Democrats & Liberals Archives

Release of 1973 CIA Investigation - A Strategic Move?

Michael Hayden, current head of the CIA, has decided to declassify a CIA report on its “indiscretions” … that was completed in 1973. It is a big deal that this administration is going to release any information - such a big deal that one might ask “Why?”.

Many people have perhaps forgotten that it was findings of the "Church Committee" (United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) that instituted controls on the Intelligence Community to protect the constitutional rights of the population - controls that have been more than eliminated by legislation since 2001.

Perhaps the motive for releasing the report from 1973 is to make the activities of the Bush administration seem "usual." The CIA had a long history of unsavory covert activities. The most publicized being Iran-Contra. Less publicized is the recruiting, training, and supplying of Islamist fighters to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan (who became al Qaida). A laundry list of past actions would place current Bush administration activities (such as NSA spying without a warrant on US citizens, or extraordinary renditions, or secret CIA prisons) on a continuum of illegal activities. Current administration policies could then be argued as necessary, and not that extreme, within the context of the posed new threats to "civilization."

It was with some interest that I read the France has banned state employees from using BlackBerrys. The belief of the government of France is that use of the popular handheld risks US intelligence monitoring access to confidential material. The ban has been in place for the last year and a half. Notably, that while a denial of any such information security risk was issued by Research in Motion (the producers of BlackBerry), no such assurances came from the NSA or other intelligence agency on the US.

Meanwhile, there is a steady stream of reports of abuse of power that the virtually unfettered "intelligence" and "justice" communities have engaged in. While some abuses are attributed to unclear procedural issues, it is clear that the real procedural failure is a lack of limits on the power of the agencies. The problem starts at the top with Bush's refusal to follow law in demanding illegal programs - the NSA "wiretapping" without a warrant being one example. With the administration taking an "anything goes" approach, is it really surprising that other arms of the Executive Branch would do the same?

Hayden's decision to declassify a 24 year old investigation seems more strategic to me than a symptom of attempts at transparency by an administration renowned for everything being secret and "executive privilege."

Articles of Interest
FBI Finds It Frequently Overstepped in Collecting Data

FBI Data Mining Program Raises Eyebrows in Congress

'Signing Statements' Study Finds Administration Has Ignored Laws

US Agencies Disobey 6 Laws that President Challenged

Posted by Rowan Wolf at June 23, 2007 1:33 PM
Comments
Comment #223938

Good piece, Rowan. And yes, I agree. This has got to have been a strategic move for all the reasons you’ve stated. Is it not the saddest thing how with this administration we now feel the need to actually put quotes around the words “intelligence” and “justice”?
Can someone here refresh my memory as to why this administration can’t, and shouldn’t be Impeached?
I’m afraid I keep completely forgetting what these excuses are.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 23, 2007 10:46 PM
Comment #223941

The supposed main reason is because there are not the votes needed to impeach - though I think grassroots could move even the Republicans. I doubt this is the real reason which would be more political. Such as fear that an attempt to impeach my remobilize Bush’s “base” for the 2008 elections.

Posted by: rowan at June 23, 2007 11:10 PM
Comment #223943

Hey Adrienne, I was afraid that you had gotten disgusted and left while I was away, so it’s good to see that isn’t the case.
I have gotten so discouraged with all the s**t this administration has done and gotten away with, that it’s tough to even get riled about it any more. Is that what it has all come to??? Are we in a state of complacency and willing to just yawn it all away? Or are we just tired of beating our heads against a wall for all the progress we’re making?
This post Rowan, is kind of testimony to that…..not that your research and comments don’t deserve a thumbs up..but that it is that complacency that has us unable to have anything different to say. Adrienne is right, many of us have been hollering for impeachment for months!! Funny how the louder we yell, the fewer hear it.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at June 23, 2007 11:18 PM
Comment #223948

Rowan, it seems that “Bush’s base” has shrunk considerably of late. At this point it seems more than obvious that if the GOP truly cared about their party’s reputation, the very best thing they could do would be to immediately take up a large Crawford-issue chainsaw and do some serious brush cuttin’ in order to save themselves from sinking completely.

To me, being a Democrat, I feel the greater tragedy lies with the Dems not having the cojones to keep pointing meaningfully at that enormous pile of dead wood.

