Monday, July 20, 2009

Cheney and the CIA

Okay so former VP Dick Cheney is the bad guy once again. Current DCI Leon Panetta just put a stop to a Company program--that never got out of the planning stages--to find and assassinate the bad guys. Mostly al-Quaeda leadership. Cheney apparently ordered the CIA not to say anything to the Congressional oversite committees that monitor the Agency.

If every notion that every CIA planner ever dreamed up, and began to figure out how it could be done, was presented to our lawmakers, Congress would quickly find itself in gridlock. Feasibility studies are just that--nothing more than what-ifs.

Now, if the Company had actually come to the decision to begin training the personnel to implement such a scheme then Congress should have been notified. No question of it.

I think we need to give our intelligence gathering people the room to dream. Not a wholesale license to do whatever the hell they want to do. But let them dream.

A CIA spokesman--a man I trust--told me a couple of years ago that the Company missed 9/11 big time. But for every 9/11 they missed, dozens if not hundreds of other acts of terrorism against us and our interests were thwarted. Do we want the CIA's methods to be publically broadcast? I don't think so.

Make thinking out of the box illegal--no!

1 comment:

  1. David,

    I don't think anyone really thinks that all of the CIA operations is being made public to oversight committees or, obviously, the public. Do I think that this is wrong? Most definitely not! This is going to sound terrible and I know it's probably going to draw a lot of fire, but if I were an operations director for the CIA I most certainly would play things close to the vest, given what all has happened in the past to certain liberal factions in the U.S. who wait, panting eagerly, for a new cause that will allow them to blast the government. We don't need that, I think. Some things must remain in a closed environment in order to deal successfully with them. The public DOES NOT have the right to know everything. That is tantamount to wearing a target on your chest and saying, "Hey, here I am: shoot me." That may sound silly (and perhaps it is) but the analogy works. However, do I think that some offices, such as the CIA, should be given carte blanche? No. And there is a safe-guard for the public anyway. It's called the budget. This is a true story that happened years ago. The CIA submitted its proposed budget to the Senate. A member of the budget committee at that time was Sen. Tom (I think his last name was Harkin or something like that) from Iowa who noticed that included in the budget was a request for a million dollars to develop a "nondiscernable bionoculator". When Sen. Tom asked what that was, the CIA hedged. Finally when Sen. Tom finally lost his patience and said that he either was told what it was or the budget would be put on hold, the CIA relented and explained that a "nondiscernable bionoculator" was a "silenced dart gun". A million dollars for something that could just as easily be bought at the local Five and Dime. That's just an example of how certain things can be kept in check.

    So who and what is to be made public? Well, that is a very thin rail to walk and I really don't have an answer except to say that some things must be kept in tight rein for security reasons.

    Anyway, that's my thought.