Is the CIA the ZIA?

A parable:

Suppose you hired a consulting firm to give you advice
on whether you needed to make a certain major purchase.
You asked them to lay out

  1. the benefits to be obtained by making the purchase, and

  2. the costs of the purchase, both initial and long term (maintenance).

Based on their advice, in fact their written report,
you went ahead and made the purchase.

But having made the purchase,
you found out almost all of their advice was wrong:
The benefits that they claimed it would provide were in fact illusory,
and, somehow,
they had totally misestimated the cost of the product.
In fact, the long term maintenance cost of the product was going out of sight
(they had originally claimed the product would pay for itself!).

You went back to the company that had given you such bad advice
and complained,
but they said they had just passed on information
from their research department.

But then you started noticing that the people in the media
who were the loudest, shrillest, and most ardent advocates of this product
all came from a family which, just coincidentally,
benefited from the sale of the product.
You began to wonder if key personnel in the research department
might also come from that same family.
You attempted to make enquires if such might be the case,
but the response was
How dare you question the integrity of that family!
That’s defamation!
That family has been gravely damaged by such accusations
in the past, and that must not happen again.


You (or at least I) would think:
This is insane.
All I want is disclosure of a possible conflict of interest.
Asking for such disclosure before I made the purchase
would have been appropriate and prudent,
but that’s water over the dam.
After the advice has been shown to be so poor,
wanting to know about the possibility of conflict of interest
is essential to knowing how to restore the credibility of the research department,
not to mention the practical desire
to prevent myself or others from being taken in
by such ill-founded (not to say bogus) advice in the future.
Further, ethical standards should call for such disclosure
to be made by the parties involved automatically,
even without a request.
There is nothing wrong with
enquiring about the possibility of a conflict of interest,
and everything wrong with
refusing to admit the possibility of such a conflict, and
refusing to investigate and publicize the extent to which
such a possible conflict of interest actually exists.

End of parable.

Okay, let me now speak explicitly about my real concern.
Many members of AIPAC, for example,
clearly have difficulty in seeing any distinction
between Israel’s interests and America’s.
One reads many articles in Commentary, the Weekly Sharon,
and the editorial pages of
the Washington Times [aka “The Voice of Mossad”], the WSJ,
the Washington Post and the NYT
which make the same conflation.
Most opinion leaders (media figures and politicians)
are, at least somewhat, in the public eye,
so that we may “consider the source” when we hear them opine
on matters related to the Middle East.
But members of the intelligence community,
by necessity, are not in the public eye,
yet provide much of the basic input
which shapes our perspective on vital regions of the world,
especially when politicians and the media
quote “intelligence sources” (the ultimate blind quote).
It is very troubling to consider the effect on American policy
of an intelligence community dominated by AIPAC supporters
(imagine, if you will, a CIA Mideast analysis section
containing nothing but Michael Ledeen clones).
And what, pray tell, is to prevent such a thing from happening,
perhaps right now?

Although not directly involving the CIA,
the closely related Franklin affair provides a clear example
of how, via campaign contributions, big money
may be corrupting, politicizing, and biasing intelligence.
The Washington Post writes:
AIPAC, whose clout in Washington is legendary,
has mounted an aggressive defense
and [with characteristic hyperbole]
last year told supporters that
the “very essence” of the U.S.-Israeli relationship
was under assault because of the investigation.
It also caused an uproar in the Jewish community,
especially among wealthy political donors.
Consider how dependent our political system is on campaign donations
from precisely those “wealthy [Jewish] political donors” (can you say “527”?).
Consider how much AIPAC dominates the entire political scene in Washington
(a topic discussed in AIPAC/Congress Lovefest 2005).

How strongly do you think Bush & Co. will resist
(or, for that matter, have resisted)
AIPAC’s attempts to worm members of the giant collection of Zionist zealots,
posing as neutral, impartial Mideast “experts”
at the various Jewish-funded, Washington-based “think tanks”
(can you say “Michael Ledeen”? “Clifford May”? “Frank Gaffney”?
Reuel Marc Gerecht”?),
into key but invisible positions in the intelligence community,
where they can happily feed their Likudnik points of view
into the media and intelligence reports,
without ever having to reveal who they are
or what and whom they really represent?

