Michael Scheuer
George Tenet’s At the Center of the Storm
The War Against the CIA

Michael Scheuer

The material on Michael Scheuer on 2010-01-13 was moved to
the stand-alone document “Michael Scheuer”.

George Tenet’s At the Center of the Storm

Tenet’s coming memoirs
By Michael F. Scheuer
Washington Times, 2006-10-05

Original Washington Times URL (no longer active)

Tenet’s Tell-All Is a Slam Dunk to Provoke Invasion’s Architects
By Al Kamen
Washington Post, 2007-04-16

The drums have begun sounding
or the long-awaited book by former CIA director George Tenet,
in which he gives his take on pre-9/11 days
and on Saddam’s huge cache of weapons of mass destruction.

And the drums are saying that
Tenet is not going to get too many Christmas cards from Vice President Cheney’s office
after they read “At the Center of the Storm.”
Folks from down the river at the Pentagon,
including former deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz--
a guy who’s already going through a rough patch --
and former defense undersecretary Douglas Feith,
might also get some heartburn.

Former secretary of state Colin Powell comes out fine.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice,
who was President Bush’s key adviser in engineering the Iraq invasion,
doesn’t come out so fine.
Not fine at all.

[I think the chief reason for running this piece was
to give the people whom Tenet (quite correctly) criticized as being
the principle causes of America’s disastrous rush to an unnecessary war
the advance warning to prepare counterattacks (see many examples below)
to distract America’s attention
from what Tenet was saying about them
to their totally exaggerated criticism of his tenure at the CIA.]

Ex-C.I.A. Chief, in Book, Assails Cheney on Iraq
New York Times, 2007-04-27

[An excerpt.]

“There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration
about the imminence of the Iraqi threat,”
Mr. Tenet writes in a devastating judgment
that is likely to be debated for many years.
Nor, he adds, “was there ever a significant discussion”
about the possibility of containing Iraq without an invasion.


Mr. Tenet largely endorses the view of administration critics that
Mr. Cheney and a handful of Pentagon officials,
including Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith,
were focused on Iraq as a threat in late 2001 and 2002
even as Mr. Tenet and the C.I.A. concentrated mostly on Al Qaeda.


[Tenet] describes in particular the extraordinary tension
between him and Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser,
and her deputy, Stephen J. Hadley,
in internal debate over how the president came to say erroneously
in his 2003 State of the Union address
that Iraq was seeking uranium in Africa.

Letter to George Tenet
Phil Giraldi
Ray McGovern
Larry Johnson
Jim Marcinkowski
Vince Cannistraro
David MacMichael

[McGovern himself provides an HTML version of the letter here.]

Tenet Tries to Shift the Blame.
Don’t Buy It.

By Michael F. Scheuer
Washington Post Outlook, 2007-04-29

[So why did the WP publish this opinion piece by Scheuer?
Consider all the other Scheuer opinion pieces that they have ignored,
like those at Antiwar.com.
Think there’s a snowball’s chance in Hell
that they would print a piece like, for example, this?
Are you kidding?
As in bed with the Israel Lobby as Donald Graham is?
So why did they publish this one?

The answer seems obvious:
Tenet’s book contains,
as Scheuer points out in the excerpt from his article below,
a solid attack on all the Israel Lobby’s key agents:
Condi Rice, Cheney and his office, the neocons at the Pentagon,
the Weekly Standard, the National Review.

So now is the time to publish Scheuer,
when he is tearing down the man (Tenet)
who is currently mounting a credible threat to the activities of the Israel Lobby,
rather than when Scheuer himself is challenging The Lobby.

To look at it from another angle:
The Post is little interested in Scheuer’s views on policy issues,
as opposed to personal attacks on those the neocons feel threatened by.]

Now he tells us.
At this late date,
the Bush-bashing that Tenet’s book will inevitably stir up
seems designed to rehabilitate Tenet in his first home,
the Democratic Party.
He seems to blame the war on everyone
but Bush (who gave Tenet the Medal of Freedom)
and former secretary of state Colin L. Powell
(who remains the Democrats’ ideal Republican).
Tenet’s attacks focus instead on the walking dead, politically speaking:
the glowering and unpopular Cheney;
the hapless Rice;
the band of irretrievably discredited bumblers who used to run the Pentagon,
Donald H. Rumsfeld, Paul D. Wolfowitz and Douglas J. Feith;
their neoconservative acolytes such as Richard Perle; and
the die-hard geopolitical fantasists at the Weekly Standard and National Review.
[Scheuer is in grave error when he declares all those
“the walking dead, politically speaking.”
It would seem Rice is the Washington equivalent of a vampire:
no matter how much went wrong on her watch,
none of it fazed her.
The media just keeps positioning her for a political future:
She is obviously the media’s Great Black Female Hope.
A disastrous run as national security advisor?
Who cares?

And the WS and NR just keep rolling along,
with, for example, William Kristol amazingly still being relied upon
for “insightful” commentary by major media outlets.
And as to AIPAC, at the heart of America’s geopolitical darkness,
it seems as mighty as ever, as described, for example,
in the references cited here.]

They’re all culpable, of course.
But Tenet’s attempts to shift the blame won’t wash.
At day’s end, his exercise in finger-pointing
is designed to disguise the central, tragic fact of his book.
Tenet in effect is saying
that he knew all too well why the United States should not invade Iraq,
that he told his political masters and that he was ignored.
But above all, he’s saying that
he lacked the moral courage to resign and speak out publicly
to try to stop our country from striding into
what he knew would be an abyss.

[If I were Tenet, my response to that would be:
Hindsight is always 20/20.]

Officers: Ex-CIA chief Tenet a ‘failed’ leader
CNN, 2007-04-29

In a letter written Saturday to former CIA Director George Tenet,
six former CIA officers ... called his book “an admission of failed leadership.”


The letter, signed by
Phil Giraldi, Ray McGovern, Larry Johnson,
Jim Marcinkowski, Vince Cannistraro and David MacMichael,
said Tenet should have resigned in protest
rather than take part in the administration’s buildup to the war.

George Tenet: At The Center Of The Storm
Former CIA Director Breaks His Silence
Interview with 60 Minutes
60 Minutes, 2007-04-29

George Tenet on the staircase with the neocons
In his book and on TV, former CIA Director George Tenet
remembers all the things he should’ve said before we invaded Iraq
but didn’t.
By Juan Cole
Salon.com, 2007-04-30
(alternate free location)

Tenet has revealed for the first time that
he encountered Pentagon advisor Richard Perle
on the day after the Sept. 11 attacks.
As Tenet recounted the story on “60 Minutes,”
Perle “said to me,
‘Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday;
they bear responsibility.’”

Tenet told interviewer Scott Pelley that he was startled at the allegation.
“It’s September the 12th,” said Tenet.
“I’ve got the manifest with me that tells me al-Qaida did this.
Nothing in my head
that says there is any Iraqi involvement in this in any way, shape or form,
and I remember thinking to myself, as I’m about to go brief the president,
‘What the hell is he talking about?’”

Poor George Tenet; He Still Doesn’t Get It
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2007-04-30

Antiwar Radio: Charles Goyette Interviews Ray McGovern
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern explains
just what a horrible Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet was:
Really horrible.
Also, Dick Durbin’s folly.
Antiwar.com, 2007-04-30

Ex-CIA Officers Among Tenet Critics
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post, 2007-05-01

George J. Tenet’s close friends said
he anticipated criticism for some of the claims and anger he expressed
in his new memoir about his former life as director of the CIA.
He did not expect, they said,
that his detractors would include former CIA and military officers,
or that he would be blamed
for the deaths of U.S. troops fighting a war in Iraq
that he knew had been badly planned from the start.

As his book, “At the Center of the Storm,” debuted yesterday,
six former CIA analysts called on Tenet
to donate a significant portion of royalties
to families of service members killed or wounded in Iraq.
They also called on him
to return the Presidential Medal of Freedom he was awarded in December 2004.

The signed letter chastised Tenet
for bottling up criticism of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war
for three years
and then publicly focusing on how the White House may have sullied his reputation.
The letter --
written by officers who have been vocal in their opposition to the war --
was widely circulated by e-mail to CIA and military veterans groups and blogs.
Several former CIA officers
who worked closely with Tenet in the run-up to the war
said they agreed with the letter
but did not want to become embroiled
in a public fight with their former boss.


[The WP article never mentions the names of the authors of the letter
nor gives any identification for it,
strangely not even a link in the WP on-line article.
But the letter surely is this one.]

In Defense of George Tenet
Why do they hate him?
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-02

[An excerpt;
emphasis is added but the many links in the original are lost.]

Former CIA director George Tenet is being lashed by both
the pro-war neoconized Right and the antiwar Left....

Now that it’s time to fix the blame for a perfectly predictable failure,
the real authors of this catastrophe –
the neoconservative clique
that hijacked American foreign policy in the wake of 9/11 –
are eager to pin responsibility on the CIA.

The great irony of this is that
the opposition to the Iraq misadventure within the government
was centered at Langley.
The neocons hate Tenet and the organization he headed and still defends....


In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq,
a mighty battle of bureaucratic wills took place within the U.S. government.
On one side were the CIA and a good deal of the national security bureaucracy, including the State Department’s intelligence bureau,
urging caution.
On the other side were the sub rosa, ad hoc neocon-run operations,
such as the Office of Special Plans, WHIG, and other improvisations
that constituted, in effect, what Bob Woodward – citing Colin Powell –
described as “a separate government.”


