July 28, 2005
CIA vs. the White House: Inman speaksBy Rick Moran
Admiral Bobby Inman is known as one of the most brilliant men who ever worked in the intelligence game. His service as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence under William Casey, as well as his stint as Director of the National Security Administration, were both legendary for the breadth of intellect and experience he brought to his work. Here's how one writer put it:
He is also a recipient of the DIA's Defense Superior Service Medal for 'achievements unparalleled in the history of intelligence.'
Kinda makes Valerie Plame's #1 defender Larry Johnson look like a fool. Of course, Johnson doesn't need to be compared to Inman for that to happen. Admiral Inman didn't say 'terrorism is not the biggest security challenge confronting the United States, and it should not be portrayed that way,' 60 days before 9/11. Johnson did.
Also unlike Larry Johnson, Admiral Inman is truly non—partisan. He was named to replace that fumbling bumble of a Defense Secretary under President Clinton, Les Aspin, in January of 1994. But then less than a week before his confirmation hearings started, he withdrew his name. At the time, Inman claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy hatched by Bill Safire of the New York Times and Senator Robert Dole. That charge was widely derided in the mainstream press as a fantasy. This didn't stop many of those same pundits and reporters from starting a whispering campaign about his sexuality. Inman said enough is enough and left Washington for good.
And while the conspiracy charges against Safire and Dole were never proven, Safire did in fact have a long standing grudge against Inman:
I bring all this up only to shine a light on the difference between an honorable, non—partisan intelligence professional like Inman and the partisan hacks and leakers who have crawled out of the woodwork not so much to support Valerie Wilson but rather to attempt to politically harm the President of the United States.
In an interview with Stephen Spruiell of the Media Blog at NRO, Inman had this to say about the Rove—Plame—Wilson Affair:
Inman was not saying that revealing Valerie Wilson's name was right:
Spruiell asks an excellent question: 'Where was all the liberal outrage over the leaking of classfied information when the leaks were designed to hurt the Bush administration?'
This is where the scandal's focus should be; the deliberate and selective leaking of classified information by unelected bureaucrats in the months leading up to the election for the purpose of swinging the contest against the President. And this is the context in which the White House had begun to 'push back' as Tom Maguire puts it against this cabal of CIA officials both in and out of government, who for a wide variety of reasons were trying to sabotage the Administration. The push back by the White House may have included Rove and Libby having a role in writing Director Tenet's statement of July 11 in which the CIA took responsibility for the questionable use of the Iraq—Niger yellow cake story in the President's state of the union address as well as the attempt to discredit Wilson's trip by trying to highlight his wife's role in getting the Counter Proliferation Department at CIA to send him to Africa in the first place.
The point is that the leak that outed Valerie Wilson did not take place in a vacuum. The White House was under attack by our own CIA.
Inman points to dissatisfied former agents who were accusing the Administration of 'punishing' the agency by the selection of John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence. The DNI was created in response to recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission and was vigorously opposed by the CIA. And if the appointment of Negroponte weren't bad enough, the President then chose Porter Goss to succeed George Tenet as DCIA and within weeks Goss had begun to clean house. He quickly forced out the Chief of Operations as well as his Deputy and sent out a memo (leaked to the New York Times the next day) informing agency personnel that further leaks would not be tolerated. Both the press and agents whined that this would destroy their 'independence.' What Goss was trying to do was get a handle on what Senator McCain had called a 'rougue agency.'
All of the events I've described overlap to form something of a confused muddle. Christopher Hitchens clears things up a bit with regard to the intentions of the leakers:
Despite all the speculation, no one really knows what Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is investigating at this point. But one thing is clear; the least understood aspect of this scandal — the war between the White House and the CIA — is also the least covered by the press. Whether the reason is it's too complicated or whether it's because the issues between the Administration and the CIA are too arcane to pique the interest of news consumers, it doesn't matter. The result is the same; ignorance.
It may be up to those of us in the new media to push this aspect of the story to the front so that it gets the recognition it deserves.
Rick Moran is the proprietor of the blog Rightwing Nuthouse