by Michael Hammerschlag
One of the first articles on the Plame Scandal
The CIA may have done some shifty things, overthrowing and assassinating foreign leaders in the past, but by and large, they are a decent honorable bunch (at least since the Contra War). They not only consider themselves patriotic, they feel they are the embodiment of patriotism. The vast majority aren’t spies or agents, but analysts and researchers who traffic in intelligence and its analysis. Cheney, Wolfowitz, and co. first tried to browbeat and bully the CIA into perverting and distorting their intelligence to portray Iraq as a clear and present threat, making a dozen-odd trips to Langley to coax them in the right direction. When that didn’t work, they essentially created their own shadow “intelligence” outfit, though even that word is a stretch, the Office of Special Plans (didn’t the Nazis have something called this?). Peopled by right-wing zealots, political hacks, and true believers.. they pooled every wild rumor, unsubstantiated report, and generous interpretation that claimed Iraq was an imminent danger and presented it to our over-eager President. Unknown and unvetted by CIA, DIA, State Dept., NSA; this foul stew was injected daily into Bush’s propaganda pronouncements to the American people, which helped persuade our dimwitted electorate that Osama and Saddam were blood brothers, and allowed “patriot” yahoos to shout down objections to an unjustified preemptive attack. Other sources of rubbish were Ahmed Chalabi’s group of distant exile Would-be-Kings, and a similar secret right wing group in Ariel Sharon’s office, dispensing rumors that the Mossad considered baloney.
In the CIA’s eyes, Bush has taken their intelligence product, adulterated it with trash and nonsense, repackaged it, and sold it like a tacky car salesman as the best estimate America can make. Then he used it to fraudulently launch an unnecessary war, a betrayal of the CIA. Their middle name is Intelligence, which precludes lies, except to other nations.
So does GB2 step up to the plate and take responsibility for his deceptions, hubris, and Oedipal obsessions? No, he pins it on the CIA. It was George Tenet’s fault, who is obligated to publicly apologize. There was some good reason for keeping a Democrat in the Administration after all. Who else would have the loyalty to take the fall for his dissembling chicken boss? Over at Langley, there is the distinct hiss of steam escaping, rage at our unelected President’s second and massive betrayal. Our fault? After the CIA actually (with the Special Forces) did brilliant and yeoman work in making the Afghanistan overthrow painless, and also similar work in Iraq. Make no mistake, Bush will pay for his cowardice. The CIA has many ways to hurt him; imperial lies, stupidities, and distortions carefully filed and indexed. These will be dribbled to journalists one at a time over the next year, enough to solidify the picture of Bush as the most dishonest President in history. The networks may even rerun that devastating video of our Commander in Chief catatonically reading to schoolkids for 15 minutes as known terrorist planes homed in on the White House and Pentagon (after the second strike). Spare us the Reaganian stories about who was responsible for feeding the President bad information. The President is a radical zealot who is wedded to bad information. He wanted to take over Iraq, and by God, we were going to do that, whatever it took.
By now Bush should have realized the tides have shifted, and that the lumbering soporific corporate press was finally rousing. But now- heedless, ruthless, and vicious, he embarks on his 3rd betrayal: trying to punish Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who investigated the forged Niger uranium purchase papers in March 2002, reported it was lies- and just blew the whistle in a NY Times Op-ed… by outing his wife Valerie Plame as a CIA agent involved in secret non-proliferation efforts; in a Novak column*. This is not just a contemptible violation of national security, it’s a crime with a 10 year prison sentence. The last president who could have been said to betray the CIA was JFK in not supporting the Bay of Pigs invasion, and while we don’t subscribe to Oliver Stone’s thesis (I think the Mafia did it)- Cuban connections to the assassination were many. Bush is still laboring under the assumption that the CIA is a family business, but it’s been many years since his father ruled that roost. You don’t subvert and betray America’s premier intelligence service without paying the price. PS: Apparently the CIA itself must request an investigation by the FBI from the Justice Dept., pretty doubtful considering implications for all involved. - far more detailed Nation article concerning this. With no shame, Cheney has been defending and repeating the big lies, even while throwing Tenet and Hadley to the wolves- though no one is ever really sacrificed in this regime.
