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February 12, 2005

CIA Bin Laden Unit Head Believes in Conspiracy Theories

The WSJ's Best of the Web reports on a public forum in which Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA's Bid Laden who wrote the anonymous book called "Imperial Hubris", says that Israel is carrying on a massive, covert operation that has suppressed open discussion of Israel in the United States. But he doesn't actually have any evidence, except that the U.S. is pro-Israel, a policy he's happy enough with ("I've tried to be very clear in saying we have an alliance with the Israelis. We have a moral obligation to try to work through this issue, if we can.") He says:

I always have thought that there's nothing too dangerous to talk about in America, that there shouldn't be anything. And it happens that Israel is the one thing that seems to be too dangerous to talk about. And I wrote in my book that I congratulate them. It's probably the most successful covert action program in the history of man to control--the important political debate in a country of 270 million people is an extraordinary accomplishment. I wish our clandestine service could do as well.

. . .

Questioner: I'm curious--Gary Rosen from Commentary magazine. If you could just elaborate a little bit on the clandestine ways in which Israel and presumably Jews have managed to so control debate over this fundamental foreign policy question.

. . .

Scheuer: Well, the clandestine aspect is that, clearly, the ability to influence the Congress--that's a clandestine activity, a covert activity. . . .

It is not unreasonable to say that America is very pro- Israel and that any politician, at least, who says we should be anti-Israel will get heavy criticism and lose votes. But it is a big step further to conclude that this is due to covert action by a foreign government, especially for someone, like Scheuer, who can't think of any actual examples. The pro-Israel atmosphere is easily explained by the pro-Israel position of American Jews, Evangelicals, neoconservatives, and assorted people who like democracy and Western civilization but dislike corruption, poverty, and blowing up children. Even if you're prefer conspiracy theories, that leaves you with 3 that are more realistic than the Israeli government theory--- pin it on the Jews, the Evangelicals, or the neoconservatives instead.

What is shocking is that it is the former head of the CIA's Bin Laden unit that is saying these things. Another sign that Mr. Goss needs to fire a lot of people in the CIA!

P.S. Scheuer has also been criticized for saying last November that Osama bin Laden is "in many ways . . . an admirable man." I don't mind it when people say true things, and that is a true thing. Someone doesn't rise to be a prominent figure without having some admirable qualities. Hitler, Stalin, Clinton, and Michael Jackson all are in some ways admirable. The problem is the whole package is despicable. Bin Laden, in fact, seems to have more integrity than any of the four other figures I mentioned, even if he is wrong in his beliefs and methods, and deserves to die for them.

Posted by erasmuse at February 12, 2005 08:50 AM

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