Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Can You Spell CIA?

If you can spell CIA, you already know too much.  Where it is, who they are, what they do, and even how much it costs are stamped CLASSIFIED.  If you get close to the Central Intelligence Agency, you will be drowned in a Tsunami of secrecy, misdirection, and deniability.

The first, last, and only time I ever heard anybody acknowledge working for the CIA was at my U.S. Department of State orientation for new employees.  Two well dressed and articulate speakers from the Central Intelligence Agency lectured a full room about world politics, geography, and photosynthesis.  They concentrated on the dense jungle forestation of Indonesia and the Amazon River, the sources of most of the photosynthesis in the world.   I was puzzled but assumed they were looking ahead to the time when the planet earth’s oxygen would come to such short supply that political conflict, even wars, might be waged over its control.

At the American Embassy in Cairo, I played on the softball team, which competed against oil-field workers and school teachers.  The majority of the Embassy team consisted of young U.S. Marine Guards.  Our first baseman, a middle-aged slugger, was generally known to be in the employ of the CIA, although I have no idea what his duties included.  One day he rang the bell of the door to the office where I worked, and he told me his boss wanted to see me.  My softball team-mate ushered me into the office of the CIA Station Chief.  I thought of all the ways I could politely decline any offer to become a character in a John le Carre novel.  The interview with the Station Chief went like this:

“You know who I am?” he asked.

“More or less,” I said.

He talked about a lot of things that did not make much sense to me.  Eventually, he produced a file folder.  “I will give you a chance to read these over,” he said and left me alone in his office.  I read the documents, which warned me that if I ever told anybody anything I ever knew, the most serious consequences would result, including substantial money fines and prison.  No problem.  I did not know anything. 

“What is this about?” I asked the Station Chief upon his return.

“Just in case,” he said.

In her last days as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the Sept. 11, 2012, murder in Benghazi, Libya, of the American Ambassador and three others.  The capital of Libya is Tripoli.  Ambassadors do not visit consulates much.  Benghazi was not even a Consulate.  The building behind the not-consulate was where the Ambassador and his party sought sanctuary.  Only scant press reports have identified that building as a CIA beehive.   If you want to talk about Benghazi, if you want to know the truth about what happened in Benghazi, don’t look for it to come from anybody who knows it.  Worse yet, anytime it sounds like anybody is lying about anything remotely connected to the CIA, they probably are.

Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Foreign Relations committee, referred to the Benghazi “Annex” as a “special mission” and criticized the lack of clarity about its status. Secretary Clinton distanced herself from and pointed to “interagency” authorship of “misleading” talking points U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used on Sunday tv shows about the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi.  Secretary of State Clinton’s impatient response: “There were four dead Americans.  With all due respect, Senator, what difference does it make?” 

Sen. Rand Paul fantasized about being President of the United States. “I would have relieved you of your duties,” he expressed his delusions of grandeur to the Secretary of State.  He asked about ships from Libya transporting weapons to Turkey.  “You will have to address that question to the agency that ran the Annex,” Secretary Clinton replied.

Let’s say, for example, a high ranking intelligence official screwed up badly.  Let’s say yet a different intelligence agency had recordings of sexually suggestive conversations.  Let’s say the sex scandal was used as an excuse to get rid of him.  I’m just making this up, but let’s say something of this sort were possible.  How far short would the bellicose advocates for the intelligence community go to get to the bottom of things and air them in public?  I’m just asking.

1 comment:

Dennis Crews said...

Precisely. I watched portions of the Clinton hearing (including Rand Paul's delusional soliloquy) and remain astounded by the presumption of certain elected representatives, even more so by the fact that people would elect them to begin with.


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