Sandra, Hi there!
Oh, it’s just so damn Absurd, isn’t it? In fact, the Absurdity has grown at such an insane rate that there large burls and knobs of new Absurdity growing off of it daily…

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 12:01 AM
Comment #223950

Oh, brother. I should really get a salary for all the fact-checking I end up doing for writers in the blue column.

Hayden’s decision to declassify a 24 year old investigation seems more strategic to me than a symptom of attempts at transparency by an administration renowned for everything being secret and “executive privilege.”

Where to start?

Well, let’s start with the most elementary stuff and move on from there.

The investigation was completed in 1973. That was not 24 years ago. Who disagrees with me? Since this is the blue column, I’ve no doubt there will be some takers.

Next: what contemporary political “strategic” gains are to be made by declassifying a CIA report that was completed in 1973 and presumably covers events and activities that happened from 1947 (the year the CIA was founded) to 1973? If this is true, the writer should explain himself beyond just making portentious insinuations and conspiracy theories about “attempts at transperancy” related to issues that the vast majority of Americans are totally disengaged with at this point. This is tin-hat stuff. Scientology makes more sense than that.

[A]n administration renowned for everything being secret and “executive privilege.”

I too feel like this administration, which I’ve come to detest, is far too secretive. So I don’t want to quibble with the first part of that statement.

But being known for invoking executive privilege? Baloney. No. Double baloney.

Until a very short while ago, Bush has enjoyed the rather rare situation among recent presidents of having a Congress with the power of subpoena dominated by his own party. For this reason alone, there have been VERY few occasions at all in which executive privilege has been claimed. Especially in comparison to previous presidents.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 24, 2007 12:14 AM
Comment #223969

Not likely that the release will provide anything new. Perhaps haveing it all(unlikely) in one pile will alert some people to what a dangerious entity the CIA actually is. Outside of knowing they have a huge budget the actual number is secret. What they spend it on is secret.Does anyone believe them when they say they are not working to destabilize Chavez?That they were not directing the death squads of El Salvador? That they did not have a hand is spreading the crack epidemic in the Black community?That they do not torture people?That they do not spy on American peace activist?That they actually were surprised to learn that the Soviet Union posed little military threat and did not require the obcenely expensive arms race to continue?Their successes include replaceing the elected government of Iran with the Shah at the behest of US oil companies, eventually giving us Kohmenni and a powerful implacable enemy. Years of supporting brutal dictators(ie.Argentina,Philippines etc.) all over the globe in support of US imperialism has left us with,surprise surprise, enemies all over the world. They do not work for us. They work for the MIC and our corporate oiligarchs.
I have a slim reed of hope that the release is designed as a warning to the Bush regime that ordering the CIA to go too far is dangerious and will eventually come out to the people.

Posted by: BillS at June 24, 2007 10:54 AM
Comment #223978

“The supposed main reason is because there are not the votes needed to impeach”

Rowan,

First of all, great article, but that statement is dead on for me. Ms. Nancy P. seemed to reject the idea of impeachment from the word go! (And I’m being quite nice injecting the word “seemed”) In another recent blue column thread David R. Remer said, “Our founding father’s worst fears have been realized.” (comment #223811), and I totally agree with him. [I was just incapable of replying at that time.]

And, while I’m totally aware of the limits surrounding our slim majority, WTF! Where’s the support behind Kucinich’ effort to impeach Cheney? Already we’ve allowed ourselves to assume the label of “do-nothing”, mostly applied by the paleo-theocratic right, because we lack conviction!

Nancy Pelosi needs to read the Gingrich “play-book”, not that she needs to copy his every move, but she needs to grow some teeth! It’s almost as though we’re afraid to raise too much of a “stink”. Well……….we couldn’t! The stink is that of our democracy despoiled by the Bush presidency.

Obviously this release of previous “intel” and covert ops is an attempt at diverting attention from the current administrations wrongdoings. Man oh man, wouldn’t defense lawyers love a precedent like that.

If we want an orderly and timely withdrawal from Iraq there’s only one way to get it done! Impeach Bush and Cheney! The sooner the better!

Posted by: KansasDem at June 24, 2007 3:34 PM
Comment #223980

LO:
“Oh, brother. I should really get a salary for all the fact-checking I end up doing for writers in the blue column.”