[T]he neocons considered themselves to be the CIA’s mortal enemies.
The agency, you see, was concerned with finding out the truth,
or at least as close an approximation to it as possible
while still serving the president’s agenda –
which was, of course, a war with Iraq.
But even this minimal concern for at least the appearance of truthfulness
was too much for the gang in Cheney’s office,
which was determined
to force-march the nation to war as soon as possible.


[Tenet] did what he could, within the very limited parameters open to him,
to prevent the worst – and failed.
If neoconservative domination of U.S. policy-making after 9/11
can be likened to a foreign invasion –
and it can, in more ways than one –
then Tenet was a patriot fighting as best he could against the occupiers.
His problem was that he was fighting a rearguard action,
severely limited in what he could do
by the overwhelming power of a chief executive intent on making war on Iraq.
The neocon coup was an accomplished fact,
and it was all Tenet could do to preserve the CIA from wholesale dismemberment
in the intra-bureaucratic battle that dominated prewar Washington.

Now the neocons are trying to blame him
for the disaster they were so instrumental in creating.
These pied pipers of deception,
who dominated the airwaves, as Bill Moyers recently pointed out,
brazenly lying about everything
from Saddam’s alleged nuclear arsenal to his supposed responsibility for 9/11,
are still trying to destroy the CIA,
as well as divert attention away from their own misdeeds.


After all,
the CIA was intent on
guarding American national security and
advancing American interests,
while the neocons had other loyalties:
ideological, political, and supranational.

Former CIA Director Tenet Responds to Memoir Criticism
interview with Jim Lehrer
PBS NewsHour, 2007-05-03

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

Why are you doing this [writing and promoting the book]?

GEORGE TENET: Well, Jim, I think I’ve written something --
I hope that it’s something that people will take the time to reflect on.
There may be some things in it that spark some debate.
That’s a good and healthy thing in America.
And I just thought that this period of --
look, historians -- in 20 years, everybody will fill in all the blanks,
and I wanted to make sure that,
since intelligence was such an important part of it,
that our story be told.

JIM LEHRER: Let me read you what Howard Kurtz wrote about this.
He said that,
Whatever Tenet’s strengths and weaknesses as CIA director,
he quit three years ago.
He accepted a Presidential Medal of Freedom
and then remained silent until now
when he’s peddling a book.
If he felt so strongly about these intelligence issues,
about the rush to war in Iraq,
about the way he says he’s been besmirched,
why didn’t he speak out before now?
How does he justify remaining silent?

GEORGE TENET: Well, Jim...

JIM LEHRER: What’s the answer?

it took me a long while to think about what I lived through.
I lived through seven years.
I interviewed scores of people.
I didn’t want to write immediately.
I don’t think you write coming out of a caldron
when you’re emotionally drained and you’re tired.

You don’t want to write in anger.
You want to write thoughtfully.
You want to reflect on what happened.
I talked to scores of people. I looked at thousands of documents.
I may not have all the answers.
I wanted to do this in a patient and methodical way,
and that’s the way I decided to do it.


[With regards to the criticism he has received:]
People are always going to think what they’re going to think.
The only people I care about are the men and women I led.
I think I know what they think.

JIM LEHRER: Some of them, of course,
have issued statements criticizing your book and what you’ve said.

GEORGE TENET: Well, Jim, none of them were --
none of those six worked with me.
And another six have issued a letter,
with 150 years of experience, who saw me up close,
but nobody much cares about them.

Tenet v Perle
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-03

How the CIA Failed America
By Richard N. Perle
Washington Post, 2007-05-11

For an excellent response, see Lobe’s Tenet v. Perle II.

Tenet v. Perle II
by Jim Lobe
Antiwar.com Blog, 2007-05-11

This is an excellent response to Perle’s How the CIA Failed America.

George Tenet Lies About His Lies
by Philip Giraldi
Antiwar.com, 2007-05-16

[Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But at least Tenet wasn’t trying to talk people into war.]

The War Against the CIA

The blame game:
Blaming Israel for America’s troubles never goes out of fashion.

by Jonathan S. Tobin
Jewsweek.com, 2004-12-21

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

A close reading of Scheuer’s book [Imperial Hubris] and his public statements
makes it clear that
a complete housecleaning of this “rogue agency” [the CIA],
isn’t merely appropriate, it is a national priority.

What Became of the CIA
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Commentary, 2005-03

[This article is also available from the WSJ,
with the rather negative and biased subtitle:
“How is it that America's intelligence analysts don't recognize ham
and think bin Laden is ‘gentle’? ”.
(For a sample of the Zionist bias of the WSJ, see this.)

Here is an excerpt; emphasis is added.]

[I]t seems evident that the [CIA]’s problems originate
in realms deeper than can be addressed
by a reconfiguration of the organizational chart.

Exhibit A in any discussion of these matters should be Imperial Hubris,
a best-selling book by “Anonymous,”
who is described on the dust jacket as “a senior U.S. intelligence official
with nearly two decades of experience in national-security issues.”
As became known not long after the book’s publication,
“Anonymous” is Michael Scheuer,
until his resignation in the fall of 2004
a member of the CIA’s senior intelligence service.
Between 1996 and 1999 Scheuer was in charge of
“running operations against al Qaeda.”
After leaving that post,
he became a high-level manager in the agency’s counterterrorism center,
the perch from which he wrote his book.

Imperial Hubris is subtitled
Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror.
This poses a loaded question from the start,
since it is hardly self-evident that the West is losing the war on terror.
But Scheuer is strongly convinced—and stridently insistent—that we are.
Surveying U.S. counterterrorism policy
in the period leading up to and following September 11,
he adduces several major reasons why.

In the first place, Scheuer contends,
American policymakers have failed to grasp
the character of our adversaries’ enmity.
Here our intellectual weakness begins with
a faulty appraisal of Osama bin Laden himself.
We have tended to caricature the mastermind of September 11 as
a “deranged gangster,”
someone “prone to and delighting in the murder of innocents,” and
an “apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon.”
But, in reality, bin Laden is a strategically astute “practical warrior”—
as well as
“the most respected, loved, romantic, charismatic, and perhaps able figure
in the last 150 years of Islamic history.”
Far from seeking the fiery destruction of the West,
he is pursuing a series of narrow and tangible objectives.

A related misconception, according to Scheuer, is that

bin Laden and his fellow Islamists
hate the West for
what it is
rather than for
what it does.

Not so, he maintains.
Al Qaeda does not want to destroy
our liberal democratic institutions,
our open society, or
our freewheeling way of life.
Rather, it is engaged in a “defensive jihad.”
Many Muslims have a “plausible perception” that
the things they hold most dear—
“God, Islam, their brethren, and Muslim lands”—
are being “attacked by America.”
We are thus not enmeshed in a clash of civilizations
but in something much less grand.
The “key causal factor in our confrontation with Islam”
is “a few, specific U.S. policies.”

Scheuer has a short list of these policies,
beginning with our general stance in the Middle East.
There, in the aftermath of World War II, the U.S. moved
“from being the much-admired champion of liberty and self-government
to the hated and feared advocate of a new imperial order.”
This drive for hegemony, exemplified most recently by President Bush’s
“avaricious, premeditated, un-provoked war” against Iraq,
bears many of “the same characteristics as 19th-century European imperialism: military garrisons;
economic penetration and control;
support for leaders, no matter how brutal and undemocratic,
as long as they obey the imperial power; and
the exploitation and depletion of natural resources.”

A major outpost of our neo-imperial ambitions is the state of Israel.
Or is it the other way around?
All over the Middle East, writes Scheuer,
the United States is now seen as
a country that has
“abandoned multiple generations of Palestinians
to cradle-to-grave life in refugee camps”
while “arming and funding [Israel’s] anti-Muslim violence.”
It is, indeed, a wonder how Israel,
“a theocracy-in-all-but-name of only about six million people . . .
ultimately controls the extent and even the occurrence
of an important portion of political discourse and national-security debate
in a country of 270-plus million people.”

The key to this puzzle, Scheuer contends,
lies in Israel’s crafty use of
“diplomats, politicians, intelligence services, [and] U.S. citizen spies,”
along with “wealthy Jewish-American organizations,”
in order to
“lac[e] tight the ropes binding the American Gulliver to the Jewish state.”
But even to raise this subject, he warns darkly, is perilous to one’s health:
our “political and social landscape is littered with
the battered individuals . . . who dared
to criticize Israel,
or, even more heretically,
to question the value to U.S. national interests
of the country’s overwhelmingly one-way alliance with Israel.”

Sentiments like these
mark the author of Imperial Hubris as something of a political hybrid—
a cross, not to put too fine a point on it, between
an overwrought Buchananite and a raving Chomskyite.
This alone, one might think,
should have unfitted him for a high position of trust within the CIA.
But that is not the end of it.
Even as he lambastes the United States from his isolationist position,
reserving special fury not only for America’s alliance with Israel
but for our “hallucinatory crusade for democracy,”
Scheuer also swivels to assail Washington
for being insufficiently hawkish in waging the war on terror....


Whence this peculiar congeries of views,
advanced with supreme self-confidence and heedless inattention to fact?

All of which leaves only two questions.
  1. How did a person of
    such demonstrable mediocrity of mind and unhinged views
    achieve the rank he did in the CIA?

  2. How could
    so manifestly wayward and damaging a work
    have been published by someone in the agency’s employ?
To the second question, at least, an answer of a sort is ready to hand,
if one that raises disturbing questions of its own.

Last summer [summer 2004],
CIA censors took the unusual step of
permitting Michael Scheuer to publish Imperial Hubris
in the middle of the presidential election season.
This move, along with
several simultaneous leaks of classified intelligence studies
painting a grim portrait of the American campaign in Iraq,
struck many as a blatant intervention by the agency
into electoral politics, with Scheuer being used as a proxy.

