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Leaking At All Costs

Old 11-30-05, 07:44 AM
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Leaking At All Costs

What the CIA is willing to do to hurt the Bush administration.

It's about time reporters started seeing it!

Leaking At All Costs
What the CIA is willing to do to hurt the Bush administration.
by John Hinderaker
11/30/2005 12:00:00 AM


THE CIA'S WAR against the Bush administration is one of the great untold stories of the past three years. It is, perhaps, the agency's most successful covert action of recent times. The CIA has used its budget to fund criticism of the administration by former Democratic officeholders. The agency allowed an employee, Michael Scheuer, to publish and promote a book containing classified information, as long as, in Scheuer's words, "the book was being used to bash the president." However, the agency's preferred weapon has been the leak. In one leak after another, generally to the New York Times or the Washington Post, CIA officials have sought to undermine America's foreign policy. Usually this is done by leaking reports or memos critical of administration policies or skeptical of their prospects. Through it all, our principal news outlets, which share the agency's agenda and profit from its torrent of leaks, have maintained a discreet silence about what should be a major scandal.

Recent events indicate that the CIA might even be willing to compromise the effectiveness of its own covert operations, if by doing so it can damage the Bush administration. The story began last May, when the New York Times outed an undercover CIA operation by identifying private companies that operated airlines for the agency. The Times fingered Aero Contractors Ltd., Pegasus Technologies, and Tepper Aviation as CIA-controlled entities. It described their aircraft and charted the routes they fly. Most significantly, the Times revealed one of the most secret uses to which these airlines were put:


When the Central Intelligence Agency wants to grab a suspected member of Al Qaeda overseas and deliver him to interrogators in another country, an Aero Contractors plane often does the job.


The Times went on to trace specific flights by the airlines it unmasked, which corresponded to the capture of key al Qaeda leaders:

Flight logs show a C.I.A. plane left Dulles within 48 hours of the capture of several Al Qaeda leaders, flying to airports near the place of arrest. They included Abu Zubaida, a close aide to Osama bin Laden, captured on March 28, 2002; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who helped plan 9/11 from Hamburg, Germany, on Sept. 10, 2002; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashri, the Qaeda operational chief in the Persian Gulf region, on Nov. 8, 2002; and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, on March 1, 2003.

A jet also arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from Dulles on May 31, 2003, after the killing in Saudi Arabia of Yusuf Bin-Salih al-Ayiri, a propagandist and former close associate of Mr. bin Laden, and the capture of Mr. Ayiri's deputy, Abdullah al-Shabrani.

Flight records sometimes lend support to otherwise unsubstantiated reports. Omar Deghayes, a Libyan-born prisoner in the American detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has said through his lawyer that four Libyan intelligence service officers appeared in September in an interrogation cell.

Aviation records cannot corroborate his claim that the men questioned him and threatened his life. But they do show that a Gulfstream V registered to one of the C.I.A. shell companies flew from Tripoli, Libya, to Guantánamo on Sept. 8, the day before Mr. Deghayes reported first meeting the Libyan agents. The plane stopped in Jamaica and at Dulles before returning to the Johnston County Airport, flight records show.


The Times reported that its sources included "interviews with former C.I.A. officers and pilots." It seems difficult to believe that the information conveyed in those interviews was unclassified. But if the agency made any objection to the Times's disclosure, it has not been publicly recorded. And the agency's flood of leaks to the Times continued.

The other shoe dropped on November 2, when the Washington Post revealed, in a front-page story, the destinations to which many terrorists were transported by the CIA's formerly-secret airlines--a covert network of detention centers in Europe and Thailand:

The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.


The Post's story caused a sensation, as the "current and former intelligence officials" who leaked the classified information to the newspaper must have expected it would. The leakers evidently included officials from the highest levels of the CIA; the Post noted that the facilities' existence and location "are known to only a handful of officials in the United States and, usually, only to the president and a few top intelligence officers in each host country." Further, the paper said that it "is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior U.S. officials." So this top-secret leak was apparently not a rogue operation. On the contrary, it appears to have been consistent with the agency's longstanding campaign against the Bush administration, which plainly has been sanctioned (if not perpetrated) by officials at the agency's highest levels.

