Political Purge at the CIA?

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That's what Newsday's Knut Royce reported this weekend. Snippet:

"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions … to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."

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  1. Bravo…about time.

  2. “The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president’s agenda.”-and your point would be? OR, You make this sound like a BAD thing.

  3. The CIA is supposed to be a-political, but there’s a difference between being a “neutral” and being openly partisan against the sitting President and his policies. If you don’t like the Presidential policy and the legislative directives provided to the Agency…get out or be thrown-out. This is not “Salary-man” Japan where you are guarenteed a job and position to life…regardless of your incompetence or non-contribution to the organization.

    As a Citizen, I don’t expect the CIA to toe the party-line against the facts…but I do expect that the President of the United Staes should be able to trust the presentation of facts and the accompanying CIA analysis without having to double-check their work for anti-Administraion political-spin. And there’s little excuse for back-channel leaks to the liberal press and back-stabbing….including to liberal allies on the Hill.

  4. Of all the screwups we’ve seen from the government in its handling of foreign policy over the past four years – from downgrading terrorism as a priority prior to 9/11, to missing clues about the upcoming attacks, to asserting there were WMDs in Iraq, to failing to impose order once the regime was overthrown, to having no plan for the post war except “Chalabi will handle that,” to outsourcing the back door at Tora Bora, to making all kinds of crazy assertions about aluminum tubes and unmanned drones o’ death, the only people who have actually gotten trouble are…

    drumroll…

    …career CIA employees who are suspected of being Democrats.

    Totalitarianismis the merging of the state with the party.

  5. I wonder if Goss can be effective at un-neutering the CIA?

    From where I am it seems like someone set the process of un-neutering after a few debacles in Afghanistgan in 2002.

  6. “I do expect that the President of the United Staes should be able to trust the presentation of facts and the accompanying CIA analysis without having to double-check their work for anti-Administraion political-spin”

    Fucking bizarro world. In fact, the administration had to double check, and send back for revision, the facts and analysis the CIA provided of the Iraqi WMD threat because it didn’t contain the political spin they were looking for.

    The president KNEW what the truth was, and when the CIA provided him with facts that disproved his assumptions, they were told to get new facts, and the Office of Special Plans staffed by political appointees to provide the factoids and analysis they wanted to hear.

    Failing to toe the party line = lack of objectivity. Failure to lie the way the boss wants you to = partisanship.

  7. I don’t know. Yes, the CIA showed its incompetence in a grand way…But…

    Does creating an echo chamber equate with “un-neutering”?

    If the President is misrepresenting information provided by the CIA, isn’t there some patriotism factors involved with getting the truth out?

    It just all sounds like your standard bait and switch, I have no confidence that the “new” CIA will be any better than the old. Just more loyal.

    Wonderful. Now we take lessons from the house of Saud.

  8. The CIA downplayed the threat posed by Iraq.

    The CIA turned out to be right.

    Therefore, the CIA needs to be purged.

  9. joe, what’s bizzare is that Hussein had every intelligence agency fooled…even the ones who were doing business with him were on record that he had active WMD programs and stockpiles. And Tenet’s slam dunk?? What assumptions does “Slam Dunk” disprove?

    David Kay, Duelfer & all the intellectually honest analysts have overwhelmingly faulted Western intelligence gathering techniques, not the interpretation of that intelligence.

    Kerry, Clinton, Gore….did they all KNOW the truth as well and are they equally culpable with Bush???

  10. “from downgrading terrorism as a priority prior to 9/11” Uh Joe, unlike YOUR party’s President, the ne who liked to blow up aspirin factories or who liked to kill the night watchmen at Iraqi security facilities by striking them at night? yeah, the other party they took terrorism SERIOUSLY, especially when someone was testifying or there was an impeachment looming…

  11. Joe L, if you can figure out how to use google, why don’t you look up “Millenium Plot,” “LAX Terminal,” or “10 airliners over the Pacific.”

    My party’s president actually stopped attacks on American soil. Yours just exploited them.

  12. Like they stopped the first WTC attacks or like the stopped the PLANNING of the second WTC attacks, that occurred during the Clinton years? Or are you gonna whip out the vaunted counter-terror plan that was bruited about?

  13. joe, as Harvey Keitel says in Reservior Dogs: “I know you’re hot, I know you’re superfuckinpissed” (about the election,) but

    Stopped attacks like WTC ’93? Like Oklahoma City? And your cover Clinton’s ass “on American soil” device is transparent, when it was Somalia, Khobar Towers, The African embassies, etc. that gave Al Q. the green light.

    Oh, and there’s also that little Sandy Berger/Clinton thing re: turning down Bin Laden’s arrest by the Sudanese gov’t before he slipped away and moved to Afghanistan.

  14. I guess serious people, when they are told of a terrorist threat or counter-terror operation, think primarily about the president’s cock.

  15. The CIA is a hotbed for liberals? Am I the only one, besides joe, that finds that statement laughable? My distaste for this administration’s competence is pretty well know, but am I the only one that thinks the CIA has a better track record since 9-11 than any of the other security related departments? To wit:

    Chalabi – The DOD fell for him hook, line and sinker, while the CIA doubted his legitimacy.

    Afghanistan – Mostly a CIA operation with Special Forces support. Also, recognized the utility of UAVs well before the DOD (see: Predator drone). A buddy of mine works for a company that makes ’em and says they’ve been trying to sell them since the 80s and did get any interest until after Afghanistan.

    Saddam/uranium – CIA caught the mistakes in the SOTU, were ignored by president.

    Can someone show me where the CIA was demonstrably wrong due to ideology in a way that the administration was correct? Anything as egregious as the “false sense of security blanket,” errr missile defense system, that’s being deployed, which is 100% ideologically driven, worthless in its current state and a waste of money. 9-11 was a fuck up by the FBI and CIA, WMD in Iraq was a mistake by about 100 different intel agencies.

  16. “The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president’s agenda.”

    Liberal? Ha! Some in the CIA didn’t go along with the very interventionist, neocon foreign approach, and had the audacity to challenge the Pentagon/neocon lies for the Iraq war. The purge is continuing with the Michael Scheuer, the author of Imperial Hubris, who presciently said that he feared for his job at the CIA, not for his life at the hands of Al Qaeda!

    Raimondo covers the story:

    http://antiwar.com/justin/

    A purge of the doubters who have been proven correct in their skepticism of the Pentagon’s Iraq claims is a very bad sign for the Bush administration’s foreign policy intentions.

  17. I’ve just had an epiphany.

    The liberal swine of the CIA lied to and tricked the noble, peace-loving President Bush into believing that Iraq was a threat so that he would end up killing god-only-knows how many civilians so that her allies would feel disdain for America and even more Arabs would despise her.

    Bush would then look so incredibly incompetent and inhuman that no right-thinking American would ever vote for his reelection.

    Diabolically Machiavellian geniuses.

    It could have worked.

  18. snake, I agree that Clinton/Berger took too long to put terrorism at the top of the priority list. But they did, and it didn’t take 3000 dead Americans to do so.

    What makes me superfuckinpissed is that the Bush administration actually DOWNGRADED terrorist attacks as a national security priority, below Great Power jousting with China. John Ashcroft took FBI people off of counterterror, so they could prosecute people for dirty movies.

    No administration could stop every single terrorist plot. At best, they could reduce terrorism to a nuisance (think of the land law definition, not the mosquito buzzing), rather than an existential threat. But they could at least try. They could at least not dismiss the warnings from the previous administration, just because they wanted to break with that adminstration just for the sake of dissing the other party.

    A fucking Kremlinologist as NSA in 2001? A cut in funding for Nunn-Lugar? Don’t bullshit me, and pretend the Bushies took terrorism seriously.

  19. Anyone silly enough to assume that since we haven’t had any terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11 that we are “safe” and “protected” fails to understand the nature of the threat. Indeed, I could have made a similar assessment on 9/10/2001 and been totally wrong.

    Call Me Snake,

    What specifically would the CIA have done about OK City (remember it was an example of domestic terrorism)? Or anyone for that matter (remember that it was a very small group of people involved – two to be precise)?