[W]e are left with the question of how, for a period of years,
a man of this caliber had been given primary responsibility
for the effort to understand and counter Osama bin Laden.
But the bad news is that
the presence of such a figure in a pivotal position within the CIA
was not a fluke.

[Schoenfeld now discusses the case of Melissa Boyle Mahle.]

Upon assuming his position as Clinton’s first CIA director in 1993,
R. James Woolsey
who tried valiantly, and failed, to get the President [Clinton]
to focus on the threat of terrorism
in the aftermath of the first bombing of the World Trade Center—
announced an ambitious affirmative-action plan.
Although he was careful to state that
“we have not and will not set down quotas,”
Woolsey conformed to the new administration’s mandate
by requiring the agency’s deputy directors
“to identify the top 50 positions in their directorates” and
to collect data on “the percentage of minorities who apply, and the number selected” for these slots;
he also pushed forward a mandatory program
aimed at preventing sexual harassment.

By 1995, under John Deutch, Clinton’s second director,
the effort to remake the agency in the name of “diversity”
had intensified markedly.
Deutch began his tenure by advancing a “strategic diversity plan” and
installing a forty-year-old Pentagon official, Nora Slatkin,
in the agency’s executive-director slot to carry it out.
Slatkin soon formed a Human Resources Oversight Council (HROC) aimed
“at improving the agency’s efforts to hire and provide career development
for women, minorities, the deaf [!!], and people with disabilities.”
The need for such measures, according to HROC,
was clear from its own study of shortfalls
in “recruiting, hiring, and advancement”:
[M]inorities in the agency’s workforce—
particularly Hispanics and Asian-Pacific employees—
remain underrepresented when compared with Civilian Labor Force (CLF) guidelines determined by the 1990 census.
Hispanic employees in FY 1995 accounted for 2.3 percent of the agency workforce;
CLF guidelines indicate
Hispanics nationwide account for 8.1 percent of the nation’s workforce.
Asian-Pacific employees comprised only 1.7 percent of the agency’s workforce;
CLF guidelines indicate
Asian-Pacific minorities comprise 2.8 percent of the nation’s workforce.
To reduce these statistical discrepancies,
Slatkin declared “a goal that one out of every three officers hired in fiscal years 1995-97 be of Hispanic or Asian-Pacific origin.”
She moved no less aggressively
to alter the ethnic and sexual complexion of the CIA’s higher levels.
In just six months, she was able to report,
“42 percent of officers selected for senior assignments
ha[d] been women or minorities.”

Inevitably, working relationships were affected by these shifts.
According to [Melissa Boyle] Mahle, some male officers
became “very supportive of the diversity program and
ma[d]e a point of mentoring female officers under their command.”
But there was also “a perception among some male officers that
the CIA now use[d] a quota system for assignments and promotions.”
And this perception, she adds, was “probably true.”

By 1999, the agency’s top leaders were actively engaged
in the campaign for greater diversity, or, in plain English, quotas.
Clinton’s third director, George Tenet, issued a major statement
deploring the fact that “[m]inorities, women, and people with disabilities
still are underrepresented in the agency’s mid-level and senior officer positions,”
and asserting his determination to end this state of affairs.
It was, he said, incumbent on “supervisors and managers” at all levels
to understand that diversity is “one of the most powerful tools we have
to help make the world a safer place,” and
he declared that they would be held accountable for
“ensuring that this agency and community are inclusive institutions.”


The Scheuer/Schoenfeld Exchange

Commentary (2005-03) and WSJ (on-line)
published an article by Gabriel Schoenfeld,
“What Became of the CIA”,
which deals largely with Michael Scheuer’s Imperial Hubris.
That prompted a round of letters, published in Commentary 2005-06
(at least on the present date, 2007-08-03,
these letters are freely available online here).
One of the letters was from Mr. Scheuer.
In turn, Mr. Schoenfeld wrote a joint reply to all the letters.
Here is the letter from Scheuer, followed by Schoenfeld’s response.

Scheuer’s Letter to Commentary

To the Editor:

allow me to thank Commentary and Gabriel Schoenfeld
for devoting so much space to my work and ideas.
Clearly, Mr. Schoenfeld examined my book, Imperial Hubris, closely.
His fine read allowed him to pick
just the right snippets to support his assertions, distortions, and spin.
If Commentary’s readers want to believe
that those snippets accurately represent
either the argument or the well-documented content of the book,
so be it.
I see no need to defend my work against a writer
who clearly was uninterested in, or unable to understand,
the ideas in the context in which they were presented.

As I recall, Mr. Schoenfeld’s style is much the same style of research/spin
engaged in by the Pentagon officials Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz
to prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,
and the state-sponsor/surrogate relationship
between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
I admit I am a bear of little brain,
and my less than sterling mind
cannot hope to compete with that kind of research.

I thought Mr. Schoenfeld’s attempt to defame and scapegoat the CIA
for the mistakes of the two individuals listed above,
and the cohort they represent,
to be clever and subtle.
Well done.
By suggesting there is something wrong with any organization
that would allow me to hold a responsible position,
he is of course suggesting that the CIA’s new director, Porter Goss,
really needs to clean up the agency,
especially if any of its officers dare to think
the perfectly obvious but doctrinally unacceptable thought that
a one-way alliance with Israel
has long burdened U.S. relations with the Islamic world
and is now getting Americans killed.

But the fact is that Porter Goss would have an overwhelming clean-up job
only if
this knowledge were not common among agency officers.
Fortunately, that task does not fall on Mr. Goss’s very full plate;
all agency officers always remember that
their passports are issued in Washington and not in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.

Third, readers might like some checkables about
why I was given a series of responsible positions
over the course of my CIA career.
Between 1992 and 1999, for example,
the officers working in the units I led,
in cooperation with agency officials overseas,
helped to capture Talat Fuad Qassem, Ramzi Ahmed Yousef,
Wali Khan Amin Shah, and Hakim Murad;
broke up Ramzi Yousef’s plot to down fourteen U.S. airliners over the Pacific;
destroyed al-Qaeda cells in Africa, the Balkans, and the Caucasus; virtually
destroyed the outside-Egypt wing of Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad;
supplied all of the information used in the federal indictment of Osama bin Laden; and
provided all—repeat, all—of the chances that the United States has ever had
to capture or kill bin Laden.

There is no need to take my word for any of this:
check with the CIA and
the citation accompanying my Intelligence Commendation Medal,
and, for the last item,
read the 9/11 Commission Report.

Responsibility for these successes, of course, rests overwhelmingly with
the officers I was privileged to lead—most of whom were women—
and to their colleagues overseas.
Still, I can at least claim some small credit for not getting in the way
as those officers strove to protect America,
the willful failure of President Clinton’s National Security Council team
to show the same interest,
in protecting American lives.

Finally, I would be delighted to stack the quality of my research,
as well as the accuracy of my judgments,
against any the editors of Commentary might care to conduct
now or in the future.
Condemnation, denigration, personal abuse, and selective quotation,
as Mr. Schoenfeld so brilliantly demonstrates, are easy—
the tools of the zealot, propagandist, and ideologue.
I am comfortable to leave that sort of work to Mr. Schoenfeld and his kind,
while those of us in private life and the U.S. intelligence community
seek to understand bin Laden and the dire threat he represents
to the United States and its allies, including Israel.

Who knows?
While the ideologues and propagandists shovel dirt,
perhaps the rest of us will defeat bin Laden and prevent, say,
a nuclear attack on America.
Even Mr. Schoenfeld and his like should approve of this,
because bin Laden’s obvious intentions
after a nuclear attack in the United States
would give a whole new meaning to that old saying,
“next year in Jerusalem.”

Michael Scheuer
Washington, D.C.

Schoenfeld’s Reply to his Correspondents
Gabriel Schoenfeld writes:

Jamie Gorelick and Slade Gorton,
two distinguised members of the 9/11 Commission,
agree that the problems of the CIA reside in realms
that cannot be readily addressed by mere reorganization.
but they “emphatically do not agree” with
the proposition that intelligence reform is unnecessary.

I never said it was unnecessary.
I did raise questions about the wisdom
of grafting a new layer of bureaucracy on top of the CIA,
as their commission proposed,
and as Congress has done.
The damage caused by this “reform” is likely to be compounded by the fact that
the new position of National Intelligence Director
has been invested with immense responsibility for our national security
but only limited power to exercise that responsibility,
setting the stage for chaos or drift or both.

The establishment of a coordinated inter-agency counterterrorism center,
which Jamie Gorelick and Slade Gorton also endorse,
is a far more reasonable step.
But, in the final analysis,
unless a much more far-reaching transformation
of the basic culture of the U.S. intelligence community
is effectuated,
we will remain vulnerable to egregious failures of our own design
(not to mention the designs of our enemies).
[How about backing that assertion up
with either reasoning or examples, Mr. Schoenfeld.]

When the OSS was established during World War II,
its founders were able to draw on the cream of the American elite—
including some of the best minds from the faculties of the best universities—
to create
a flexible, highly effective, and imaginative intelligence organization.
But in the decades since World War II,
the caliber of the CIA staff has declined,
and the elite universities, having changed almost beyond recognition,
would hardly seem to offer an attractive pool from which to draw new talent.
[An interesting, actually disturbing, comment.]
It is not at all obvious which segment of American society the CIA should today turn to,
although those in the armed forces
who have put their lives on the line in Afghanistan and Iraq
would surely bring more daring, and more patriotism,
to the fight against Islamic terrorism
than are likely to be found on the faculties of Harvard or Yale.

