Daily Archives: December 11, 2006

CIA v State

This is more than a little…strange…on several levels. Apparently the State Dept asked the CIA to provide intel on Iran and it refused because it was “too busy” and because it didn’t want to reveal its sources. To the State Dept. So Condi’s minions assigned the task to a junior staffer, who Googled the info.

When the State Department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians who could be sanctioned for their involvement in a clandestine nuclear weapons program, the agency refused, citing a large workload and a desire to protect its sources and tradecraft.

Frustrated, the State Department assigned a junior Foreign Service officer to find the names another way — by using Google. Those with the most hits under search terms such as “Iran and nuclear,” three officials said, became targets for international rebuke Friday when a sanctions resolution circulated at the United Nations.

Now, there could be several reasons for this but none of them have anything to do with a “large workload”.

  1. There is a whole lot of bad feeling between CIA and State. This could be related to:
    • the fallout after George Tenant’s cowardice landed all the blame – blame it didn’t deserve – on the Company for the faulty intelligence leading up to the war;
    • Condi’s standard neocon disdain for CIA intel-gathering and analysis, which can’t be good for interdepartmental relations;
    • CIA distrust that an incompetent, stumbling State, larded with agenda-driven neocons, would either misuse the information or blow its sources for some temporary political purpose a la Valerie Plame.
  2. There’s a hint of this from the anonymous CIA source quoted in the Post story.

    What little information there is has been guarded at CIA headquarters. The agency declined to discuss the case in detail, but a senior intelligence official said: “There were several factors that made it a complicated and time-consuming request, not the least of which were well-founded concerns” about revealing the way the CIA gathers intelligence on Iran.

  3. The Company doesn’t have any intelligence from Iran except what it reads in the papers (or Googles….) and doesn’t want the world, especially not State, to know it. One of the biggest problems for US intelligence gathering in the past two decades has been its leaders’ insistence on relying on technical methods of gathering intelligence (satellite photos, telecommunications interceptions, and so on) to the detriment of developing live assets – real people on the ground in a position to spy for us. Live assets are needed to confirm or deny the intel gathered by mechanical means, which can be blocked or – worse – tricked up to fool us.
  4. The drubbing it took after the invasion has turned it into a mightily insular agency that doesn’t trust anybody, not even the State Dept of its own government and is passing out NO information of any kind if it can help it.

There’s also a fairly important question unanswered in the article: What happened to State’s Intelligence Dept? When Powell was Secretary, State Intelligence was a thriving, competent bureau with its own sources and resources. If it still exists under Rice, why wasn’t this handed to them instead of some junior clerk and his Google skills? Did she disband it because it had embarrassed her husband President over the Iraq WMD deal? If so, that should have been front-page news and it wasn’t.

Altogether there’s much more here than meets the eye and none of it is good.

Keith Olberman on the New Detainee Law

This is a couple,of moths old, I guess, but if you haven’t seen it, you should. Olberman pulls not a single punch describing the abominable law that Bush so cheerfully signed and becomes the first mainstream newsman I know of to outright call the Pres a liar, not once but several times. Enjoy.

Another One Bites the Dust

The “imminent” heart attack that kept Augustus Pinochet out of courtrooms for the past 11 years or so finally arrived yesterday.

Gen. Augusto Pinochet, 91, the former Chilean dictator whose government murdered and tortured thousands during his repressive 17-year rule, died yesterday at a Santiago military hospital of complications from a heart attack, leaving incomplete numerous court cases that had sought to bring him to justice.

Pinochet assumed power on Sept. 11, 1973, in a bloody coup supported by the United States that toppled the elected government of Salvador Allende, a Marxist who had pledged to lead his country “down the democratic road to socialism.”

First as head of a four-man military junta and then as president, Pinochet served until 1990, leaving a legacy of abuse that took successive governments years to catalogue. According to a government report that included testimony from more than 30,000 people, his government killed at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000. Two-thirds of the cases listed in the report happened in 1973.

An austere figure who claimed to be guided by “the spiritual force of God as a believer,” Pinochet regarded himself as a soldier rather than a politician. With his stern visage and fondness for military uniforms and dark glasses, he seemed to personify implacable authority. He was both an opponent of communism and a critic of “orthodox democracy,” which he said was “too easy to infiltrate and destroy.”

Conservatives will be mourning the death of their friend and ally, especially President Bush, who was a follower of Pinochet and borrowed many of The General’s ideas for his own domestic agenda – the privatization of Social Security, the usefulness of torture and secret prisons, and of course the trick of governing outside the law through executive fiat, to name a few.

Yes, they’ll be missing him, alright. Gus was one of them: a gun-slinging toy soldier with a mean streak, an authoritarian’s will-to-power , an oil-tanker’s worth of arrogance, 3 healthy dollops of conservative Xtian self-righteousness, a talent for vicious brutality, a penchant for kissing US corporate asses, and the ability to nurse a hubristic vision of himself as some sort of twisted, anti-democratic icon that “God” had chosen to show the rest of us how it’s done.

As for everybody else, we’re wicked pissed this butcher got off so light.