A salary? For mere nit-picking?

“Next: what contemporary political “strategic” gains are to be made by declassifying a CIA report that was completed in 1973 and presumably covers events and activities that happened from 1947 (the year the CIA was founded) to 1973?”

Rowan covered that in her article. She said:
“Perhaps the motive for releasing the report from 1973 is to make the activities of the Bush administration seem “usual.”“

Additionally she wrote:

“Meanwhile, there is a steady stream of reports of abuse of power that the virtually unfettered “intelligence” and “justice” communities have engaged in. While some abuses are attributed to unclear procedural issues, it is clear that the real procedural failure is a lack of limits on the power of the agencies. The problem starts at the top with Bush’s refusal to follow law in demanding illegal programs - the NSA “wiretapping” without a warrant being one example. With the administration taking an “anything goes” approach, is it really surprising that other arms of the Executive Branch would do the same?”

I agree with Rowan’s assertions here. I think it’s important also to consider a few things about the current head of the CIA.
Michael Hayden is a loyal Bushie, and as we should all know by now, loyal Bushies only do what they do for political reasons only. So allow me to give a bit more background here about Hayden…

Well, we can start with how he presided over the NSA when they were creating their controversial and unconstitutional gigantic domestic telephone database. During nomination hearings for his current position, he attempted to defend this action by stating that he’d taken the legal advice which came from the Bush White House claiming that their power to order that database was supported by the Constitution’s Article II executive branch powers. That this gave them the ability to override all laws that the legislative branch had enacted in order to forbid such an action.

Hayden also once disclosed at a press appearance that he doesn’t acknowledge the 4th Amendment. In fact, it’s not even certain that he’s ever read the amendment, or if he has, perhaps cannot understand the meaning of the words.
When taking about the NSA’s eavesdropping on international communications between citizens in the US and people overseas without obtaining a FISA warrant, this was the exchange that took place:

Press question: I’d like to stay on the same issue, and that had to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American’s right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use —

Hayden: No, actually — the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure.

Press: But the —

Hayden: That’s what it says.

Press: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

Hayden: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

Press: But does it not say probable —

Hayden: No. The amendment says —

Press: The court standard, the legal standard —

Hayden: — unreasonable search and seizure.

Text of the Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Because of Hayden’s complete willingness to take the advice of the White House, disregarding years of legislation enacted to put certain limits on indiscriminate spying without probable cause, and due to the things Hayden has himself said, it is entirely reasonable to question the sudden release of a report that the CIA has not wished to disclose to the public since 1973.

“But being known for invoking executive privilege?”

Yes, the Bush Administration is very well known at this point for invoking executive privilege whenever it suits them in order to hide whatever illegal or unconsitutional thing they’ve done.

“Baloney. No. Double baloney.”

I agree, it has been complete baloney every time they invoke it in order to hide their inability and/or contempt for following the law. It’s more than clear to many of us that these Clowns actually don’t believe they should have to answer to Congress or the American people.
And this is why we happpen to feel that the entire lot of them deserve to be impeached.

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 3:45 PM
Comment #223981

Kansas Dem!!! It’s great to see you posting again!

Posted by: Adrienne at June 24, 2007 3:46 PM
Comment #224250

After reading those and the northwood documents… I really don’t see how it isn’t obvious that the CIA helped Bin Laden set up 911 or at least had him get the right people under the thought that they would be doing it in the name of ‘allah’ while actually falling right into what the US government wanted: A Reason to be allowed to wage war.

What does corporate and political America really have to lose from this war? Nothing. And they have everything to gain. Millions upon billions in defense contracts and protecting their oil interests. Tax dollars that are being sucked out of our childrens future. Every year we pay $350+ billion in interest alone on this overspent cash: to foreign investors, banks, investment companies, and even government branches themselves.

You could see it all over the news with Venezuela as example. Bad Venezuela… Evil Venezuela…. When in fact the oil companies just got taken to the dirt after investing all the money there. It will take them decades to recover their costs at the reduced rates of profit. It had to be done as far as Venezuela is concerned. They would have gotten sucked dry of oil and left to rot.

Posted by: jrjr at June 28, 2007 12:29 AM
Post a comment