Monday, November 22, 2004


Spooks or Troops? The White House can't decide

According to the AP, the White House has asked the CIA and the Pentagon to get together to decide "whether the Defense Department should take over CIA paramilitary operations, as recommended by the Sept. 11 commission."

What can this mean? It's hard to imagine that Porter Goss, CIA chief, would object to anything the President wants. There's something here that doesn't meet the eye.

Is there more resistance in the CIA to Bush despite the recent top-level resignations—or to the 9/11 Committee recommendations—than is making it into the press? Or could Daddy Bush, an old CIA hand himself, be speaking up for the ol' Alma Mater? I don't know. Just asking.

Before Goss came in and McLaughlin went out, the CIA and the Pentagon were waltzing arm in arm, though the CIA was a bit put out with the 9/11 report—

This summer, McLaughlin said he wouldn't accept the Sept. 11 commission's recommendation. He has since been replaced by CIA Director Porter Goss.

"I think we have a perfect marriage now of CIA and military capabilities. CIA brings to the mix agility and speed. Military brings lethality," McLaughlin said. [emphasis added]

A marriage made in Heaven.

Perhaps somebody, somewhere doesn't like the way the CIA has been distributing the moolah—

Some nibbling away at the CIA's domain is already under way. Recent legislation would give the U.S. Special Operations Command up to $25 million to support "foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals" that help U.S. efforts against terrorists and other enemies. Such aid - which could mean cash, weapons or other assistance to often shadowy groups or figures - has traditionally been handled by the CIA.

Bush signed the measure into law last month.

Or maybe it's just a dispute about who gets to do the fun stuff—

Paramilitary operations can include a host of activities, including training rebel forces; destabilizing governments and organizations through violence; and directly attacking enemy targets and individuals. The operations can be handled by CIA paramilitary teams or units out of the Pentagon, such as the Green Berets or Delta Force.

Or could it be that Bush, by asking for the Pentagon and CIA to work it out, is avoiding the unpleasantness of imposing a solution on either Rumsfeld or Goss, the heads of the two agencies that he most needs to carry out his nefarious plans?

I really don't know. But I do wish some reporter would ask, don't you?

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