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July 23, 2007
CIA sabotage: Rowan Scarborough has the goods
Rowan Scarborough's superb new book Sabotage lays out a boatload of evidence documenting years of serious misconduct, malfeasance and incompetence at the CIA. Excerpted this week at his newspaper, the Washington Examiner, Scarborough's book has plenty of news-breaking revelations that should stimulate an abundance of discussion in the ensuing days.
The book is likely generate a tepid response from the drive-by media. They'll have to acknowledge it because Scarborough is one of the most respected reporters on the national security beat. But they'll do their level best to diminish its importance, mostly by ignoring it. The way Paul Bedard from U.S. News handles it offers a glimpse into the mind of the drive bys on this book. http://www.usnews.com/blogs/washington-whispers/
He calls it an "alternate view of history." Perhaps this is a polite euphemism that let his media brethren save face from their extensive record of defective reporting on this story.
Reporters are ultimately no better than their sources and arguably no reporter is better sourced in national security than Scarborough. The five part series begins describing the war between the CIA and the White House followed by the account of Porter Goss' stormy tenure, marked by a hostile leak campaign intended to discredit Goss and short circuit his effort to depoliticize the agency. The campaign enlisted the Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Dana Priest to do their dirty work planting stories along the lines of these published in early October 2004.
There is much new material in these excerpts. He describes how Goss ordered the Agency's inspector general, John Helgerson, root out the leakers. According to Scarborough
This is the first I've heard about disciplinary actions recommended for CIA employees. He couldn't fire anyone, so instead Goss pardoned everyone singled out by the IG.
If the leaks weren't exasperating enough in part 3, Scarborough details the CIA's aversion to doing its job in Iraq. It's a good thing our soldiers and Marines don't have this attitude.
The sheer ineffectualness of the CIA is truly stunning. We also learn that the situation became so untenable that Army colonel Derek Harvey wrote a paper explaining the problem for a service publication but the paper was never published because General David Petraeus, then commander of the U.S. Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, told him not to publish it as it was "too damning."
Rather than cut the cancer out and correct the problem, the order of the day was covering up for the weak sisters at the CIA.
In part 4, Scarborough details the perfidy of the CIA in the Wilson/Plame caper. He reveals that
His account buttresses the allegation that whole Wilson/Plame imbroglio was a deliberate effort by the CIA to sabotage the reelection of President Bush.
In the face of this flagrant insubordination and incompetence, Donald Rumsfeld got the Pentagon into the business of developing actionable intelligence for the War on Terror.
In part 5, Scarborough relates the harrowing tale of Task Force Orange's successful manhunt for Iraq's most wanted man, al Zarqawi. He credits Rumsfeld's resolve to make his special operations forces integral components in America's intelligence efforts against the terrorists. When it became clear the CIA was not up to the job, Rumsfeld moved intelligence gathering in-house. The al-Zarqawi manhunt was the ultimate realization of Rumsfeld's reorganization. Scarborough's give a fascinating account of the operation,
Al-Zarqawi lay dying as U.S. personnel arrived less than an hour later. Among the people identifying the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was McChrystal.
While all this was going on I guess the CIA guys were back at Langley making diversity quilts.
Rowan Scarborough really scores a direct hit with this book. The scary thing is that the bumblers at the CIA are still on the job and many of the most effective actors like Donald Rumsfeld are not.