  1. Justin Raimondo
    1. 2004-12-17, Israel’s Fifth Column in Washington

    2. 2005-05-06,
      Larry Franklin and the Axis of Espionage
      (note especially end of article; cf CNI ad)

    3. 2005-05-25,
      The Franklin Affair: A Spreading Treason

    4. 2005-05-30, Why Did Feith Resign?

    5. 2005-06-06, State of the State Secrets

    6. 2005-06-06, The War Party on Trial

    7. 2005-06-15, Indictment Shows Washington Is
      ‘Israeli-Occupied Territory’

    8. 2005-07-04, Summer Scandals

    9. 2005-07-20,
      Patrick J. ‘Bulldog’ Fitzgerald, American Insurgent:
      Occupied Washington under siege

    10. 2005-08-01, Taking Down the Neocons

    11. 2005-08-03, With Friends Like This…

    12. 2005-08-05, AIPAC Spy Nest Exposed

    13. 2005-09-30,
      AIPAC and Espionage: Guilty as Hell
      Pentagon analyst plea bargains

    14. 2005-10-14, Danny Ayalon, Spy?

    15. 2005-10-21, Was Plame Outed by a Foreign Spy?:
      The Larry Franklin-Plame connection

    16. 2005-11-02, While You Slept: They lied us into war

    17. 2005-11-04, Smearing Fitzgerald:
      The neocons’ defense:
      it isn’t perjury, it’s a pogrom

    18. 2005-11-25, A Feast of Scandal

    19. 2006-01-25, Spy With a Heart of Gold?

    20. 2006-02-03, A Treasonous Camarilla:
      AIPAC espionage case points to larger spy scandal

    21. 2006-02-15, Masters of Deception

    22. 2006-02-17, Espionage and the First Amendment:
      Spycraft, free speech, and the AIPAC espionage case

    23. 2006-04-10, Smear and Fear: That's how Israel's lobby operates

    24. 2006-04-24, Two Trials

    25. 2006-10-23, The Lobby, Unmasked:
      The AIPAC spy scandal has many tentacles

    26. 2007-04-04, First They Came for the Spies:
      Why is the Wall Street Journal in favor of espionage?

    27. 2007-10-01, The Lobby on Trial:
      Upcoming legal battle dramatizes rising concern about Israel lobby

  2. Laura Rozen and Jason Vest
    1. 2004-09-03, Mole Hunt

    2. 2004-11-02, Cloak and Swagger

  3. Stephen Green, 2004-02-28,
    Serving Two Flags:
    Neo-Cons, Israel and the Bush Administration

  4. Michael Kinsley
    1. 2003-03-12, Moran, Iraq, and AIPAC

    2. 2002-10-24, The Elephant in the Room
      “The president’s advisors, Jewish and non-Jewish,
      are patriotic Americans who sincerely believe that
      the interests of America and Israel coincide.
      What’s more, they are right about that,
      though they may be wrong about
      where that shared interest lies.”

  5. Stanley Hoffmann,
    2003-01-13, The High and the Mighty:
    “[T]here is [in the Bush administration]
    a loose collection of friends of Israel,
    who believe in
    the identity of interests
    between the Jewish state and the United States.

    These analysts look on foreign policy
    through the lens of one dominant concern:
    Is it good or bad for Israel?
    Since that nation’s founding in 1948,
    these thinkers have never been in very good odor
    at the State Department,
    but now they are well ensconced in the Pentagon,
    around such strategists as
    Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith.”

  6. (former Senator) Fritz Hollings,
    2004-05-10, Iraq and Israel
    “Israel’s intelligence, Mossad,
    knows what’s going on in Iraq.
    They are the best.
    They have to know.
    Israel’s survival depends on knowing.
    Israel long since would have taken us
    to the weapons of mass destruction
    if there were any or if they had been removed.

    “With Iraq no threat,
    why invade a sovereign country?
    The answer:
    President Bush’s policy to secure Israel.

    [Note also Justin Raimondo’s excellent response.]

  7. [what “transformation” really means: DoD ====> DoZD]
    Seymour Hersh,
    2003-05-12, Selective Intelligence
    “The Pentagon has banded together
    to dominate the government’s foreign policy,
    and they’ve pulled it off....
    The D.I.A. has been intimidated
    and beaten to a pulp.
    And there’s no guts at all in the C.I.A.

