Monday, May 08, 2006

NYT: The chat & chew report (Mazzetti and Stolberg)

Senior Republican lawmakers on Sunday criticized the probable choice of Gen. Michael V. Hayden to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, voicing concerns about his ties to a controversial eavesdropping program and about the wisdom of installing a military officer at the civilian spy agency.
In a possible preview of the difficulties that would await General Hayden on Capitol Hill, several Republicans, including some with close ties to the White House, said President Bush should find someone else to run the embattled agency.
"I do believe he is the wrong person, the wrong place, at the wrong time," Representative Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on "Fox News Sunday."
"We should not have a military person leading a civilian agency at this time," Mr. Hoekstra said.
Several military officers have led the C.I.A., but Mr. Hoekstra said it would be wrong to install one when the agency was fending off efforts by the Pentagon to expand its own spying operations.

The above is from Mark Mazzetti and Sheryl Gay Stolberg's "Republicans Fault a Top Pick to Lead the C.I.A." in this morning's New York Times. Did Karl Rove put out a memo? (No.) Does everyone watch the chat & chews? (No.) But it's also the topic in the Washington Post, as Martha points out. From Dafna Linzer's "In GOP, Doubts On Likely CIA Pick: Gen. Hayden Is 'Wrong Man,' Hoekstra Says:"

The Republican chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence panels raised serious concerns about Gen. Michael V. Hayden on the eve of his expected nomination today as CIA director, with Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) calling him "the wrong man at the wrong place at the wrong time."
Other Republicans and Democrats, appearing on Sunday talk shows, praised Hayden's credentials but said they, too, are troubled by President Bush's decision to place a military officer at the helm of a civilian intelligence agency. Aides expect Bush to name Hayden today as his choice to succeed Porter J. Goss, who was forced to step down last week. Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and now deputy director of national intelligence, has defended Bush's domestic eavesdropping program since its disclosure in December.

So is it just that everyone was watching the chat & chews yesterday? (Yeah, right.) Since rumors that Goss was about to be shoved started popping up two weeks ago but were only reported last Friday, Magic 8 Ball says: "It is doubtful."

Turning to independent media, we'll note two more things on the CIA. First, BuzzFlash (which is celebrating its sixth anniversary) offers "The BuzzFlash Real Story on the CIA 'Shake-up': How the Busheviks Continue To Put America's National Security at Risk:"

The reality is this. Goss was appointed to purge the CIA, Soviet style, of any staff who might dissent from the Bush/Cheney politburo agenda by actually offering real intelligence that might contradict the WH party line. That's it, period. Many CIA professionals rebelled at becoming extensions of a WH/Rumsfeld DoD propaganda operation, and the agency became even more embroiled in turmoil.
On top of that, Goss brought in top administrators who were apparently tied into the Cunningham corruption -- and Goss himself may have been involved in hookergate. Meanwhile, the WH floated as an unattributed cover story that Goss was "let go" as part of the "shake-up" because "Intelligence Czar," John Negroponte, was not happy with Goss.
In fact, Negroponte is widely acknowledged to be an abysmal failure as head of overall intelligence gathering for the United States. It is rumored that he spends long hours smoking cigars and getting rub downs at an exclusive D.C. club, and that his major intelligence attribute is kissing Bush's butt.
So Goss, a total Bush loyalist, abruptly leaves the CIA under mysterious circumstances (Goss told CNN his resignation was "just one of those mysteries" -- we are not making that quote up, either), and the likely replacement is apparently going to be the current head of the NSA, the agency that has been charged with illegal spying.
Furthermore, the alleged replacement, General Michael V. Hayden, wouldn't deny that the NSA is spying on Americans domestically for Bush partisan political purposes. Before a senate hearing, Attorney General Alberto "Consigliere" Gonzales, awhile back, also wouldn't deny that domestic spying for Bush political purposes was being conducted by the NSA (and one can assume other agencies).

Second, Eddie checked out the Pru's highlight from last night and also enjoyed John Newsinger's "CIA: the terrible history of the terrorists within" (Great Britain's The Socialist Worker):

There is a terrorist organisation operating in Britain today with the full knowledge and support of Tony Blair and the New Labour government.
This organisation has tortured and murdered people throughout the world, overthrown democratically elected governments and helped sustain brutal dictatorships in power.
It has sponsored wars in Africa and Central America that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives. And it is still engaged in all these activities today. Despite this it has facilities in Britain and its agents mix freely with members of the British security services.
The organisation in question is the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Founded in 1947, the CIA has been involved in terrorist activity from the very beginning. Together with Britain’s MI6, it organised the overthrow of the popular Mossadeq government in Iran in 1953 and installed the Shah’s murderous dictatorship in power.
The following year, it organised the overthrow of the reformist Arbenz government in Guatemala. During this coup, a British merchant ship, the Springfjord, was bombed and sunk by CIA aircraft. The British government covered up the incident, even confiscating a film of the attack from the crew.
In 1961, the CIA attempted to overthrow Cuban leader Fidel Castro, invading Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. They failed in one of the most humiliating defeats in the organisation’s history.
Subsequently, the CIA was involved in a number of attempts to assassinate Castro and sponsored a terrorist campaign against the Cuban people.
Later, the organisation was to wage a particularly brutal war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and sponsored death squads in El Salvador, Guatemala, Columbia and elsewhere.
Police forces throughout Latin America received counter-insurgency training, including training in "interrogation techniques" from the CIA. The CIA adviser, Dan Mitrione, who was executed by the Tupamaros guerrillas in Uruguay in 1970, had tortured street beggars to death as part of his training for police interrogators.
The Vietnam War involved a massive commitment by the CIA. It ran a large-scale death squad operation, Operation Phoenix, that resulted in the deaths of over 40,000 people.
Operatives were given quotas for the number of people they had to kill. Two officers assigned to the operation, Francis Reitemeyer and Michael Cohn, resigned in protest when ordered to deliver 50 bodies a month.
Barton Osborn, another CIA man involved in Operation Phoenix, testified to a US Congressional committee that in his time in Vietnam, he had never seen a suspect survive interrogation.
They were starved to death, electrocuted and drowned. One man was killed by having a wooden dowel slowly hammered through his ear into his brain.
Another agent, Frank Snepp, later revealed that Nguyen Van Tai, a Vietnamese prisoner, was kept for four years in solitary confinement in a freezing all-white windowless room.
He was subjected to what amounted to an experiment in sensory deprivation, kept half-starved, cold and disorientated. Just before Vietnam's capital Saigon fell, he was put on a plane and thrown out over the sea.
The 11 September 2001 attacks have become an atrocity that the US government can use to justify any action it chooses to take anywhere in the world, with the full support of Tony Blair.
What is worth remembering is that on the same date in 1973, the CIA sponsored a military coup in Chile, overthrowing the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.
Moreover, the CIA has, in its time, collaborated with the Iraqi Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, providing them with lists of socialists and trade unionists
to be eliminated. It also worked with what was to become the Al Qaida network, when it fought the Russians in Afghanistan.
Today, the CIA is actively engaged in operations in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. It remains the most dangerous terrorist organisation in the world.
One last point. This dreadful history is hardly secret, although rarely talked about. There are members of the New Labour government -- Peter Hain, John Reid, Jack Straw and others -- who certainly know the CIA's record.
Today they turn a convenient blind eye to CIA rendition and torture.
Whereas they once saw the CIA and its methods as something to be opposed, now they regard the CIA and its methods as necessary to safeguard the "New World Order" they have bought into.
© Copyright Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original and leave this notice in place.

Remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of Democracy Now! today.

The e-mail address for this site is