Wednesday, June 27, 2007

America's Truth & Reconciliation Moment?

Ill: Micah Wright/Propaganda Remix
used with permission

Hayden: Not Your Father's CIA

Your Demon is a little slow off the mark with this story, which actually appeared several days ago. I confess, when I first read the news, I was thinking, "Wha?," I have no doubt whatever that a man like Hayden would never do such a thing if not in service to some specific aim, but I also thought that he'd probably live to regret drawing attention to & comparisons of CIA misbehavior at this particular moment in time. Divulging the CIA's so-called "Family Jewels" is inviting public critique, not only of some of its Cold-War-era dirty trix & shameful secrets, but reminding us that they're still up to some very questionable hijinks in the present day.

Trying to discern the purpose of these particular revelations at this particular time, I'm even more confounded that the list of crimes is only partial, & obviously so. Yes, the plotted (& failed) assassination of Castro, teaming up with the Mafia, domestic spying on political dissidents, trailing bothersome journalists, testing of hallucinogenics in service of mind control, & imprisoning Soviet defectors is pretty nasty stuff. That's what they admit, anyway. The Nation (title bar) asks where some other missing info might be.

The New York Times wonders, too.

Hayden is reported to have written, for the benefit of CIA employees, “We will find in the press coverage of today’s release reminders of some things the C.I.A. should not have done [...] But he added: “I firmly believe that the improved system of intelligence oversight that came out of the 1970s gives the C.I.A. a far stronger place in our democratic system. What we do now to protect Americans we do within a powerful framework of law and review.”

"Still, independent historians of the agency did not see the sharp contrast between past and present that General Hayden described.

“'We don’t know everything that’s going on today,' said David M. Barrett, a political scientist at Villanova University. 'But it seems to me there’s already enough evidence to conclude that things are not so different today.'

"Mr. Barrett, the author of a 2005 book on the C.I.A. and Congress in the 1940s and 1950s, said the notion that the C.I.A. was once lawless but now meticulously followed the law was simply wrong.

"He said Lawrence Houston, the agency’s general counsel for its first 26 years, 'signed off on a lot of things that were of questionable legality.' And while the agency now has far more lawyers, they too have approved actions that some independent legal experts consider illegal or improper, he said, including kidnapping terrorists in foreign countries and using the simulated drowning technique called waterboarding.

"James Bamford, whose books on American intelligence cover the period from the Korean War to the Iraq war, took a similar view. Mr. Bamford said the scale of the National Security Agency’s interception of phone calls and e-mail messages of Americans and others in the United States in recent years — which prompted a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union in which Mr. Bamford is a plaintiff — almost certainly dwarfs the electronic surveillance and the review of mail carried out by the N.S.A. and the C.I.A. in the 1960s.

"If the collection details government spying on Vietnam War protesters, it has a contemporary echo in the Pentagon’s admission that a database called Talon improperly recorded the activities of Iraq war protesters, he said.

“'These documents are supposed to show the worst of the worst back then,' Mr. Bamford said. 'But what’s going on today makes the family jewels pale by comparison.'

"The controversial activities of the campaign against terrorism took place despite the changes enacted after the scandals of the 1970s.

"The Bush administration chose to bypass the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, created in 1978 to oversee eavesdropping on American soil. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees, created to make sure past abuses would never be repeated, did little to rein in the N.S.A. wiretapping program or to set limits on interrogation practices until news reports set off a furor."

I'm puzzled what Hayden thinks this is going to achieve. I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking, "No, it's not my father's CIA ~ it's probably a hell of a lot worse, now that we're torturing every loose male Muslim we can kidnap off the streets & secret renditions to secret torture gulags, for instance. Take a look at how well that's going over in Germany, as well as Italy.,2144,2332581,00.html

Can Hayden really be THAT stupid? What is up here?



Post a Comment

<< Home