Friday, August 28, 2009

Intelligence Failures 
A long-time reader writes in:

Several very disturbing things have happened in the last few days, the aggregate of which will be to either disembowel or corrupt the output from our intelligence apparatus.

- First, there's the shameful release of a classified report that even Obama appointee CIA Director Leon Pannetta has eloquently argued against on the grounds it will undermine the foundation of trust between CIA patriots and their government. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=8398902
- Second, there's AG Eric Holder's announcement that not only will he seek to prosecute intelligence employees for doing their jobs, but that he's selected a prosecutor to head that investigation that has already displayed a bias against the intelligence apparatus and its professionals in the past. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/24/AR2009082401743_pf.html Can you say "Witch Hunt"? I knew you could. Holder has displayed a preference for the rights of terrorists to get access to our court systems over the rights of Americans to continue to live.
- This leads to the third, disturbing occurrence, the WH creation of a unit that will supervise all high profile interrogations. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112169988 This is upsetting on multiple counts. First it displays unparalleled WH micro management of the intelligence process. Second, we now have an "Interrogation Czar". If this is under the WH auspices like all the other Czars, will they claim executive privilege in keeping out congressional oversight to a degree never imagined even by those who criticized the Bush administration? Finally, this office will work from the FBI, under the same Eric Holder who doesn't seem to care for our anti-terror fight, displays a preference for terrorists' rights over Americans' civil liberties, has displayed animus against intelligence professionals, and who thinks a law enforcement approach to countering threats to our nation is preferable to a military one even though that's the mindset that led to all the terrorist attacks under Clinton and to 9/11.

Ironically, what these things mean is that, intentionally or unintentionally, the White House is going to gain much greater influence over the intelligence that comes out of our agencies, in a way that vastly overshadows anything the Bush White House is alleged to have had, and that the left railed against. Remember the meme that the Bush WH was trying make the intelligence fit what they wanted to do? Can you imagine what will happen under this WH when the it is seen as being so intensely involved in management of the intelligence apparatus by those inside it?

One has to wonder whether these acts are to intentionally weaken our intelligence apparatus, intentionally control it, or unintentionally destroy it through liberal naivete.

I confess I hadn't thought of that last issue. But I think the reader makes an excellent point - when intelligence product is manufactured by the pols at the White House, and not by a separate agency of careerists that must answer as much to Congress as the Presidency, how can ANYONE trust that the product is free of political taint?

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From Kimberly Strassel WSJ OPED here:


Sen. Bond notes that the Obama moves are "reopening old wounds" after years of effort to tear down walls within the intelligence community. Arguably the high point of cooperation was the work Justice and CIA did together in devising the interrogation program, which has yielded invaluable information. Now, the Missouri Republican tells me, "instead of the CIA viewing the Department of Justice as their lawyer, they view them as their prosecutor." (emphasis mine - LTC D)
"One has to wonder whether these acts are to intentionally weaken our {fill in the blank}, intentionally control it, or unintentionally destroy it through liberal naivete."

You do not get where Obama and his administration are in politics being naive. Or stupid. That leaves intentional. Intentionally wrecking intelligence, health care, and the economy? "Never let a good crisis go to waste." And if you don't have enough crises, make some. In the end you will have total power over the population.
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