I greatly appreciate R. James Woolsey’s thoughtful and illuminating comments.
But I do have reservations about two points.
First, Mr. Woolsey writes that
“ethnic and sexual diversity can be a major advantage in intelligence.”
In this he echoes Jamie Gorelick and Slade Gorton,
who stress that the CIA should build a staff
that “more closely resembles the people and countries on which it spies.”
But while this particular kind of “diversity” would indeed be welcome,
it is hardly what the CIA’s affirmative-action program in the Clinton era
was all about.

As I tried to show, at the very moment that the agency was purportedly gearing up for a war on Islamic terrorism, and at the very same time that it was facing a critical shortage of Arabic speakers,
the CIA’s leadership put in place a “strategic diversity plan”
with the goal of making the composition of its workforce match
that not of target societies
but of the larger U.S. workforce.
This led it to recruit not more Arabic speakers,
scarce and much needed though these were,
but more Hispanics and persons of “Asian-Pacific” origin.
This was politically correct, and pointless.

My second demurral concerns Michael Scheuer, whose own letter to Commentary appears above.
Mr. Woolsey makes no bones about
Scheuer’s “decidedly anti-Semitic” pronouncements,
but suggests that he is nevertheless
one of “those great analysts who think outside the box,”
if one who needed to be kept under adequate supervision.
To my mind, however,
if an analyst is spouting nonsense
[here, in this hypothesis, which Schoenfeld soon asserts is a fact,
is where Schoenfeld goes off the tracks]
including anti-Semitic nonsense,
it is hazardous to take seriously anything coming out of his mouth,
even if some of what he has to say happens to be on the money.

That is precisely what happened in this case.
Mr. Scheuer has severely embarrassed the CIA,
both by publishing a book
that agency officials themselves regarded as “ludicrous”
and through his various public statements
in the months since his resignation from the agency.
As for whether he is even a great analyst
[This is interesting.
After all the criticism of Scheuer given above,
Schoenfeld still leaves open the possibility, at least,
that Scheuer could be a “great analyst.”]
I will have more to say about this below.
[Did you doubt that?]

Melissa Boyle Mahle similarly offers high praise for Mr. Scheuer.
She calls his earlier book, Through Our Enemies’ Eyes, “excellent,” and applauds him for bravely dissenting from the CIA consensus on Osama bin Laden.
This strikes me as an evasion.

For one thing,
I did not criticize Through Our Enemies’ Eyes at all.
I focused instead
on some of the many preposterous statements
contained in Mr. Scheuer’s second book, Imperial Hubris,
about which she is completely silent.
For another thing,
her praise of Mr. Scheuer’s assessment of Osama bin Laden
is difficult to credit.

It is unfortunate, according to Melissa Boyle Mahle,
that the agency today remains “stuck” in the idea “that bin Laden is a terrorist,
and [that] al Qaeda is a terrorist organization”—
propositions that in her opinion are “wrong.”
Here she seems
at best to be opening up a pointless semantic dispute and
at worst to be lambasting the CIA
for one of the few (if obvious) things it has understood correctly.
Nevertheless, she is right that
Mr. Scheuer does indeed hold a dissenting view of bin Laden.
In Imperial Hubris, as I pointed out in my article,
he calls bin Laden “generous, talented, and personally courageous,”
and also “gentle.”
I am still wondering where this comes from;
I doubt even bin Laden’s own mother views him in such rosy terms.

[Here, I believe, Schoenfeld shows his own bigotry or idiocy.
The accounts of how he has given of his own money to aid his fellow Muslims
leave no doubt about his generosity.
After 09-11, no matter how much one may abhor the plot supervised by bin Laden, who can doubt the talent of its supervisor?
The man may be an evil genius, but there can be no doubt that a genius he is.
“Personally courageous”?
The accounts of his role on the Afghanistan battlefield, if true,
leave no doubt about his personal courage.
People who know him far better than Mr. Schoenfeld have described him as so.
So why does Mr. Schoenfeld deny bin Laden these adjectives?

A terrorist he may be, but then so were the Israeli leaders Begin and Shamir.
The Palestinians and Arabs revile Begin and Shamir, while Jews revere them.
Americans may revile bin Laden,
but we must not let that get in the way of
understanding how Muslims view him.
Understanding how the enemy thinks is at the heart of intelligence.
Mr. Schoenfeld, if allowed to carry out his evil program of purging the CIA,
will only bring a Dark Age to the intelligence world,
where only views acceptable to Jews are allowed.]

This brings me to Mr. Scheuer himself,
whose missive to Commentary offers further evidence,
if any were required,
that I was correct to point to his “demonstrable mediocrity of mind”
and to his “unhinged views.”
[Actually, Mr. Schoenfeld,
the only thing you have revealed
is your own talent for hyperbole.]

Unfortunately, he now compounds those deficiencies
by calling into question his own integrity.

Although Mr. Scheuer begins
by disclaiming any need to defend himself against my charges,
he then oddly reverses field.
In my article, he asserts,
I cherry-picked “snippets” from his book
in order to support my own “distortions” of his views.
Yet he makes not the slightest effort
to place any of those alleged snippets
in what he regards as their full and proper context,
or to demonstrate any of my alleged distortions or “spin.”
Readers are thus left to determine for themselves who is the more credible.

In aid of that process,
I would recommend focusing on Mr. Scheuer’s list of the counterterrorism feats
that he and CIA officers working under his command were able to accomplish.
Telling us that there is “[n]o need to take my word for any of this,”
he urges us
to verify the “checkables” with the CIA itself,
to review the citation accompanying his Intelligence Commendation Medal, and
to study the relevant portions of the 9/11 Commission report.

I have done, or attempted to do, all three.
For starters,
the CIA declined to comment on Mr. Scheuer’s claims about his career—
as he surely knew it would do.
As for the citation accompanying his medal,
not only Mr. Scheuer himself but the CIA’s public-affairs office
has rejected requests to see a copy of this supposedly corroborative document.
A helpful CIA officer did inform me, however,
that the citation itself is unclassified,
which means that Mr. Scheuer is free to release it if he likes.
One can only wonder why, after calling our attention to it, he does not.

The same officer told me that the medal in question was awarded in 1995.
That is one year before Mr. Scheuer
was assigned to the Osama bin Laden unit.
It is also well before he could have accomplished a number of the triumphs
that he suggests are cited in the commendation,
like supplying
“all of the information used in the federal indictment of Osama bin Laden.”
Bin Laden was indicted in 1998,
three years after Mr. Scheuer’s medal was minted.

Things get even worse when we turn, as Mr. Scheuer proposes,
to the 9/11 Commission Report.
According to my correspondents Jamie Gorelick and Slade Gorton,
the commissioners “thoroughly and exhaustively interviewed Michael Scheuer.”
Their carefully phrased conclusion:
“On a number of factual issues, he was of real value.
But much of what he had to say
was not borne out by our investigation” (emphasis added).
This independent, bipartisan verdict on Mr. Scheuer’s credibility—
Gorelick is a liberal Democrat,
Gorton a conservative Republican and former U.S. Senator,
and both are highly experienced attorneys—
could not be more unequivocal:
many of Mr. Scheuer’s “checkables” do not check out.

I do not know why Mr. Scheuer behaves the way he does.
But I have a hunch.
Consider the reference in his letter to two high-ranking Pentagon officials,
Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith,
and to “the cohort they represent.”
I did not mention either Wolfowitz or Feith in my article.
Nevertheless, Mr. Scheuer
conspicuously drags their names into the discussion,
links their “style” to mine,
asserts that I am trying to “scapegoat” the CIA for their misdeeds, and
claims that one of those misdeeds involved pressuring CIA analysts
concerning the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

As it happens, this last allegation is a “checkable.”
On it, the findings of the WMD commission,
headed by Laurence Silberman and Charles Robb,
are clear:
[W]e closely examined the possibility that intelligence analysts
were pressured by policymakers to change their judgments
about Iraq’s nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs.
The analysts who worked Iraqi weapons issues universally agreed that
in no instance
did political pressure cause them
to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments
[emphasis added].

In insisting to the contrary without adducing a shred of evidence,
Mr. Scheuer is making stuff up as he goes along,
which is not exactly the trademark of a “great analyst.”
But he is not making up just any old stuff.
As is well known, a campaign has been under way
in Europe, the Arab world, and in right- and left-wing circles here at home
to demonize Wolfowitz and Feith
(along with others in the government in the same “cohort”),
suggesting that these two Jewish officials
owe their loyalty to the state of Israel and have done its bidding
by ramming through policies against the American interest and
only nominally authorized by such higher-ranking, non-Jewish officials
as Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Richard Cheney, and George W. Bush.

In short,
Michael Scheuer is in the grip of a conspiratorial world view in which
Jews, operating through the Jewish state,
are clandestinely attempting to run American policy from behind the scenes.
He believes, as he writes in Imperial Hubris,
that in pursuit of this nefarious aim
the government of Israel makes use
not only of “wealthy Jewish-American organizations”
but of “diplomats, politicians, intelligence services, [and] U.S. citizen spies”
in order to
“lac[e] tight the ropes binding the American Gulliver to the Jewish state.”
Only a cadre of brave CIA officers, he tells us now in his letter,
can be trusted to know that
their passports “are issued in Washington on not in Tel Aviv.”

Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on 2005-02-03,
Mr. Scheuer elaborated on this grotesque theory.
There he explained that Israel is engaged in what is
“probably the most successful covert-action program in the history of man,”
the object of which is to control not just policy but political debate
in the United States.
When pressed to identify some of these “covert” activities,
he pointed in the first instance to the establishment of
the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
For anyone who doubts that Mr. Scheuer
could actually give voice to such lunatic ideas,
a checkable transcript of his remarks is available.

