Friday, August 26, 2005

Politics and the CIA

Way too many anonymous sources for my liking in this article. But since it's the LATimes it must be the truth. (right.)
Following a two-year review into what went wrong before the suicide hijackings, Helgerson harshly criticizes a number of the agency's most senior officials, according to people familiar with the report. Among those singled out for criticism are former CIA Director George Tenet, former clandestine service chief Jim Pavitt and former counterterrorism center head Cofer Black.

The former officials are likely candidates for proceedings before an accountability board, which could take a number of actions, including letters of reprimand or dismissal. The proceedings also could clear the former officials of wrongdoing.

Those who discussed the report with the AP all spoke on condition of anonymity because it remains highly classified and has been distributed only to a small circle in Washington.
So which congress person is the anonymous source? Better question, is when are they going to start investigating and crucifying these sources? Classifications have their meaning.

Discussion of the existence of the report is one thing, but if you need to be anonymous, I'm betting you're going somewhere you shouldn't be.
Despite public outcries for accountability, many in the intelligence community believe Goss would be loath to try to discipline popular former senior officials and cause unrest within the agency.

He may not want to go after less senior people still in the CIA's employ. Intelligence veterans say these CIA employees are the government's mostly highly trained in counterterrorism and before the Sept. 11 attacks, devoted their time to trying to stop al-Qaida terrorists. The hearings would force them to defend their careers rather than working against extremist groups.

In addition, the numerous investigations after Sept. 11 determined that an intelligence overhaul was essential to attack Muslim extremism.
He may not wish to go after former officials, because it wouldn't provide anything useful. Punishing someone who is outside of the CIA is not likely to benefit anyone. If there is criminality involved, then I think its justified to punish them, but if it's reprimand or other BS, then why bother?

Here's the politics:
Some members of Congress, including California Rep. Jane Harman, the Intelligence Committee's senior Democrat, are pushing for the CIA to produce a declassified version of the report so the public can debate these and other issues. Some family members of 9/11 victims have also called for the report's immediate release. "The findings in this report must be shared with all members of Congress and with the American public to ensure that the problems identified are addressed and corrected, thus moving to restore faith in this agency," a group called Sept. 11 Advocates said in a statement Thursday.
I'd suggest letting the repairs/punishments take place prior to release of the report. I also find it unlikely that a "declassified" report would have many words in it. Any secret material on procedures would be eliminated, and any person's names would be eliminated related to the 1974 Privacy Act.

Politics have been played in the CIA for a long time. We've all heard about the politics played there relevant to the Iraq WMD data. Personally, I'm betting on the Demosprats pushing hard for the release of the report and release of any info on whose head rolls. The spin will be to make sure that the chop will have occurred to clean up Bush's mess in the CIA, irrespective of whether the person was appointed by Bush or not.

Stay tuned. Same Bat time. Same Bat channel.

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