Saturday, May 13, 2006

Let's shut down the CIA

Amid all the bouhaha about CIA ineptness, General Hayden, and Rumsfeld's intelligence power-grabbing, is an overlooked fact: the CIA was always intended to be an end-run around Congress by the military-industrial complex with the connivance of the president.

But some people have a hard time giving up James Bond - not realizing that James is a British naval intelligence officer; a military spy, and a full commander, no less.

Anyway, here's a sample of the fretting about the CIA's hoped-for demise:

Curtains For The CIA?
John Prados
May 10, 2006

The auguries are dark for the people who do the hard work of intelligence at Langley, headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency. Don’t be fooled by the spin that the appointment of General Michael V. Hayden in place of suddenly-resigned agency director Porter Goss is a simple personnel replacement.

Hayden, currently the Deputy Director of National Intelligence, represents far more than a new man at the helm, and more too than the other line prevalent in the media—that the switch is merely a move in the subterranean war over control between Hayden’s boss, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Rather, a Hayden stewardship will accelerate its integrative processes already underway at Langley. We may be witnessing the end of the CIA as we know it.

Mr Prados is sounding the death knoll of the CIA as if it mattered. He correctly notes in his article that the CIA has a couple of times come very close to being shut down: immediately after the Bay of Pigs fiasco, and then later after revelations arose during Congressional investigations of CIA abuses in the 1970s.

But he writes with a tone that indicates that this might be a Bad Thing.


Let's get something straight: the CIA is a bastard child of the Cold War, designed to put intelligence in the hands of the wastrel scions of the Eastern intellectual establishment, the sons of the bankers and industrial czars, and thus remove it from the military, who since the founding of this country have shared intelligence duties with - wait for it - the Department of State.

John Foster and Allen W. Dulles, two of the sorriest jackasses that this country has had to put up with (with Truman a willing co-conspirator), helped invent the CIA as part of a little package of world-domination strategy that they were cooking up with the assistance of the heads of General Motors, Lockheed, Boeing and General Electric, et al, designed to bring about the American empire that had for so long eluded our grasp.

With the Soviet Union in ruins in the aftermath of the Second World War, and Japan and Europe in shambles, there was no one on the horizon who could challenge us militarily, not to mention economically.

But Big Business, paranoid as hell that the end of the war would bring about a drastic depression (historically, economic depressions always follow major wars, as the economy is a wreck), they wanted to avoid that scenario by keeping armament production going, and what better way to do that than by inventing an ideological war?

Thus, the Cold War was invented, the National Security Act of 1947 was passed, the CIA created, Communism was declared our Enemy, and we lived for fifty years under the threat of nuclear bombardment, and the End of It All.

What crap.

The CIA belongs on the scrapheap of history, along with World Domination Theories, interventions, exportation of democracy, and foreign aid to assholes.

The CIA was specifically designed to circumvent the rules that require military officers to be commissioned by Congress, thus making them subservient to civilian control. As CIA "officers" are not commissioned, they are beholden solely to the Executive, thus making them untouchable by Congress. Can we see the light dawning?

Historically, when not conducted by the military, intelligence was conducted by the State department. State's intelligence agents are under the control of the ambassador to whom they are assigned. Practically speaking, the ambassador reports to the Secretary of State, who reports to the President, but as he is a Cabinet-level official, he (or she) is subject to impeachment by Congress. Thus the control always goes back to Congress, if they will assume it. But with the passage of the National Security Act, Congress effectively lost control of the intelligence agencies.

Say what you will about Rumsfeld, he has the right idea: intelligence belongs in military hands; they're the ones who need to know where the shit is going to hit the fan.

As for the State department: as commercial representatives of this nation, they need to know and report the commercial intelligence of the foreign nations to which they are assigned.

This is not to endorse "covert operations" by the military at any time other than an actual state of war - military spies are shot without trial, for good reasons, and State and Defense need to co-ordinate intelligence, obviously. But to bemoan the loss of inept, crack-cocaine-smuggling, Air America eejuts is a waste of paper and ink.

Sack the bastards, or rehire them as cultural attaches for Latvia, but let's not cry over an agency that has proven itself to be moribund and almost certainly unconstitutional.

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