Category Archive 'CIA Leaks'
12 Feb 2013
The Daily Mail reports on spectacular accusations made by Benghazi: The Definitive Report, an eBook published yesterday, which apparently reveals the inside story behind the exposure and resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.
David Petraeus was betrayed by his own bodyguards and vengeful high-ranking enemies in the CIA, who made sure his affair with his biographer was exposed to the public. …
Senior CIA officers targeted Petraeus because they didn’t like the way he was running the agency – focusing more on paramilitary operations than intelligence analysis. They used their political clout and their connections to force an FBI investigation of his affair with Paul Broadwell and make it public, according to ‘Benghazi: The Definitive Report.’
‘It was high-level career officers on the CIA who got the ball rolling on the investigation. It was basically a palace coupe to get Petraeus out of there,’ Jack Murphy, one of the authors, told MailOnline. …
Perhaps the most startling accusation in the book is that Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was leaked by the members of his personal protection detail.
The authors say that senior intelligence officers working on the 7th floor of Central Intelligence headquarters in Langley, Virginia, used their political clout to ensure that the FBI investigated the former Army general’s personal life.
They then told Petraeus that they would publicly humiliate him if he didn’t admit the affair and resign.
Hat tip to John Fund, who adds:
A lot of fact-checking will have to be done to substantiate the claims by Webb and Murphy. But from my own reporting, I have learned that no one runs afoul of senior CIA officials â€” or John Brennan â€” lightly or without peril. CIA officials angry at the Bush administrationâ€™s treatment of the agency in 2006 helped elevate the Valerie Plame affair into a national scandal and crippled much of the White Houseâ€™s ability to conduct foreign policy. In the end, there was precious little evidence of any real security breach or wrongdoing beyond a perjury conviction of Scooter Libby, a top aide to Vice President Cheney.
17 Apr 2010
Stephen R. Kappes
Stephen R. Kappes has announced his retirement as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency next month.
WaPo — New York Times
Kappes dramatically returned in triumph to the CIA as DDCIA in May of 2006, having come close to being appointed Director but being edged out by Leon Panetta. Kappes was the preferred candidate for the directorship of Senators Jay Rockefeller and Diane Feinstein, and his Deputy Directorship was a concession to Feinstein.
Kappes had earlier resigned as Deputy Director of Operations in November of 2004 after a brief interval of conflict with Porter Goss, who had been appointed CIA Director with a charter to reform the Agency in late September. Stephen Hayes describes what happened.
On November 5, Goss’s new chief of staff Patrick Murray confronted Mary Margaret Graham, then serving as associate deputy director for counterterrorism in the directorate of operations. The two discussed several items, including the prospective replacement for Kostiw, a CIA veteran named Kyle “Dusty” Foggo. Murray had a simple message: No more leaks.
Graham took offense at the accusatory warning and notified her boss, Michael Sulick, who in turn notified his boss, Stephen Kappes. A meeting of Goss, Murray, Sulick, and Kappes followed. Goss attended most of the meeting, in which the two new CIA leaders reiterated their concern about leaks. After Goss left, Murray once again warned the two career CIA officials that leaks would not be tolerated. According to a source with knowledge of the incident, Sulick took offense, called Murray “a Hill puke,” and threw a stack of papers in his direction.
Goss summoned Kappes the following day. Although others in the new CIA leadership believed Sulick’s behavior was an act of insubordination worthy of firing, Goss didn’t go quite that far. He ordered Kappes to reassign Sulick to a position outside of the building. Goss suggested Sulick be named New York City station chief. Kappes refused and threatened to resign if Sulick were reassigned. Goss accepted his resignation and Sulick soon followed him out the door.
William Safire referred at the time to the exodus of “a flock of pouting spooks at Langley who bet on a Kerry victory.”
Stephen Kappes had a distinguished career in CIA Operations, but he was one of the central figures in Agency efforts to oppose the policies of a Republican elected administration.
Scott Johnson, at Power-line, quotes the pseudononymous former CIA case officer and author “Ishmael Jones” on the reasons for Kappes’ resignation.
His departure suggests that the Obama administration understands that the status quo at the CIA is unacceptable.
