Skip to comments.How CIA lost its bearings in the ‘scrub’ of 95
Posted on 01/12/2002 7:29:16 PM PST by Pokey78
In 1986, under President Reagan, the CIA set up a unit to fight a wave of terrorism in the Middle East. This counterterrorism centre (CTC) was placed deliberately within the directorate of operations so that it could take covert action. A new law established Americas right to capture terrorists abroad, and a presidential finding authorised the CIA to go and get them. So why did the CTC not succeed in neutralising Osama Bin Laden and his followers? The answers lie partly in post-cold war budget cuts and 1990s political correctness, which harmed the CIAs ability to penetrate the Al-Qaeda organisation.
According to insiders, one fifth of the agencys operational spending was cut in real terms during the 1990s, with covert intelligence stations removed from many Third World countries, including some in east Africa, where Al-Qaeda was active.
Richard Shelby, the Republican chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, says: I cant reveal, you know, numbers, but I can tell you, after 1990, there were huge cuts in the intelligence budget, because a lot of people thought, Gosh, weve won the cold war, we dont have any problems in the world. Such naive thinking.
Jim Woolsey, President Clintons first CIA director from 1993-95, remembers pleading with the White House to fight budget cuts imposed by the Democrat majority on the Senate intelligence committee. But Clinton disliked the intelligence community, and Woolsey had only two private meetings with him in two years. When a light plane crashed into the south side of the White House, Woolsey says, the staffers inside joked that it was the CIA director trying to get an appointment in the Oval Office.
For Woolsey, the collapse of basic spying inside Islamic groups at that time because of funding cuts set the scene for September 11. Human intelligence is a long-term operation. Its like growing orchids, it takes a long time, he says.
The CIAs woes were increased by the discovery in 1994 that one of its officers, Aldrich Ames, was a Moscow agent. But worse came when Senator Dennis DeConcini led congressional pressure over the exposure of the CIAs involvement with human rights abusers in a failed coup in Guatemala in the 1950s.
Woolseys successor, John Deutch, drafted a series of new rules preventing the CIA from hiring anyone with a dubious background. The result was what CIA operatives refer to as the infamous scrub of 1995. From top to bottom, the CIA reviewed its entire list of informers and part-time agents, eliminating swathes of human intelligence sources.
CIA insiders remember that by the end of 1995 Bin Laden was known to be a threat to America. In the old days, the CIA might have found a secret way of dealing with him: not necessarily his execution, but perhaps his rendition into the prison service of a friendly Middle Eastern ally, such as Egypt or Jordan, or simply disrupting his activities. But covert action was no longer in favour.
Jack Devine, who retired in 1998 after serving as CIA station chief in London, had been a director of clandestine operations under Woolsey and Deutch. He said his former department became wary of taking risks when considering covert action, which he now considers a dying art.
Devine added: With hindsight, even in the early 1990s, when Bin Laden was in Sudan and was beginning to emerge as an identified threat to America and the West, the use of covert action might have been effective in neutralising his activities.
Senior officials at both the CIA and the FBI agree that the biggest mistake in those years was not to probe deeper into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York and particularly into the connections of Ramzi Yousef, the terrorist successfully trailed to Pakistan and arrested for the attack.
Robert Blitzer, a former counterterrorist chief of the FBI, recalls: I never really believed that Ramzi Yousef could walk into the US and have an operational team put together in a short period of time, get all materials for bombing, pull it off and escape without a whole lot of planning. The fact is that he came from abroad. I felt he is one guy but someone is telling him what to do. I thought he was a bright guy and very capable but it couldnt make sense to me that someone wasnt pulling his strings.
At the CIA and the White House, officials say they would like to have probed this wider conspiracy if the FBI had shared with them its intelligence. But under American law, the CIA could not see evidence gathered by FBI agents who were working under the New York prosecutors authority. So no global picture emerged.
Just as Bush told us with regard to terrorism, it cannot be simply reduced, it must be eliminated. The war against the terrorists must destroy the participants before we can discuss peace.
In similar manner, the CIA must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt. Who knows what the Clinton administration did to the organization.
His DO Nora Slatkin did to CIA security what Hazel O'Leary did to Energy's; then covered for Deutch and joined him at Citibank.
John Millis, Porter Goss' former-CIA officer/chief of staff, sucked a shotgun at the Breezeway Motel--after calling Clinton the worst president for counterintel, and Deutch the worst DCI for counterintel.
I think it's the treason.
...The Anti-US CLINTONS killed CIA Policy in 1995 of hiring the on the ground human recources Spies we needed to prevent Sept 11th...
...The Anti-US CLINTONS organized Anti-US Demonstrations at Home and Abroad during the late 1960's, early 1970's...
...The Ant-US CLINTONS made sure the World's Terrorist and Communist States GOT our precious National Security Secrets during the 1990's so they could so be used against US later on...
...The Anti-US CLINTONS are pressing for an Anti-US President HILLARY CLINTON in 2004 thru a $25 Million ABC-TV Deal with Disney's Head MICHAEL EISNER that will have them on Daily TV with the Women Voters of America just sippin' their Coffee together ...like on REGIS-Live ...who I think they want to replace...
...Anti-US CLINTONS = Anti-US Disney...
WATCH'EM Both. CALL'EM on it.
Thank G-d the grownups are back in charge!
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Be sure to direct all the newcomers & lurkers & wannabes to the bump list so they can see how much we cover that the media won't even talk about....
What Clinton and his cronies got away with would take a just judicial system centuries to prosecute. From Arkansas, to DC and back...a trail of corruption that would make an honest investigator invest in tin foil. What good is the law when the law-breakers are advised by their lawyers to plea the 5th or flee the country?
Ths same MO's at work in the press today, IMHO, and Osama's smiling and waiting and thanking Daschle, the DNC and the US media.
Thank God for FR, and journalists who dare write the truth and keep the faith. Hugs.