Purge of the Obama administration? Purge in the Obama administration? Either one is justifiable, I think.
No, really. That’s the word he used.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on Wednesday called on President Obama to “purge” his administration of the CIA officials who were involved in the “enhanced interrogation” program detailed in a new Senate report.
“It’s bad enough to not prosecute these officials but to reward and promote them is incomprehensible,” Udall said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “The president needs to purge his administration.”
I wonder what tomorrow’s (scheduled) Senate report on waterboarding during the Bush era is actually going to say. I suspect – suspect – that it’s going to end up seriously upsetting the antiwar Left, in large part because the former administration isn’t hanging the CIA out to dry:
The report is said to assert that the C.I.A. misled Mr. Bush and his White House about the nature, extent and results of brutal techniques like waterboarding, and some of his former administration officials privately suggested seizing on that to distance themselves from the controversial program, according to people involved in the discussion. But Mr. Bush and his closest advisers decided that “we’re going to want to stand behind these guys,” as one former official put it.
Mr. Bush made that clear in an interview broadcast on Sunday. “We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the C.I.A. serving on our behalf,” he told CNN’s Candy Crowley. “These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base.”
Not that I particularly object to the Democrats holding off on publishing what was essentially a political hack job against the last President, but…
Secretary of State John Kerry personally phoned Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Friday morning to ask her to delay the imminent release of her committee’s report on CIA torture and rendition during the George W. Bush administration, according to administration and Congressional officials.
Kerry was not going rogue — his call came after an interagency process that decided the release of the report early next week, asFeinstein had been planning, could complicate relationships with foreign countries at a sensitive time and posed an unacceptable risk to U.S. personnel and facilities abroad. Kerry told Feinstein he still supports releasing the report, just not right now.
When this came out, it was a ‘question’ who was doing it….
The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said today.
Previously, the U.S. had insisted on only selling arms to the Iraqi government in Baghdad, but the Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State (IS) fighters in recent weeks.
U.S. air strikes have been key to redressing the balance over weekend, allowing Kurdish forces to retake two towns yesterday in one of their first victories since the uprising began in June.
Well, if you were ever unsure whether the entire Libbygate thing was overwrought…
Valerie Plame doesn’t deny that blowing the cover of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan is a serious matter. It’s just that, discussing the issue at a Wednesday evening forum sponsored by The Atlantic, Plame seemed to view the outing of the CIA’s top spy on the front lines in the Afghan war as more of an embarrassment than an outrage.
…actually, if you were unsure: well, why? It was obvious at the time that the antiwar movement wasn’t really outraged over the issue. They were just looking for a viable line of attack on a war that they were too petty to support and too craven to oppose. If they had actually cared then the Left would be the first people screaming about the fact that the slapdash and slap-happy White House team did what they do best, which is screw up in a fashion that might end up getting people killed. (more…)
I believe that he feels it will clear his name.
It took me a while to figure out what was so off about former acting CIA Director Michael Morell’s forthright statement that he supports the House investigating committee on Benghazi:
Speaking to a forum founded and run by his former boss at the CIA, Leon Panetta, Morell said he hopes that the House effort can lay to rest lingering questions Americans’ have about the attack which killed the U.S. Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
“A lot of people have looked at this, but the polls show that the American people still have questions. I want to make sure that all of those questions are cleared up. There are still some questions about the role of the agency. And there are still questions about my own personal role and I want to clear that up,” Morell said during a panel discussion at the Panetta Institute in Monterey, Calif. “It might be surprising for you to hear me say this, but I am a supporter of the creation of this committee because I want all the facts to come together in one place and be presented as one—by one entity as one thing, so the American people can see all of this.”
…and then it hit me: Michael Morell sounds like a guy who thinks that he can walk into House hearings on Benghazi and walk back out again with his scalp intact. I don’t know whether that’s because of a clean-enough conscience, self-confidence in his abilities to finesse a House committee, a certain warm awareness of knowing where all the bodies are buried, or a combination thereof: at any rate, it is an attitude that is in stark contrast to everybody else in this administration (current and former) that was involved in the Benghazi mess. And since Morell is acting how you would expect an innocent (or innocent-enough*) civil servant to act… why aren’t the rest of them? Because if the rest of the Obama administration responded as did Morell and the Pentagon, this issue would have been over a year ago…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Nobody is ever truly innocent in this business. But the CIA’s involvement in this particular outrage is easily overshadowed by the actions of the State Department and the White House.
