Category Archive 'Tyler Drumheller'

12 Jan 2016

Hillary May Not Be the Democrat Nominee After All…

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Uh-oh! Red State reported yesterday that the FBI is now investigating Hillary, not only for security violations, but for corruption.

This was sort of inevitable. No sentient being ever saw the Clinton Foundation as anything other than a way to provide the Clintons with tax free income. No one ever thought that the Clintons and their inner circle were not enriching themselves by trading on Hillary’s position as Secretary of State. In fact, it is my contention that a significant number of the 1300+ classified emails held on Hillary Clinton’s private email server were US government information that was being used as currency to enrich Sid Blumenthal, his deceased crony Tyler Drumheller, and others.

Read the whole thing.

Bringing Hillary down would be a gigantic feather in James Comey’s cap, and Comey is pretty much as ruthless and unethical as she is. I’d say that, this time, Hillary may be in for big trouble.

15 Dec 2007

Another ‘Abolish the CIA’ Editorial

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Former CIA officer Joseph Weissberg, in an editorial exemplifying perfectly the can-do attitude characteristic of the Agency’s liberal intelligentsia, explains just how futile the recruiting of foreign agents really is.

According to statements by Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s European operations, the CIA entered into a clandestine relationship with Iraq’s then-foreign minister, Naji Sabri, in mid-2002. Drumheller has claimed that Sabri provided the CIA with documentary evidence that Iraq did not have an active program to pursue weapons of mass destruction.

But Sabri’s information had no influence whatsoever on U.S. policy. Nor did it alter the CIA’s own assessment of Iraqi weapons capabilities. This is because Sabri, like virtually every other CIA asset, could not possibly have been trusted. So any intelligence he provided was useless.

Intelligence from almost all CIA assets is unreliable for the simple reason that so many of them are double agents, meaning that the CIA recruited them but that they are being controlled by their own countries’ intelligence services. When I worked at CIA headquarters in the early 1990s, I once suggested to a friend who worked in counterintelligence that up to a third of all CIA agents could be doubles. He said the number was probably much higher.

Concrete proof is always scarce in these matters, but from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, most and very likely all Cuban agents on the CIA payroll were doubles. So were a majority of East German agents during the Cold War.

If Sabri was being controlled by Iraqi intelligence as a double, the most likely goal of such an operation would have been to convince the U.S. government that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. This means that Sabri’s “intelligence” would have been the same whether he was a double or not — Iraq had no WMD. So the only way to figure out if it was real intelligence or disinformation would have been to determine with absolute certainty whether Sabri was a double.

The CIA has methods to try to detect double agents, but they’re far from foolproof. Polygraph exams are probably considered the most useful and are frequently administered to agents. But it’s unlikely that on the eve of war an Iraqi foreign minister would be able to sneak away for a polygraph exam without risking detection. Even if he did take and pass such an exam, the question of the polygraph’s reliability would loom large. And even the biggest supporters of polygraphs would be reluctant to make a case for or against war on the basis of polygraph results.

But what if the CIA, for whatever reason, was convinced that Sabri was not a double agent? The agency still would have had to factor in the overwhelming likelihood that, like most CIA agents, he was working first and foremost in his own interest. (The collection of defectors and exiles who misled us so badly in Iraq practically gave new meaning to “working in your own interest” — their goal was to have the United States invade their country.) In Sabri’s case, his overriding concern probably would have been securing CIA protection in the event of a U.S. invasion. This could have led him to tell the entire truth about everything he knew. But it could just as easily have led him to tell us what he thought we wanted to hear.

Let’s assume, despite all these obstacles, that the CIA somehow determined that Sabri was being truthful. Being truthful still wouldn’t mean that Sabri knew the truth. Would the Iraqi foreign minister know whether Iraq had WMD? In Saddam Hussein’s secretive police state, the answer could easily be no.

Intelligence professionals have to sort through these kinds of problems all the time. But it’s rarely, if ever, possible to come to a definitive conclusion.

So the CIA, on the eve of war, may have had something close to the dream recruit — a member of Hussein’s inner circle — and he was providing intelligence on the most salient question of the war — did Iraq possess WMD? — and he was right. But what good did the intelligence do? None.

I’m convinced. I’ve been persuaded for a long time that the current Agency, infested with pacifists and liberals, afflicted with Hamlet-like doubts, and encrusted with decades of Congressional restriction should simply be abolished. A brand-new high morale, and really secret, organization operating out of a handful of anonymous houses and obscure office buildings should replace it.

07 Oct 2007

Complacent Spooks Jeer Defeated Opponents

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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.

06 Sep 2007

“Saddam Had No WMD!”

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Ex-Clintonite Sidney Blumenthal tells us in Salon that George W. Bush knew all along that poor old Saddam had no WMD. Naji Sabri, Saddam’s foreign minister said so, and presumably Baghdad Bob offered precisely the same assurances. Evidently, George Tenet mentioned Sabri’s information once at a White house briefing. Everybody had a good laugh, and went on to more serious matters.