    …what’s bizzare is that Hussein had every intelligence agency fooled…

    This is one of the more pathetic myths of the pro-war crowd. The German, French, etc., intelligence agencies all stated that Iraq “may” possess such weapons; they also argued quite robustly that their knowledge was so thin about the matter that it merited far more investigation.

  20. A purge is just what the CIA needs. These clowns can’t infiltate a single agent into AQ in over 12 years. They consistently missed the boat on every single major piece of intelligence analysis relating to the current war (and the last one, come to think of it).

    And, they have let their bureaucratic/institutional imperatives undermine their mission. The blizzard of anti-Bush leaks, and the approval of an “anonymous” anti-Bush book, coming out the CIA shows where their real interests lay.

    How many of those defending the CIA against this housecleaning were bitching six months ago because Bush hadn’t fired Tenet? This is just more of the same.

  21. “The purge is continuing with the Michael Scheuer, the author of Imperial Hubris, who presciently said that he feared for his job at the CIA, not for his life at the hands of Al Qaeda!”-Well if Mr. “Imperial Hubris” thought that he could criticize, savagely, his boss’ strategy and get away with it undamged, he was an IDIOT. Rick, Michael Scheuer DESERVES anything that happens to him. Try it where you work, savage the CEO and then expect everything to go along normally…

    Certainly, Col Hackworth didn’t expect to make General when he went on “Issues and Answers” in 1970 to criticize the US Army and the US conduct of the Vietnam War. He got what he expected, the boot. THAT took some courage, writing an anonymous book and then whining when repercussions occur, isn’t courageous, sorry. So, I say, “SEE YA, dude.”

  22. Look I have no problem with some housecleaning, but an ideological cleanup is different. Get rid of the incompetents, but don’t just get rid of the people who disagree with your strategy and turn the place into an echo chamber.

  23. Oh yeah, and writing a book criticizing your boss’ strategy, yeah you’ll get canned. Even if you’re right.

  24. When the inspectors were ejected by Saddam in 1998, they were still looking for a shitload (scientific term) of unaccounted-for banned weapons and proof that weapons programs were disbanded.

    These “unaccounted for” weapons were the basis for the sanctions violations, and as much as I know you want to take Joschka Fischer’s massaged comments after the fact, you can sell his fucking bullshit to the tourists. (also from Reservoir Dogs) The Germans and everyone else had signed on to the UNSCOM findings.

    Now, select a screen name more manly than Jason Bourne and wussy Matt Damon…like real man Kurt Russell who has been with megababe Goldie Hawn for 20 years, God bless him.

  25. The Agency has had problems, since 1975(?) or so… The Church and Pike Committees were PR disasters, and then Carter gutted the Agency and then blamed it for the Iranian FIASCO in 1979.

    It had an OK 1980’s, but had a TERRIBLE Second Gulf War (’91), in that it CONSISTENTLY undercounted damage to Iraqi forces and was laggard in dissemination of Intell to engaged forces, using the “Knowledge is Power ” Paradidgm it didn’t want to share its power.

    The 1990’s weren’t much better, Congress and Clinton with Deutsch (sp.) as DCI and things like the Torricelli Amendment really didn’t aid the Agency. And the Agency STILL wouldn’t share intell with regional commanders!

    Then there was 9/11… now the Agency did some things well, AFTER the fact, but it still doesn’t like sharing intell, and they dropped the ball on WMD’s and never eally penetrated AQ-though the Torricelli Amendment didn’t help, BUT there was a waiver clause in the law, the Agency just never bothered to use it- So the CIA needs some reassessment, and many will not like that reassessment.

    Is Goss a good or bad DCI? I don’t know. BUT, I see some bureacratic losers allying with partisan hacks, here and in D.C., to derail that reassessment… So, guardedly Go PORTER GOSS.

  26. Oh and Rick, didn’t I didn’t read “Imperial Hubris”-I doubt you did either, but from Amazon.com the professional reviewers point out that the author supports an even BLOODIER military intervention against AQ and Islamo-fascists, WORLDWIDE! I doubt that you and Justin Raimondo are too on-board for that portion of the book…

    So, just call me a little cynical when I see you defending poor Mr. Scheuer. I just think he’s a convenient dish towel for your crocodile tears.

