Aug 22 2007
Why did key CIA people like Plame/Wilson (Plame was head of the IC Iraq Task Force) and a list of others come out over the past few years to the media to tarnish the Administration with stories of CIA torture, CIA prisons, NSA snooping and forged uranium trade documents? Seems they were trying to compensate – for their own ineptitude:
An executive summary of the report, prepared by the agencyâ€™s inspector generalâ€™s office in 2005 and finally released Tuesday under orders from Congress, is unquestionably embarrassing for former agency director George Tenet and many of his top deputies. According to the reportâ€™s findings, the CIA under Tenetâ€™s leadership repeatedly blew opportunities to disrupt the Al Qaeda networkâ€”and possibly even penetrate the 9/11 plot itselfâ€”because of â€œmismanagement,â€ a lack of strategic direction and a â€œsystemic breakdownâ€ within the agencyâ€™s Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC).
I am on business travel so I will have to leave it to other bloggers and commentators to tie which leaks lead back to this den of impotence. But the bottom line is clear: these people failed. And to understand why they would react as they did by blaming others one has to have had to deal with these people and their bottomless arrogance and egoes. Because they have access to tools and methods reserved for only a few who can meet the requirements, they have concluded they are omnipotent and humanities finest in all things. The rah-rah used to create esprite de corpse (spelling?) can really FUBAR weak, insecure personalities like you find when you deal with someone like Larry Johnson who somehow became an expert in all things intel after a brief (and probably forced terminated) career in the CIA.
It is this arrogance that made them sloppy, and it is their egoes that made the lash out at others. The story of their screw up is not pretty – even without the amplification of arrogance and ego which makes it look worse in the minds eye of these people:
The report also seemed to raise new questions about former President Clintonâ€™s angry claim to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace last year that he had authorized the CIA to â€œkillâ€ Osama bin Ladenâ€”a directive that the report suggested was more ambiguous and limited than Clinton asserted.
The conservative bloggers have had Clinton on tape himself commenting on how he talked himself into impotence on Bin Laden. Clinton was not a lame duck in his second term – he was a hamstrung duck. He could not dare to make any bold moves because of his personal/professional issues. So while he was being serviced by an intern in the Oval Office he let Bin Laden run free to finish his work on 9-11. They ultimate screwing of the American people – and he did not even offer us a drink.
The report found that U.S. counter-terrorism efforts against Al Qaeda were damaged by a fierce turf battle between the CIA and the National Security Agency (then under Haydenâ€™s leadership) over access to transcripts of intercepted communications picked up by the governmentâ€™s spy satellites and listening posts. Throughout the late 1990s right up to 9/11, the two U.S. intelligence agencies appear to have sharply feuded over the issue. The NSA eavesdropped on the conversations of top Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. It then prepared verbatim written transcripts of this raw â€œsignals intelligenceâ€ (known as SIGINT in the intel world).
But what Newsweek and the NY Times and others will not explain (but they know it just as I find out) is the NSA could NOT pass leads to the CIA or others that included the details of identity and location of contacts in the US. This is the essence of the FISA-NSA crap the NY Times got ALL WRONG due to another leak by someone who wanted power and would risk our security for their gain. The NSA had known of Atta – General Hayden admitted as much:
He admits that we knew that Mohamed Atta and his crew were in the US. But he says that â€œwe did not know anything moreâ€ because prior to 9/11 â€œMohamed Atta and his fellow 18 hijackers would have been presumed to have been protected persons, U.S. persons, by NSA â€œ.
Because of the antiquated FISA laws and the foolishly naive policy that separated intel from the FBI and domestic law investigation (the only one authorized to investigate here in the US from the Feds), which peaked with Clinton’s administration and the Gorelick wall, we had information on Atta and others prior to the attack. But the rules required all details on Atta and his killers here in the US be removed before the NSA passed the information on to others – making it useless. It made the information ‘chatter’ without clear indication of when and where because the when and where of the side of the discussions in the US was DELETED – per pre 9-11 policies. Policies Bush wisely tore down.
But there is more to this story still – the CIA wanted to play God and not team lead for the Intel Community (IC) so they established their control by limiting acccess to information and putting up road blocks. Here is a post I did over a year ago on an article that had uncovered the problem with the CIA’s turf issues (they had to be the heroes to America). This is not news and the reporting is incomplete from prior versions. The Nesweek article claims the NSA would not share intel the earlier article claims the CIA had the intel and would not share it with the FBI. I tend to believe the latter given the abysmal reporting on this matter. And Newsweek has a quote cnfirming this position:
Some in the intelligence community take issue with the report’s characterization of the disagreement. â€œIt was a question of law, not turf,â€ one U.S. intel official said Tuesday when asked why Haydenâ€™s NSA had refused to share such vital information with another U.S. intelligence agency. â€œThe most efficient way to ensure compliance with the law when it comes to raw transcripts was to have the SIGINT reviewed inside NSA spaces.â€
And a companion NY Times article also confirms the CIA knew and someone is trying to deflect blame:
The 19-page report, prepared by the agencyâ€™s inspector general, also says 50 to 60 C.I.A. officers knew of intelligence reports in 2000 that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, may have been in the United States. But none of those officers thought to notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the potential domestic threat, the report says, evidence of what it calls a systemic failure.
Yeah, like the NY Times is going to tell its readers that it was FISA that would not allow the NSA or CIA to tell the FBI. That would require correcting their erroneous reporting on the FISA role in 9-11.
The news media are such dunces it is simply amazing. All these stories on FISA and the NSA and not going around the court and they cannot connect the dots. Read the article and realize all the whining from the CIA was because of FISA and the Gorelick Wall had penetrated so far into out national security that they blind folded us to what was happening (blind justice you know). The fact is the FISA tried to extend this by making it a requirement to get a warrant to eavesdrop on terrorists overseas (no US component). Things to remember about warrants is they LIMIT who can have access to the information gained. This is exactly how we got to 9-11 – lawyers playing CYA.
This is not a new story, it is just the news media groping to at some point – maybe – see the real story they have been screwing up for years now. The CIA is not performing to the level of their arrogance or egoes. They are fallible and then some. They missed 9-11. But when lawyers make up theoretical reasons NOT to pass around threatening information you can only blame the IC so much. We cannot let the ignorant media pass on their ignorance to America – this story needs to get out and be accurate.