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Tag Archives: CIA

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Nancy Pelosi looks like a deer in the headlights. Pretty much all the time. A facelift gone bad? Too much Botox for breakfast? Not sure why. But she looks particualrly clueless as she tries to skirt her consenting knowledge of the Bush Administration’s torture-is-good policy. Accusing the CIA of lying to Congress seemed particularly desperate. And Leon Panetta’s defense of his department seemed particularly valiant. The CIA would never mislead the American people, he protested in no uncertain terms. Of course not! Just ask his predecessor, George Tenet. Uh huh. Slam dunk.

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Thumbs up from The National Review. Michael Ledeen writes:

In the very early days of the Bush administration, Karl Rove asked a Washington policy wonk what personnel changes he’d recommend to newly arrived George W. The wonk said “there is one matter of life and death: he must replace Tenet at CIA and put in one of his own people, someone he absolutely trusts.” Rove said “well, good luck with that one.” Obama knows better, and he’s putting Leon Panetta in Langley.

I always liked Panetta. He served in the Army and is openly proud of it. He seems to be a good lawyer (oxymoronic though it may seem). He’s a good manager. And he’s going to watch Obama’s back at a place that’s full of stilettos and a track record for attempted presidential assassination second to none. But Italians know all about political assassination; you may remember Julius Caesar. Or Aldo Moro. The self-proclaimed cognoscenti will deride his lack of “spycraft,” and he’s never worked in the intel bureaucracy or, for that matter, in foreign policy or national security. But he’s been chief of staff, which involved all that stuff.

I think it’s a smart move.

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Seems like no one is satisfied with the explanation of Benazir Bhutto’s death. Odd, when you think about it. I mean, there are so many explanations to chose from. Something for everyone, really. She was killed by an assassin’s bullet. She was killed by a bullet-proof limo. She cracked her noggin. She had cracked the code on underhanded political shenanigans Even Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf isn’t satisfied. And he’s the calculating S.O.B. who engineered the whole thing––at least that’s one of the explanations. Now, maybe I sound a little callous. My apologies. But I come from a city that rather famously gunned down a President. And we are still trying to sort that one out. There’s the lone gunman theory. The two gunmen theory. The Mafia hit theory. The CIA hit theory. I think that there are even one or two that implicate LBJ, the Klu Klux Klan, Jackie and the Freemasons. It seems nobody likes it when visionaries die. We are afraid that the dream will die with them. And we are just not satisfied with lone gunmen and exploding people. We certainly take umbrage at the thought that a nasty fall could be the lethal culprit. Something big had to be afoot. So we conduct extensive investigations, convene our commissions, file our reports, then write our conspiracy books. Visionaries deserve nothing less. And the personal vanity of our collective dreams can’t possibly be so fragile that they can be ended so easily, so randomly. Dreams and dreamers deserve better.

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Who would want this job? Not Ari Fleischer. Not Scott McClellan. Not Tony Snow. And this week, maybe not the latest White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, who has the esteemed privilege of answering journalists’ questions about the White House’s involvement in the recent CIA destruction of interrogation tapes. Or not answer, as the case may be. Is it just me, or doesn’t the White House’s latest “no comment” posture, following the earlier stance that “the President has no recollection,” only serve to make the President seem more complicit or––at the very least–– less informed? Neither of which is good. Am I right? But then again, shouldn’t the focus be on the CIA? And can we really blame these cloak and dagger gadabouts? I mean, covert groups like the CIA are sort of famous for being clandestine. Operating under the radar. Doing underhanded shenanigans and then covering their trail. It’s part of the M.O. But surely, they would know how bad this would look, right? Surely, they would know the kind of media firestorm destroying these tapes would create. Wouldn’t they? Which is why we have to consider this––whether or not the CIA checked in with the Oval Office before the trip to the incinerator–– isn’t it likely that the only thing more disturbing than the destruction of these tapes had to be the prospect of the world getting a peek at their contents? Isn’t that the obvious takeaway? Or am I missing something here? I know, Dana. “No comment.”