Sunday, July 24, 2005

Putting the foot in it

Apparently, Sen. Roberts claimed that the fact Valerie Plame worked at CIA HQ means she wasn't under cover. Former CIA agent Larry Johnson explains the error:
Folks, there is no excuse for this level of incompetence. There are thousands of undercover CIA employees who drive through the three gates at CIA Headquarters in McLean, Virginia everyday. And this Senator from Kansas who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee has the audacity to blame CIA for intelligence failures? How can he recognize failures when he does not even understand the very simple basics about people who work undercover at CIA. He should spend more time reading up on the CIA and less time memorizing Ken Mehlman talking points.
I'm inclined to agree. We went to war in Iraq because the administration pushed used the CIA as a tool. When the evidence on the ground failed to support their claims, they exposed their own agent in retribution.

Now, my Senator, the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI, pron. "sucky"), is perpetuating that abuse. If it were the first time, that would be one thing. It isn't. That committee had declared its intention to make two reports on pre-war intelligence. One would examine the basis for the CIA assessments (did their data support their conclusions) and the second was meant to address the complaint that senior political appointees (including VP Cheney) had applied pressure to shape the conclusions.

The first investigation found that the CIA blew it, big time. The second was scuttled after the elections.

Would that investigation have offered insight into why the CIA blew their pre-war assessments of Iraqi WMD? All we know for sure is that some anonymous analysts at the time had complained of inappropriate interference. VP Cheney made unprecedented visits to Langley, speaking to the analysts and their supervisors.

Did that change the analysis? Did people set aside uncertainty and countervailing evidence to provide the analysis that the administration was touting anyway?

Sen. Roberts and the SSCI could have told us, but were too busy backing up a war that's falling apart.