Sidney’s sources include Pouting Spook Tyler Drumheller and two other unnamed VIPS affiliates.

All this is simply old anti-Bush propaganda in a new hit piece.

06 May 2007

Oh, That My Enemy Would Write a Book

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George Tenet’s new book, At the Center of the Storm, which justifies himself and attacks the Bush Administration, and particularly its Neocon members, has provoked some highly devastating replies from (no particular friend of the Neocons) Michael Scheuer, Tyler Drumheller, and most delightfully of all, last Friday in the Wall Street Journal from every liberal’s favorite Neocon whipping boy Douglas Feith himself.

Mr. Feith provides an alternative link on his own web-site to the demolition.

Mr. Tenet resents that the CIA was criticized for its work on Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, in particular, Iraq’s relationship with al Qaeda. On this score he is especially angry at Vice President Dick Cheney, at Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, at Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and at me — I was the head of the Defense Department’s policy organization. Mr. Tenet devotes a chapter to the matter of Iraq and al Qaeda, giving it the title: “No Authority, Direction or Control.” The phrase implies that we argued that Saddam exercised such powers — authority, direction and control — over al Qaeda. We made no such argument.

Rather we said that the CIA’s analysts were not giving serious, professional attention to information about ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. The CIA’s assessments were incomplete, nonrigorous and shaped around the dubious assumption that secular Iraqi Baathists would be unwilling to cooperate with al Qaeda religious fanatics, even when they shared strategic interests. This assumption was disproved when Baathists and jihadists became allies against us in the post-Saddam insurgency, but before the war it was the foundation of much CIA analysis.

Mr. Tenet’s account of all this gives the reader no idea of the substance of our critique, which was that the CIA’s analysts were suppressing information. They were not showing policy makers reports that justified concern about ties between Iraq and al Qaeda. Mr. Tenet does tell us that the CIA briefed Mr. Cheney on Iraq and al Qaeda in September 2002 and that the “briefing was a disaster” because “Libby and the vice president arrived with such detailed knowledge on people, sources, and timelines that the senior CIA analytic manager doing the briefing that day simply could not compete.” He implies that there was improper bullying but then adds: “We weren’t ready for this discussion.”

This is an abject admission. He is talking about September 2002 — a year after 9/11! This was the month that the president brought the Iraq threat before the United Nations General Assembly. This was several weeks after I took my staff to meet with Mr. Tenet and two-dozen or so CIA analysts to challenge the quality of the agency’s work on Iraq and al Qaeda. …

Mr. Tenet hosted our briefing because my boss, Donald Rumsfeld, personally suggested he do so. Mr. Tenet knew that the Agency’s dismissive view of Iraq’s relationship with al Qaeda was controversial — and of importance to the nation. So there was no excuse, weeks later, for senior CIA officials to be so thoroughly un-ready to brief Mr. Cheney on the subject. The September 2002 meeting was not a surprise bed-check, after all; it was a scheduled visit by the vice president. …

Fairness, evidently, was not Mr. Tenet’s motivating impulse as an author. His book is defensive. It aims low — to settle scores. The prose is humdrum. Mr. Tenet includes no citations that would let the reader check the accuracy of his account. He offers no explanation of why we went to war in Iraq. So, is the book useless? No.

What it does offer is insight into Mr. Tenet. It allows you to hear the way he talked — fast, loose, blustery, emotional, imprecise, from the “gut.” Mr. Tenet proudly refers to the guidance of his “gut” several times in the book — a strange boast from someone whose stock-in-trade should be accuracy and precision. “At the Center of the Storm” also allows you to see the way he reasoned — unimaginatively and inconsistently. And it gives a glimpse of how he operated: He picked sides; he played favorites. The people he liked got his attention and understanding, their judgments his approval; the people he disliked he treated harshly and smeared. His loyalty is to tribe rather than truth.

Mr. Tenet makes a peculiar claim of detachment, as if he had not been a top official in the Bush administration. He wants readers not to blame him for the president’s decision to invade Iraq. He implies that he never supported it and never even heard it debated. Mr. Tenet writes: “In many cases, we were not aware of what our own government was trying to do. The one thing we were certain of was that our warnings were falling on deaf ears.”

Mr. Tenet’s point here builds on the book’s much-publicized statements that the author never heard the president and his national-security team debate “the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” whether or not it was “wise to go to war” or when the war should start. He paints a distorted picture here.

But even if it were true that he never heard any such debate and was seriously dissatisfied with the dialogue in the White House Situation Room, he had hundreds of opportunities to improve the discussion by asking questions or making comments. I sat with him in many of the meetings, and no one prevented him from talking. It is noteworthy that Mr. Tenet met with the president for an intelligence briefing six days every week for years. Why didn’t he speak up if he thought that the president was dangerously wrong or inadequately informed?

One of Mr. Tenet’s main arguments is that he was somehow disconnected from the decision to go to war. Under the circumstances, it seems odd that he would call his book “At the Center of the Storm.” He should have called it “At the Periphery of the Storm” or maybe: “Was That a Storm That Just Went By?”

Read the whole thing.

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