Both the Post and the leaking officials knew that publication of the secret-prisons leak would damage American interests:

[T]he CIA has not even acknowledged the existence of its black sites. To do so, say officials familiar with the program, could open the U.S. government to legal challenges, particularly in foreign courts, and increase the risk of political condemnation at home and abroad.

The damage foreseen by CIA leakers quickly came to pass. Anti-American elements in a number of European countries demanded investigations into the use of their countries' airports and air space by civilian airlines that are known or suspected CIA fronts. In Spain, the foreign minister testified before a parliamentary committee that no laws were broken in what allegedly were CIA-linked civilian landings in Majorca. But that site will be closed to the agency in the future:


[H]e said the government would immediately step up checks on civilian aircraft that flew over or stopped in Spanish territory to make sure they were civilian flights. If necessary, the government would implement more exhaustive checks inside aircraft, he said.

Similar outcries and investigations occurred in the Canary Islands, Portugal, Norway, and Sweden.

The twin leaks to the Times and the Post have severely impaired the agency's ability to carry out renditions, transport prisoners, and maintain secret detention facilities. It is striking that top-level CIA officials are evidently willing to do serious damage to their own agency's capabilities and operations for the sake of harming the Bush administration and impeding administration policies with which they disagree.

The CIA is an agency in crisis. Perhaps, though, there is a ray of hope: the agency has referred the secret-prison leak to the Post to the Justice Department for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. It is a bitter irony that until now, the only one out of dozens of CIA-related leaks known to have resulted in a criminal investigation was the Valerie Plame disclosure, which was trivial in security terms, but unique in that it helped, rather than hurt, the Bush administration.

John Hinderaker is a contributing writer to THE DAILY STANDARD and a contributor to the blog Power Line.


________________________________________________________________

The question of the day is, do Americans have the stomach for prosecuting treason this day in age? Or will it simply be outcried "Partisan politics!"? If it is a Republican leaker (as Lott has implied) I want their head on a platter - I could care less about the political party. Treason should be charged - and they should be publically hung.
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Old 11-30-05, 08:22 AM
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What would be the point of this though? Is it some sort of retaliation for the WMD thing and the admin seemingly trying to lay the blame on the CIA?
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Old 11-30-05, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by nemein
What would be the point of this though? Is it some sort of retaliation for the WMD thing and the admin seemingly trying to lay the blame on the CIA?


No, it is because of the necessary fundamental changes to the CIA proposed by the administration.
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Old 11-30-05, 08:31 AM
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While unknown or ignored by most people, students of American politics are keenly aware that often the most vicious intragovernmental fighting is between the current administration (regardless of party) and the career officers in the various administrative agencies.
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Old 11-30-05, 08:31 AM
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In addition - like the State Department, there are old hands in the CIA who believe that they should be in charge.

Take Wilkerson for example - 'the White House won't let the State Department run foreign policy.' Newflash for Mr. Wilkerson - consult the Constitution as to who the Chief Policy Officer in the country is.
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Old 11-30-05, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by nemein
What would be the point of this though? Is it some sort of retaliation for the WMD thing and the admin seemingly trying to lay the blame on the CIA?
I would happen to prefer the blame of 9/11 being at their feet, but hey

The point? Sheer hatred of anything Bush related. Blind partisan hatred. Career hacks who don't like change in their cushy government jobs...
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Old 11-30-05, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
In addition - like the State Department, there are old hands in the CIA who believe that they should be in charge.

Take Wilkerson for example - 'the White House won't let the State Department run foreign policy.' Newflash for Mr. Wilkerson - consult the Constitution as to who the Chief Policy Officer in the country is.
I loved that comment too
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Old 11-30-05, 08:46 AM
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The point? Sheer hatred of anything Bush related. Blind partisan hatred. Career hacks who don't like change in their cushy government jobs.
I don't think it is hatred at all.

It's like wendersfan said - they think it's their turf, and they don't won't anybody trodding on their turf. They're wrong, of course, but they still think it.
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Old 11-30-05, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
The point? Sheer hatred of anything Bush related. Blind partisan hatred. Career hacks who don't like change in their cushy government jobs...
It's not really hatred of Bush specifically, or even partisan hatred. This stuff would be happening if a Democrat or a different Republican were in the White House. It's a turf war, and it's not partisan.
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Old 11-30-05, 08:56 AM
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But why give up their own secrets if it were simply a turf war? What do they have to gain by leaking about the secret prisons for instance?

