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11/19/2004

More on Corruption of the CIA

As Goss turns his attention to the Directorate of Intelligence, everyone needs to keep in mind Senator Levin's careful analysis of who was actually responsible for the analytical failures that led to Iraq: Doug Feith's DoD office.

Meanwhile, the country appears to be coming around on the outrageousness of Porter Goss's efforts to turn the CIA into a partisan Republican operation [see Goss' email at Laura Rozen's site]. Senator Dianne Feinstein sent a letter to Goss warning him against politicizng the agency.

An editorial in the Boston Globe argues that Goss "has not shed his partisan instincts as a Republican congressman from Florida" and calls Goss out on the purge:

The CIA purge being conducted by Goss's aides distorts the principle of accountability in two crucial ways. One is the choice of whom to terminate. In the apt words of Joseph Cirincione, director of the Carnegie Endowment's Non-Proliferation Project, "They're firing all the wrong people."

Neither the intelligence failures that preceded the Sept. 11 attack nor those that were used by the administration to justify the war in Iraq originated in the directorate of operations. The intelligence officials who ought to be held accountable are those who failed to connect the dots indicating Al Qaeda's preparation of a strike inside this country, those who did not share crucial information with the FBI in a timely manner, and those who succumbed to political pressure to provide intelligence about Iraq that suited a neoconservative agenda.

The second way in which Goss's purge distorts accountability concerns its rationale. Senator John McCain lived up to his reputation for straight talk when he acknowledged that people were being punished at the CIA because members of the Bush team believe that agency leaks during the recent campaign "were intended to damage the president."
The LAT editorializes against Goss' partisanship:
The danger is that by politicizing the intelligence process, Goss could not only further undermine the agency's morale and professionalism, but the nation's security itself. Unfortunately, Goss' partisan record leads us to read his memo in the worst possible light.
Of course, there are reactionaries who still defend Goss's actions. The White House has promoted a benign reading of Goss' memo, despite its clear language. White House spokesman Scott McClellan claims the memo was "misconstrued." CIA enemy Robert Novak embraces McCain's argument, calling the CIA a "rogue operation" working for liberals. Bill Geertz claims the purge is simply an effort to whip the Agency into shape, following plans "from a House intelligence committee report made public in June that singled out the directorate of operations for harsh criticism, primarily saying it was unwilling to undertake risky missions." Mr. Geertz fails to mention that it was Goss' committee that produced the report, and partisan hack Jay Jakub in particular.

 

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