The bomb attack at the CIA base in Khost helped push Kappes out. Kappes had personally briefed President Obama on the quality of the operation beforehand. Following the bombing, we learned that the operation had been a classic bureaucratic boondoggle: 14 people, many with little experience, had met the agent when there should have been only one. Espionage is a one on one business. With so many layers of management involved both in the field and at Headquarters, the chain of command was vague and no-one was really in charge. The CIA’s chief at Khost was set up for failure.
Kappes then attempted to recover from the Khost debacle by leaking news of the defection of an Iranian nuclear scientist. But closer examination showed this to be a hollow achievement. CIA officers are taught to keep agents operating in place because once they defect, their access to intelligence is lost. Defection is an option only when the agent’s life is at risk. And then, once an agent has defected, the news is not to be leaked to the press. The scientist in question turned out to be a low-level participant in the Iranian program who had left the program almost a year ago.
Kappes had outlived his usefulness and become a liability. And so, like Jeremiah Wright, under the bus he goes.
18 Mar 2010
Thought to be a photo of Hussami
Last week, a predator drone strike in Waziristan sent a number of al Qaeda militants to the Prophetâ€™s Paradise, including a top trainer who helped arrange the suicide bombing at a CIA post in Afghanistan last December.
Bill Roggio reports.
The US killed a key al Qaeda operative involved in the networkâ€™s external operations during an airstrike last week in the Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Sadam Hussein Al Hussami, who is also known as Ghazwan al Yemeni, was killed during the March 10 airstrike in the town of Miramshah, according to a statement released on a jihadist forum.
The March 10 airstrike was carried out by unmanned US attack aircraft and targeted two terrorist compounds in the middle of a bazaar in the town. Six Haqqani Network and al Qaeda operatives were reported killed.
Three other al Qaeda operatives, identified as Abu Jameelah al Kuwaiti Hamed al Aazimi, who served with slain al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi; Abu Zahra al Maghrebi; and Akramah al Bunjabi al Pakistani, were killed with Hussami, according to a translation of the martyrdom statement released on March 12 by Abu Abdulrahman al Qahtani, who is said to be based in Waziristan. The statement was posted on the Al Falluja Forum and a translation is provided by Global Terror Alert. [For more information on Aazimi, see Threat Matrix report, â€œAl Qaeda operative killed in Pakistan linked to Zarqawi.â€]
According to Qahtani, Hussami was a protÃ©gÃ© of Abu Khabab al Masri, al Qaedaâ€™s top bomb maker and WMD chief who was killed in a US airstrike in July 2008. Hussami was in a prison in Yemen but was released at an unknown point in time.
Hussami â€œwas involved in training Taliban and foreign al Qaeda recruits for strikes on troops in Afghanistan and targets outside the region,â€ The Wall Street Journal reported. He â€œwas also on a small council that helped planâ€ the Dec. 30, 2009, suicide attack at Combat Outpost Chapman that killed seven CIA officials and a Jordanian intelligence officer. The slain intelligence operatives were involved in gathering intelligence for the hunt for al Qaeda and Taliban leaders along the Afghan-Pakistani border.
â€œHussami was a skilled operative high up in al Qaedaâ€™s external operations network,â€ a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. â€œHe also has direct links to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,â€ the terror branch that operates in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
â€œHe was sorely wanted for his involvement in the COP Chapman suicide attack,â€ the intelligence official continued. Hussami is said to have been instrumental in helping the Jordanian suicide bomber Humam Khalil Muhammed Abu Mulal al Balawi, who is also known as Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, plan and execute the attack.
Hussami is the first al Qaeda operative killed by the US who is directly linked to the suicide attack at Combat Outpost Chapman. The US has been hunting Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, after he appeared on a videotape with Khurasani.
Hussami’s death was considered sufficient cause for Leon Panetta to indulge in a certain amount of public self congratulation on behalf of the Agency and the current administration.
Aggressive attacks against al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal region have driven Osama bin Laden and his top deputies deeper into hiding and disrupted their ability to plan sophisticated operations, CIA Director Leon Panetta said Wednesday.
So profound is al-Qaeda’s disarray that one of its lieutenants, in a recently intercepted message, pleaded with bin Laden to come to the group’s rescue and provide some leadership, Panetta said. He credited improved coordination with Pakistan’s government and what he called “the most aggressive operation that CIA has been involved in in our history,” offering a near-acknowledgment of what is officially a secret war.