I thank all of my correspondents for their contributions to the discussion.

[Finis remarks of Gabriel Schoenfeld.]

The CIA Follies (Cont’d.)
by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Commentary, 2007-07/08

Covert Action
Has the CIA ever been good at intelligence gathering?
by David Wise
Washington Post Book World, 2007-07-22

Review of:
The History of the CIA

by Tim Weiner

[This “review” of Wiener’s book
actually only echoes and amplifies Wiener’s hatchet job on the CIA.
For a real review, see 2007-08-19-WT-Weisman.

Here are some excerpts from Wiener’s review:]

The CIA is a fat, easy target these days.
Under George “slam dunk” Tenet,
it failed (along with the FBI) to prevent 9/11,
and then it famously and wrongly estimated
that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

[It is a sure giveaway of Wise’s bias
that he blames the CIA, and only the CIA, here.
Not only were the neocons,
using the “defectors” and exiles so conveniently provided to them by Amhed Chalabi,
pushing the “Iraq has WMD” line,
but look who else was.
Note in particular this quote (from a retired Israeli general!)
Israeli intelligence was a full partner
to the picture presented by American and British intelligence
regarding Iraq's non-conventional capabilities.

Shlomo Brom

and this quotation from James Risen’s State of War.

No, he won’t mention those others,
who one might very reasonable suspect
were the real instigators of the fear-mongering over Saddam,
because Wise (surely a misnomer if there ever was one) and Weiner
want to yuck it up over “old Grotonian Ivy League incompetents"
(i.e., the WASPs).]

Tenet’s $4 million memoir to explain these failures
merely subjected him to more slings and arrows,
soothed only somewhat by all that moola.

Morale plunged under his successor, Porter Goss,
who brought a clique of unpopular flunkies from Capitol Hill to Langley.
The spies revolted, and Goss had to walk the plank.
Now the agency is presided over by Michael Hayden,
the same Air Force general who supinely created
President Bush’s warrantless wiretap program
to eavesdrop on Americans despite the Constitution.
Given the checkered history of the CIA,
it is small wonder that Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes
is a highly caustic, corrosive study of the beleaguered agency.

But Weiner,
a New York Times correspondent who has covered intelligence for years,
cannot be accused of kicking the agency when it is down.
It is his thesis, amply documented, that the CIA was never up.
He paints a devastating portrait of an agency run,
during the height of its power in the Cold War years,
by Ivy League incompetents, “old Grotonians” who lied to presidents --
an agency that, more often than not,
failed to foresee major world events,
violated human rights,
spied on Americans,
plotted assassinations of foreign leaders, and
put so much of its energy and resources into bungled covert operations
that it failed in its core mission of collecting and analyzing information.

To compare some of the agency’s antics revealed in this book
to the Keystone Kops
is to do violence to the memory of Mack Sennett,
who created the slapstick comedies.


[O]f course the “success” in Iran,
restoring the Shah and his notorious secret police, the SAVAK, to power,
was all about oil,
grabbing it back from Mohammed Mossadeq,
who had nationalized it.
[This is the leftist version of the reason for the coup.
The more plausible reason is that given by Kermit Roosevelt,
that it was necessary to prevent a communist takeover of Iran.
The West at that time was deep in the Cold War with the Soviet Union,
and the (further) spread of communism was a very real fear.
See, for example, the Baghdad Pact.]

The coup, run by the CIA’s Kim Roosevelt, Teddy’s grandson,
was followed in 1979 by the takeover of the ayatollahs,
arguably a direct outcome of
Islamic resentment of the agency’s meddling in that country.
[Compare...; note that
“resentment of the CIA” does not appear in the list of possible reasons.]

Today, Iran,
with its ominous nuclear weapons program and defiance of the West,
looms as a much greater foreign policy challenge to the Bush administration,
and to world peace,
than Iraq ever was.
Thanks a bunch, Langley.
[Thank you not for that red herring!]


As Weiner tells it,
the arrogance of CIA Ivy Leaguers was matched only by sheer incompetence.


If there is a flaw in Legacy of Ashes,
it is that Weiner’s scorn for the old boys who ran the place
is so unrelenting and pervasive
that it tends to detract from his overall argument.
He is unwilling to concede that
the agency’s leaders may have acted from patriotic motives
or that
the CIA ever did anything right.

Attacking the CIA
by John Weisman
Washington Times, 2007-08-19

[This, thank God, is a refreshing antidote to
the poisonous brew of Wiener’s book and the WP review of it by Wise.
Here is its beginning and end.]

It is ironic.
The flaws that spoil Tim Weiner’s passionate, malevolent and often misguided
history of the Central Intelligence Agency
are precisely the same flaws for which he damns CIA:
Preconceived conclusions,
lack of insight about the target and
sloppy reporting.
From the book’s second sentence,
Mr. Weiner tells you where he’s going to end up:
Legacy of Ashes,” he announces, “describes how
the most powerful country in the history of Western civilization
has failed to create a first-rate spy service.”

Like most polemicists,
Mr. Weiner tends to favor sources who buttress his case
and disregard those who don’t.
Thomas Polgar,
the CIA alumnus whose particular weltanschauung often mirrors Mr. Weiner’s,
turns up Zelig-like throughout the book,
providing just the right quote or anecdote when it’s needed.

Jimmy Carter’s almost universally detested director of central intelligence,
Adm. Stansfield Turner,
receives respectful treatment too.
Hardliners like CIA’s legendary deputy director for plans, Frank Wisner,
DCIs William J. Casey and Allen Dulles, and
counterintelligence chief James Jesus Angleton
are vilified.


Other[ factual errors] are more dangerous.
Books like Legacy are often cited in footnotes,
so Mr. Weiner’s distortions may become part of conventional wisdom.


Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Legacy is the fact that
Mr. Weiner has a tin ear when it comes to the gestalt of intelligence.
He tries to apply the same metrics to CIA as one would use on GM or Starbucks.
Yet B-school criteria don’t work when it comes to the “wilderness of mirrors.”
Are there huge problems at CIA? Yup.
Has the agency become dysfunctional because of bad leadership and misdirection? Absolutely.
Should there be a book about those problems? Yes — but Mr. Weiner’s isn’t it.

Because Mr. Weiner just doesn’t get it.
He wants a zero-defect CIA.
He frowns on the amoral aspects of human intelligence gathering.
And yet HUMINT is built around the holy trinity of Spot, Assess, Recruit
the art of one person convincing another person to become a traitor.

“If I’m not breaking the laws of the country to which I’ve been assigned,
I’m not earning my salary,”
is the way one long-time covert operative put it to me some years ago.
Mr. Weiner would no doubt disapprove.

The Anti-Americanism of the Israel-Firsters
by Michael Scheuer
Antiwar.com, 2007-11-08

[Paragraph numbers and emphasis are added.
By the way, Schoenfeld (the raison d'être for this article)
is really obsessing about Scheuer:
see his
Michael Scheuer Watch,
if you can believe that.
The specific item of his ire to which Scheuer responds below seems to be
The Danish Affair
and its follow-ups.]

“Too soon old and too late smart.”
That saying was one of my Dad’s favorites,
and one he used when one of us in the family re-made a past mistake,
having not learned from the first error.
I am guilty of that in regard to
the current game being played by
Commentary’s Gabriel Schoenfeld and his Goebbels-wannabes at
the National Review, the American Thinker,
and other organs of the Israel-first media.
Mr. Schoenfeld has accused me
of leaking information to the media
about an Islamist fighter/ideologue
who was rendered to Egypt from Croatia in 1995.
On the basis of this supposed action on my part,
Mr. Schoenfeld compares me to Philip Agee and argues that
the accused Israeli spy Larry Franklin did nothing worse than I did.
Even for Commentary, the sweep of this “Big Lie” is impressive.

Now, let us settle first things first.
Even a mediocre former CIA officer –
and I like to believe that I was at least that –
will do a Google search to find out
what is available in the open-source world
on the subject a journalist wants to speak to him or her about.
This is especially true when the journalist is a European who, these days,
is likely to be anti-American, especially on the subject of rendition.
The Google search I did on the 1995 rendition in question,
turned up all of the information that is contained in the article
that has Mr. Schoenfled and his acolytes in their current
let’s-hang-Scheuer-to-clear-Larry-Franklin snit.
A few examples follow from a quick search using Google News.

– “Talaat Fouad Qassem, 38,
a known leader of the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (the Islamic Group),
an Egyptian extremist organization,
is arrested and detained in Croatia as he travels to Bosnia from Denmark,
where he has been been living after being granted political asylum.
He is suspected of clandestine support of terrorist operations,
including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
He also allegedly led mujaheddin efforts in Bosnia since 1990.
In a joint operation,
he is arrested by Croatian intelligence agents and handed over to the CIA.
Qassem is then interrogated by US officials
aboard a US ship off the Croatian coast in the Adriatic Sea
and sent to Egypt, which has a rendition agreement with the US.
An Egyptian military tribunal has already sentenced him to death in absentia,
and he is executed soon after he arrives.
[Associated Press, 10/31/1995;
Wash Post, 3/11/02, A01;
Mahle, 05, pp. 204-205;
New Yorker, 2/8/05] ”

– “A second and more sophisticated form of cooperation
aims at impeding Islamist activity in Western countries,
and using legal means to track down fugitive activists with the minimum of fuss.
The third form of security cooperation
involves the collaboration of Egyptian and Western security authorities
in executing sensitive operations,
including the tracing or arrest of Islamists,
possibly across international borders,
as in the case of Talaat Fouad Qassem.”
Al-Ahram Weekly, 22-28 October 1998, Issue No.400.