This should surprise nobody:
Edward Snowden‘s massive misappropriations of classified documents from the inner sanctum of U.S. intelligence is mainly presented by the media as a whistleblowing story. In this narrative—designed by Mr. Snowden himself—he is portrayed as a disgruntled contractor for the National Security Agency, acting alone, who heroically exposed the evils of government surveillance beginning in 2013.
The other way of looking at it—based on the number and nature of documents Mr. Snowden took, and the dates when they were taken—is that only a handful of the secrets had anything to do with domestic surveillance by the government and most were of primary value to an espionage operation.
I mean, honestly: what’s the point?
For years, the Central Intelligence Agency denied it had a secret file on MIT professor and famed dissident Noam Chomsky. But a new government disclosure obtained by The Cable reveals for the first time that the agency did in fact gather records on the anti-war iconoclast during his heyday in the 1970s.
The disclosure also reveals that Chomsky’s entire CIA file was scrubbed from Langley’s archives, raising questions as to when the file was destroyed and under what authority.
Were they spying on somebody relevant at the time that just hung around Chomsky? – That would make sense: God knows that the antiwar movement has always been a hotbed of subversion, sedition, foreign espionage, and general hatred of Western Civilization in general and the United States of America in particular. (more…)
McClatchy (!) has decided to get in on the Benghazi dogpile, probably because, hey, no line for this one*!
Lost in the controversy over who requested revisions of CIA-written talking points on September’s attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans is one key fact: In every iteration of the document, the CIA asserted that a video protest preceded the assaults, and no official reviewing the talking points suggested that that was in error.
Yet interviews with U.S. officials and others indicate that they knew nearly immediately that there had been no protest outside the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi before attackers stormed it, setting a fire that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, a State Department computer expert. A subsequent attack on a CIA annex nearby killed two security contractors, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Why the CIA insisted that there had been a protest tied to a YouTube video that mocked the Prophet Muhammad for several days after the attack, mirroring some news reports, has never been publicly explained.
Well, never been publicly explained by the CIA. Everybody reading this knows that the actual reason that the protest was linked to the video is because the Obama administration could argue that there’s no realistic way to predict when a random event like a ‘spontaneous demonstration’ would go deadly. But a planned terrorist operation? Yeah, the American public has an expectation that counter-terrorism agencies are supposed to catch that sort of thing. Goodness knows that the Obama administration has been pushing itself as being hyper-competent and on-the-ball; a disaster like Benghazi** might have destroyed that narrative. Which is why they kicked the can down the road by claiming that nonsense about a video. (more…)
…and that is a legitimate ‘if:’ anyway, if it turns out that Broadwell’s revelation last month is correct and that Benghazi was hosting a secret jail* for the purpose of extraordinary rendition then I hope that people will find the following posts to be useful.
- 01/21/2009. There’s a phrase missing from this Washington Times report on detainee policy.
- 01/28/2009. Obama’s Rendition Exception.
- 02/01/2009. Obama embraces torture.
- 02/02/2009. The nuance of the pro-torture Left (HRW edition).
- 02/08/2009. Greenwald, Sullivan’s faux-outrage over rendition.
And you can tell just how bad all of this is from this sardonic comment: “No wonder Defense Secy. Leon Panetta is out of the country and the president will be too this weekend. It all makes tomorrow’s scheduled White House news conference seem more like an episode of Generals’ Hospital.”
Anyway, short version: adultery adultery adultery (Mrs. Petraeus so far seems to be mercifully absent from all the bed-jumping), with a side order of obsessive behavior and piss-poor documents security for dessert. That last bit is possibly the most worrisome; I don’t like to think that actual espionage may rear its head here, but at the moment you legitimately can’t rule it out. It’s been a while since the last spy sex scandal; we’re probably overdue.
Anyway, the score so far is at least two careers blighted… and, oh, yeah: (more…)