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Plays Well with Others: a once-per-decade task at the CIA
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, November 15, 2004

[sigh] A President insists the Central Intelligence Agency not actively and publicly work against him, and the hoi polloi are outraged.

  • NORBIZNESS: "...the current purge inside the CIA of any personnel who would dare leak the truth while the Administration lies and stonewalls"

  • JESSE TAYLOR: "[Bush is] purging apolitical departments of people who dare disagree with him"...."Clinton's presidency was almost derailed because of personnel decisions in the fucking travel office."

  • OLIVER WILLIS: "In Russia, Vladmir Putin uses his powers to shut down media outlets that aren't suitably laudatory of him or are a bit too inquisitive for their own good. In America, its worse."

  • DAILY KOS [Meteor Blades]: "I am not one easily given to hyperbole, and I have avoided words like "junta" in the past, but does this sound like the behavior of a democratically elected leader of a free nation?"

  • THE LEFT COASTER: "White House And Goss Intend To Remake CIA Into PNAC True Believers"

  • STEVE GILLIARD: "I want to be told what I want to hear: purge at CIA"

  • SUBURBAN GEURILLA: "The Bush regime makes no distinction between loyalty to the United States, and loyalty to Bush"

  • WAR AND PIECE: "Is this all about revenge, and nothing to do with US intelligence reform? It appears so."

  • CORRENTE: "I'm sure this is actually all part of some cunning plan to create a super-efficient and apolitical CIA."

Outraged, positively outraged, I tell you. Why, no real American would behave in such a manner. It's a precursor to dictatorship! This is unprecedented!

Uunprecedented, that is, except for the last time it happened.....just 10 years ago.
Senior managers of the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Intelligence (DI) -- the arm of the Agency responsible for analysis -- held an unusual emergency meeting with their analysts on the afternoon of 1 July, just before the start of a long holiday weekend. The purpose of the meeting was to announce plans for a complete reorganization of the Central Intelligence Agency.
By April 1994, Administration displeasure with CIA had turned into indignation. Faced with a growing number of foreign policy debacles, Clinton officials -- notably several on the staff of the White House and National Security Council -- grew increasingly furious at CIA intelligence assessments which suggested that Administration policy in North Korea, Somalia, Bosnia, China, and Russia was in trouble. Administration officials started to argue that CIA was not providing them with "the proper support." Some officials implied that if CIA had done a better job analyzing the world, Mr. Clinton's foreign policy would not be in trouble.
In private meetings with other senior DI officials, MacEachin -- who is said to have claimed that he is acting on behalf of Director Woolsey -- laid down the real objectives of his reorganization plan:

  1. Consolidating and institutionalizing changes already made.

  2. ..."purging the culture of the 1980s" at the CIA. ...

  3. Assuring that CIA briefings coincide with Administration policy and cannot lead policy makers to accuse the Agency of "disloyalty." MacEachin was quoted as having actually said in a recent meeting with senior CIA officials: "Analysts must recognize that if they give a briefing which deviates too much from official policy, they may be accused by Clinton Administration officials of being disloyal."...
There's nothing new under the sun, but there certainly are a lot of people who believe that sun first rose in January of 2001.

UPDATE: And now John McCain has backed the CIA reorganization. Will his endorsement be good enough, or is Kerry's first choice for VP/SecDef no longer credible with the Left?

Welcome to the Neolibertarian QandO blog. Take a look around.

UPDATE: Oliver Willis plays defense with:
...except that Bush is demanding political rigidity here. It's not just a standard issue DC shakeup. It's getting back at the people who tried to tell him there weren't real reasons to invade Iraq. Bush declares war on the facts. Again.
Evidently--in addition to just making up motives for Bush out of thin air--Oliver missed the part about 1994-era accusations of "disloyalty".

Back to you, Oliver.
Return to Main Blog Page

Previous Comments to this Post 

Where were these guys when newly elected President Clinton purged 100% of the Federal Prosecutors upon taking office?
Written By: ACK!
What's the problem? The CIA works for the President. If I undermined my boss at every turn, I'd be fired also. There's a difference between disagreeing with the President and undermining the President.

Besides, I thought everyone agreed the CIA was incompetent and needed a good cleaning and shakeup? How fast that sentiment went away on the left...
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
The last time it happened was the last time one party controlled both houses of Congress (and not with a bare 50) and the Presidency. And what do you know, the time before that, with the Church Commission, was in 1976, also the last time one party controlled everything.

The CIA, like any bureaucracy, looks out for itself, and is adept at playing the parties against each other. At the same time, the President and Congress eternally seek to control the CIA.
Written By: John Thacker
URL: http://
You know, someday there will be a Democratic president again. Oh, the fun we will have, trolling through these guys' archives.
Written By: Crank
After 9-11, after the intel on Iraq...
The CIA should be shut down completely...
Only good for giving S. Hersch some pathetic conspiracy theories...
Written By: william
URL: http://
In 1976 one party controlled everything?
Written By: Zev Sero
One of my major complaints with Bush is that he didn't shake up those serious underperformers - CIA, FBI, and the State Dept - and throw the professional featherbedders out.