– “With Bosnian war hostilities drawing to a close in September 1995,
Anwar Shaaban and his Italian-based Al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya cohorts
were free to turn their attention and resources
to issues of “more critical” importance.
In late September,
one of the most important Al-Gama’at al-Islamiyya leaders hiding in Europe –
Abu Talal al-Qasimy (a.k.a. Talaat Fouad Qassem) –
was captured by Croat HVO forces
as he attempted to cross through Croatian territory into Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Within days, the Croats quietly rendered al-Qasimy through U.S. custody
into the hands of Egyptian authorities.
At the time, a government official in Cairo noted,
“[Al-Qasimy’s] arrest proves what we have always said,
which is that these terror groups are operating on a worldwide scale,
using places like Afghanistan and Bosnia
to form their fighters who come back to the Middle East...
European countries like Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, England and others,
which give sanctuary to these terrorists,
should now understand it will come back to haunt them where they live.”
By, Evan F. Kohlmann,
The Afghan-Bosnian Mujahideen Network in Europe, (2004)

There are a dozen or more other pre-2007, open-source descriptions
of this operation available (citations on request),
so we can safely assume that nothing new has been revealed in 2007,
and Mr. Schoenfeld, et. al
are either unaware of the Google news search capability,
or they are playing for bigger game
than a creaky and unimportant former CIA officer like me.

The truth is, of course, that Mr. Schoenfeld and his allies are not dumb people,
they are simply anti-American.
Their tarting-up of the rendition operation described above
is just part of
their ongoing attempt to discredit the case
to try to convince Americans that U.S. and Israeli interests are identical,
and so
spying on America for Israel –
and suborning American citizens to commit treason –
is really an okay and even admirable activity.

Time will tell what the final verdicts will be,
but Mr. Schoenfeld, et. al are clearly guilty
of trying to create an environment in which
the U.S. public accepts the idea that
engaging in espionage against their own country on Israel’s behalf
is consonant with the duties of American citizenship.

Finally, I wish to directly refute Mr. Schoenfeld’s claim that
I “cast aspersions on American Jews.”
I do not cast aspersions,
I forthrightly damn, and pray that God damns,
any American –
Jew, Catholic, Evangelical, Irish, German, Hindu, hermaphrodite, thespian,
or otherwise –
who flogs the insane idea
that American and Israeli interests are one and the same.

The nation-state of Israel
is an intolerable burden
to the treasury and security of the United States,

Washington’s current relationship with Israel –
sanctioned by the AIPAC-funded political leaders of both parties –
is one of several factors
that are leading to full-scale American participation
in other peoples’ religious wars,

religious wars that David Horowitz’s recent “Islamofascist Awareness Week”
manifestly wants to bring to the streets of the United States.

Michael Scheuer Watch #10:
The Cheese Danish Affair and Ron Paul

by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Commentary Blog: Connecting the Dots, 2007-11-08

[An excerpt (links as in the original):]

Our hero [Schoenfeld’s cutesy identifier for Scheuer] has surfaced.
As I predicted,
he has been compelled to move from the mainstream to the margins.
The latest sighting has occurred
not in one of the mass-media outlets
where until recently he had regularly appeared,
but on a website called
The Jingoist: When the Righteous Make the Wicked Quake.
(The post has evidently been removed but is available here.)


In response to
my suggestion that
he has a habit of casting aspersions on American Jews,

Scheuer responds:
I do not cast aspersions,
I forthrightly damn, and pray that God damns, any American –
Jew, Catholic, Evangelical, Irish, German, Hindu,
hermaphrodite, thespian, or otherwise –
who flogs
the insane idea that
American and Israeli interests are one and the same.
Let us continue connecting the dots.
A man who speaks in this language,
and who does so on a flagrantly anti-Semitic crackpot website,
was in charge of the CIA’s efforts to counter Osama bin Laden.

[Let us count the errors and misjudgments in the above:
  1. Scheuer was chief of the CIA’s OBL station from 1996 to 1999.
    During that time his group, with his vigorous assistance,
    participated in several plans to capture (or, more likely, kill) OBL.
    All these plans were rejected
    by his management and/or the Clinton administration.
    This is documented in numerous books covering the period, such as
    Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars, and most especially,
    DCI Tenet’s At the Center of the Storm.
    How then does Schoenfeld blame Scheuer
    for not doing enough to stop OBL?

  2. The website The Jingoist is most definitely not
    a “flagrantly anti-Semitic crackpot” website,
    except perhaps to morons and/or Zionist bigots such as Schoenfeld.

  3. What’s wrong with Scheuer’s language?
    It is impassioned, yes, but what’s wrong with that?
    Does Schoenfeld feel that passion is not sometimes called for?

  4. Finally,
    does or does not Schoenfeld believe that
    “American and Israeli interests are one and the same”?

    Practically all of his extensive trail of writings shows that he does.
    Does he deny that?
    Note how, in his response,
    he carefully (some might say sneakily)
    avoided giving any response to Scheuer’s charge,
    rather bringing up the phony, trivial, and hardly relevant
    issue of Scheuer’s language.
    Schoenfeld shows all the techniques and signs of a pure, 100% con man,
    a signature trait of the neocons.

Gabriel Schoenfeld is an Ass-hat
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com Blog, 2007-11-09

Michael Scheuer Watch #12:
Expletive Deleted

by Gabriel Schoenfeld
Commentary Blog: Connecting the Dots, 2007-11-09

[This, like most of the work of Mr. Schoenfeld,
is a scandalous effort to demean just about everything
that Scheuer or Raimondo has ever done.
Here is a sample:]

A reader of Connecting the Dots,
who happens to have a Ph.D. in child psychology,
has already sent me a query and a comment:
“What is an ‘ass hat’?
My son’s favorite insult these days is ‘poop nose,’
which is far more evocative.
The rhetorical level here seems to hover
somewhere between second and third grade.”
[Oh, those refined, cultured, and educated Jews.
Far be it from them to stoop to such a low rhetorical level.
Why, if you don’t believe that,
just check out this review of Just Say Nu.
Perhaps Schoenfeld and his anonymous child psychologist
would have been happier if Raimondo had called Schoenfeld
a tukhes-hat.

As to the derivation and relevance of the term “ass-hat”,
as most of us who have been in the military know,
it is an unflattering variation on the better-known “brass-hat.”
An “ass-hat” is a brass-hat
who has lost any understanding of or sympathy for
what his troops must go through,
or in general is completely out of touch with reality.
An entirely accurate description for neocon scum such as Schoenfeld
and many of the writers at Commentary
(or Jewish Voices For War, as it is beginning to be known).
Schoenfeld in particular showed his eligibility for the term
by his absolutely idiotic attempt
to link Scheuer to the Blogspot blog The Jingoist.
What does Scheuer have to do with that blog?
I have quoted Schoenfeld at length in this blog, in fact in this very post.
Does that mean that Schoenfeld
approves of everything that I have said, quoted, or linked to?

For Raimono’s rebuttal, see the next entry Smearing Scheuer.]

Smearing Scheuer
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com Blog, 2007-11-09

[An excerpt.]

Legitimacy is something that the neocons have always prized,
and their main conceit is that
they are the final arbiters of who is “mainstream”
and who is to be relegated to the “fringe.”
Well, then, since he raises the issue of news sources and their legitimacy,
then what about Fox News?
Some would say that this is not really a news channel at all,
but a propaganda outlet for the neocons,
or, at least, for the Bush administration.
Yet that is the source of the contention that
the Israelis did indeed know something about the 9/11 terrorist attacks,
and was the theme of a special four-part series by Carl Cameron.
(By the way, in bringing up the canard
that no Jews showed up for work at the World Trade Building
on the morning of 9/11,
he is attributing to me remarks I never made, nor gave any credence to:
this is typical, however, of the neocon method —
muddy the issue with a stream of unsourced invective,
in the hope that the sheer volume of lies will obscure the reality.)

C.I.A. Agents Sense Shifting Support for Methods
New York Times, 2007-12-13

[An excerpt; emphasis is added.]

For six years,
Central Intelligence Agency officers have worried that
someday the tide of post-Sept. 11 opinion would turn, and
their harsh treatment of prisoners from Al Qaeda
would be subjected to
hostile scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution.

Now that day may have arrived, after
years of shifting legal advice,
searing criticism from rights groups —
and no new terrorist attacks on American soil.

The Justice Department,
which in 2002 gave the C.I.A. legal approval
for waterboarding and other tough interrogation methods,
is reviewing whether agency officials broke the law
by destroying videotapes of those very methods.

The Congressional intelligence committees,
whose leaders in 2002 gave
at least tacit approval for the tough tactics,

have voted in conference to ban all coercive techniques,
and they have announced investigations
of the destruction of the videotapes and the methods they documented.

“Exactly what they feared is what’s happening,”
Jack Goldsmith,
the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department,
said of the C.I.A. officials he advised in that job.
“The winds change, and the recriminations begin.”

The legal siege against the Bush administration’s counterterrorism programs
goes far beyond the C.I.A., including
  • lawsuits brought
    on behalf of hundreds of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,

  • more than 40 challenges in court
    to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program.

Repairing America's Spy Shop
By David Ignatius
Washington Post, 2008-04-06

Here David Ignatius adds his influential voice
to those arguing that the CIA should be broken up.
He really doesn’t offer a shred of evidence as to
why a new organization would perform any differently or any better
than the old one,
nor on the more critical issue of
whether whatever problems the old CIA had
were due to structural factors.

My belief is that most of the CIA-bashing
that is so prevelant in America’s cultural/media/political elite today
is due to a desire to turn it in a more Israel-oriented direction,
rather than following its present policy of
distinguishing America’s interests from Israel’s.

