cherrypicking intelligence, bypassing the State Department, permitting the Pentagon to completely take over the US's foreign policy, lying about the reasons for going to war, and rewarding corporate crony companies with noncompetitive contracts - which those companies then underperform on and overbill for.

The CIA is supposed to supply intelligence. Rarely, under controlled circumstances, it serves as an arm of policy-making. But that aspect is far less important than its roles of gathering and analyzing intelligence. Purge it of its independence and turn it into just another branch of the West Wing, and you end up talking to yourself - and listening to yourself. You run a serious risk of not knowing something, just when you need to know it.

But hey, when did that ever concern George Bush?

(Also, considering its nightmarish reputation for much of its Cold War history - Bay of Pigs, Muhammed Mossadegh, etc. - the idea that anyone, anywhere would see the CIA as a "hotbed of liberals" is a clear sign that George W. Bush has not yet found his way back to the "reality-based community" and in fact is bravely forging ahead in precisely the opposite direction.)

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