    Shulsky and Luti won the policy debate.
    They beat ’em—
    they cleaned up against State and the C.I.A.
    There’s no mystery why they won—
    because they were more effective
    in making their argument.
    Luti is smarter than the opposition.
    Wolfowitz is smarter.
    They out-argued them.
    It was a fair fight.
    They persuaded the President
    of the need to make a new security policy.”


  8. Kathleen and Bill Christison, 2004-09-06,
    Dual Loyalties:
    The Bush Neocons and Israel

    An excerpt (emphasis and minor reformatting added):

    The link between active promoters of Israeli interests and policymaking circles is stronger by several orders of magnitude in the Bush administration,
    which is peppered with people who have long records
    • of activism on behalf of Israel in the United States,

    • of policy advocacy in Israel, and

    • of promoting an agenda for Israel
      often at odds with existing U.S. policy.
    These people,
    who can fairly be called Israeli loyalists,
    are now at all levels of government,
    from desk officers at the Defense Department
    to the deputy secretary level at both State and Defense,
    as well as on the National Security Council staff and
    in the vice president’s office.

    We still tiptoe around putting a name to this phenomenon.
    We write articles about the neo-conservatives’ agenda on U.S.-Israeli relations and imply that in the neo-con universe there is little light between the two countries.
    We talk openly about the Israeli bias in the U.S. media.
    We make wry jokes about Congress being
    “Israeli-occupied territory.”
    Jason Vest in The Nation magazine reported forthrightly that
    some of the think tanks that hold sway
    over Bush administration thinking
    see no difference between
    U.S. and Israeli national security interests.
    But we never pronounce the particular words
    that best describe the real meaning
    of those observations and wry remarks.
    It’s time, however, that we say the words out loud
    and deal with what they really signify.

    Dual loyalties.
    The issue we are dealing with in the Bush administration
    is dual loyalties—
    the double allegiance of
    those myriad officials at high and middle levels
    • who cannot distinguish
      U.S. interests from Israeli interests,

    • who baldly promote the supposed
      identity of interests
      between the United States and Israel,

    • who spent their early careers
      giving policy advice to right-wing Israeli governments
      and now
      give the identical advice to a right-wing U.S. government,

    • who, one suspects, are so wrapped up
      in their concern for the fate of Israel
      that they honestly do not know
      whether their own passion about advancing the U.S. imperium
      is motivated primarily by America-first patriotism or
      is governed first and foremost by a desire to secure
      Israel’s safety and predominance in the Middle East
      through the advancement of the U.S. imperium.

    [See also, by the same authors:
    It Will All Blow Over Soon:
    Poor Larry Franklin

  9. Mike Whitney, 2004-08-30,
    What More Could They Possibly Want?
    Israeli Moles in the Pentagon

    “The FBI’s investigation into Pentagon official, Larry Franklin, on charges of spying for Israel, has left many of us scratching our heads and wondering, ‘Why?’

    “The relationship between the Bush Administration and the Sharon government is so incestuous that is difficult to imagine that there are secrets of any consequence that haven’t already been fully shared.
    “[Ray McGovern has observed:]
    There are not enough US troops in Iraq
    to quell the resistance,
    but there are enough
    to prevent any strategic threat to Israel’

    [Touché! McGovern broke the code!]

  10. making their loyalties perfectly clear:
    “No other Jewish issue or cause
    has ever seen this kind of unbroken solidarity
    throughout the Jewish world.”
    (so much for the myth of disunity);
    why this case matters

  11. Kevin MacDonald
    1. 2003-09-18, Neoconservatism (short version)

    2. Summer 2004, Neoconservatism
      Some selected extracts from this long article
      appear here.

  12. Michael Scheuer,
    1. 2005-03-22, Toward a Sensible Israel Policy

    2. 2005-04-29, On the Robb-Silverman Report

  13. JTR, dossier on War with Iraq

  14. James Risen, 2005-08-01 NYT,
    Spy’s Notes on Iraqi Aims Were Shelved
    [From the news article:]

    WASHINGTON, July 31 - The Central Intelligence Agency was told by an informant in the spring of 2001 that Iraq had abandoned a major element of its nuclear weapons program, but the agency did not share the information with other agencies or with senior policy makers, a former C.I.A. officer has charged.