They're part of the Executive Dept and the proper functioning of those bureaus and departments is the Executive's responsibility.

Finally he's getting around to it.
Written By: levsha
In 1976 one party controlled everything?

Actually, that should be 1977. Carter took office in January that year, and the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress his entire term.
Written By: Steverino
Interesting perspective; however, the MOST interesting thing is that Oliver Willis still has a blog site. Is Soros still writing checks to these untalented ideologues?
Written By: D Carter
URL: http://
State Dept should be next....the striped pants crowd forget who they too easily
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
could you pick a less credible source? From the boston globe, March 21, 1994:

HEADLINE: Conservatives hitting hard at Clinton policies

Even in a town where the technique of choice in partisan combat is bare-knuckle, Frank Gaffney stands out as a political street fighter extraordinaire.

Perched on the edge of Georgetown in the Center for Security Policy, an ultraconservative think tank he founded five years ago, Gaffney is waging guerrilla war against President Clinton's foreign policy. Like others in a new breed of organized, well-funded GOP hit men, Gaffney has been drawing blood.


Gaffney has that passion, although he operates with more finesse than Brown. A fervent Cold Warrior forced out of the Pentagon during the Reagan years because of his strong opposition to arms control and his unrelenting hostility toward the Soviet Union, Gaffney likes to target nominees to national security positions.

His weapon of choice is the fax machine. In fact, Gaffney's acerbic faxes - sent out two or three times a week to more than 1,000 members of Congress, journalists and administration officials - are widely called "the fax attacks" inside the beltway. Both admirers and critics of Gaffney say his methods are effective.

So could we hear about this story from someone who is not a "well-funded GOP hit man"?
Written By: frankie-five-fingers
That the same Boston Globe that published pix from a porn site and claimed they were from abu Ghraib? What was that about a credible source?

As a former Asst. Sec. of Defense, Frank Gaffney can hardly be described as a GOP hit man.
Written By: ronnie schreiber
Exactly how does being a GOP Asst. Sec. of Defense disqualify one from being a GOP hit man?
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
It doesn't really.

It doesn't really.

It doesn't really.

It doesn't really.

It doesn-- oh wait, I think that answered all four questions.
Written By: Matt
Yes, of course, 1977. Silly stupid mistake by me.
Written By: John Thacker
URL: http://
...except that Bush is demanding political rigidity here. Its not just a standard issue DC shakeup. Its getting back at the people who tried to tell him there werent real reasons to invade Iraq. Bush declares war on the facts. Again.

Yeah, and couldn't the Clinton reform be put in the same light? I mean if Clinton felt the CIA was working against him then of course he is going to want to change the agency to stop that. Anybody would want to do that, a business person, a President, a school principle, etc.

There is nothing shocking by the shake up in and of itself. Now if the plan is to implement mere yes-men and people who will subordinate their analysis to the preferred direction of policy the Left would have a stronger case. The only problem is they aren't providing any such evidence.
Written By: Steve
Bush still believes Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten the world, that capturing Osama Bin Laden first shouldn't be a priority, and that brute force can crush Islamic radicals. That's why he fired those CIA dudes. Also, he wants terrorism to increase -- it helps the Republican empire!
Written By: Eric
URL: http://
I'm delighted to see the left defending the CIA. It's still amazing to watch them turn on a dime, but I'm getting used to it.
Written By: Doug
It's all good for the CIA to present internal briefings that question an Administration policy.

It's a whole nother thing to, as an official agency policy, leak classified information at politically opportune times solely to damage your own boss. CIA (and State) have been publicly opposing the Adminstration for years now. What those bureaucrats fail to realize is, THEY do not make policy. The elected administration -- BushII or Clinton -- is supposed to make policy; the agencies are to advise.

Bush's CIA (and State) have been trying to make policy: when their views were not rubberstamped, they went to the press in order to apply political pressure -- to their own boss -- to force him to change his policy.

That's bad news. If the American people want a different policy, elect a different president. It's not up to these bureaucrats -- and if said bureaucrats don't realize that, then they SHOULD be fired.
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
Eric puked:

"Bush still believes Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten the world, that capturing Osama Bin Laden first shouldn't be a priority, and that brute force can crush Islamic radicals. That's why he fired those CIA dudes."

WOW!! Not only are the Dum's brilliant and full of savvy, they're mind-readers, too.

We gotta get some of them!

Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
i hope goss gets rid of the moles.

and that condi gets rid of the arabists st state.
Written By: daniel
URL: http://
Principal, not principle. S/he's your princi-pal, remember?

Sorry to make such a trivial remark, but it's either that or wonder out loud if this whole Bush/Gore 2000 thing might not have been political theater that was planned out from the beginning. You know, a good cop/bad cop performance in order to overthrow the Constitution and put big business in charge of the government.

Eric, step away from the toilet! It's my turn to rolf.
Written By: JGuest
URL: http://

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