Sunday, January 23, 2005

YCMTSU*, Volume 187,234

Ok, so I've been "outta the loop" for a couple of days, sorta regrouping, and getting ready for my daughter and son-in-law to move in for a month or two while they decide on a house to buy. I haven't been paying much attention to the "news", or trying not to for awhile because it's been too depressing.

I finally got a few minutes tonight to check things out, the first thing I see is this story on Rumsfeld:
New spy agency at Pentagon operating secretly in Iraq, Afghanistan: report
The Pentagon (news - web sites) has created a new spying agency that has already been operating secretly in Iraq (news - web sites) and Afghanistan (news - web sites) for two years.

The unit, called the Strategic Support Branch, has also been in operation in other places sources would not disclose, the Washington Post said, citing documents and interviews with participants.

A early planning memorandum to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Richard Myers, said the focus of the initiative was on "emerging target countries such as Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Philippines and Georgia," according to the Post.

The secret spying organization is designed to provide Rumsfeld with tools to conduct so-called human intelligence tasks, such as interrogation of prisoners and recruitment of foreign spies.

Recruited agents may include "notorious figures" whose association with the US government would be embarrassing if revealed, the Post said, citing a Pentagon memo.

First off 2 years isn't exactly "new" now is it? They've had the "Strategic Support Branch" up and running since probably right after we bombed the crap out of Afghanistan. Which means that the people tapped to run it and the basic organization were layed out well before that. Is this an organization that Congress has helped set up, or has the Bush administration decided it is above any oversight at all? (Ok, we all know the answer to that one -- I just thought I'd throw it in for laughs.)

Ok, so the officials at the Pentagon are into denial mode -- at least on parts of this story, but there is enough meat on this bone that it's got McCains' attention:

McCain Expects Hearings On Defense Intelligence Unit
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold hearings on a Washington Post report that the Defense Department is reinterpreting U.S. law to give the secretary broad authority over clandestine operations abroad.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has created a new espionage unit called the Strategic Support Branch, according to the news report, but McCain, speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation," said he doubts Rumsfeld has broken any laws.

"I'm always sorry to read about things in The Washington Post when they affect a committee that I am a member of," McCain said.

There really isn't anything these guys won't do. Anybody want to guess how long the "Salvadoran Option" has been in operation in Iraq?

*You Can't Make This Shit Up