Daily Archives: October 1, 2003

Bush v Tenet: Blaming the CIA

Ever have a Eureka!-moment in the middle of the night, one of those blinding flashes of insight or dawning ideas that you suddenly realize is totally original? And then you wake up in the morning, excited by your own brilliance and eager to share it with the world only to discover that somebody’s been there before you?

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Even though I spent half the day yesterday on the Fable (or Fairy Tale, if you’d prefer), it didn’t occur to me until last night what else the report meant–that George Tenet, who was supposedly so loyal to Junior that he fell on his sword for him over the Niger thing, was finally fighting back. After his sacrifice, the callous outing of one of his undercover ops (and the consequent destruction of who-knows-how-many on-going operations and current agents) for nothing more than a little political revenge must have hurt, but following close on the heels of that indignity came nearly 2 months of listening to the Bushies blame the CIA for the mess in Iraq and claim it was the CIA who fed them all those lies, and how were they supposed to know if the Company said everything was copacetic?

And now this morning, I check the invaluable Digby over at Hullabaloo (which I do every day more or less because she’s always worth reading; you’ll find a link to her site on the side of this page), and what do I find? Yessir, Digby’s already been there (scroll down until you see the title “Angry Spooks”):

The bigger issue, it seems to me, is the ongoing war between the CIA and the administration. It is clear that the administration “sexed-up” the intelligence and is now trying to shift the blame to the CIA for it. When the administration stupidly attempted to make Tenet take the fall for the Niger flap the battle was drawn. The CIA is fighting back. They were used and brow beaten into making assessments that fit the agenda of a bunch of neocon radicals. The assessments have been proven spectacularly wrong, and the CIA is left holding the bag. The congress is issuing reports that they provided lousy intelligence which means that they are going to have to defend themselves against charges of incompetence.

This is a very dangerous situation for the administration; the CIA is not the institution you want to make your enemy. The Plame affair is really only the first shot across the bow.

As usual, I think he’s hit the nail on the head–the CIA is in a position to toast their corns for them and is turning up the heat. I suggested a long time ago (on a BBS, before I started this blog) that George Tenet, while not the cleverest CIA Director we’ve ever had (no Stansfield Turner or John Deutch, he) is a competent administrator and a long-time insider who knows how to play the game. He’s showing that now, and there will be more to come.

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Honda Hero of the Week

MoJo Online has an unusual story that may resurrect your faith in humanity again after the shocks it’s taken this past year–hell, this past 20 years:

When John Andrew got laid off this summer he could take solace in having plenty of company: Since George W. Bush took office, nearly 4 million Americans have lost their jobs.But the same day that this client-services director for a Minnesota software firm got his pink slip, he also heard that the president’s economic team was coming to the Midwest on a “Jobs and Growth” tour — a three-day, six-city publicity blitz to talk up the benefits of the Bush tax cuts.

“It pissed me off,” says Andrew, who felt the administration had no business crowing about an economy that was shedding one job every 15 seconds. “I’m 41 years old; I got two kids,” he says, “and I decided this would be a good time for dad to stand up and protest.”

So Andrew decked out the family’s blue Honda Odyssey with protest placards and hit the highway on his own “Economic Reality” tour. He shadowed the bus carrying cabinet secretaries John Snow, Donald Evans, and Elaine Chao, to give his fellow Americans “the real facts — that this economy stinks, and Bush’s tax cuts are making it worse.”

He caught up with them in at a fast-food restaurant called “Culver’s” in northern Wisconsin, and when they wouldn’t listen to him:

While the secretaries boasted of collecting, “real-time economic information from real American people,” they apparently didn’t want to hear from Andrew, who was turned away at the door by security.Undeterred, Andrew drove his minivan repeatedly into the window-lined drive thru, hoping to catch their attention. “I probably went through 20 times,” says, whose van quickly filled to overflowing with the Diet Cokes he kept buying.

On his final pass, Andrew caught a glimpse of secretary Snow walking outside the restaurant. “I rolled down my window and yelled: ‘Hey John!’,” Andrew recalls, “which was probably kind of impertinent considering he’s the Secretary of the Treasury.”

Flanked by a secret service detail, Snow came up to the passenger-side window. Andrew explained to the secretary that he’d just been laid off. “I told him that I strongly disagreed with the economic policies that this administration was pursuing, and that I felt that it was ineffective, wrong headed, and doing nothing to help the majority of American workers.”

Snow, in turn, encouraged patience, reasoning that the first tax cut (now nearly two years old) hadn’t had time to take effect, and that the benefits of the second tax cut were following close behind. He then offered two parting words of advice: “Just wait.”

“I was stunned by the response,” says Andrew. “I’d like to see those words on a PR banner behind Snow at the podium: ‘Jobs and Growth: Just Wait.’ Maybe I should call Citibank, which holds my mortgage, and tell them ‘Just Wait — I can’t pay you this month.'”

“Stunned” is probably the right word, but, let’s face it, typical for this crew. Their only concern is for making sure they sound concerned, and they’re not even much good at that. “Just wait.”

Right.

Andrew has a website: jobforjohn.com. Visit it. Congratulate him. And then email Kerry or Dean or Clark and suggest they put him to work on their campaigns. We need somebody like this speaking for us.