[Marxism] The deeper purpose of the Fitgerald inquiry

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Fri Oct 28 13:54:34 MDT 2005

(The effective exercise of power requires reliable objective intelligence -
especially in matters relating to war. While the White House outing of CIA
agent Valerie Plame and subsequent effort to cover it up has been the focal
point of the Fitzgerald investigaton, it's deeper significance, as the WSJ
notes below, is as a reflection of how the US ruling class - in this case,
it's security establishment led by the smarting CIA - is turning on the Bush
administration for politicizing the intelligence function. It's another
count in the growing corporate, congressional, and media indictment of the
administration, already charged with having run up the deficit and with
weakening America's standing abroad by displaying its ineptitude in Iraq and
the Gulf Coast.)
At Root of Leak Probe Is Prewar Dispute

CIA-White House Clash Over Intelligence Set Stage for Fitzgerald's
Investigation By JAY SOLOMON Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
October 28, 2005; Page A4

WASHINGTON -- At the root of the investigation into the leaking of the
identity of a CIA operative is a feud between the Central Intelligence
Agency and the White House over whether top administration officials
politicized intelligence information in the buildup to the Iraq war.

With charges likely to be filed as early as today, the ripple effects of
that feud are still being felt. The same tension over prewar intelligence
that led to the leaking of a CIA operative's identity also led to
finger-pointing between the agency and the White House and contributed to a
decision to reorganize the intelligence community and put the CIA under new
White House oversight. Dozens of senior CIA analysts and covert operatives,
including the No. 2 at the Directorate of Operations -- the agency's
clandestine network -- have in recent months left the Langley, Va., offices,
often to higher wages in the private sector.

Now some intelligence professionals think indictments might help clear the
air by effectively penalizing administration aides for intruding into
intelligence matters and prompting the White House to tread more carefully.
And that, say current and former intelligence officials, might embolden the
CIA to be more forceful in its analysis, without fearing information would
be twisted.

Any indictments would be a "huge deal ... because they will help restore
hope that the system works," said Larry Johnson, a former CIA analyst and
counterterrorism official at the State Department.

Pressed by Congress to revamp the nation's intelligence agencies after the
2001 terrorist attacks, Mr. Bush this year created the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence, putting intelligence agencies under one
roof. The director, John Negroponte, has been stripping out some units of
the CIA and placing them under his direct control. He has also been seeking
to institute standard procedures across the intelligence community, such as
ways to handle clandestine agents.

The White House says the new structure will allow the nation's intelligence
bodies to better share information and assist law-enforcement agencies.
Administration officials also say it has better positioned the U.S.
government to gather intelligence overseas and at home.

On Wednesday, Mr. Negroponte announced new strategic guidelines for
America's 15 intelligence agencies, stressing the need to spread democracy
to combat terrorism. "Our feeling is that we must change the way we do
business," Mr. Negroponte said in a briefing.

Still, some inside the intelligence community see the changes as unwarranted
attacks on their operations. They also see it as adding another level of
bureaucracy that impairs quick response to terrorist threats.

"There's been a huge wedge between what the analysts think and what the Bush
administration wants them to say," said Michael Scheuer, who headed the
CIA's special unit targeting Osama bin Laden before quitting in 2004.

Some in the intelligence community have criticized Mr. Bush's promotion of
Porter Goss, a former congressman and CIA official, to oversee the
restructuring of the CIA. Critics say Mr. Goss brought senior-level aides
and an aloof management style that didn't mesh with the CIA's culture, and
failed to restore the confidence of the U.S.'s principal intelligence body.

Resentment between the CIA and the White House, though, goes back to the
earliest days of the Bush administration. The White House -- and some
members of Congress -- blamed U.S. intelligence agencies for al Qaeda's
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. But even before those strikes, a number of senior
White House officials sought to brand the CIA as soft in its analysis and
unwilling to offer more clear-cut views on the threats to America.

The leak case grew out of tensions within the CIA itself, and between the
CIA and other parts of the Bush administration, over whether intelligence
showed Iraq had or was seeking weapons of mass destruction. The
administration used that specter in its justification for invading Iraq.
George Tenet, then director of the CIA, in some cases helped assure the
White House there was a good case that Iraq had such a weapons program, but
some of his own analysts had different conclusions. The dissenting views
within the CIA frustrated officials in the Pentagon and White House and led
to a feeling during the lead-up to the war that agency analysts were too
skeptical of evidence of Iraqi wrongdoing.

At the time, some foreign intelligence reports suggested Iraq had tried to
acquire uranium yellowcake, an essential ingredient in nuclear weapons, in
Africa. Mr. Cheney and others in his office, including Mr. Libby, wanted
more information from the CIA about the veracity of the reports. Mr.
Cheney's request for details led the CIA to dispatch former diplomat Joseph
Wilson, husband of CIA operative Valerie Plame, to Niger to investigate the
claims. It was the leaking of Ms. Plame's identity in July 2003 that led to
the current probe.

Some in the intelligence community predict that any initial indictments will
snowball into broader investigations of the alleged mishandling of
intelligence information by the White House and Pentagon. Recent probes into
the government's intelligence failures -- such as the 9/11 Commission's and
the Silbermann-Robb investigation into Saddam Hussein's alleged
weapons-of-mass-destruction programs -- discounted political pressure as a
root cause. But some retired intelligence operatives say the special
prosecutor's report may cause these assumptions to be re-examined.

"Many people will feel vindicated," said Patrick Lang, a former head of
human intelligence collection at the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency,
who has regular contact with many active analysts and agents. "There's a
deep sense of satisfaction among those who were pressured [on intelligence
issues] but were told not to say they were pressured."

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