Here is an excerpt from the article; emphasis is added.

Fixing the intelligence problem
should be at the top of the agenda for the next president.
It’s too late for the Bush administration to do much except make things worse.
The public’s deep mistrust of President Bush has spread to the CIA.
I’m not sure why that’s so;
the CIA warned about the dangers of invading Iraq,
even if it got the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction wrong.
But the CIA has become a public whipping boy,
attacked these days with almost equal ferocity by the right and the left....

Top CIA officials see the agency today caught between two sets of tectonic plates. One set has the labels “Republican” and “Democrat.”
The right bashes the agency
for mishandling the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran;
the left is indignant about waterboarding and other human rights issues.

[The NIE is not being attacked by the right in general,
only by those desperate for the U.S. to attack Iran.
If the left is really concerned about the American image in the Islamic world,
as they claim to be,
why don’t they argue for
making American support for Israel conditional
on Israel putting a return to its pre-1967 border
on the negotiating table with the Palestinians?
That would surely greatly help America’s relations with the Muslims,
at no cost to American national interests.
While the waterboarding has arguably
helped prevent further terrorist attacks on America.]

Meanwhile, a second set of tectonic plates is grinding away --
these two labeled “Article 1” and “Article 2.”
The agency is caught between
its traditional role as the executive arm of the president and
new congressional demands for an oversight role
that amounts to co-management.


When the next president thinks about fixing the CIA,
he or she ought to consider the radical thought
that it’s time to blow up the CIA and start over.
That’s not to denigrate the thousands of professionals who work there;
but they deserve a chance to do their jobs
without having those three scarlet letters attached permanently to their work.
[“Three scarlet letters”? Please.
Enough with the unsupported CIA-bashing.]

It’s too late, unfortunately, to undo the reorganization that created the DNI.
[As a matter of fact, no, it’s not.
There is no reason the IC could not go back to the status quo ante.]

So let those three initials cloak
a new, elite corps of analysts drawn from the CIA cadre;
let’s give the science and technology division to the DNI, too.
The tech revolution hasn’t prospered in the past decade under CIA management.

Meanwhile, let’s float the clandestine service free
from its barnacle-encrusted CIA anchor and let it find a new home --
somewhere distant from Langley,
where the old ghosts and myths are far away.
[But so many of those “old ghosts and myths” are positive.
Enough with the unsupported CIA-bashing.

I really wish we had some way to determine
how many of those bashing the CIA
are doing so to punish it
for not rolling over and playing dead
for what Israel wants.]


[Here are miscellaneous references dealing with the CIA.]


CIA Immune System Still Working
Ray McGovern and W. Patrick Lang
TomPaine.com, 2007-01-04


Why CIA Veterans Are Scared of McCain
By Laura Rozen
MotherJones.com, 2008-08-29

Four years ago, the candidate called the CIA a "rogue organization";
now he's advised by a former Chalabi promoter and Agency basher.
No wonder the spooks are spooked.

Reduced Dominance Is Predicted for U.S.
Analyst [Thomas Fingar] Previews Report to Next President
By Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus
Washington Post, 2008-09-10

[Its beginning:]

An intelligence forecast being prepared for the next president on future global risks envisions a steady decline in U.S. dominance in the coming decades, as the world is reshaped by globalization, battered by climate change, and destabilized by regional upheavals over shortages of food, water and energy.

The report, previewed in a speech by Thomas Fingar, the U.S. intelligence community’s top analyst, also concludes that the one key area of continued U.S. superiority -- military power -- will “be the least significant” asset in the increasingly competitive world of the future, because “nobody is going to attack us with massive conventional force.”

Fingar’s remarks last week were based on a partially completed “Global Trends 2025” report that assesses how international events could affect the United States in the next 15 to 17 years. Speaking at a conference of intelligence professionals in Orlando, Fingar gave an overview of key findings that he said will be presented to the next occupant of the White House early in the new year.

“The U.S. will remain the preeminent power, but that American dominance will be much diminished,” Fingar said, according to a transcript of the Thursday speech. He saw U.S. leadership eroding “at an accelerating pace” in “political, economic and arguably, cultural arenas.”


The CIA's Questioning Worked
By Marc A. Thiessen
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2009-04-21

The writer, a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution,
served in senior positions in the Pentagon and the White House from 2001 to 2009,
most recently as chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

Security Before Politics
By Porter J. Goss
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2009-04-25

[An excerpt, including its conclusion; emphasis is added.]

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia
seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,
members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation’s intelligence services
had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda.
In the fall of 2002,
while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee,
senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA’s “High Value Terrorist Program,”
including the development of “enhanced interrogation techniques”
and what those techniques were.
This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject
with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that
the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed;
or that specific techniques such as “waterboarding” were never mentioned.
It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine
how a member of Congress can forget being told about
the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.


After Sept. 11, the general outcry was,
“Why don’t we have better overseas capabilities?”


The days of fortress America are gone. We are the world’s superpower.
We can sit on our hands
or we can become engaged to improve global human conditions.
The bottom line is that we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence.
Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that
our secrets are not secret and that
our intelligence is destined to fail us.

The writer, a Republican,
was director of the CIA from September 2004 to May 2006 and
was chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
from 1997 to 2004.

The CIA Will Pay the Price
By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Outlook, 2009-04-26

[Its last part; emphasis is added.]

In the 1980s, the Iran-contra affair --
managed by CIA Director Bill Casey
with members of the White House National Security Council staff --
got the agency in trouble.
In the 1990s,
another scandal erupted over a Guatemalan military officer (and CIA informant)
who was allegedly involved in torturing and killing
a rebel married to an American lawyer named Jennifer Harbury.
A report by the CIA inspector general --
which Congress demanded after Harbury publicized the case --
found that the Guatemalan officer had remained on the agency payroll
even after the station chief learned of allegations
linking him to the murder of a U.S. citizen.

Almost two dozen agency officials were punished as a result.
CIA Director John Deutch,
who had his eye on the job of defense secretary in the Clinton administration,
played to Congress,
firing two senior officers and disciplining seven others.
He also “cleaned out” foreign agents and informants
who had criminal records or other questionable associations.

After Sept. 11,
the CIA bore the brunt of criticism
for not having informants inside al-Qaeda.
No one outside the agency looked back at
how the Guatemala episode had affected
the CIA’s willingness to recruit unsavory individuals.
And later,
at the very time when the CIA was conducting its interrogation program
out of public sight,
the 9/11 Commission was citing “risk aversion”
to describe why the agency had not prevented the attacks.

Today’s atmosphere blurs not only the reality of the past,
but infects what is going on now.
Most press accounts about the documents
never explore whether torture may have paid off,
although the pages of the Justice Department opinions
contain many references to
important information learned from
Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The long-term consequences of today’s controversies
will inevitably fall on the CIA,
and this look back in history
does not bode well for the folks at Langley.

Say It's Osama. What If He Won't Talk?
By Michael Scheuer
Washington Post Outlook, 2009-04-26

Democrats profess ignorance (published title: “The Torture Bitch”)
by Justin Raimondo
Taki Maganize (Taki’s Top Drawer), 2009-05-08

It seems the national commentariat
is obsessed with the subject of torture,

and there is talk of a “truth commission”
to investigate and hold the Bushies accountable,
up to and including The Decider himself.
This is nothing but a lot of posturing on the part of liberals
who know nothing will come of it:
it was clear from the beginning that
holding anyone accountable, never mind prosecutions, would never happen,
and that the revelations of “enhanced interrogation techniques”
are merely the occasion for the release of large quantities of hot air.
That’s because
both parties knew about the “EIT”s
(that’s government acronym-ese for enhanced interrogation techniques,
i.e. waterboarding, beatings, sexual humiliation, etc. ad nauseum.)

List Says Top Democrats Were Briefed on Interrogations
New York Times, 2009-05-09


Congressional Republicans on Friday accused Democrats of full complicity in the approval of the Bush administration’s brutal interrogations, citing a new accounting that shows briefings for some top Democrats on waterboarding and other harsh methods starting in 2002.

The new chart of briefings, prepared by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was the first full listing of briefings to members of Congress and their aides. It appears to call into question the longstanding assertion of Speaker Nancy Pelosi that she was never told that waterboarding and other methods were actually used, only that the Central Intelligence Agency believed they were legal and could be used.

The chart said that at the first briefing, on Sept. 4, 2002, Ms. Pelosi, then the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and Representative Porter J. Goss, the committee’s Republican chairman, were given a “description” of the interrogation methods that “had been employed” against a prisoner, Abu Zubaydah.

On Friday, the speaker issued a statement defending her previous account.

“Of the 40 C.I.A. briefings to Congress reported recently in the press, I was only briefed once, on Sept. 4, 2002, as I have previously stated.” She said she was “briefed on interrogation techniques the administration was considering using in the future” and that the techniques were determined to be legal.

Ms. Pelosi also noted that Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., had warned lawmakers that the descriptions of briefings provided in the new report were based on notes and recollections of C.I.A. officers. “In the end, you and the committee will have to determine whether this information is an accurate summary of what actually happened,” Mr. Panetta wrote to several members of Congress.

The chart shows that in addition to Ms. Pelosi, Democrats briefed on the methods included former Senator Bob Graham of Florida in 2002 and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia and Representative Jane Harman of California in 2003.

Kicking The CIA (Again)
By David Ignatius
Washington Post Op-Ed, 2009-07-16

As other countries watch the United States lacerate its intelligence service --
for activities already investigated or never undertaken --
perhaps they admire America’s commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
More likely, I fear, they conclude that we are just plain nuts.