    In a lawsuit filed in federal court here in December, the former C.I.A. officer, whose name remains secret, said that the informant told him that Iraq’s uranium enrichment program had ended years earlier and that centrifuge components from the scuttled program were available for examination and even purchase.

    The officer, an employee at the agency for more than 20 years, including several years in a clandestine unit assigned to gather intelligence related to illicit weapons, was fired in 2004.

    In his lawsuit, he says his dismissal was punishment for his reports questioning the agency’s assumptions on a series of weapons-related matters. Among other things, he charged that he had been the target of retaliation for his refusal to go along with the agency’s intelligence conclusions.


    The former officer’s claims concerning his reporting on the Iraqi nuclear weapons program were not addressed in a report issued in March by the presidential commission that examined intelligence regarding such weapons in Iraq. He did not testify before the commission, [the former officer’s lawyer, Roy W. Krieger] said.

    A former senior staff member of the commission said the panel was not aware of the officer’s allegations. The claims were also not included in the 2004 report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on prewar intelligence. He and his lawyer met with staff members of that Senate committee in a closed-door session last December, months after the report was issued.


    Most of the details of the case, [Krieger] said, “were classified by the C.I.A., not to protect national security but to conceal politically embarrassing facts from public scrutiny.”

  15. Richard Sale, UPI Intelligence Correspondent,
    FBI probes DOD office [OSP]

  16. Two news articles describing
    the guilty plea of Larry Franklin
    are summarized here [NYT] and here [WP].

  17. Bob Drogin and Greg Miller, 2005-04-02 Los Angles Times,
    “ ‘Curveball’ Debacle Reignites CIA Feud”:
    The former agency chief and his top deputy
    deny reports that
    they were told a key source for Iraqi intelligence
    was deemed unreliable.

    [An excerpt from the article (with emphasis added):]

    A bitter feud erupted Friday [2005-04-01]
    over claims by [the Silberman-Robb Presidential Commission]
    that top CIA officials apparently ignored warnings in late 2002 and early 2003
    that an informant code-named “Curveball” —
    the chief source of prewar U.S. intelligence about Iraqi germ weapons —
    was unreliable.

    Former CIA Director George J. Tenet and his chief deputy, John E. McLaughlin,
    furiously denied that they had been told not to trust Curveball,

    an Iraqi refugee in Germany who ultimately was proved a fraud.

    But the CIA’s former operations chief and one of his top lieutenants
    insisted in interviews that
    debates had raged inside the CIA about Curveball’s credibility,

    even as then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell vouched for the defector’s claims in a crucial address to the United Nations Security Council on the eve of war.

    “The fact is there was yelling and screaming about this guy,”
    said James L. Pavitt,
    deputy director of operations and head of the clandestine service
    until he retired last summer.

    “My people were saying: ‘We think he’s a stinker,’ ” Pavitt said.
    But CIA bioweapons analysts, he said,
    “were saying: ‘We still think he’s worthwhile.’ ”
    Pavitt said he didn't convey his own doubts to Tenet
    because he didn't know until after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq
    that Curveball was “of such import” in prewar CIA assessments
    provided to the president, Congress and the public.

    “Later, I remember the guffaws by myself and others when we said,
    ‘How could they have put this much emphasis on this guy?’ ...
    He wasn’t worth [anything] in our minds,” Pavitt said.

    Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA European Division,
    said he and other senior officials in his office —
    the unit that oversees spying in Europe —
    had issued repeated warnings about Curveball’s accounts.

    “Everyone in the chain of command knew exactly what was happening,”
    said Drumheller, who retired in November after 25 years at the CIA.
    He said he never met personally with Tenet, but
    “did talk to McLaughlin and everybody else.”

    Drumheller scoffed at claims by Tenet and McLauglin
    that they were unaware of concerns about Curveball's credibility.

    He said he was disappointed that the two former CIA leaders
    would resort to a “bureaucratic defense”
    that they never got a formal memo expressing doubts about the defector.

  18. Bob Drogin and John Goetz, 2005-11-20 Los Angles Times,
    “How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of ‘Curveball’ ”:
    The Iraqi informant’s German handlers say
    they had told U.S. officials
    that his information was ‘not proven,’
    and were shocked
    when President Bush and Colin L. Powell
    used it in key prewar speeches.

