Jewish World Review Dec. 2, 2005 / 1 Kislev,
Investigate the CIA
The Dec. 1 edition of The New York Times carried a story about
the damage done to U.S. interests by the revelation that the CIA maintains a
number of secret interrogation prisons for terrorists in Europe and
elsewhere. ("Reports of Secret U.S. Prisons in Europe Draw Ire and Otherwise
Red Faces.") Governments throughout the continent are now demanding
explanations from the U.S. Department of State and otherwise strutting their
outrage that the U.S. might be kidnapping suspected terrorists from European
soil and transferring them to other nations.
How did this bit of classified information become public? It was
a leak from within the CIA (to The Washington Post in that case) and a
breathtaking one at that. Though the agency has been steadily leaking
damaging stories about the Bush administration since 9/11, it has now
crossed a new threshold with a leak that severely damages CIA activities and
arguably harms national security all for the sake of crippling George W.
Most people outside the Beltway, as well as many within it,
still think of the CIA as the home of swashbuckling hardliners who break all
the rules in order to advance America's national interests. Not in this
century. As attorney and former counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee
Victoria Toensing put it, "Derring-do is dead." When she interviewed a CIA
station chief in a major country, he bragged about the diversity of his
operatives rather than their accomplishments. Political correctness reigns
in the U.S. government at every level, and the CIA is no exception. The
result is an agency that is conducting a steady leak campaign against
President Bush designed to discredit the Iraq war and undermine the war on
Thomas Joscelyn of The Weekly Standard analyzes another leak by
the agency, this one concerning the relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq.
On June 9, 2003, The New York Times reported that captured terrorist Abu
Zubaydah had told CIA interrogators that there was no link between Iraq and
al Qaeda. (Headline: "Captives Deny Qaeda Worked with Baghdad.") Only a year
later, when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its own report on
intelligence in Iraq, did the full context of the Zubaydah quote become
clear. The unabridged quote included this statement: "Abu Zubaydah indicated
that he had heard that an important al-Qaeda associate, Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi, and others had good relationships with Iraqi intelligence." Why
did the CIA leaker not include that quote in his or her discussions with the
Times reporter? Was the agency cherry-picking its intelligence? For more
extensive examples of CIA leaking, see "Leaking at All Costs" by John
Hinderaker, The Weekly Standard. Hinderaker describes the CIA's campaign
against the president as "one of the great untold stories of the past three
The CIA has been known to hold up the publication of books by
former employees for months or more on national security grounds. And CIA
employees are required to sign a confidentiality agreement. Yet the agency
permitted an active employee, Michael Scheuer (he has since retired), to pen
a broadside against the Bush administration under the provocative pen name
"Anonymous." In "Imperial Hubris," Scheuer lambastes Bush for what he calls
the "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked war" against Iraq, and argues (in
the Cindy Sheehan mode) that under Bush's leadership, America has declined
from "the much-admired champion of liberty and self-government to the hated
and feared advocate of a new imperial order." These are the words of one of
the CIA's top counterterrorism officials.
And there is the peculiar story of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame.
The CIA permitted Wilson to publish an op-ed about his mission to Niger in
order to damage the president though the agency knew a) that Wilson's claims
in the op-ed were quite different from his verbal report about the trip, and
b) that the identity of Wilson's wife (who was, after all, the expert on
WMDs) would probably come to light. Toensing, who has urged the Congress to
investigate the CIA, further notes that Patrick Fitzgerald's indictment of
Scooter Libby includes this allegation in paragraph 5: "On or about June 9,
2003, a number of classified documents from the CIA were faxed to the Office
of the Vice President. . . . The documents, which were marked as classified,
discussed, among other things, Wilson and his trip to Niger, but did not
mention Wilson by name. After receiving these documents, Libby and one or
more other persons . . . handwrote the names 'Wilson' and 'Joe Wilson' on
the documents." Sinister? But at this time, Wilson was actively talking to
the press and would publish his own op-ed in July.
The CIA is no longer in the business of political assassination.
It has, however, moved on to character assassination. The oversight
committees of the Congress would do well to investigate.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington
and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
Comment on JWR contributor Mona Charen's column by clicking here.
Mona Charen Archives
© 2004, Creators Syndicate