Skip to comments.Exclusive Book Excerpt: 'Sabotage' Part 1 -- The CIA goes to war with the Pentagon
Posted on 07/16/2007 6:44:59 AM PDT by Jimmy Valentine's brother
Washington, D.C. - Michael Maloof was back in the game. He and another Pentagon aide, David Wurmser, drove the short distance from the Pentagon to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. It was early October, a good season in Washington, but Maloofs nerves were on edge during the scenic ride along the tree-lined George Washington Parkway.
Maloof was a legend within the Pentagon circle that tracked arms proliferation. His office was obscure, but it performed a crucial national security function.
The Pentagon wanted years of intelligence reporting on al Qaeda, Iraq, Iran and other potential targets in the war against global terrorism. The Langley crew listened politely. But at the end, the CTC directors said, simply, no. The CIA, not Feiths policy shop, would do such work if ordered. There were follow-up requests. The answer was still no.
Finally, Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfelds deputy, interceded. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) pressed the CIA to cooperate. Years of CIA intelligence reports some mature, others raw and unconfirmed started arriving at the Pentagon. Maloof and Wurmser set up shop inside the supersecure National Military Intelligence Center on the Pentagons third floor. By December, they had produced a 150-slide briefing on contacts among al Qaeda, Iraq and Iran.
The agency blew a gasket, Maloof recalled. Maloof did not fully realize how his mission offended the extremely territorial Langley. snip
Discouraged, Maloof subsequently retired after more than 20 years of tracking arms proliferation between Western countries and the bad guys. The intelligence community had bagged Maloof and damaged Feith in the process.
When I drove out to the CIA, I thought we would be a team, Maloof recalled of his October 2001 trip to Langley. As I tell people now, Rome was burning and the barbarians were at the gate. By October, it was open warfare. They began leaking and making accusations and accusing us of setting up an operation to bypass the agency. They went after me for political reasons.
And they won.
........The CIAs incompetence has become legendary, beginning with the tragicomic George Tenet.
It's not incompetence....it's mendacity.
Because he's trying to maintain the illusion that we are one nation united for the common good. As POTUS he sees that as his job. No traitors here, just people with honest disagreements.
Once he breaks with this formulation, we move in the direction of civil war.
Who produced the fake Niger papers? There is nothing approaching a consensus on this question within the intelligence community. There has been published speculation about the intelligence services of several different countries. One theory, favored by some journalists in Rome, is that sismi produced the false documents and passed them to Panorama for publication.
Another explanation was provided by a former senior C.I.A. officer. He had begun talking to me about the Niger papers in March, when I first wrote about the forgery, and said, Somebody deliberately let something false get in there. He became more forthcoming in subsequent months, eventually saying that a small group of disgruntled retired C.I.A. clandestine operators had banded together in the late summer of last year and drafted the fraudulent documents themselves.
The agency guys were so pissed at Cheney, the former officer said. They said, O.K, were going to put the bite on these guys. They thought that, with this crowd, it was the only way to goto nail these guys who were not practicing good tradecraft and vetting intelligence, my source said. They thought itd be bought at lower levelsa big bluff. The thinking, he said, was that the documents would be endorsed by Iraq hawks at the top of the Bush Administration, who would be unable to resist flaunting them at a press conference or an interagency government meeting. They would then look foolish when intelligence officials pointed out that they were obvious fakes. But the tactic backfired, he said, when the papers won widespread acceptance within the Administration. It got out of control.
While Hersch is not considered by some to be a reliable source, this "coup" was also confirmed elsewhere:
Hold on to your hat. The plot is about to thicken.
Behind the scenes, the single most important reason for the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson farce is that CIA Director Porter Goss has finally started to clean house at Langley. Goss's longoverdue shakeup is clearly backed by the White House, the top levels of the Pentagon and State Department, and the new National Director of Intelligence, John Negroponte.
Judging by Director Goss's remarks at his Senate confirmation hearings, those whose jobs are most in danger include the CIA "experts" in WMD proliferation Valerie Plame's outfit who completely failed to anticipate the Indian and Pakistani nukes, and just couldn't figure out what was going on with Iraqi WMDs. Valerie Plame's bosses are facing the axe for decades of failures.
The farcical Plame/Wilson assault on Karl Rove is a shot across the bow of the White House. The spook bureaucracy is fighting for its perks, handinhand with the Democrats and the media. This is exactly the same iron triangle that destroyed Richard Nixon.
The charge against Rove is based on a blatantly forged document, purporting to show that Saddam tried to buy Niger yellowcake uranium. We now know that the document was forged by the French government to embarrass Secretary Colin Powell, and undermine the American case against Saddam at the UN. It was classic disinformation bait. Powell flourished the Niger forgery at the Security Council, and the very next day "European intelligence agencies" leaked word that it was a laughable fraud. Months later, the London Telegraph published the fact that it was all a French disinformation ploy.
The CIA has to know all about the French forgery, just as it knows that Joseph Wilson's famous trip to Niger was pure bilgewater. Nobody sends a hasbeen diplomat to Africa to drink mint tea with corrupt old President Tandja Mamadou, expecting to discover whether Mamadou has secretly been selling nuke materials to Saddam. That's pure Inspector Clousseau.