  27. “A purge is just what the CIA needs. These clowns can’t infiltate a single agent into AQ in over 12 years. They consistently missed the boat on every single major piece of intelligence analysis relating to the current war (and the last one, come to think of it).”

    RC, I couldn’t agree more – the CIA is in poor shape, and there are a litany of good reasons why it needs to get its ass kicked.

    But this is being done for good reasons, or in a way that would fix those problems. None of the problems you identified are related to any alleged support for the Democratic Party, yet that – not screwing up the Iraqi WMD intel, not failing to infilitrate Al Qaeda, not any of the legitimate failures to protect the United States that can be laid at Langley’s doorstep – is the motivation for this purge.

    Stalin doesn’t think his officers are loyal enough, so he sacks them based on their perceived ideology. How’d that work out?

  28. Jesus, what a bunch of numbfucks.

    Let me point out the obvious: There is a difference between “clearing out the incompetents” and “clearing out the Democrats/liberals/failed to swear fealty to King George the First”.

    The first is laudable. It’s an excellent step that most would applaud. Who wants incompetent spooks?

    The second, of course, is retarded, because there’s not telling whether you’re firing competent people or not. In fact, given the nature of the CIA/WH issues and the respective track records, firing those who disagree with Bush probably is firing the competent.

    So, in summation: If you applaud the ideologically based “housecleaning” of the CIA then you are a dim-witted twit more concerned with your “political team” beating their opposition than matters of actual importance. Like, you know, stopping terrorists before they kill people.

  29. Joe L, what does Scheurer’s political beliefs have to do with the fact that he got fired for being right about the problem, and the failure of our strategy?

    You see what you just did there? You assumed that Rick would have to dismiss the facts and analysis presented by Scheurer because he doesn’t share his ideological orientation or policy recommendation. Thank you very much for so ably demonstrating the thinking that’s plagued the executive branch of government for the last four years.

    Cripes, if there’s a ship with a nuke in the hold heading for an American port, I sure hope it isn’t a Democrat who sounds the alert.

  30. Thank you , MORAT, that was simply brilliant, anyone that Dubya dislikes, MUST be OK… what a splendid, little theory! By that line of thought, I believe Arafat would have made a simply SUPER DCI or possibly Saddam Hussein….

  31. Kurt Russel Can’t Act (Which Is Largely Why He’s Always Hired To Play In B Movies),

    These “unaccounted for” weapons were the basis for the sanctions violations, and as much as I know you want to take Joschka Fischer’s massaged comments after the fact, you can sell his fucking bullshit to the tourists. (also from Reservoir Dogs) The Germans and everyone else had signed on to the UNSCOM findings.

    And the UNSCOM findings were pretty much what I wrote the German and French intelligence services stated. Now that was a nice self-fisking on your part. 🙂

    Anyway, anyone who likes Kurt Russel must have a screw loose. 🙂

  32. Kurt Russel Can’t Act (Which Is Largely Why He’s Always Hired To Play In B Movies),

    Anyway, your original claim (by implication) was that the French, German, etc., intelligence services were “fooled” by Saddam’s regime, which they clearly weren’t. No matter how you try to massage away this fact, it is nevertheless true. Now go play the fabulist elsewhere.

  33. Great list Joe L., but those problems are due to liberal obstructionists how?

    Well, not counting the Torricelli amendment, but he wasn’t in the CIA either.

    Oh and what Morat said. I had no problem with Tenet getting fired, the fact that he was a Clinton appointee didn’t matter, his competence, or lack thereof, did.

  34. Kurt Russel Can’t Act (Which Is Largely Why He’s Always Hired To Play In B Movies),

    Let’s also note the temporal gap between the end of UNSCOM and the war; four years.

  35. Kurt Russel Can’t Act (Which Is Largely Why He’s Always Hired To Play In B Movies),

    Or let’s put it more bluntly; anyone who takes four year old information as gospel isn’t particularly wise.

