Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Dems Cry Crocodile Tears For CIA

It’s interesting and troublesome to listen to the Democrats and assorted liberal interests as they continue to bludgeon the Bush administration over the Wilson/Plame case. A major part of their criticism, now, focuses on the possibility of damage done to foreign intelligence networks by the outing of Ms. Plame. While no one in good conscience can condone the hobbling of our intelligence agencies, the democrats have historically done just that. Now they are crying crocodile tears for the CIA. Where were Arianna Huffington, Michael Moore, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, 60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley, NY Times’ Maureen Dowd and all the rest of the gang, when it was the Democrats busily undermining our intelligence capabilities?

Because it was a different story during the Clinton years. Under Clinton’s lead the Democrats were willing to disable C IA operations, including those against terrorists, Outgoing Bill Clinton told incoming President Bush that al-Qaeda then constituted he gravest threat to national security. Yet he took executive actions that critically hampered the CIA’s ability to gather information about terrorist cells. In 1995 Clinton CIA director John Deutch published an internal order preventing the recruitment of intelligence sources, aka spies, with possible human rights violations in their background. CIA insiders called this “The Human Rights Scrub.”

This, according published accounts of CIA insiders, caused a risk averse attitude in the CIA operations division, the agency’s spy recruiting arm. All potential spies had to be investigated and approved by high ranking CIA officials back in DC if there was a possibility of criminal background or human rights violations in their past. This led to an incredible decline in recruiting of sources. Most of the people in a position to provide quality information about terrorist cells have sullied backgrounds. CIA officers often didn’t bother recruiting these persons, fearing there efforts would be dis-approved by the DC bosses. By raising the bar Clinton and the democrats in effect shut the door on information.

There is reason to believe that this policy was established at the behest of Robert Torricelli, then Democratic Senator of New Jersey. Torricelli was apparently reacting to the possible involvement of a CIA informant in Guatemala, in a pair of murders. At the time Senator Toricelli “outed” the CIA’s source Colonel Julio Alpirez, naming him publicly as a CIA informant.

If it is important to keep undercover CIA officers identities secret, and it is, then it is just as important to keep their informants identities secret. For many of the same reasons when intelligence assets are identified not only are their lives at greater risk, and their intelligence value nullified, but the same repercussions can apply to anyone else in that information chain. As Joe Wilson’s supporters have been quick to point out, when an intelligence asset is publicly identified, it potentially exposes all of that assets sources and connections. Further, when an intelligence agency cannot secure the identities of its sources it also hampers recruiting, no one wants to spy for an agency that can’t keep secrets. Yet when Senator Torricelli placed assets lives at risk, made spies and potential spies fear exposure, and encouraged the Clinton administration to restrict recruitment of knowledgeable sources, where was the outcry from the left?

Clinton also presided over a gutting of the agency’s operational side in his first term. According to the 9-11 report so beloved by Bush critics, starting in 1992, funding and positions were cut form the clandestine service. In 1995 the agency graduated only 25 new agents, the lowest number in history. It wasn’t until 1998 five years after the first WTC attack, two years after the Khobar towers, and the same year that al Qaeda attacked US embassies in Africa. The CIA's budget was fair game for a peace dividend, because if you were worried about anything but the economy, well you were stupid. Yet in the mid 1990’s when the CIA was being crippled where was the outcry from the left?

The destruction of a CIA officer’s cover is a serious matter. It is certainly a threat to intelligence operations, and thereby national security. The plaintive cries of the Democratic Party and the rest of the left would be more credible these days if they had a solid history of supporting and respecting the clandestine service’s contributions to our security.

Continuing thanks to my friends Mudville Gazette

Red Hot Cuppa Politics
has a great list of Wilson's lies, may be incomplete but it is damning

Seems it came from A Rose By Any Other Name
See Also NIF
And Obligitory Anecdotes, Open Trackback

5 Comments:

Anonymous aj said...

Oh my god, this is just so pathetic. why, why, why, after Bush has been in office for 5 years, must you right-wingers continue to blame Bill Clinton??

Its so tiresome. really, the world is all going to hell because of bill Clinton?

Come on...

Tue Nov 01, 08:15:00 PM 2005  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

Well Clinton's record speaks for itself. I'm just pointing out that the left is really not all that concerned with ensuring he CIA can operate effectively. And it's silly to pretend they are now.

Tue Nov 01, 08:18:00 PM 2005  
Blogger FrauBudgie said...

Appreciate the trackback, and many pardons if the source was not clear.

Clinton decimated the CIA ..

Robert Baers wrote of the Clinton years in the CIA in "See No Evil" ... excellent book.

Wed Nov 02, 05:07:00 AM 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clinton decimated them, and Karl Rove ,Dick Cheney & Co. threw them to the wolves.

Wed Nov 02, 11:45:00 AM 2005  
Blogger John Byrnes said...

No anonymous, actually, in spite of the damage done by the "outing" of Ms Plame, the Bush administration has in fact strengthened the CIA's clandestined services, and our intelligence appararatus at large. The difference here is between a single action, petty and wrong, and maybe even illegal and a systematic program to gut our intelligence service. Again if liberals want to use this against the Bush administration, they should not claim to be looking out for the CIA.

Wed Nov 02, 11:52:00 AM 2005  

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