    [(To fully understand the background for the current, 2005-11-20, article,
    check out the previous, 2005-04-02 article.)
    In any case, here is an excerpt
    from the latest, 2005-11-20, article
    (emphasis is added):]

    At the Central Intelligence Agency,
    officials embraced Curveball’s account
    even though they could not confirm it or interview him until a year after the invasion.
    • ignored multiple warnings about his reliability
      before the war,

    • punished in-house critics
      who provided proof that he had lied

    • refused to admit error until May 2004,
      14 months after the invasion.


    The senior BND [a view in English] officer who supervised Curveball’s case said he was aghast when he watched Powell misstate Curveball’s claims as a justification for war.

    “We were shocked,” the official said.
    Mein Gott!
    We had always told them it was not proven….
    It was not hard intelligence.”

    In a telephone interview,
    Powell said that George J. Tenet,
    then the director of central intelligence,
    and his top deputies
    personally assured him before his U.N. speech
    that U.S. intelligence on the mobile labs was “solid.”
    Since then, Powell said, the case
    “has totally blown up in our faces.”

  19. Paul Findley,
    Deliberate Deceptions:
    Facing the Facts About the U.S.-Israeli Relationship
    [from Chapter 13, “The Israeli Lobby,” pages 97–98 (emphasis is added):]

    AIPAC Executive Director Thomas A. Dine
    reported at AIPAC’s twenty-seventh annual policy conference in 1986 that
    “[A] whole new constituency of support for Israel is being built
    in precisely the area where we are the weakest—
    among government officials in the state, defense and treasury departments,
    in the CIA,
    in science, trade, agriculture and other agencies.”

    He added that President Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz
    were among Israel’s two best friends and were going to
    “leave a legacy
    that will be important to Israel’s security for decades to come.”
    Shultz, he said, had vowed to him to
    “build institutional arrangements so that eight years from now,
    if there is a secretary of state who is not positive about Israel,
    he will not be able to overcome
    the bureaucratic relationship between Israel and the U.S.
    that we have established.”

    Later in 1986, former AIPAC staffer Richard B. Strauss wrote
    [on page C1 of the Outlook section of the 1986-04-27 Washington Post]
    “American Middle East policy has shifted so dramatically
    in favor of Israel”
    that now it could only be described as “a revolution.”
    He quoted Dine as saying the special relationship
    “is a deep, broad-based partnership progressing day-by-day toward
    a full-fledged diplomatic and military alliance.”
    Strauss added:
    “State Department Arabists acknowledge that
    Arab interests hardly get a hearing today in Washington.
    ‘We used to have a two-track policy,’
    says one former State Department official.
    ‘Now only Israel’s interests are considered.’

  20. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt,
    “The Israel Lobby”,
    [An excerpt (emphasis added):]

    As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted,
    ‘there are a lot of guys at the working level up here’ – on Capitol Hill –
    ‘who happen to be Jewish, who are willing . . .
    to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness.’

    [That quote referred to staffers on Capitol Hill.
    But if, in the words of a former head of AIPAC, that is true there,
    how could it not also be true in the intelligence agencies?]

  21. Tyler Drumheller,
    “A Spy Speaks Out”,
    60 Minutes, 2006-06-23
    His interview on 60 Minutes.

  22. Joby Warrick,
    “Warnings on WMD ‘Fabricator’ Were Ignored, Ex-CIA Aide Says”
    Washington Post, 2006-06-25
    WaPo plays catch-up to the LA Times stories on 2005-04-02 and 2005-11-20.

He Could Tell You, but Then He'd Have to Kill You
By Dana Milbank
Washington Post, 2006-04-25

After an affectionate introduction by an official from the Anti-Defamation League, [John Negroponte, the national intelligence director,] quipped,
"Beats the introduction I got at the National Press Club the other day."


Abraham Foxman ... told the audience that
Negroponte was a "friend"
and that
the country is "truly lucky" to have him....

[I don’t know what it takes to be considered a “friend”
of the national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
But that statement leaves me wondering if DNI Negroponte
has what it takes to stand up to the ADL
when they press the intelligence community to make the intelligence
“good for the Jews”.]

Intelligence Officers, Learn From History
by Ray McGovern
about Tyler Drumheller, George Tenet, John McLaughlin, and Robert Gates