  36. Well Mo, they had nothing to do with politics… You see i don’t see verything thru the thread of Dubya is EVILLLLL and only Kedwards or Clinton represent good (Joe) or the Guv’mint is the enemy. I was simply pointing out that the CIA has had problems, some not of its own making, BUT that these problems must be addressed and addressing them is ALWAYS going to lead to leaks and whines to the NYT or WaPo about the “EVILLLLL” Administration hunting down its foes, whether the Administration is D or R.

    Oh and Jason, who says Scheurer’s right? YOU??? I think he’s wrong. I think Afghanistan is going well and I’m pretty sure that there will be elections in Iraq in January and within a few years, five or less, that the nation will be stable. See you assume he’s right because he’s critical of the guv’mint… not because he’s right…

  37. Joe L.,

    When did I mention Afghanistan? Can you at least address real statements that I make instead of making them up for me? Thanks.

  38. Because you’re talking about Scheurer and Imperial Hubris and that’s one of the things HE talks about… see if you’re going to try to create martyrs you need to understand what they’re being martyred about. Imperial Hubris is WRONG, IMO and it savaged Bush. Now may get the sack, and this is wrong, BECAUSE…..???

  39. Joe L.,

    Actually I am not talking about Schuerer you dipshit. Indeed, this is the first time I have even mentioned his name, and I have never mentioned the name of his book (even fact, I’ve never even read the book and don’t plan to). What sort of fantasy world do you live in?

  40. Joe L.,

    What I am talking about is what I’ve read in Le Figaro and other French newspapers. Wow, it must be amazing to you that someone can have an independent source of knowledge.

  41. Joe L.,

    I guess I should start calling you Joe L. the Fabulist.

  42. You are RIGHT Jason, it was Rick that mentioned him, sorry, I apologize….

  43. Maybe Bush can just fire the CIA and outsource our intelligence to the Mossad.

    Oh wait, he already has.

  44. Joe L.,

    Yeah, I did read it and it definitely cuts both ways. If Bush had to stipulate to Schuerer’s complaint that they don’t hate us because we’re free, just to name one, he would have some back tracking to do. But, he doesn’t have too and his intolerance for dissent in this area should be concerning to all of us. What do the neocons have planned next?

  45. “What do the neocons have planned next?”

    Lengthy explanations of how it was someone else’s fault?

  46. “But, he doesn’t have too and his intolerance for dissent in this area should be concerning to all of us.”-I’m just telling you, go write a book that savages YOUR manager and see what happens. I don’t see him as a martyr at all… had he gone on Meet the Press and said these things and then followed up with his book, I’d support his firing, but I’d still have some respect for him. He didn’t, he wrote a nasty and incorrect book IMO and still expected Uncle Sugar to mail him his cheques… That ain’t martyrdom, that’s foolishness. He’s no more a martyr than I am…

    Being a dissenter DOESN’T make you right, for one thing and it sure doesn’t make you popular.

  47. But you see, Joe L, the purpose of the executive branch of government is not to advance the interests of the president (as the purpose of a private corporation is), but to achieve other positive outcomes – in the case of the CIA, to provide quality intelligence gathering and -analysis services. If you slam your boss in private industry, firing you is completely in line with your boss’s proper role. But that’s not the case with the CIA. When the president is screwing up severely, an honest officer’s duty is not to the president, but to the public.

    You seem to be arguing that because the retribution is expected, that it is good. Funny, you don’t express this opinion in the case of other abuses of power by government figures.

  48. Lengthy explanations of how it was someone else’s fault?

    If that’s it, I’ll be relieved.

  49. “The first is laudable. It’s an excellent step that most would applaud. Who wants incompetent spooks?”

    I think the inference that might be drawn here is that Bush assumes anyone in the CIA not capable of hiding their political affiliation from his is, by definition, an incompentent spook… ^_^

  50. Let me point out the obvious: There is a difference between “clearing out the incompetents” and “clearing out the Democrats/liberals/failed to swear fealty to King George the First”.

    And you know how exactly that this is a political purge and not a long-overdue housecleaning? From anonymous complaints leaked by bureaucrats whose jobs are threatened? Ookey-dokey, we can take THAT to the bank.

  51. Joe L.at 4:11 PM apologized for a mistake even after he was insulted in the process of pointing out his mistake. Gotta respect that.