The latest “scandals” involving the Central Intelligence Agency
are genuinely hard to understand,
other than in terms of political payback.

Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor
to investigate criminal actions by CIA officers
involved in the harsh interrogation of al-Qaeda prisoners.
But the internal CIA report on which he’s said to be basing this decision
was referred five years ago to the Justice Department,
where attorneys concluded that no prosecution was warranted.

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress are indignant that
they were never briefed about
a program to assassinate al-Qaeda operatives in friendly countries.
Never mind that the program wasn’t implemented,
or that the United States is routinely assassinating al-Qaeda operatives
using unmanned drones.
And never mind that Leon Panetta, the new CIA director --
fearing a potential flap --
briefed Congress about the program soon after he became aware of it.
There was a flap anyway --
with a new hemorrhage of secrets
and a new shudder from America’s intelligence partners around the world.

[Of course, all the while those Dems are hyper-sensitive about
how our attempts to gain intelligence information about al Qaeda
are crossing some line,
they studiously ignore the torture of Palestinians by Israelis
(a matter well-documented by the human-rights organizations),
as Israel is steadfastly supported by the paymasters of the Democratic Party,
while Israel’s use of torture is universally (except in the U.S.)
linked to America via America’s unquestioning support for Israel
(when has the U.S. government ever condemned Israel’s use of torture?).]

Oversight of these secret activities is necessary.
But turning the CIA into a political football,
as both Republicans and Democrats have done in recent years,
defeats the purpose of oversight.
That was true when Republicans were bashing the agency
for supposedly obstructing the Bush administration’s policies,
and it’s true now when Democrats
are scrounging for evidence to prove that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right
when she accused the agency of lying about its activities.

President Obama has tried to end this “gotcha” culture --
to start looking forward, rather than backward, as he put it --
from his first day in office.
He said it plainly in his inaugural address:
“On this day,
we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises,
the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long
have strangled our politics.”

Obama said it again when he visited the CIA on April 20.
Against the advice of Panetta and other intelligence professionals,
he had decided to release the text of
Justice Department legal memos on interrogation,
which showed in ugly detail that
the agency had been given legal authority to torture al-Qaeda captives.
But he offered agency officials a grand bargain.
The facts about interrogation would be disclosed,
but CIA officers who relied on the Justice Department’s advice
wouldn’t face prosecution.

CIA veterans were skeptical about Obama’s promise,
especially when the president said the next day that
Holder would make the final decision.
But lawyers who studied the case
thought Holder would decide against a prosecutor
because he almost certainly couldn’t get convictions.
It would be impossible to prove “criminal intent”
for CIA interrogators who operated
within the framework of the Justice Department’s guidance.
And as for “unauthorized practices” outside the guidelines --
such as kicks, threats and other abuse --
that were revealed in a 2004 report by the CIA’s inspector general,
Justice Department attorneys had already concluded that
these actions didn’t warrant criminal prosecution.

Holder is said to have been sickened by what he read about the interrogations.

[And just how can you be sure that the information obtained
did not prevent another al-Qaeda attack, Mr. Holder?]

And who wouldn’t be?
It was a dark chapter in American history that should never be repeated,
and Obama has rightly changed the rules.
But what would be accomplished by the appointment of a prosecutor
in a case where criminal intent would be so hard to prove?
The only certainty is that
the process would damage careers and morale at the CIA.

“Will anyone go to jail? Probably not.
But you will leave a trail of destroyed officers,”
predicts one CIA veteran.
Meanwhile, I fear,
CIA employees will steer away from areas such as counterterrorism,
where the political winds may change.

Obama understands that
the country needs a better and stronger intelligence agency.
He wants more information than he gets in his daily intelligence briefings,
and he has discussed with Panetta the challenge of building
a tougher, smarter, more aggressive CIA.
That’s a righteous goal, but it begins with
depoliticizing the agency
and ending the culture of permanent scandal.

If Obama means what he has said about looking forward rather than backward,
then he should stick to his guns --
and hope that the attorney general and House speaker agree that
it’s time to stop kicking this football.

Break the CIA in Two
by Ray McGovern
Antiwar.com, 2009-12-23

[I have no opinion on the title recommendation.
However I do want to highlight, and second, the point McGovern brings up
in the following excerpt from his column:]

Were not [CIA Director Leon] Panetta
a self-described “creature of the Congress” (be wise, compromise),
he would have long since ordered up
a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)
on prospects for Afghanistan AND – far more important – Pakistan.

Would you believe that at this stage there is still no such NIE?

[So McGovern says.
See what Google says: Afghanistan, Pakistan.]

And the reason Panetta and his managers are keeping their heads way down
is the same reason former CIA director George Tenet for years
shied away from doing an NIE on whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
The findings would smell like skunks at a picnic.

[Smell to whom, Mr. McGovern?
And why should those who would find
what you believe would be the thrust of the NIE objectionable
be allowed to control what is presented to the public
as expert opinion on Afghanistan?]

It was only after Sen. Bob Graham,
then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee,
told the White House in September 2002,
“No National Intelligence Estimate, no congressional vote on war with Iraq,”
that Tenet was ordered by the White House
to commission an NIE with preordained conclusions.

[Which brings up a very good point:
Why are the Democrats in Congress
refraining from demanding an NIE now
on the prospects for success of the plan, written for Gen. McChrystal
(but note this report on who were some of the key figures behind the plan),
that Obama put his support behind in his December 1 West Point speech?
Are the members of Congress, of either party,
really happy with not knowing how the CIA views those prospects?
If so, why even have a CIA directorate for analysis?

Do they really want for “informed” opinion and debate on Afghanistan
to be dominated by the likes of
the Kagans, Michael O’Hanlon, and
whomever the Washington “think tanks” and the media barons claim is an expert?
(I.e., someone hired by and responsible to
an unknown and unidentified special interest.)]


Taliban bomber wrecks CIA’s shadowy war
by Christina Lamb
Times (UK), 2010-01-03

Cf. the Wikipedia article
Forward Operating Base Chapman attack.”
The bomber: Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi.

The CIA and the passion of the wogs
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2010-01-04

[An excerpt.]

The CIA decided that the “take” sounded so appealing that
they would bring this foreign espionage agent,
recruited by the Jordanians but not a Jordanian intelligence man,
into the CIA’s operating base near the Pakistan border for de-briefing?
They did it because he wanted it that way? HELLO!! Anyone home here? Anyone?
They drove him from Pakistan? From the Quetta area? Hello!!

First of all, if they could pick him up,
then they could have taken him to
another location in Afghanistan, the region, Jordan or ANYWHERE ELSE
but the damned base where the field team was located.
What were they going to do, stage a dinner in his honor at the base?
Were they going to dress him up in some uniform (an old CIA trick)
to make him feel good?

What would have been wrong with de-briefing him in some distant place
with the team sitting in by VTR?

A dearth of "tradecraft."
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2010-01-05

We should have a discussion here of
the many principles of clandestine operations (espionage)
that were violated or ignored at Khowst.
No fantasy please.
Here are a few.

1. Never trust a recruited foreign asset (spy)....
[I thought that was blindingly obvious.]

2. Never let the asset direct what is going to happen in the operation....

3. Never bring a recruited asset into any permanent operational facility,
much less your base....

[There are some very interesting and well-informed comments to this post,
from, among others, Phil Giraldi.
One of the commentators added to Lang's list:]

4. what were they doing all together?

5. if they are so incompentent
whom do you think are they killing over there?

Suicide Bombing Puts a Rare Face on C.I.A.’s Work
New York Times, 2010-01-07

[The last two paragraphs:]

Officials in Afghanistan and Washington said the C.I.A. group in Khost
had been particularly aggressive in recent months against the Haqqani network,
a militant group that has claimed responsibility
for dozens of American deaths in Afghanistan.
One NATO official in Afghanistan spoke in stark terms about the attack,
saying it had “effectively shut down a key station.”

“These were not people who wrote things down in the computer or in notebooks.
It was all in their heads,” he said.
The C.I.A. is “pulling in new people from all over the world,
but how long will it take to rebuild the networks, to get up to speed?
Lots of it is irrecoverable. Lots of it.”

Jordanian Bomber’s Path Remains a Mystery to His Family
New York Times, 2010-01-07

The Spies Who Got Left in the Cold
New York Times, 2010-01-10

[The next to last paragraph:]

Sacrificing intelligence operatives out of political expediency
is a bipartisan sport.
Officials in the George W. Bush administration
did not hesitate to blame the spies when it suited them —
as though the decision to invade Iraq really depended on intelligence —
and the Obama administration is proving, if anything, worse.
Last spring’s decision to release secret Justice Department memos
on the interrogations of suspected terrorists
was a blatantly partisan act.
It was designed to win political advantage by holding intelligence officers —
whose offense was to follow faithfully their lawful orders —
up to opprobrium and scorn.
Members of Congress
who had enthusiastically encouraged
aggressive interrogations in the wake of 9/11
suddenly suffered amnesia when the political zeitgeist shifted.

[Grenier confines his criticism to the political class,
but clearly there are some in the media and “intelligentsia” (e.g.) who also
can only see the negative in the CIA’s actions
while they ignore or minimize the contribution that they have made
to preventing another major terrorist attack,
which most of us after 9/11 certainly expected.
The newspaper in which Grenier’s op-ed appears
certainly is a leading offender in this regard.]

How this suicide bomber opened a new front in Al-Qaeda’s war
by Christina Lamb and Miles Amoore
Times (UK), 2010-01-10

CIA bomber struck just before search
By R. Jeffrey Smith, Joby Warrick and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post, 2010-01-10

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