“Those operations are seriously disrupting al-Qaeda,” Panetta said. “It’s pretty clear from all the intelligence we are getting that they are having a very difficult time putting together any kind of command and control, that they are scrambling. And that we really do have them on the run.” …
t he said the combined U.S.-Pakistani campaign is taking a steady toll in terms of al-Qaeda leaders killed and captured, and is undercutting the group’s ability to coordinate attacks outside its base along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
To illustrate that progress, U.S. intelligence officials revealed new details of a March 8 killing of a top al-Qaeda commander in the militant stronghold of Miram Shah in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s autonomous tribal region. The al-Qaeda official died in what local news reports described as a missile strike by an unmanned aerial vehicle. In keeping with long-standing practice, the officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the CIA formally declines to acknowledge U.S. participation in attacks inside Pakistani territory.
Hussein al-Yemeni, the man killed in the attack, was identified by one intelligence official as among al-Qaeda’s top 20 leaders and a participant in the planning for a Dec. 30 suicide bombing at a CIA base in the province of Khost in eastern Afghanistan. The bombing, in which a Jordanian double agent gained access to the CIA base and killed seven officers and contractors, was the deadliest single blow against the agency in a quarter-century.
This is the same Central Intelligence Agency that is winning on Wednesday that includes elements who leaked to the New York Times for publication two days earlier a story alleging that private contractor efforts which seem to have been succeeding rather well in identifying enemy targets have been conducted in contravention of unspecified Intelligence statutes and International Law, and represented a fraudulent diversion of funds.
If I were Mr. Panetta, I’d be doing something about some of my own internal adversaries, those in the habit of employing leaks and innuendo to undermine Agency efforts in the field. It is also essential to do something to terminate the enthusiastic cooperation of their establishment media allies and enablers. Putting a Hellfire missile into certain offices at the New York Times and the Washington Post may be off-limits, but there is still on the books an Intelligence Act of 1917, which makes it a crime to convey information with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the armed forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies, punishable by death or by imprisonment for not more than 30 years.
If the private contractor operation mentioned by the Times on Monday really was, as seems most probable, a legitimate US Intelligence covert operation, Messrs. Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazetti of the New York Times and their informants could very well be guilty of producing “false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war.” False reports or statements in such a case would be punishable by a fine and 20 years in prison.
The Bush Administration chickened out on prosecuting its leakers, and the result has been a dysfunctional situation in which certain members of the Intelligence community are permitted to exercise their own liberum veto over policies and operations.
08 May 2009
Poor Nancy Pelosi is confused about having been briefed on EIT
Wasn’t it kind of the CIA to help her out by leaking to ABC News?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the use of â€œenhanced interrogation techniquesâ€ on terrorist suspect Abu Zubaydah in September 2002, according to a report prepared by the Director of National Intelligenceâ€™s office and obtained by ABC News.
The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosiâ€™s statement last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special interrogation tactics. Instead, she has said, she was told only that the Bush administration had legal opinions that would have supported the use of such techniques.
The report details a Sept. 4, 2002 meeting between intelligence officials and Pelosi, then-House intelligence committee chairman Porter Goss, and two aides. At the time, Pelosi was the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.
The meeting is described as a â€œBriefing on EITs including use of EITs on Abu Zubaydah, background on authorities, and a description of particular EITs that had been employed.â€
EITs stand for â€œenhanced interrogation techniques,â€ a classification of special interrogation tactics that includes waterboarding.
Pelosi, D-Calif., sharply disputed suggestions last month that she had been told about waterboarding having taken place.
â€œIn that or any other briefing . . . we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used,” Pelosi said at a news conference in April. “What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel. . . opinions that they could be used, but not that they would.”
17 Feb 2009
Today’s Intel leak in the British Telegraph provokes curiosity about the leakers’ intention.
Israel has launched a covert war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran’s nuclear programme, US intelligence sources have revealed.
It is using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt the regime’s illicit weapons project, the experts say.
The most dramatic element of the “decapitation” programme is the planned assassination of top figures involved in Iran’s atomic operations. …
Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst with Stratfor, the US private intelligence company with strong government security connections, said the strategy was to take out key people.