I know one politician who stands to gain - and he's a Republican in name only
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Old 11-30-05, 08:59 AM
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What do they have to gain by leaking about the secret prisons for instance?
I guess by weakening the admin they make it more likely the admin's attempts to reform the intel process will be rejected. Seems a little late since the whole NID (that's the new office right) is already in place.
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Old 11-30-05, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mosquitobite
But why give up their own secrets if it were simply a turf war? What do they have to gain by leaking about the secret prisons for instance?

I know one politician who stands to gain - and he's a Republican in name only

Because the Bush administration has been the only one to attempt the changes.
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Old 11-30-05, 09:03 AM
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Weakening our own government.

Yep, sounds like treason to me!

The CIA believes they are above the President, eh? Perhaps we should just dissolve the whole agency then. They were never meant to work on US soil like they are. When the department was started men warned about this exact scenario...

Coup...
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Old 11-30-05, 09:07 AM
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The Bush administration had radically changed the the office and power of the White House, moreso perhaps than any administration since FDR's. The various fiefdoms inside the belway don't like this.
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Old 11-30-05, 09:09 AM
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In Case You Missed It: Senator Sieve

http://www.powerlineblog.com/
What does Harry Reid know that we don’t? If there is something to this, why is Harry Reid leaking sensitive national security information before our intelligence agencies have anything to say? If there isn’t, why is Harry Reid spreading falsehoods and hearsay?


Three Years of the Condor

The Joseph Wilson affair appears to enact a postmodern variation of Three Days of the Condor, with Joe Wilson a decadent version of Robert Redford's Turner. Valerie Plame holds up the Faye Dunaway role nicely. In this variation of the plot, however, Wilson is a co-conspirator, rather than an innocent victim, of the rogue element within the CIA.
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Old 11-30-05, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Because the Bush administration has been the only one to attempt the changes.
Correct.

There should have been changes initiated after the Cold War. It was obvious that there were problems in the CIA then.
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Old 11-30-05, 06:19 PM
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Well, as long as the current Admin is still blameless I guess it's okay. But between all of the partisans hacks that used to work for the Admin, the Liberal MSM conspiracy, and the DoS and the CIA et al, one has to wonder there're why so many folks who have decided to get pissed at the Admin.

How did the Admin come to achieve its martyr status and well-honed victimology?

But, as long as the Admin is still spotless, faultless, and blameless, I guess it's okay.

Because, Heaven forbid that the Admin was actually responsible for making any mistakes or doing something wrong ...
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Old 11-30-05, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon
Well, as long as the current Admin is still blameless I guess it's okay. But between all of the partisans hacks that used to work for the Admin, the Liberal MSM conspiracy, and the DoS and the CIA et al, one has to wonder there're why so many folks who have decided to get pissed at the Admin.

How did the Admin come to achieve its martyr status and well-honed victimology?

But, as long as the Admin is still spotless, faultless, and blameless, I guess it's okay.

Because, Heaven forbid that the Admin was actually responsible for making any mistakes or doing something wrong ...

Nonsense!!!!
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Old 11-30-05, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Simon W. Moon
Well, as long as the current Admin is still blameless I guess it's okay. But between all of the partisans hacks that used to work for the Admin, the Liberal MSM conspiracy, and the DoS and the CIA et al, one has to wonder there're why so many folks who have decided to get pissed at the Admin.

How did the Admin come to achieve its martyr status and well-honed victimology?

But, as long as the Admin is still spotless, faultless, and blameless, I guess it's okay.

Because, Heaven forbid that the Admin was actually responsible for making any mistakes or doing something wrong ...
If you have a relevant accusation to make about the administration, make it.
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Old 11-30-05, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Thor Simpson
If you have a relevant accusation to make about the administration, make it.
Ahh, the old ABB (anybody but Bush) argument.
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Old 11-30-05, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
Ahh, the old ABB (anybody but Bush) argument.
If you are indeed pointing that at Thor, he asked a simple question that you can't or won't answer.

What accusation are you accusing Bush of?

Anybody but Bush is the mantra coming out of the CIA in case you haven't noticed
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