Valerie Plame's CIA bosses took care not to ask Mr. Wilson to sign a confidentiality agreement, routine in such cases, almost as if they wanted him to make a public fuss. They were not surprised, one might think, when Mr. Wilson promptly took his story to New York Times OpEd Editor Gail Collins, one of the great Bushhaters of all time. As Joseph DiGenova, former US Attorney for DC, recently said, "The CIA isn't stupid. They wanted this story out."
And as another blog points out:
Amazingly, an ex-US Ambassador with a French wife working in the French government, with strong ties to the nations running uranium mines, would be a great asset in this kind of covert operation.
I'm not so sure. My impression of the intelligence types I've (very rarely) encountered is more something of academic arrogance and smugness.
Others make the critism that the CIA lacks effective review mechanisms, the analysists reach a consenus and that consensus is never challenged. They don't have "Red Team" or "Tiger Team" reviews, designed to tear their conclusions to shreds. They don't seem to try and test their analysis against ground truth. They don't look for facts that would falsify their conclusions.
Military life is filled with inspections, ratings and reviews and career terminations. The CIA is like an academic institution, once you get tenure, you can rely on retiring in twenty or thirty years, as long as you don't rock the boat. It's not surprising that they have entirely different views of the world. I have long believed that at least 75% of the CIA should be composed of people with at least three years of military experience. Not necessarily in intelligence. For gawd's sake, hire someone who's done something other than shuffle papers all his/her whole life.
“I believe it will confirm that the CIA has been operating against the President as a political entity rather than providing intelligence assesments necessary to defend our country.”
I have thought this was the case from the beginning of the Plame fiasco. Mr. Bush ought never to have kept Tenet as Director as well.
It seems curious that, whereas once the State Department and the CIA were uneasy bedfellows, with Foggy Bottom defeatists in rivalry with CIA hawks, now they revel in a perverse embrace. IMO this suggests someone placed left-leaning ideological moles in the CIA and it has been difficult to dislodge the ticks. Just a guess.
Tear it down and start over. The CIA is completely rotten.
But the Hoekstra letter was quite specific about what is going on in the CIA. The Times article, however, did not highlight that part of the letter in which Hoekstra referred to events in the Valerie Plame affair as the result of "a strong and well-positioned group" within the CIA that "intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies." Readers of the on-line Times were able to read the whole letter, which was posted on the paper's website.
The Hoekstra letter also refers to Stephen Kappes returning to the CIA as Deputy Director when it is believed that he "may have been part" of the group that was determined to sabotage the Bush Administration.
And it's not just about Wilson/Plame:
The Bush administration suffered major embarrassment when it was disclosed that the United States was holding top al-Qaida suspects in "secret prisons" in eastern Europe and North Africa.
A Swedish journalist who prepared one of the first stories on the CIA flights that transported al-Qaida captives told Josh Gerstein of The New York Sun the CIA did a poor job of covering its tracks. "I would say they didn't give a damn," Fredrik Laurin told Mr. Gerstein. "If I was an American taxpayer, I'd be upset."
For a show broadcast in May of last year, Mr. Laurin traced the tail number of a Gulfstream jet used to transport captives to a clearly phony company in Massachusetts. "You weren't able to trace the name to any living individual," Mr. Laurin said. "They were all living in post office boxes in Virginia. "If that's all the imagination they can drum up at Langley, I'd fire the bunch," Mr. Laurin added.
But if the CIA hasn't been very good at ferreting out the secrets of our enemies, or keeping our own, it has shown a talent for playing politics.
"The CIA's war against the Bush administration is one of the great untold stories of the past three years," wrote lawyer and Web logger John Hinderaker in The Weekly Standard.
The CIA has used its budget to fund criticism of the Bush administration by former Democratic officeholders, and permitted a serving analyst, Michael Scheuer, to publish and promote a book bashing the president.
The principal CIA weapon has been the leak. Reporters for ABC, The New York Times and The Washington Post didn't have to do even the minimal legwork Mr. Laurin did to out the CIA's clandestine "rendition" program. It was handed to them by "current and former intelligence officials."
"So the CIA established policies that it knew would be controversial and would damage American interests if revealed, and then leaked the existence of those policies to The Washington Post for the purpose of damaging the Bush administration," Mr. Hinderaker wrote.
Too little, too late. Bush needed to sack whole divisions in a massive reorg.
Clinton was a pro when it came to the microscopic details of consolidating power. To undo his strategic plants required a President with a clear understanding of the mechanics of intrigue AND the ruthless purpose to get it done. George is a nice guy lacking that sense of purpose, much less a healthy respect for evil.
Thanks for your posts.
“Im sure the Clintons riddled the CIA with ideological appointees as a way to cripple it, with a view toward obstructing/undermining any more aggressive administration to follow. Hopefully our current President has been equally ideological in his hiring practices IOT reconfigure and protect the agency against a future Dem administration.”
Haven’t you noticed? The Democrats in Congress are attacking any member of the executive branch who can be accused of the sin of ‘loyalty’ to the White House.
The world is upside down.
A link for your thread: