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November 22, 2004 [LINK]

CIA upheaval update

Robert Novak wrote about Senator John McCain's role in the CIA controversy in the Chicago Sun Times last week:

McCain told Goss the CIA is "a dysfunctional organization. It has to be cleaned out." That is, the CIA does not perform its missions. McCain told Goss that as director, he must get rid of the old boys and bring in a new team at Langley. Moreover, McCain told me this week, "with CIA leaks intended to harm the re-election campaign of the president of the United States, it is not only dysfunctional but a rogue organization."

Senator McCain appeared on "Meet the Press" yesterday, giving strong support to new CIA Director Porter Goss. McCain's contention that there are "rogue elements" in the CIA is a very disturbing thought. It's quite ironic that the CIA careerist seem to be favoring the Democratic side. What's next: Will Michael Moore come out defending the CIA against Bush's attempted reforms? One of my professors at U.Va. once posed the problem in very stark terms: Can an agency with responsibility for extremely sensitive and secret matters of national security be considered truly accountable in a wide-open democracy such as ours? If not, are they above the law?

Ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer, the formerly anonymous author of Imperial Hubris, followed McCain on "Meet the Press," and frankly I was not very impressed. I've always been very attentive to serious arguments about U.S. foreign policy rooted in the idea that our ambitions must not exceed our resources, and I have therefore been planning on reading his book. To my surprise, however, his comments to Tim Russert were mostly formulaic criticisms of Bush, not particularly thougtful. It also struck me as a bit odd how many times he used the word sir, and from checking the transcript at MSNBC, I counted 21 times. He takes the grievances of Osama bin Laden at face value, apparently believing the threat will go away if we just pull our military forces and commercial interests out of the Middle East. He denies being an appeaser, however, and says he thinks operations like the one in Fallujah are necessary. Well! Perhaps the Sunday interview show format is not well suited for expositing his thesis.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 20 Jan 2005, 11: 37 AM

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