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November 20, 2004

Reforms at the CIA; Tenet's Political Partisanship against Bush

I've commented before on the CIA's hostility to President Bush, here and on this good National Review article and in relation to the Plame-Wilson affair.. The Weekly Standard has a couple of good articles on what is happening now that Bush has replaced Director Tenet with Goss, who is already driving officials from the agency. From ""Anonymous" Names Names: Former CIA counterterrorism expert Michael Scheuer reveals who it was at the agency who gave him "carte blanche" to criticize President Bush":

Scheuer told reporters on Friday that, traditionally, he would have to arrange interviews through the CIA public affairs office. Each interview would have to be cleared before Scheuer was allowed to talk. With Imperial Hubris, however, that wasn't the case. The book's advance publicity had hyped the fact that a CIA officer was anonymously breaking with the administration's anti-terror strategy. Interview requests flooded in. But Scheuer said that Harlow told him, "We're giving you carte blanche." Harlow's condition? Scheuer was supposed to let the public affairs office know who he talked to--after the interview(s) had taken place.

"The book was misunderstood," Scheuer said on Friday. "It's a book about the failure of senior intelligence officers," not an ad hominem attack on the president. During his first round of publicity interviews, he tried to set the record straight. "Once I turned it around," however, "and talked about leadership in the intelligence community," Scheuer said, "well, that was the end of the day." Since Bush was no longer his target, Scheuer had been gagged.

Of course, one reporter asked, Harlow couldn't have made the decision to promote Scheuer's book alone. Scheuer nodded. He said that Harlow would've needed authorization from his superiors for such a move. Harlow's superior at the time? Former CIA director George Tenet.

The other article is about Goss's housecleaning, "Porter's House: CIA Director Porter Goss takes charge". Whether Goss was firing the right people or the wrong ones, we'd expect what we see-- charges that he was firing good people and criticism of him for being partisan. These things do, however, rule out the possibility that he is failing by doing nothing, so I take them as a good sign.

Posted by erasmuse at November 20, 2004 01:59 PM

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