“With co-operation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear programme and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” she said.
“As US-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result.”
Mossad was rumoured to be behind the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who died in mysterious circumstances from reported “gas poisoning” in 2007.
Other recent deaths of important figures in the procurement and enrichment process in Iran and Europe have been the result of Israeli “hits”, intended to deprive Tehran of key technical skills at the head of the programme, according to Western intelligence analysts.
“Israel has shown no hesitation in assassinating weapons scientists for hostile regimes in the past,” said a European intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity. They did it with Iraq and they will do it with Iran when they can.”
Is all this by way of being a pouting spooks’ spoiler intended to rein in Israeli efforts too violent and extreme for thin-blooded liberals in the Agency? Or is it actually a warning to the mullahs that the covert gloves are off and Mossad is going to do the wet work with Washington’s blessing?
Meanwhile, DEBKAfile (the Mossad press blog), was hinting darkly about the mysterious fate of an American doctor of Iranian extraction.
Iranian media this week offered a glimpse into the purported double life of an Iranian-born American physician alleging he was a secret bio-weapons scientist. They reported that Dr. Noah McKay (formerly Nasser Talebzadeh Ordoubadi) died in mysterious circumstance Saturday, Feb. 14 aged 53, vaguely accusing “intelligence agencies” of causing his death. …
The Iranian reports only hint that he may have met a similar fate to the British ministry of defense’s bio-weapons expert Dr. David Kelly, whose body was found in an Oxfordshire wood on July 17, 2003.
This close conjunction of two quick tours of Israeli Intelligence’s trophy room seems to argue that the intent is to send a pretty explicit message indicating that conspicuous involvement in Iran’s WMD procurement efforts poses a significant hazard to one’s health.
21 Jan 2009
George W. Bush’s failure to pardon Lewis Libby, I think, makes it clear why he never asserted his authority and passively allowed the entrenched bureaucratic left to criminalize policy differences in order undermine his policies and destroy his public support.
George W. Bush really was at heart, a liberal statist who believes implicitly in the validity of governmental processes and in the judgements delivered by government institutions. He does not look beyond the form and process to see the partisan human beings working the levers and putting their thumbs on the scales of justice.
If officials of the CIA said disclosing Valerie Plame’s employment was a federal crime, it didn’t matter to Bush that their interpretation was a stretch motivated by partisan malice. Those CIA adversaries were officials of the government. What they said was the law was the law.
No wonder he appointed James Comey Deputy Attorney General.
A sophisticated conservative would never have promoted the official who threw Martha Stewart into jail on supposititious insider trading charges. The conservative would be skeptical of the merits of insider trading prosecutions to begin with, remembering that the pre-FDR-packed Supreme Court threw out those laws back when the Constitution still mattered. The conservative, beyond that, would take a dim view of celebrity prosecutions featuring strained efforts at landing a big fish played in the glow of the media spotlight.
George W. Bush was clearly never all that sophisticated nor all that conservative. If some partisan official, an ambitious prosecutor, and a leftwing urban jury filled with unemployed hippies and welfare moms says that Libby was guilty, why, he must have been guilty.
It’s a wonder Bush wasn’t willing to believe what the editorial pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post said about himself.
Bush brought the Republican Party into public disrepute and electoral disaster because he did not effectively answer his opponents’ attacks. His passivity, it is apparent, was not some kind of mistake. It was grounded in an implicit acceptance of the authority of his adversaries in government and in his willingness to allow himself and his administration to be gamed.
The contrast with Bill Clinton’s cynical and self-regarding use of the presidential pardon power could not be more remarkable. Clinton was a crook and a clever and successful one. George W. Bush is obviously a scrupulously honest man, but albeit a fool.
22 Jun 2008
When Bush Administration policy opponent Richard Armitage’s disclosure of Valerie Plame Wilson’s job in the course of gossiping with Robert Novak was apparently subsequently confirmed to Novak by administration officials interested in pointing out the partisan planning behind former Ambassador Wilson’s junket to Niger, the revealing of Mrs. Wilson’s CIA employment was treated by the left as major crime, despite the fact that Mrs. Wilson was not a covert agent in the terms defined by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.