Blindly and thuggishly, Administration goons are still attempting to punish France and Germany, when the reality is.. they are going to punish us by denying our overextended military, peacekeeping troops. Even India said ‘no’ without UN oversight, why should they expose their troops to certain death in Bush’s Wanton War. Weekend Nat. Guard warriors yanked from their real task as Homeland Security are now sentenced to an unnecessary war without end, and their righteous rancor will increase exponentially. The steady attrition of US troops is increasing- my prediction is that Karl Rove will pull the plug by December, in order to save Bush’s plummeting reelection hopes. We will cut and run from Iraq, but another 200-350 Americans will die, and the devastated country will have another dictator, or perhaps- a full-bore civil war. They know we have no patience. The peace was lost when we stupidly allowed Saddamites and criminals to loot and destroy every institution and installation, which we have no predilection or ability to repair. Incredibly, he radical neo-nuts had no plans for occupation: they assumed, like a Hollywood musical, that the sun would shine and the music swell and problems magically evaporate. Bringing the promised democracy would mean Shiites taking power in the 2/3 Shiite nation, which we will never allow because of justified fears of Iranian-style fundamentalism. And the oil windfall that many hoped was also crippled by looting and a dozen years of sanctions.
Most alarmingly, our freedom of action in dealing with the psychotic threat in North Korea, which now seem to have a secret plutonium reprocessing plant under the China border; or Iran, which has 3 nuclear plants in the works; has evaporated. Treacly stories of US Iraq troops with pics of the World Trade Center in their wallets still run, but this war has actually devastated American security: creating 500,000 new potential terrorists across the Moslem world, locking our combat troops in place, emptying the treasury (with the radical tax cuts), losing us vital friends in the struggle against Al Qaida; and tying our hands with respect to the furry freak in North Korea. Horrifyingly, the swift Iraq invasion may have convinced Kim Jong Il that his only defense was an emergency program to build nukes. We are entering the most dangerous period since the Cold War’s MAD, since the Cuban Missile Crisis, where the probability of a man-made sun rising in an American city is now well into double digits for the next 2-10 years; and our leadership has squandered our intelligence, capital, trust, and resources to deal with it. The reason is Bush’s unnecessary war in Iraq and the lies he told to launch it.
Note: The extermination of Saddam’s vermin sons is great news, but whether it will slow guerilla attacks on our troops remains to be seen.
*From Novak’s July 14 column:
“Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an agency
operative on weapons of mass destruction. Two senior administration officials
told me his wife suggested sending Wilson to Niger to investigate the Italian
report.” - Guardian + Timeswatch
ADDENUM: Democracy Now interview w 27 year CIA men about law against revealing agents - "the crazies are back" (re. Wolfy, Rummy)
Oct 11- The investigation looks to be a whitewash, with the administration having days to destroy evidence and Bush's lawyer screening all documents to decide what to reveal to the FBI. Jan 5. The appointment of respected U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald of Chicago to investigate this, with Ashcroft recusing himself, is good news. Ashcroft’s rigid sense of propriety has always been the greatest threat to Bush’s accumulated crimes and his recusal is a powerful indictment.
FIRM of MIND, SOFT on FACTS - 3-18 Bush has, with a steady stream of lies, deceptions, and propaganda, has managed to convince half the country that Saddam supports Al Qaida or even was behind 9-11. Iraq invasion historic blunder that may echo through the decades- Liberal Slant, Bartcop ALT WARBLOG 3/19-5/19 ALT
SPEAKING LOUDLY WITHOUT ANY STICK - 1/4/03 Nightmare of North Korean nukes: the most dangerous country in the world has started to mass produce a nuclear arsenal; Administration response?- no negotiations, no problem; But Saddam needs crushing; History of NK terrorism- Liberal Slant ALTER
BUSH's WANTON WAR- 10/12/02 Saddam is a monster, but Bush's militancy is due to the '93 plot to kill his father and upcoming elections, not any imminent danger or 9-11 guilt. Punishing enemies is a family tradition, where he started his career- Liberal Slant, Bartcop LOCAL ALTER
See many new questions to Janet Reno, Dennis Ross, Gary Hart, Robert Reich, Il Gov Ryan in audio lecture section: http://tomhammers.tripod.com/audio.htm#pressconf
Michael Hammerschlag has written commentaries + articles for Seattle Times, Providence Journal, Honolulu Advertiser, Columbia Journalism Review, Media Channel, & Moscow News, Tribune, and Guardian. He was scheduled to fly over Manhattan on 9-11, and just covered the RI nightclub fire. His website is http://hammernews.com e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org