  52. “You seem to be arguing that because the retribution is expected, that it is good. Funny, you don’t express this opinion in the case of other abuses of power by government figures.”-huh, Joe??? What the Heck are you maundering on about? Retribution is neither good nor bad, it IS. AND JOE, IMPERIAL HUBRIS VIOLATES THE VERY CONCEPT OF THE NON-PARTISAN BUREAUCRACY. You leave your disagreements at the door!! YOU WANT TO MAKE POLICY, YOU GET ELECTED. Sorry Joe the author gets what he deserved! If you can’t see that you’re leaving in a demented partisan Democrat dream world… And I don’t think I’ve had occaision to comment on other abuse of power cases Joe, though the Travelgate Story DOES spring to mind… REMEMBER THAT JOE?

    “…the purpose of the executive branch of government is not to advance the interests of the president (as the purpose of a private corporation is), but to achieve other positive outcomes – in the case of the CIA, to provide quality intelligence gathering and -analysis services” Actually Joe, the Executive Branch IS to serve the President’s decisions and implement his and Congress’ policies. You see the DCI and the DDO and DDI were NEVER ELECTED, but the President was, and that’s his imprimatur of authority. Yes, Joe they ARE supposed to advance the President’s interests, the theory being that the President’s Interests are also the US’ interests. When the dictomy becomes too large the President and his Party get dumped. So JOE, as long as Dubya is not asking the DCI and his minions to violate the Constitution, violate the law, or violate their moral code he is to be followed… yeah yeah I know it don’t alwys work that way, bureaucracies have interests and cultures and shared values and programs that support those values… but beyond that over-simplification of mine, bureaucrats are supposed to obey the President. When they can’t or won’t they need to quit…then they can go on “60 Minutes” or run for office. Until then they sit down, shut up and soldier on… they don’t write little nasty screeds anonymously and then crie when the axe comes down.

    Oh and you might ahve missed this, but in -92-93 CLINTON also removed the DDO. Of course, then it was a long-overdue house cleaning, NOW it’s simply partisan hackery, right Joe?

  53. I don’t know what it was in 1992.

    But this is clearly the partisan purge that conservatives have been calling for since 2002, when the CIA’s report on Iraqi WMDs wasn’t sufficiently hawkish.

    Go back through those old National Reviews, Joe L. Look at the Bush has treated anyone who gives him information he doesn’t like (O’Neil, Shinseki…) You’d have to be blind not to understand what’s happening here.

  54. Totalitarianism[ ]is the merging of the state with the party. – Joe

    Forgive me my skepticism, but in four years, if the Democrats take the presidency again and that president clears out a big swath of all those partisan Republicans Bush crammed into the CIA, will you really loudly denounce that as reeking of Stalinism?

  55. Not to complicate things with facts, but here’s the statutory authority for the Director of Central Intelligence’s duties:

    50 U.S.C. 403-3. Responsibilities of the Director of Central Intelligence

    (a) Provision of intelligence.
    (1) Under the direction of the National Security Council, the Director of Central Intelligence shall be responsible for providing national intelligence–
    (A) to the President;
    (B) to the heads of departments and agencies of the executive branch;
    (C) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and senior military commanders; and
    (D) where appropriate, to the Senate and House of Representatives and the committees thereof.
    (2) Such national intelligence should be timely, objective, independent of political considerations, and based upon all sources available to the intelligence community.

  56. the purpose of the executive branch of government is not to advance the interests of the president (as the purpose of a private corporation is)…

    The purpose of a private corporation is to advance the interests of the shareholders.

    The purpose of the federal government is to advance the interests of the shareholders (specifically, the states; more generally, the people).

  57. Just admit it, none of you have any fucking idea of what you’re talking about.

  58. I know one thing: The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. – U.S. Constitution, Article II.

    Every inferior office in the Executive Department is subordinate to the President. Congress can pass some laws constraining the Executive’s actions, especially budgetary restrictions, but the question of who gets hired and fired from positions that make policy was settled back during the impeachment of Andrew Johnson.

    Now, if only SCOTUS would get around to realizing that “independent agencies” can’t be…..

    Kevin

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