Valerie Plame Wilson was working in the Counterproliferation Division of the Agency, liaisoning with other American and international agencies and publicly chairing meetings discussing that international problem. No evidence has ever been brought forward to indicate that she was doing anything likely to provoke a special personal animosity directed at herself on the part of terrorist organizations.
But for a Sunday headline, the New York Times today gleefully revealed the name, career background, role as targeting officer and interrogator of major al Qaeda prisoners, and current employment of a former CIA officer who certainly could be a particular target for revenge on the basis of his service, rejecting pleas on behalf of Mr. Martinez’s personal safety from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency himself.
Gen. Michael V. Hayden, director of the C.I.A., and a lawyer representing Mr. Martinez asked that he not be named in this article, saying that the former interrogator believed that the use of his name would invade his privacy and might jeopardize his safety. The New York Times, noting that Mr. Martinez had never worked undercover and that others involved in the campaign against Al Qaeda have been named in news articles and books, declined the request.
The irony is that the American left is perfectly capable of successfully indicting, prosecuting, and convicting political opponents on the basis of supposititious intelligence crimes, armed with control only of the media, while the Bush Administration is demonstrably unable to deter, prevent, or punish genuine intelligence leaks obviously rising to the level of violations of federal statutes, while theoretically in control of the entire Executive Branch, including the Intelligence agencies doing the leaking and the Department of Justice.
01 Feb 2008
Leading New York Times traitor James Risen is facing a federal investigation for being the beneficiary of further Intelligence Community anti-Bush Administration leaking.
A federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to a reporter of The New York Times, apparently to try to force him to reveal his confidential sources for a 2006 book on the Central Intelligence Agency, one of the reporterâ€™s lawyers said Thursday.
The subpoena was delivered last week to the New York law firm that is representing the reporter, James Risen, and ordered him to appear before a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Feb. 7.
Mr. Risenâ€™s lawyer, David N. Kelley, who was the United States attorney in Manhattan early in the Bush administration, said in an interview that the subpoena sought the source of information for a specific chapter of the book â€œState of War.â€
The chapter asserted that the C.I.A. had unsuccessfully tried, beginning in the Clinton administration, to infiltrate Iranâ€™s nuclear program. None of the material in that chapter appeared in The New York Times.
Hat tip to Frank A. Dobbs.
06 Nov 2007
Valerie Plame’s pal Larry Johnson posts a letter from “a group of distinguished intelligence and military officers, diplomats, and law enforcement professionals” to the Senate Judiciary Committee “strongly urging that (they) not send Mukaseyâ€™s nomination to the full Senate before he makes clear his view on waterboarding.”
If anyone ever cared to investigate who was involved in leaking national security information to the New York Times and Washington Post, I’d suggest waterboarding some of the people on this list of signatories.
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA
Directorate of Operations, CIA for 26 yearsâ€”22 of them overseas; former Chief of Station, Saudi Arabia
Supervisory Special Agent for 32 years, FBI; U.S. Marine Corps for three years
Supervisory Special Agent, Counterterrorism, FBI
Operations officer and counter-terrorist specialist, Directorate of Operations, CIA
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Federal law enforcement officer
Division Chief, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; Professor, National Defense University; Senior Fellow, Center for International Policy
Intelligence analysis and operations officer, CIA; Deputy Director, Office of Counter Terrorism, Department of State
Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director for Intelligence, CIA: Editor, Studies In Intelligence
Supervisory Special Agent, FBI
W. Patrick Lang
U.S. Army Colonel, Special Forces, Vietnam; Professor, U.S. Military Academy, West Point; Defense Intelligence Officer for Middle East, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA); founding director, Defense HUMINT Service
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations, CIA; counterintelligence; coordination among intelligence and crime prevention agencies; CIA policy coordination staff ensuring adherence to law in operations
Intelligence Analyst for terrorism, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA
Jon S. Lipsky
Supervisory Special Agent, FBI
Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council, CIA; History professor; Veteran, U.S. Marines (Korea)
Foreign Service Officer and Intelligence Analyst, Department of State; Deputy Coordinator for Counter-terrorism, Department of State; National Security Council (NSC) Director for Non-Proliferation
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations, CIA by way of U.S. Navy
National Intelligence Officer for Warning; Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council
Intelligence Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA; morning briefer, The Presidentâ€™s Daily Brief; chair of National Intelligence Estimates; Co-founder, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
U.S. Army Intelligence Analyst, Germany and Iraq (Abu Ghraib); Whistleblower
Special Agent and attorney, FBI; Whistleblower on the negligence that facilitated the attacks of 9/11.
Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Ambassador and Director of Africa, National Security Council.
Valerie Plame Wilson
Operations Officer, Directorate of Operations
14 Oct 2007
On Thursday last, the New York Times reported that CIA Director Michael Hayden has initiated an unusual investigation into the activities of the CIA’s Inspector General’s Office.
According to the Times, all this stems from criticism by that office of the CIA’s performance pre-9/11, and from “aggressive investigations” of “detention and interrogation programs and other matters.”
But, as MacRanger points out, it was Inspector General John L. Helgerson who personally recruited the same Mary O. McCarthy who was fired in April of 2006 for leaking information on covert counter-terrorism operations to Washington Post reporter Dana Priest.
AJStrata thinks the Times is spinning, and agrees that this story is really about CIA internal efforts finally to do something about the partisan leaks of highly classified national security information to the press by adversaries of the Administration within the agency.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we aren’t beginning to see some reciprocity, in the form of the Agency actually doing something about the most outrageous leaks, in return for the Bush Administration’s surrender, its abandonment of efforts to reform the Agency, and the reinstatement of Stephen R. Kappes and Michael Sulick.
07 Oct 2007
No longer pouting, but smiling with content, Bush administration adversaries in the CIA put their feet up and reminisce contemptuously about Porter Goss and his associates, referred to as “Goslings,” who tried to change the agency’s culture and were defeated.
“From day one, Goss and his people seemed to be punching above their weight,” reports Jeff Stein.
25 Sep 2007
Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post is a leftwing editorialist I don’t commonly agree with, but I think the opening, at least, of today’s column hits the nail on the head.
The last two times the Pew Research Center asked people to describe President Bush in a single word, chief among the overwhelmingly negative responses was the word “incompetent.”
What makes that particularly fascinating is that it’s a realization that the public has reached pretty much on its own.
Unfortunately, Froomkin then goes right off into leftwing subjectivity land, repeating the usual memes about unsatisfactory management of the war in Iraq, failure to perform Moses-level miracles on flooded New Orleans, and (quelle horreur!) actually trying to appoint Republicans to DOJ positions.
Froomkin essentially takes the opposite of the facts as his basis to lambaste Bush.
Iit’s well past time to ask ourselves: What has Bush done to our government?
Bush’s two top advisers — Vice President Cheney and just-departed political guru Karl Rove — made little secret of their desire to have the wider federal bureaucracy serve their purposes. But just how much has the exertion of absolute White House political control, through a network of loyalists put in key positions, damaged government agencies’ ability to accomplish the tasks the American people expect of them?
How many long-time senior career employees have been marginalized, micromanaged or driven out of government?
Unfortunately, the real reason Americans think Bush is incompetent is precisely the reverse. Americans have concluded that Bush is incompetent because he cannot defend his own Attorney General when he tries to replace some federal attorneys. They believe that he is a weak leader because he could not compel large portions of the State Department and the Intelligence community to support his policies.
This president did not succeed in replacing disaffected senior officers in the CIA or reforming the Agency, and when National Security information was leaked repeatedly in the New York Times and Washington Post, no one was ever prosecuted or punished.
On the other hand, his adversaries successfully managed to criminalize even questioning the bona fides of Ambassador Wilson’s testimony, and succeeded in convicting the Vice Presidential Chief of Staff of perjury in a case where no crime could possibly ever have occurred. It was George W. Bush himself who appointed the man who aimed the torpedo at the midships of his administration. Bush made James B. Comey (Martha Stewart’s nemesis) Deputy Attorney General, and when John Poindexter (angry at not being reappointed) called for a washbowl and a towel and recused himself, James B. Comey selected the special prosecutor.
Bush is not incompetent because he tyrannically remodeled the bureaucracy. He is incompetent because he has failed to get control of the government he was elected to head, and because he has failed both to punish his enemies and to defend himself and his friends.