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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Purge

Just so everyone is clear on the Central Intelligence Agency's mission, Porter Goss, the former Republican member of Congress from Florida and new CIA Director, passed around a memo (that was leaked to the NY Times, of course):
Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to "support the administration and its policies in our work," a copy of an internal memorandum shows.

"As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies," Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking "to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road."
Needless to say, that interpretation seems a little different from the official CIA mission. Apparently, to be fair, the memo does include this line too:
"We provide the intelligence as we see it - and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker."
That's better.

Still, the transition period under Goss is awkward and a lot of knowledgeable people see the recent wave of resignations as a real political purge.

For example, former Anonymous agent Michael Scheuer acknowledges that the White House is at war with the CIA because of the agency's failure to be team players on the issue of Iraq. This is from Tuesday's "Hardball":
MATTHEWS: I read the papers every day. I want to tell you, whether you agree with me or not, publicly or not, I see a war that is going on constantly. The CIA leaks stuff detrimental to the administration, detrimental to the Defense Department. It goes back and forth. It‘s about leaking. It‘s new leaking.

It‘s constantly a war between the CIA, who seems to be skeptical of this war with Iraq, and the ideologues in the Defense Department and the vice president‘s office, primarily, that are at war with you guys over there. Isn‘t that true?


SCHEUER: To some extent, I guess it is true.

But the truth of the matter is, they probably don‘t like the idea of the war—of some of our opinions about the war in Iraq. If anything, cinched bin Laden transmitting from bin Laden to bin Ladenism in a worldwide movement, it was the war in Iraq. It doesn‘t make any difference really what the threat was from Saddam....

MATTHEWS: Let me ask you, without naming names. Did most of the top people in the CIA believe that it was a mistake to go to Iraq?

SCHEUER: I would think that that is a shared view in terms of trying to finish off the bin Laden problem, sir, yes.
Scheuer was asked to confirm Egyptian President Mubarek's claim that the Iraq war had launched a 100 new bin Ladens. Scheuer replied, "more than that," and noted the world now has an Afghanistan right in the center of the Islamic world. By contrast, Afghanistan was a backwater after the Soviets left, but Iraq is right there in the thick of things.

Gee, I wonder how the purge will turn out? What happens to an agency that tosses aside the dissidents who didn't agree with the failed policy?

What happens to the country?

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