Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA unit that tracked Osama Bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, said he quit the agency last week in part to speak out publicly against the "scapegoating" of the CIA's clandestine services for intelligence failures that lie with US leaders.
When a spook feels threatened and motivated enough to quit a cushy government job in order to speak out about a critically important topic, because he feels it isn't being (or can't be) addressed internally, someone's eyes need to open. Let's be clear -- this recent resignation, among others, is a big deal.
Do I expect spooks to spill their guts about every little internal departmental squabble? Of course not. But I do expect the atmosphere in the agency to be conducive to dealing honestly with these kinds of familial problems behind closed doors.
And DCI Goss...
The head of the CIA has told its employees that they must not "identify with, support or champion opposition" to the Bush administration.
The email to staff by Director Porter Goss, a former Republican congressman, has been seized on by critics...
Several leaks of intelligence relating to Iraq occurred during the recent US election campaign.
Much of it was embarrassing the administration, leading Republicans to say elements within the spy agency were siding with the opposition Democrats.
...is already violating every promise of non-partisanship that he made during his confirmation hearings:
Associated Press, Sept. 14, 2004: President Bush's nominee to be CIA director, Rep. Porter Goss, told critics who say he's too partisan for the job that he understands the importance of independent, objective intelligence, despite his nearly 16 years as a Republican partisan in Congress.
No surprises there. I said back in September that the committee Democrats should be roasted for not holding Goss's partisan feet to the fire. I mean, it's not like the guy didn't wear a known set of political stripes.
And I wonder, just wonder, if this whole nasty soiree could have anything to do with this:
The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket
By Robert Scheer
The Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 19 October 2004
The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials.
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.
"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward." ...(more>
Nah. That would be cynical of me. Wouldn't it? Well, cynical perhaps, but not a stretch in terms of defining the new role of the CIA, when the 9/11 Commission-recommended realignment of the U.S. security apparatus is complete.