Written by Rohaan Solare on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 11:55 - Comment
CIA CHIEF LEON PANETTA and The Fallacy of “Politically Unbiased Intelligence”
Taking first place this week for the most absurd political statement is new CIA chief Leon Panetta who promises: “to perform our job with integrity and with respect for the laws and for the constitution that we are all pledged to uphold,” and to deliver “the very best intelligence, independent judgments not influenced by the politics of the situation, but truly real, objective information that can be presented to the president and the policymakers of this country so that they can protect the American people.”
If we are to believe Mr. Panetta then does he mean the CIA’s continuing legacy of covert operations throughout the world are going to stop?
Intelligence gathering is one thing, but covert government operations designed to destabilize foreign governments, topple anti-US leaders or interfere in a foreign country‘s domestic affairs are to be considered nothing less than political actions authorized by the highest political offices and done under the cover of secrecy and darkness. The CIA is a misnomer since the agency has powers that go far beyond intelligence gathering.
The CIA represents the very essence of the principal political strategies employed by all governments–subterfuge, deception and surveillance. The CIA is compelled by design to deceive all–save those who they must answer to.
It is their mission to conceal every aspect of their undercover activities. We can never expect them to say anything resembling the truth. They report to their masters and we get to hear whatever they have been cleared to say publicly. Fortunately for us leaks happen.
Case in point. George Bush knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction in advance of the Iraq war. George Tenet, former Head of CIA told Bush personally that Iraq had no WMD several months prior to the war. Yet, when the field report came out with the conclusion that Iraq had no WMD it was George Tenet who took the fall. The American public was lied to in order to politically justify an invasion of Iraq. Tenet did not disclose to the public that the President was lying about his knowledge of Iraqi WMD.
By creating an agency separate from the executive, congressional and judicial branches, the government big dogs put up a firewall to protect themselves from blowback. The CIA is simply a glove the power holders put on to do their dirtiest work. It is a way of conducting domestic or geo-political black ops at a distance so when the shit hits the fan the big time political leaders do not take a direct hit.
Let’s not forget about the CIA’s involvement in the coup against President Chavez of Venezuela. And look at this laundry list of CIA political activities produced by historian and author Chalmers Johnson.
From the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 through the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro of Cuba and Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of Congo, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, the “secret war” in Laos, aid to the Greek colonels who seized power in 1967, the 1973 killing of Salvador Allende in Chile and Ronald Reagan’s Iran-contra war against Nicaragua, there is not a single instance in which the agency’s activities did not prove acutely embarrassing to the United States.
The CIA continues to get away with this primarily because its budget and operations have always been secret and Congress is normally too indifferent to its constitutional functions to rein in a rogue bureaucracy. Therefore the tale of a purported CIA success story should be of some interest.
According to the author of the newly released Charlie Wilson’s War, the exception to CIA incompetence was the arming between 1979 and 1988 of thousands of Afghan moujahedeen (“freedom fighters”). The agency flooded Afghanistan with an astonishing array of extremely dangerous weapons and “unapologetically mov[ed] to equip and train cadres of high tech holy warriors in the art of waging a war of urban terror against a modern superpower,” in this case, the USSR
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