Posted by zeugma on May 7, 2006, at 10:35:18
In reply to rare bipartisan moment in U.S. Congress, posted by zeugma on May 7, 2006, at 10:08:21
I post this from a British paper. It is about why we do not have Osama bin Laden, whom we are ostensibly at war with, and why we are running up unprecedented amounts of money dreaming of oil profits in Iraq that have mostly been sabotaged by al Qaeda and other assorted makers of improvised explosive devices that could not believe their good fortune when Mr. Bush displayed remarkably poor aim for a straight shooter. Anyway, if blocked for this, irrelevant. I post this for the benefit of others who may be at a loss as to why this nation is behaving so irrationally.
Bush names general as saviour of the CIA's once-proud reputation
By Philip Sherwell in Washington
The Central Intelligence Agency, already buffeted by turf wars, resignations and recriminations over September 11 and the war in Iraq, faces more turmoil this week when President George W Bush names its new head.
He seems certain to nominate Gen Michael Hayden, America's highest ranking military intelligence officer, to replace Porter Goss, 68, who was forced out on Friday in the latest upheaval to rock the organisation.
General Michael Hayden
Gen Hayden will be brought in to head an agency once synonymous with Cold War espionage but now racked by rifts and struggling to keep its feet in America's sprawling intelligence network.
"For way too long, the CIA sat back on its laurels," a senior Pentagon adviser told The Sunday Telegraph.
"They didn't have a whiff of 9/11, they got Iraq wrong, they didn't even predict the fall of the Soviet Union when the Cold War was supposed to be their specialist field. Any organisation with a track record like that deserves a shake-up."
Before he can start work, Gen Hayden, a popular and well-respected 36-year veteran in his field, must undergo a bruising confirmation in the Senate. Democrats have pledged to grill him for his role in overseeing and defending the controversial domestic eavesdropping programme authorised by Mr Bush without court warrants.
The latest shake-up comes as the United States grapples with a series of international crises, notably the conflict in Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions and the search for Osama bin Laden - where the CIA's expertise in human intelligence could be crucial.
If confirmed, Gen Hayden will inherit an organisation that has suffered an exodus of senior officers, a slide in morale and been plagued by leaks, which the White House regards as sign of revolt.
Once run by Mr Bush's father, the CIA is now just one of 16 agencies that report to John Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, a post created by the president in an attempt to co-ordinate intelligence-gathering.
This newspaper has learnt that British intelligence is so frustrated by the chaos at the agency that it now deals directly with Mr Negroponte's office and cuts out the CIA where important developments are concerned.
The latest curtailment of power of the once-supreme agency emerged last month in a speech Gen Hayden made in his current role as Mr Negroponte's deputy. He disclosed that Mr Negroponte's office would take control of the analysis of terror threats and would also be in charge of "liaison" relationships with foreign counterparts.
Long the preserve of the CIA, this role is a key source of intelligence but was neglected by Mr Goss, to the dismay of senior officers.
But behind the glass doors of the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the scorn for Mr Goss is matched among many operatives by anger that the agency was made the scapegoat for failures of intelligence on Iraq.
"George Tenet (Mr Goss's predecessor) may have said that the information on Saddam's weapons was a slam-dunk, but there was plenty of CIA reporting casting doubt on the intelligence. That was ignored in the White House and Pentagon because it did not fit in with their political plans and preconceptions," said a recently retired CIA officer.
Mr Negroponte forced Mr Goss's resignation after just 20 months in the job following a long-running power struggle between the two men.
Mr Goss had won few friends at the CIA with his abrasive management style, and nor was the Bush administration satisfied with his efforts to revamp the agency.
His departure comes days after it emerged that the CIA inspector general's office is investigating Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, whom Mr Goss appointed the agency's executive director. Mr Foggo attended private poker games at the Watergate Hotel with a defence contractor linked to a big congressional bribery scandal.
He has denied any wrongdoing, but told colleagues that he plans to resign this week. Mr Goss, a former Republican congressman in Florida, was appointed to halt the steady leak of damaging stories about Iraq, wiretapping and secret overseas prisons for terror suspects, but there was little evidence that he was making progress. Within the agency, he was regarded as a partisan Republican hitman.
"It won't be possible for Gen Hayden to turn things around quickly because the very culture of the agency had been damaged," a serving officer said.
"The result is that the agency has made no major breakthroughs in the war on terror over the last year. In particular, as a result of shifting resources, no major advances have been made in the hunt for bin Laden and Zarqawi."
I have no explanation for human irrationality,
but I have given you some sign of how vile it is.
Those dead or maimed in Iraq are victims of Bush's stupidity.