Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Does Barack Obama Have What It Takes To Get The CIA Under Control?


Vladimir Putin, who enjoys an extremely high job approval rating in Russia, has very low ratings from the American public. That isn't because of his ultra-reactionary economic policies but because he's seen as authoritarian. Americans don't know much about him but they do know that he was a career officer of the Russian version of the CIA, the KGB. Americans have been "taught" to have a much more negative attitude towards the KGB than towards the CIA, which many of us look on as though it were a benign part of government or at worst, something unpleasant, like the IRS.

That the CIA has overthrown governments, killed foreign leaders and illegally interfered in domestic American politics is a matter of record-- albeit a record most American citizens would rather ignore and are not aware of. People who read Russ Baker's new book, Family of Secrets are aware that the CIA is implicated in the Kennedy assassination and a coup against Nixon called the Watergate scandal and are also aware the George H.W. Bush was a lifelong CIA operative, no less than Putin has always been a KGB operative. I am reading Baker's book now. It's scary stuff. I'm also finishing up Reese Erlich's book, Dateline Havana.

The two books-- and my own life's experiences-- prepared me for a rather bizarre headline in yesterday's Politico: Democrats: CIA Is Out To Get Us. Reading Family of Secrets I can't but help wondering if they will arrange for an accident for President Obama if he pushes too hard away from what they feel is the right path for America-- not because he's a Democrat, mind you... just because he's opposing their world vision and their "interests." Did they kill JFK? I'm absolutely positive that they did. Did they arrange Watergate in order to destroy Nixon? The proof is very heavy that they did. Are they an evil dagger pointed at the heart of American democracy that should be smashed to bits? Damn straight!

Right now the institutional defense mechanism is in full gear. And the best defense is offense so they are on the attack-- against Democratic political figures who could disrupt their little game. Politico only goes close to the crux of what's really happening.
“I think there is so much embarrassment in some quarters [of the CIA] that people are going to try to shift some of the responsibility to others — that’s what I think,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who sat on the Senate Intelligence Committee and was briefed on interrogation techniques five times between 2006 and 2007.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said he finds it “interesting” that a document detailing congressional briefings was released just as “some of the groups that have been responsible for these interrogation techniques were taking the most criticism.”

Asked whether the CIA was seeking political cover by releasing the documents, Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said: “Sure it is.”

The CIA has long been on the receiving end of harsh rebukes from Congress-- on intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq, on secret prisons abroad and on the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects. But with the release of records showing that it briefed members of Congress along the way, the CIA has effectively put lawmakers on the defensive.

Intelligence officials insist it wasn’t intentional and have not taken responsibility for publicly releasing the documents.

Asked for comment about the Democrats’ charges, CIA spokesman George Little said only that the CIA “understands the importance of a strong relationship with the Congress, which in our democracy, conducts oversight of secret intelligence activities.”

Their goal is to topple Nancy Pelosi as Speaker and to replace her with the far more compliant Steny Hoyer, long a willing cog in the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about. Two of the CIA's pet-members of Congress, Michigan Republican Pete Hoekstra and California Blue Dog Jane Harman are salivating for Pelosi's blood and are working with CIA operatives to undermine her. And Ms Lindsey has her panties all in a bunch too and wants to use this to deter the Democrats from getting to the bottom of the illegal activities during the Bush years. The Politico story speculates that the CIA has "bad feelings" towards congressional Democrats and towards the Obama Administration. That isn't as easily solved as it should be. Soon after JFK and his brother fired the top CIA brass for the same kind of disloyalty to American democracy that the current lot are engaged in, both Democrats were brutally murdered.
Questions about the CIA’s motives have added to bad feelings between the CIA and Democrats on the Hill and in the Obama administration. Panetta tried to limit the release of Justice Department memos authorizing harsh interrogation techniques, but he lost a struggle with the department, and the memos were released. CIA officials fear that release of the memos could subject them to lawsuits and hurt officers in the field.

The memos are the subject of a Senate hearing today. I don't disagree with Obama about not releasing the repulsive torture photos to the public. They should be shown to the jurors who have to decide if Bush and Cheney and their cronies get life imprisonment or sentences more in line with their crimes.

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At 6:29 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

This is precisely the real battle for power in D.C. Yes, the CIA have overthrown governments. Add to the list the U.S. government, to include JFK and, yes, Nixon. (Read Family of Secrets.)

In fact, when Obama's plane had "mechanical problems" a couple of days before he flipflopped on FISA I think the message had been delivered. Also recall that it had been in DALLAS that the Secret Service "screwed up" and turned off the metal detector.


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