Thursday, February 26, 2004

Chalmers Johnson: abolish the CIA: "In fact, intelligence collecting and analysis would quickly become camouflage for a private secret army at the personal command of the president devoted to dirty tricks, covert overthrows of foreign governments and planting disinformation -- as well as efforts to counter similar operations... Maj. Gen. William J. "Wild Bill" Donovan "saw intelligence analysis as a convenient cover for subversive operations abroad." ... These operations have generated numerous terrorist attacks and other forms of retaliation -- what the CIA calls "blowback" -- against the United States by peoples on the receiving end. Because covert operations are secret from the people of the United States (if not their targets), when retaliation hits, as it did so spectacularly on Sept. 11, 2001, Americans do not have the information to put it into context or understand it."

"Much of what now is clearly true could have been discovered by talking to experts perfectly willing to be on the public record or simply researched on the Internet. Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel who taught for years at the National War College and who compiled a "net assessment" of how Iraq would look after a successful U.S. attack, predicted with devastating accuracy the chaos that ensued and did so on the basis of information freely available. Who needs a CIA that so regularly underperforms in comparison to what is available on the open market? The high-security classifications of national intelligence estimates are not there to protect sources (no sources are ever mentioned in them), but to hide the incompetence and lack of serious effort that goes into producing them.

"If Bush had appointed an investigative commission headed by Valerie Plame (the outed CIA wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson) and composed of such journalists as Seymour Hersh, Jim Fallows, Stephen Kinzer and Paul Krugman, its report would probably be worth reading. Short of that, I propose abolishing the agency and reducing our annual deficit by about $30 billion."

The Iraq war has certainly destroyed the credibility of Western intelligence for years to come, assuming it had any credibility in the first place. The next time there is an intelligence 'assessment' of war or terrorism or WMDs, who is going to give it the slightest credence? The first response will be to discount the political objectives of intelligence's government masters and the next thing is to fact-check and analysis-check everything on the Internet. In fact just bypass government and intelligence announcements and go straight for information from credible sources on the Internet.

No comments: