Thursday, July 26, 2007
Story of the Day-Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an intelligence agency of the United States government. Its first function is obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and persons. Its second function is propaganda and public relations. Its third function is as the government's hidden hand via covert operations at the direction of the President and under oversight by Congress. This last function has caused much controversy for the CIA — questions about the legality, morality, effectiveness, and intelligence of such operations.
Its headquarters is in the community of Langley in the McLean CDP of Fairfax County, Virginia, a few miles northwest from downtown Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River. The CIA is part of the U.S. Intelligence Community, led by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). The role and functions of the CIA are roughly equivalent to those of the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) and Israel's Mossad.
The CIA is sometimes referred to euphemistically in government and military parlance as Other Government Agencies (or OGA), particularly when its operations in a particular area are an open secret. Other terms include The Company and The Agency.
Central Intelligence Agency was a participant or observer in the following events:
Nazis and the CIA: How the Cold War Began
Birth of the CIA
U.S. intelligence agency created reluctantly amid Cold War fears
U.S. intelligence agency created reluctantly amid Cold War fears
By Bruce Kennedy
CNN Interactive Writer
"Gentlemen do not read each other's mail."
Legend has it that with that statement, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 closed down an intelligence operation that had broken the codes of many countries. Stimson's reported words seemed to sum up U.S. sentiment about espionage in the years leading up to World War II.
In December 1941, Japanese warplanes attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor -- despite warnings to the U.S. government that a Japanese carrier force was sailing toward the Hawaiian islands. The attack brought America into the war -- and remained a painful reminder of what can happen to a nation without the proper intelligence coordination.
In the prewar years, the United States relied on the FBI and the military for its secret spy work. But World War II crystallized the need for a centralized intelligence network.
In 1942, on orders from President Franklin Roosevelt, the United States set up the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which was responsible for intelligence and secret operations. Led by William "Wild Bill" Donovan, the 13,000 agents of the OSS played an important role worldwide in the victory over fascism. But at war's end, President Harry Truman closed the OSS, fearing an "American Gestapo" -- an intelligence organization that might be used against U.S. citizens.
The emergence of the Cold War, and increasing Soviet domination in Europe, soon changed Truman's mind. He later recounted to an aide, "When I suddenly became president I had little or no knowledge how policies had been arrived at before my accession. I had information coming at me from 200 different sources and no one to boil it down for me."
The United States reorganized its defenses in 1947 with passage of the National Security Act, which created the Department of Defense, the National Security Council (NSC) and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA was placed under control of the NSC, which in turn advised the president. According to the National Security Act, the CIA would advise the NSC "in matters concerning such intelligence activities ... as relate to national security." U.S. counterespionage efforts would be left in the hands of the FBI. The act said the CIA would have "no police, subpoena, law-enforcement powers or internal security functions."
Almost from its first hours, a debate was under way in the U.S. government regarding the CIA: Was its role purely defensive, or offensive as well? Rear Adm. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, the CIA's first director, wondered whether the agency had the legal right to be involved in covert actions.
After weighing the legal issues, and with the backing of Truman and Congress, the CIA began its covert operations. All such operations, according to a National Security Council directive, were to "counteract Soviet and Soviet-inspired activities which constitute a threat to world peace and security or are designed to discredit and defeat the aims and activities of the United States."
"Covert action started virtually immediately", says Melvin Goodman, professor of international security at the National War College in Washington, D.C., and a former Soviet policy analyst at the CIA. "I don't think it was intended, but it grew up with the time -- our perceptions of the Soviet threat and the need for a counter."
Goodman also notes the expected cost-efficiency of covert operations. "Truman wanted to control the (federal) budget. He perceived covert action as less risk, less funding ... a tool of convenience."
According to "Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage," by Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen, the CIA soon developed a mechanism for covert operations:
"The NSC would recommend such action when it decided that some U.S. foreign policy objective could not be fulfilled by diplomatic means and when miliary action was judged to be too extreme or too dangerous. The DCI (director of Central Intelligence) would be asked to direct the action in such a way that the administration could give a plausible denial of U.S. involvement."
In 1948, the Christian Democrats won Italy's national elections. Their victory was seen as the first major step forward for the CIA, which had orchestrated covert operations in Italy to sway voters against communist candidates. But that initial success gave way to some notable failures, as the CIA tried to match the well-established Soviet intelligence system in the decades-long struggle for information.
Covert operations in the CIA, says Goodman, "grew because of what was percieved as early successes in Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in '54 -- which led to the hubris of the Bay of Pigs."
The CIA's Family Jewels
CIA details Cold War skulduggery
The CIA has made public the details of its illicit Cold-War-era activities, including spy plots, assassination attempts and experiments with drugs.
Documents declassified on its website include plans to use Mafia help to kill Cuba's Communist leader Fidel Castro.
They reveal the extent to which the CIA spied on US journalists and dissidents and on the Soviet Union.
They are part of a report commissioned by a former CIA chief in 1973 in response to the Watergate scandal.
Press reports from the period had implicated the CIA in a break-in which took place at Democratic Party offices at the Watergate Hotel.
A newspaper investigation into the burglary eventually led to the downfall of the Republican President, Richard Nixon.
The spy agency's former director, James Schlesinger, responded by ordering all "senior operating officials" to report on all activities, past and present, "which might be construed to be outside the legislative charter of this agency".
The CIA is barred by law from conducting spy activities within the US.
CIA officers in service in 1973 largely used their memory to compile the 693-page report for Mr Schlesinger.
The abuses and illicit activities listed within date from the 1950s to the 1970s.
The documents were initially referred to as "skeletons" by Mr Schlesinger's successor at the CIA, William Colby. They were later nicknamed the "family jewels" and have been referred to as such ever since.
Much of the information contained within them was already known.
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed in the New York Times newspaper in 1974 that the CIA had been spying on anti-war dissidents and civil rights campaigners.
However, the documents declassified on Tuesday provide a more comprehensive account of events.
Last week, CIA chief Michael Hayden announced the decision to declassify the records, saying the documents were "unflattering but part of CIA history".
The documents detail assassination plots, domestic spying, wiretapping, and kidnapping.
The incidents include:
the confinement of a Soviet KGB defector, Yuriy Ivanovich Nosenko, in the mid-1960s
attempts to use a suspected Mafia mobster, Johnny Roselli, in a plot to assassinate Cuba's Fidel Castro
a plot to poison the Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba
the wiretapping and surveillance of journalists, including in 1972 columnist Jack Anderson who broke a string of scandals
the testing of hallucinogens such as LSD on unsuspecting citizens
Among the documents is a request in 1972 for someone "who was accomplished at picking locks" who might be retiring or resigning from the agency.
Another set of documents, also just declassified, is known as the CAESAR-POLO-ESAU papers.
This is an 11,000-page analysis, done between 1953 and 1973, on Soviet and Chinese internal politics and Sino-Soviet relations.
Among the papers are an analysis of the Soviet leadership completed some four months after the death of Josef Stalin in 1953.
The CIA's report, stamped "Top Secret", said the Soviets carried out a hasty shake-up of top posts to head off possible "panic and disarray" following Stalin's death.
"It is strongly suggested that the leaders in this moment of crisis had moved swiftly to show their unity and to gird themselves for any battle that might be coming from inside and out," the CIA report said.
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Key Events in CIA's History
CIA World Factbook
Work for the Central Intelligence Agency
CIA Congo 1960
Central Intelligence Agency Directors
Sidney W. Souers 1946
Hoyt S. Vandenberg 1946–1947
Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter 1947–1950
Walter Bedell Smith 1950–1953
Allen W. Dulles 1953–1961
John A. McCone 1961–1965
William F. Raborn, Jr. 1965–1966
Richard M. Helms 1966–1973
James R. Schlesinger 1973
William E. Colby 1973–1976
George H. W. Bush 1976–1977
Stansfield Turner 1977–1981
William J. Casey 1981–1987
William H. Webster 1987–1991
Robert M. Gates 1991–1993
R. James Woolsey 1993–1995
John M. Deutch 1995–1996
George J. Tenet 1997–2004
Porter Goss 2004–2006
Michael V. Hayden 2006–
CIA Director Michael Hayden
Michael Vincent Hayden (born March 17, 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) holds the rank of General in the United States Air Force, and is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. From April 21, 2005–May 26, 2006 he was the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence, a position which made him "the highest-ranking military intelligence officer in the armed forces," and he is currently the only non-rated Air Force four-star general.
He was director of the National Security Agency (NSA) from 1999–2005. During his tenure as director, the longest in the history of the agency, he oversaw the controversial warrantless surveillance of technological communications between persons in the United States and alleged foreign terrorist groups.
On May 8, 2006, Hayden was nominated for the post of CIA Director following the May 5 resignation of Porter J. Goss, and on May 23 the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 12-3 to send the nomination to the Senate floor. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on May 26 by a vote of 78-15. On May 30, 2006 and again the following day at the CIA lobby with President George W. Bush in attendance, Hayden was sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
The Central Intelligence Agency
What is the Central Intelligence Agency?
The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is an intelligence gathering agency located in the United States of America. The CIA is the first source for a variety of American intelligence. Agents of the organization work all over the world to monitor situations of interest to the United States Government, from political unrest to environmental hazards. The CIA is an independent agency, not affiliated with any other American intelligence agency, with a Director who reports directly to the President.
Slight changes in the organization of the CIA occurred after passage of the USA Patriot Act in 2001, which mandated reorganization of American intelligence gathering to allow greater inter-agency cooperation. Under the Patriot Act, the Director of the CIA reports to a national Director of Intelligence, to facilitate communication between intelligence agencies and promote the free exchange of information between them.
The CIA often works in conjunction with other intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), and others. The CIA is considered the foremost international intelligence gathering agency, coordinating efforts between agents all over the globe. The CIA is not responsible for internal American security, although it may provide information to other agencies to increase domestic security.
The CIA was founded in 1947 by President Harry Truman, who signed the National Security Act. The CIA initially begun as the Berlin Operations Base, or BOB, during the Second World War. The BOB coordinated European intelligence efforts and reported the information to the United States and other Allied powers. At the end of the war, the BOB became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later morphed into the CIA.
According to the CIA's mission statement, the agency gathers intelligence and takes action in an effort to preserve the security and values of the United States. In addition to collecting intelligence, the CIA participates in covert actions all over the world. The CIA has been linked with several questionable political actions, including the Bay of Pigs invasion, the coup in Iran, and the rapid destabilization of several South American countries.
After the terrorist attacks on the United States n 2001, the role of the CIA changed dramatically. The Agency had fallen into disorganization after the end of the Cold War, and faced major policy changes in the twenty first century. These changes began with making significant alterations in staffing, Agency policies, and the legislation which governed intelligence gathering in the United States. The Executive and Legislative branches of government hoped that this would build a stronger, more flexible, and more effective agency, better able to meet the challenges faced by the United States.
CIA to reveal decades of misdeeds
The US Central Intelligence Agency is to declassify hundreds of documents detailing some of the agency's worst illegal abuses from the 1950s to 1970s.
The papers, to be released next week, will detail assassination plots, domestic spying and wiretapping, kidnapping and human experiments.
Many of the incidents are already known, but the documents are expected to give more comprehensive accounts.
It is "unflattering" but part of agency history, CIA chief Michael Hayden said.
"This is about telling the American people what we have done in their name," Gen Hayden told a conference of foreign policy historians.
The documents, dubbed the "Family Jewels", offer a "glimpse of a very different time and a very different agency".
The full 693-page file detailing CIA illegal activities was compiled on the orders of the then CIA director James Schlesinger in 1973.
He had been alarmed by accounts of CIA involvement in the Watergate scandal under his predecessor and asked CIA officials to inform him of all activities that fell outside the agency's legal charter.
Ahead of the documents' release by the CIA, the National Security Archive, an independent research body, on Thursday published related papers it had obtained.
These detail government discussions in 1975 of the CIA abuses and briefings by Mr Schlesinger's successor at the CIA, William Colby, who said the CIA had "done some things it shouldn't have".
Among the incidents that were said to "present legal questions" were:
* the confinement of a Soviet defector in the mid-1960s
* assassination plots of foreign leaders, including Cuba's Fidel Castro
* wiretapping and surveillance of journalists
* behaviour modification experiments on "unwitting" US citizens
* surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971
* opening from 1953 to 1973 of letters to and from the Soviet Union; from 1969 to 1972 of mail to and from China
The papers also convey mounting concern in President Gerald Ford's administration that what were dubbed the CIA's "skeletons" were surfacing in the media.
Henry Kissinger, then both secretary of state and national security adviser, was against Mr Colby's moves to investigate the CIA's past abuses and the fact that agency secrets were being divulged.
Accusations appearing in the media about the CIA were "worse than in the days of McCarthy", Mr Kissinger said.
U.S. Military Drafted Plans to Terrorize U.S. Cities to Provoke War With Cuba
In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.
Code named Operation Northwoods, the plans reportedly included the possible assassination of Cuban émigrés, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and even orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
The plans were developed as ways to trick the American public and the international community into supporting a war to oust Cuba's then new leader, communist Fidel Castro.
America's top military brass even contemplated causing U.S. military casualties, writing: "We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," and, "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation."
Details of the plans are described in Body of Secrets (Doubleday), a new book by investigative reporter James Bamford about the history of America's largest spy agency, the National Security Agency. However, the plans were not connected to the agency, he notes.
The plans had the written approval of all of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and were presented to President Kennedy's defense secretary, Robert McNamara, in March 1962. But they apparently were rejected by the civilian leadership and have gone undisclosed for nearly 40 years.
"These were Joint Chiefs of Staff documents. The reason these were held secret for so long is the Joint Chiefs never wanted to give these up because they were so embarrassing," Bamford told ABCNEWS.com.
"The whole point of a democracy is to have leaders responding to the public will, and here this is the complete reverse, the military trying to trick the American people into a war that they want but that nobody else wants."
Gunning for War
The documents show "the Joint Chiefs of Staff drew up and approved plans for what may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government," writes Bamford.
The Joint Chiefs even proposed using the potential death of astronaut John Glenn during the first attempt to put an American into orbit as a false pretext for war with Cuba, the documents show.
Should the rocket explode and kill Glenn, they wrote, "the objective is to provide irrevocable proof … that the fault lies with the Communists et all Cuba [sic]."
The plans were motivated by an intense desire among senior military leaders to depose Castro, who seized power in 1959 to become the first communist leader in the Western Hemisphere — only 90 miles from U.S. shores.
The earlier CIA-backed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba by Cuban exiles had been a disastrous failure, in which the military was not allowed to provide firepower.The military leaders now wanted a shot at it.
"The whole thing was so bizarre," says Bamford, noting public and international support would be needed for an invasion, but apparently neither the American public, nor the Cuban public, wanted to see U.S. troops deployed to drive out Castro.
Reflecting this, the U.S. plan called for establishing prolonged military — not democratic — control over the island nation after the invasion.
"That's what we're supposed to be freeing them from," Bamford says. "The only way we would have succeeded is by doing exactly what the Russians were doing all over the world, by imposing a government by tyranny, basically what we were accusing Castro himself of doing."
'Over the Edge'
The Joint Chiefs at the time were headed by Eisenhower appointee Army Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer, who, with the signed plans in hand made a pitch to McNamara on March 13, 1962, recommending Operation Northwoods be run by the military.
Whether the Joint Chiefs' plans were rejected by McNamara in the meeting is not clear. But three days later, President Kennedy told Lemnitzer directly there was virtually no possibility of ever using overt force to take Cuba, Bamford reports. Within months, Lemnitzer would be denied another term as chairman and transferred to another job.
The secret plans came at a time when there was distrust in the military leadership about their civilian leadership, with leaders in the Kennedy administration viewed as too liberal, insufficiently experienced and soft on communism. At the same time, however, there real were concerns in American society about their military overstepping its bounds.
There were reports U.S. military leaders had encouraged their subordinates to vote conservative during the election.
And at least two popular books were published focusing on a right-wing military leadership pushing the limits against government policy of the day. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee published its own report on right-wing extremism in the military, warning a "considerable danger" in the "education and propaganda activities of military personnel" had been uncovered. The committee even called for an examination of any ties between Lemnitzer and right-wing groups. But Congress didn't get wind of Northwoods, says Bamford.
"Although no one in Congress could have known at the time," he writes, "Lemnitzer and the Joint Chiefs had quietly slipped over the edge."
Even after Lemnitzer was gone, he writes, the Joint Chiefs continued to plan "pretext" operations at least through 1963.
One idea was to create a war between Cuba and another Latin American country so that the United States could intervene. Another was to pay someone in the Castro government to attack U.S. forces at the Guantanamo naval base — an act, which Bamford notes, would have amounted to treason. And another was to fly low level U-2 flights over Cuba, with the intention of having one shot down as a pretext for a war.
"There really was a worry at the time about the military going off crazy and they did, but they never succeeded, but it wasn't for lack of trying," he says.
After 40 Years
Ironically, the documents came to light, says Bamford, in part because of the 1992 Oliver Stone film JFK, which examined the possibility of a conspiracy behind the assassination of President Kennedy.
As public interest in the assassination swelled after JFK's release, Congress passed a law designed to increase the public's access to government records related to the assassination.
The author says a friend on the board tipped him off to the documents.
Afraid of a congressional investigation, Lemnitzer had ordered all Joint Chiefs documents related to the Bay of Pigs destroyed, says Bamford. But somehow, these remained.
"The scary thing is none of this stuff comes out until 40 years after," says Bamford.
CIA tried to get mafia to kill Castro
New documents confirm the CIA worked with the mafia to try and assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro in the early 1960s.
The CIA has declassified nearly 700 pages of top secret records, known in the spy agency as the 'family jewels'. They record some of CIA's illegal activities from the 1950s to the 1970s, including overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying and kidnapping.
The documents reveal the agency's efforts to persuade Johnny Roselli, believed to be a mobster, to help plot the assassination of Mr Castro.
A CIA official at the time, Richard Bissell, in August 1960 approached Colonel Sheffield Edwards of the agency's Office of Security to determine if Col Edwards "had assets that may assist in a sensitive mission requiring gangster-type action," according to the documents.
"The mission target was Fidel Castro," one memo said.
Roselli was believed by the CIA to have been a high-ranking member of the crime syndicate and who controlled all the ice-making machines on the Las Vegas Strip.
He was approached by a go-between, Robert Maheu, who reckoned Roselli had connections leading into Cuban gambling interests.
The story Roselli was to be told was that several international business firms were suffering heavy financial losses in Cuba as a result of Mr Castro's action and they were willing to pay $US150,000 for his removal.
"It was to be made clear to Roselli that the United States government was not, and should not, become aware of this operation," a document said.
In documents that often read like a cheap detective novel, the story is outlined: The pitch was made to Roselli at the Hilton Plaza Hotel in New York and Roselli was initially cool to the idea. But the contact led the agency to two top mobsters, Momo Salvatore Giancana and Santos Trafficant, who were both on the US list of most-wanted men.
Giancana, who was known as Sam Gold, suggested firearms might be a problem and said using a potent pill that could be slipped into Castro's food or drink might work.
Eventually, six pills of "high lethal content" were provided to Juan Orta, identified as a Cuban official who had been receiving kickback payments from gambling interests and who still had access to Mr Castro and was in a financial bind.
"After several weeks of reported attempts, Orta apparently got cold feet and asked out of the assignment. He suggested another candidate who made several attempts without success," the document said.
The documents also show the CIA spied on a number of American journalists and secretly tested mind-altering drugs on unwitting citizens.
Allen W. DullesAllen Welsh Dulles (April 7, 1893 – January 29, 1969) was the first civilian and the longest serving (1953-1961) Director of Central Intelligence (de-facto head of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency) and a member of the Warren Commission. Between stints of government service, Dulles was a corporate lawyer and partner at Sullivan & Cromwell.
CIA acknowledges Castro plot went to the top
Dulles personally approved 1960 operation to assassinate Cuban leader
Buried deep in the hundreds of historical documents the CIA declassified Tuesday is a memo that reveals for the first time that the Kennedy administration’s CIA director, Allen Dulles, personally approved a plot to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro.
The documents are among almost 700 pages of papers that reveal new details about the CIA’s plots to assassinate foreign leaders. In addition to Castro, proposed targets included Patrice Lumumba, the democratically elected president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican dictator.
Ever since reports of the CIA’s interest in assassinating Castro began to emerge more than 35 years ago, one question has remained unanswered: Were the plots the off-the-book work of lower-level CIA operatives, or did they have the blessing of Dulles and other agency leaders?
The final report of the special Senate subcommittee headed by Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, to investigate CIA abuses was never able to reach a conclusion. But the documents released Tuesday state unequivocally that “the DCI [Director of Central Intelligence — i.e., Dulles] was briefed and gave his approval.”
According to a five-page memo in Tuesday’s release, the plotting began in the final months of the Eisenhower administration, under the leadership of Richard Bissell, the agency’s director for plans. The operation used a go-between, Robert Maheu, a former FBI agent who did work as a private investigator for the CIA.
The iceman cometh
In September 1960, Maheu traveled to New York to meet Johnny Roselli, a high-ranking Mafia official who controlled ice-making machines in Las Vegas. Maheu told Roselli a cover story: that he represented several large international business firms that were suffering catastrophic financial losses in Cuba. And they were willing to pay $150,000 to arrange for Castro’s “removal.”
Roselli didn’t want to get involved, but he introduced Maheu to Sam Giancana, boss of the Chicago mob, and Santos Trafficant, the head of the mob’s Cuban operations, both of them members of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.
Concerned about the messiness and unreliability of firearms, Giancana suggested poisoning Castro with a pill in his food. The CIA accordingly provided six pills that it described as “of high lethal content.” They were given to Juan Orta, “a Cuban official who had been receiving kick-back payments from the gambling interests, who still had access to Castro, and was in a financial bind.”
According to the memo, Orta made several unsuccessful attempts and developed cold feet. A second, unnamed would-be assassin also wasn’t able to do the job. So a second plot was hatched, through a Cuban exile leader. But it was abandoned after the failed Bay of Pigs operation in 1961.
The documents also reveal that at the height of negotiations over his involvement in the Castro plot, Giancana asked Maheu for help in finding out whether his girlfriend, Phyllis McGuire, a member of the singing McGuire Sisters, was having an affair with Dan Rowan, half of the Rowan & Martin comedy team.
The CIA sent a technician to bug Rowan’s Las Vegas hotel room, the CIA memo says. But the technician was arrested by Clark County sheriff’s deputies. He placed a telephone call to Maheu in the presence of sheriff’s officials, potentially endangering the entire Castro plot.
The Justice Department announced its intention to prosecute Maheu and the technician, leading the CIA’s director of security to intervene with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.
The CIA in the assassination Of Robert Kennedy
CIA role claim in Kennedy killing
New video and photographic evidence that puts three senior CIA operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination has been brought to light.
The evidence was shown in a report by Shane O'Sullivan, broadcast on BBC Newsnight.
It reveals that the operatives and four unidentified associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968.
The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no reason to be in Los Angeles.
Kennedy had just won the California Democratic primary on an anti-War ticket and was set to challenge Nixon for the White House when he was shot in a kitchen pantry.
A 24-year-old Palestinian, Sirhan Sirhan, was arrested as the lone assassin and notebooks at his house seemed to incriminate him.
However, even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember the shooting and defence psychiatrists concluded he was in a trance at the time.
Witnesses placed Sirhan's gun several feet in front of Kennedy but the autopsy showed the fatal shot came from one inch behind.
Dr Herbert Spiegel, a world authority on hypnosis at Columbia University, believes Sirhan may have been hypnotically programmed to act as a decoy for the real assassin.
The report is the result of a three-year investigation by filmmaker Shane O'Sullivan. He reveals new video and photographs showing three senior CIA operatives at the hotel.
Three of these men have been positively identified as senior officers who worked together in 1963 at JMWAVE, the CIA's Miami base for its Secret War on Castro.
David Morales was Chief of Operations and once told friends:
"I was in Dallas when we got the son of a bitch and I was in Los Angeles when we got the little bastard."
Gordon Campbell was Chief of Maritime Operations and George Joannides was Chief of Psychological Warfare Operations.
Joannides was called out of retirement in 1978 to act as the CIA liaison to the Congressional investigation into the JFK assassination. Now, we see him at the Ambassador Hotel the night a second Kennedy is assassinated.
Senator Robert F Kennedy lies critically wounded in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen where he was shot in the head on 5 June, 1968
There have been calls for a fresh investigation into the shooting
Monday, 20 November would have been Bobby Kennedy's 81st birthday. In Los Angeles, his son Max has just broken ground on a new high-school project in memory of his father on the old Ambassador Hotel site.
Paul Schrade, a key figure behind the school project, was walking behind Robert Kennedy that night and was shot in the head. He believes this new evidence merits fresh investigation:
"It seems very strange to me that these guys would be at a Kennedy celebration. What were they doing there? And why were they there? It's our obligation as friends of Bob Kennedy to investigate this."
Ed Lopez, a former Congressional investigator who worked with Joannides in 1978, says:
"I think the key people at the CIA need to go back to anybody who might have been around back then, bring them in and interview them, and ask - is this Gordon Campbell? Is this George Joannides?"
The Day The Dream Died
CIA and the Vietnam War
CIA honors Reno pilot for role in 'secret war
A Reno pilot and other veterans of Air America are scheduled to gather Friday at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., to unveil a painting of an unusual air battle and honor the memory of a war that never was.
The painting by British aviation artist Keith Woodcock memorializes an encounter between an Air America helicopter and two North Vietnamese biplanes over Laos in 1968. Air America was a CIA-owned company that supported American intelligence agents. The copter shot down the two enemy planes -- the only time that gunfire from a helicopter shot down a fixed-wing plane.
The pilot, Reno stockbroker Ted Moore, 68, said he's honored that he had a part in a battle chosen to commemorate the work of Air America.
"It feels pretty good," Moore said. "I'm glad to see the recognition and that the government at least accepts the fact that we were part of the combat operations in the (Vietnam) War."
Moore joined Air America after six years as an Army helicopter gunship pilot in Vietnam and a flight instructor at Fort Rucker, Ala. Although they often flew in combat conditions, the civilian employees weren't supposed to engage the enemy.
But Moore and his crewman, Glenn Woods, shot down a North Vietnamese plane as it was attacking a secret American radar base in Laos in January 1968.
The base, called Site 85, was at Pha Thi, about 160 miles from Hanoi. The radar was used to direct U.S. warplanes to strikes in North Vietnam.
On Jan. 11, 1968, a North Vietnamese plane flew over Site 85; and the next day, two Russian-built "Colt" biplanes swooped in. One carried bombs, and the other had missiles and machine guns, Moore said.
"It blew me away to see biplanes," he said. "It was like we traveled back in time to World War I Europe."
Moore was flying a UH-1 (Huey) helicopter and was moving ammunition at the base during the attack. He chased the two biplanes while Woods, his flight engineer, fired an AK-47 rifle at the Colts.
One of the planes caught fire and crashed. The other flew beneath the helicopter and slammed into a mountainside, Moore said.
Americans salvaged electronics from one of the crashed planes.
"They reverse-engineered the stuff, and that allowed American planes to know when the MIGs were headed in for an attack," Moore said. "That saved a lot of American air crews. I think that's the best thing that happened."
Moore also helped rescue thousands of civilians in Laos in March 1968, picked up downed American pilots and delivered and picked up CIA teams that were infiltrating positions along the Laos-Vietnam border.
The painting "depicts a singular aerial victory in the Vietnam War and will soon be on display as a lasting and inspiring reminder of the heroism and courage of the employees of Air America," said George Little, a CIA spokesman.
Such victories were costly. At least 86 Air America personnel were killed in action, beginning with flights over China, Korea and Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, and continuing through the Vietnam War, government sources said.
Former employees are seeking civil service benefits, but courts have ruled they were not federal employees. Efforts by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., to get Congress to change their status have failed.
"Typical Washington politics, we exist up until it comes to benefits, then we don't exist again," Moore said. "I'm doing OK, but some of these guys could use the benefits, and there's fewer than 500 of us left."
Moore said the unveiling of the painting will be a step toward acknowledging the contributions of Air America veterans.
Reid has continued to reintroduce legislation that would classify the Air America veterans as government employees.
"Air America personnel performed heroic service to our nation, executing dangerous flight missions in communist China, during the Korean War and throughout the Vietnam War," Reid said.
"These are American heroes, many of whom were killed in action while flying dangerous missions for the CIA. They deserve to be recognized as such and, at a minimum, receive the same benefits that other federal employees receive."
CIA reveals 1970s role with Chilean intelligence chief
The CIA's 1970s-era covert operations in Chile, the agency revealed a relationship with a top Chilean intelligence official it knew to be one of the country's worst human rights abusers.
The U.S. spy agency's relationship with Gen. Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, then head of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's intelligence service, was "not cordial and smooth," the report said.
Contreras' feared secret police force has been implicated in the disappearances, torture and murder of hundreds of suspected opponents of the Pinochet regime and of conspiring with other South American intelligence agencies in the notorious Operation Condor, in which spy agencies are reputed to have assassinated leftists on behalf of each other.
Despite misgivings, the report said, the CIA made a one-time cash payment to Contreras -- currently in a Chilean jail for the 1976 killing of Chilean diplomat Orlando Letelier -- in 1975. Letelier and an American colleague, Ronni Moffitt, were killed in a car bomb explosion on Washington's Embassy Row.
At the time of the payment, the report said, the CIA considered Contreras the "principle obstacle" to a better human rights record in Chile. Nevertheless, the report said, the CIA maintained ties with Contreras from 1974 to 1977.
The report noted that under current rules, the CIA would not accept a known human-rights abuser as an informant.
The report blamed the payment on a "miscommunication" between CIA officials in Washington and field officers in Chile who had recommended a paid relationship with the general because of his access to Pinochet. CIA headquarters had rejected the proposal, the report said.
Pinochet assumed power in Chile after a bloody 1973 coup toppled democratically elected socialist President Salvador Allende. The report said that the CIA, which has long denied any involvement in the coup, had been aware of plans to bring Allende's government down.
"We were aware of the coup plotting in 1973, but we did not instigate it," said a CIA spokesman.
The report also said that "a review of CIA files has uncovered no evidence that CIA officers and employees were engaged in human rights abuses or in covering up any human rights abuses in Chile."
Hundreds more CIA documents on the agency's role in Chile in the 1970s and 1980s are scheduled to be released next month.
CIA Releases Key 1970s Files, Including Spying on Journos
The documents detail assassination plots against foreign leaders like Fidel Castro, the testing of mind- and behavior-altering drugs like LSD on unwitting citizens, wiretapping of U.S. journalists, spying on civil rights and anti-Vietnam war protesters, opening mail between the United States and the Soviet Union and China, break-ins at the homes of ex-CIA employees and others.
The 693 pages, mostly drawn from the memories of active CIA officers in 1973, were turned over at that time to three different investigative panels - President Ford’s Rockefeller Commission, the Senate’s Church committee and the House’s Pike committee.
The panels spent years investigating and amplifying on these documents. And their public reports in the mid-1970s filled tens of thousands of pages. The scandal sullied the reputation of the intelligence community and led to new rules for the CIA, FBI and other spy agencies and new permanent committees in Congress to oversee them.
These documents also were one of the products of the Watergate scandal. Then-CIA Director James Schlesinger was angered to read in the newspapers that the CIA had provided support to ex-CIA agents E. Howard Hunt and James McCord, who were convicted in the Watergate break-in. Hunt had worked for a secret “plumbers unit” in Richard Nixon’s White House. The unit originally was tasked to investigate and end leaks of classified information but ultimately engaged in a wide range of misconduct.
In May 1973, Schlesinger ordered “all senior operating officials of this agency to report to me immediately on any activities now going on, or that have gone on the past, which might be construed to be outside the legislative charter of this agency.” The law establishing the CIA barred it from conducting spying inside the United States.
The result was 693 pages of memos that arrived after Schlesinger had moved to the Pentagon and been replaced as CIA chief by William Colby. Colby ultimately reported the contents to the Justice Department.
“These are the top CIA officers all going into the confessional and saying, `Forgive me father, for I have sinned,’ ” said Thomas Blanton, director of the private National Security Archive, which had requested release of the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
Inside the CIA, Colby referred to the documents as the “skeletons.” But another name quickly caught on and stuck: “family jewels.”
They first spilled into public view on Dec. 22, 1974, with a story by Seymour Hersh in The New York Times on the CIA’s spying against antiwar and other dissidents inside this country. The agency assembled files on some 10,000 people.
CIA faces pressure to divulge Nazis ties
A US Senator has demanded that the CIA director release thousands of pages of documents detailing the agency's ties with former Nazis who aided in Cold War espionage against the Soviet Union, officials said.
Mike DeWine of Ohio, Republican co-author of a 1998 bill ordering the disclosure of government records on Nazi war criminals, wants CIA director Porter Goss to say publicly why his agency has not agreed to divulge the records.
Senator DeWine has asked Mr Goss to appear this month at an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which the Ohio law-maker sits, a Senate aide said. The CIA had no immediate comment on the invitation.
"Senator DeWine wants an explanation from the CIA. Our hope would be to have [Goss] there and that's what we're working toward," said Senator DeWine's spokeswoman Amanda Flaig.
The CIA has already released an estimated 1.25 million pages of documents about Nazi war criminals. Most are records of the agency's wartime predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services.
The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 requires federal agencies to make public records of individuals alleged to have committed Nazi war crimes by turning them over to a special working group.
The working group, known formally as the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, includes officials from the National Archives, the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and other agencies.
Mr Goss co-sponsored the legislation during his tenure in the US House of Representatives, where he led the chamber's intelligence committee.
But the CIA has refused to disclose documents about its post-war dealings with former Nazis who have not been accused of war crimes but belonged to organisations like the German Nazi party and the SS, congressional officials said.
Some of the material is believed to deal with former Nazis who joined the allied Cold War effort against the Soviet Union in Europe, the officials said.
The CIA defines the 1998 law to require only the disclosure of documents on war criminals.
"Any material identified in our files as dealing with the commission of war crimes has been released," a CIA spokesman said.
Congressional officials and public members of the working group interpret the statute to require disclosures on any individual connected with organisations involved in war crimes.
"Where material has been withheld, the auditors from the working group have been able to see that material. This has not been a closed process in that respect," the CIA spokesman said.
With the working group scheduled to dissolve at the end of March, law-makers, including Senator DeWine and Democrat Carolyn Maloney of New York, have joined group members in pressuring the CIA for a fuller disclosure.
Law-makers also intend to introduce legislation extending the life of the working group by up to two years.
"The group has already been extended by one year. But they still haven't gotten the documents because of CIA intransigence," said a congressional aide.
CIA Coup of 1953 from HC Ayatollah Khomeini declass
Osama bin Muhammad bin 'Awad bin Laden most often mentioned as Osama bin Laden or Usama bin Laden, is a Saudi militant Islamist and is reported to be the founder of the organization called al-Qaeda. He is a member of the wealthy bin Laden family. In conjunction with several other Islamic militant leaders, bin Laden issued two fatwas—in 1996 and then again in 1998—that Muslims should kill civilians and military personnel from the United States and allied countries until they withdraw support for Israel and withdraw military forces from Islamic countries.
There is no definitive account of the number of children born to Muhammed bin Laden, but the number is generally put at 55. Various accounts place Osama as his seventeenth son. Muhammed bin Laden was married 22 times, although to no more than four women at a time per Sharia law. Osama was born the only son of Muhammed bin Laden's tenth wife, Syrian Hamida al-Attas (nee Alia Ghanem)
Osama bin Laden
Authorities say a growing body of evidence points to the Saudi millionaire's network of followers
Our Own Private Bin Laden
ex CIA about Lies in Iraq and Vietnam war
CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July 2001
French report claims terrorist leader stayed in Dubai hospital
Two months before September 11 Osama bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days for treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.
The disclosures are known to come from French intelligence which is keen to reveal the ambiguous role of the CIA, and to restrain Washington from extending the war to Iraq and elsewhere.
Bin Laden is reported to have arrived in Dubai on July 4 from Quetta in Pakistan with his own personal doctor, nurse and four bodyguards, to be treated in the urology department. While there he was visited by several members of his family and Saudi personalities, and the CIA.
The CIA chief was seen in the lift, on his way to see Bin Laden, and later, it is alleged, boasted to friends about his contact. He was recalled to Washington soon afterwards.
Intelligence sources say that another CIA agent was also present; and that Bin Laden was also visited by Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence, who had long had links with the Taliban, and Bin Laden. Soon afterwards Turki resigned, and more recently he has publicly attacked him in an open letter: "You are a rotten seed, like the son of Noah".
The American hospital in Dubai emphatically denied that Bin Laden was a patient there.
Washington last night also denied the story.
Private planes owned by rich princes in the Gulf fly frequently between Quetta and the Emirates, often on luxurious "hunting trips" in territories sympathetic to Bin Laden. Other sources confirm that these hunting trips have provided opportunities for Saudi contacts with the Taliban and terrorists, since they first began in 1994.
Bin Laden has often been reported to be in poor health. Some accounts claim that he is suffering from Hepatitis C, and can expect to live for only two more years.
According to Le Figaro, last year he ordered a mobile dialysis machine to be delivered to his base at Kandahar in Afghanistan.
Whether the allegations about the Dubai meeting are confirmed or not, the wider leaks from the French secret service throw a worrying light on the rivalries and lack of coordination between intelligence agencies, both within the US and between western allies.
A familiar complaint of French intelligence is that collaboration with the Americans has been essentially one-way, with them happy to receive information while giving little in return.
Bin Laden's, CIA roots. How We Created Our Own Terror
At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term that describes an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow
BEFORE YOU CLICK on my face and call me naive, let me concede some points. Yes, the West needed Josef Stalin to defeat Hitler. Yes, there were times during the Cold War when supporting one villain (Cambodia’s Lon Nol, for instance) would have been better than the alternative (Pol Pot). So yes, there are times when any nation must hold its nose and shake hands with the devil for the long-term good of the planet.
But just as surely, there are times when the United States, faced with such moral dilemmas, should have resisted the temptation to act. Arming a multi-national coalition of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan during the 1980s - well after the destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 - was one of those times.
BIN LADEN’S BEGINNINGS
As anyone who has bothered to read this far certainly knows by now, bin Laden is the heir to Saudi construction fortune who, at least since the early 1990s, has used that money to finance countless attacks on U.S. interests and those of its Arab allies around the world.
As his unclassified CIA biography states, bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar - the MAK - which funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.
What the CIA bio conveniently fails to specify (in its unclassified form, at least) is that the MAK was nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.
By no means was Osama bin Laden the leader of Afghanistan’s mujahedeen. His money gave him undue prominence in the Afghan struggle, but the vast majority of those who fought and died for Afghanistan’s freedom - like the Taliban regime that now holds sway over most of that tortured nation - were Afghan nationals.
Yet the CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan made famous by Rudyard Kipling, found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to “read” than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.
WHAT’S ‘INTELLIGENT’ ABOUT THIS?
Though he has come to represent all that went wrong with the CIA’s reckless strategy there, by the end of the Afghan war in 1989, bin Laden was still viewed by the agency as something of a dilettante - a rich Saudi boy gone to war and welcomed home by the Saudi monarchy he so hated as something of a hero.
In fact, while he returned to his family’s construction business, bin Laden had split from the relatively conventional MAK in 1988 and established a new group, al-Qaida, that included many of the more extreme MAK members he had met in Afghanistan.
Most of these Afghan vets, or Afghanis, as the Arabs who fought there became known, turned up later behind violent Islamic movements around the world. Among them: the GIA in Algeria, thought responsible for the massacres of tens of thousands of civilians; Egypt’s Gamat Ismalia, which has massacred western tourists repeatedly in recent years; Saudi Arabia Shiite militants, responsible for the Khobar Towers and Riyadh bombings of 1996.
Indeed, to this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. “It was worth it,” he said.
“Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union,” he said.
HINDSIGHT OR TUNNEL VISION
It should be pointed out that the evidence of bin Laden’s connection to these activities is mostly classified, though its hard to imagine the CIA rushing to take credit for a Frankenstein’s monster like this.
It is also worth acknowledging that it is easier now to oppose the CIA’s Afghan adventures than it was when Hatch and company made them in the mid-1980s. After all, in 1998 we now know that far larger elements than Afghanistan were corroding the communist party’s grip on power in Moscow.
Even Hatch can’t be blamed completely. The CIA, ever mindful of the need to justify its “mission,” had conclusive evidence by the mid-1980s of the deepening crisis of infrastructure within the Soviet Union. The CIA, as its deputy director Robert Gates acknowledged under congressional questioning in 1992, had decided to keep that evidence from President Reagan and his top advisors and instead continued to grossly exaggerate Soviet military and technological capabilities in its annual “Soviet Military Power” report right up to 1990.
Given that context, a decision was made to provide America’s potential enemies with the arms, money - and most importantly - the knowledge of how to run a war of attrition violent and well-organized enough to humble a superpower.
CIA Rejects Discipline For 9/11 Failures
Goss Cites Fear Of Hurting Agency
The CIA will not seek to hold any current or former agency officials, including ex-director George J. Tenet, responsible for failures leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, CIA Director Porter J. Goss said yesterday, despite a recommendation by the agency's inspector general that he convene an "accountability board" to judge their performance.
Goss's decision, coming four years after hijackers commandeered four jets and killed nearly 3,000 people, appeared to end the possibility that a high-level official will be held responsible for what several investigations found to be significant failures throughout the government. The inspectors general of the departments of State, Justice and Defense completed their own investigations without publicized disciplinary actions taken against anyone.
The CIA's report, which severely criticized actions of senior officers, will remain classified, Goss said in his announcement, which was welcomed by some former officials mentioned in the document but assailed by families of victims of the attacks.
Goss said in his statement that the voluminous report by CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson "unveiled no mysteries," and that making it public would only bring harm to the agency when it is trying to rebuild. Goss said the report in no way suggests "that any one person or group of people could have prevented 9/11."
"Of the officers named in this report," he said, "about half have retired from the Agency, and those who are still with us are amongst the finest we have."
Goss had supported an internal CIA review in December 2002, while he was chairman of the House intelligence committee. The CIA report, which was mostly completed in February, is the last known government inquiry on the counterterrorism failures ahead of the attacks and has been the most secretive.
It also had the potential to pit Goss against his own agency. Convening a review board could have embarrassed his predecessors and renewed questions over President Bush's decision to award Tenet the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"I think it is utterly reprehensible for Director Goss to be hinting towards not holding anyone accountable, particularly since he was in an oversight capacity as house chairman and is now in a position to atone for his own failures," said Kristin Breitweiser, whose husband, Ron, was killed at the World Trade Center. "He is either avoiding embarrassment or trying to hide something."
More than a dozen intelligence officials, including Tenet; his former director of operations, James L. Pavitt; and J. Cofer Black, former head of the counterterrorism center, are faulted in the CIA report, said officials who have read the classified findings. Tenet vigorously disputed the findings, arguing that he and his officers had done more than anyone else in the intelligence community to warn about al Qaeda.
The report also names some current undercover operatives working in the counterterrorism center. Officials had said exposing them to public criticism would harm their work and the agency during a time of war.
Tenet had no comment yesterday. Pavitt said he was relieved. "He did what was right for the institution and its people, and for their work," Pavitt said of Goss.
Goss's former congressional colleagues, who have urged that the report be declassified, reacted coolly to his decision to forgo accountability reviews. They said Goss and John D. Negroponte, the director of national intelligence, will be summoned to appear before the Senate intelligence committee to answer questions this month.
"I am concerned to learn of the Director's decision to forego this step in the process," Sen. Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.) said in a statement. "However, I spoke with Director Goss and Negroponte earlier today and they both strongly believe that this is the correct course of action."
The CIA's internal report was done in response to a recommendation of the House-Senate committee that looked into the attacks. The committee called on the CIA's inspector general to conduct an investigation "to determine whether and to what extent personnel at all levels should be held accountable for any omission, commission or failure to meet professional standards" to prevent or disrupt the attacks.
Based on those findings, the CIA director was to "take appropriate disciplinary and other action," with the result to be passed on to the president and to the House and Senate intelligence committees.
But Goss declined. He noted that before Sept. 11, when he was chairman of the House intelligence panel, the CIA suffered from cutbacks and reduced budgets. "Stars" were singled out and asked "to take on some tough assignments," he said. "Unfortunately, time and resources were not on their side, despite their best efforts to meet unprecedented challenges."
"Risk is a critical part of the intelligence business. Singling out these individuals would send the wrong message to our junior officers about taking risks -- whether it be an operation in the field or being assigned to a hot topic at headquarters," he said.
Citing classified information about intelligence sources and methods, Goss said the report should not be made public.
Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence panel, said she will work to get some elements declassified and said Goss has a responsibility to "persuade the public that he has dealt fairly with his agency's past mistakes."
Richard Clarke on CIA regardig 9/11
George Tenet before 9/11 commission
CIA's Operation Mockingbird 2001
Valerie Plame testifies in CIA leak hearings
Valerie E. Wilson (born Valerie Elise Plame 19 April 1963, in Anchorage, Alaska), who has publicly used the surname "Wilson" since her marriage to former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in 1998, is a former United States CIA officer, whose classified covert identity was "Valerie Plame." As a public speaker, Mrs. Wilson uses the name "Valerie Plame Wilson."
Wilson held non-official cover (NOC) status at the time that Robert Novak identified her publicly as "an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction" named "Valerie Plame" in his syndicated American newspaper column of 14 July 2003, in response to her husband's Op-Ed "What I Didn't Find in Africa" criticizing the George W. Bush administration, which had been published in the New York Times the previous week (July 6, 2003). Novak's public disclosure of Plame led to the CIA leak grand jury investigation, resulting in the indictment and successful prosecution of Lewis Libby in United States v. Libby for perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal investigators, in the Wilsons' civil suit against current and former government officials, and in continuing related controversy.
Valerie Plame testifies how she felt about her outing
Key Players in the Plame Affair
A July 14, 2003, newspaper column by Robert D. Novak sparked a two-year investigation into whether White House officials illegally leaked the identity of a covert CIA operative in retaliation for public criticisms made by the operative's husband about the Bush administration's case for invading Iraq.
In the column, which focused on whether false information was used by the White House to justify the war in Iraq, Novak disclosed the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA "operative on weapons of mass destruction." The implication was that ex-diplomat Joseph C. Wilson was hand-picked by the CIA to investigate rumors that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium in the African nation of Niger at the recommendation of his wife, Plame. Administration officials allegedly were trying to discredit Wilson, who had written a July 6, 2003, piece in the New York Times saying he had found no evidence to support the Niger connection, a piece that called into question the famous "16 words" from the president's State of the Union address: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald began an inquiry in December 2003 into whether the exposure of Plame's status was a violation of federal law. He has since discussed the matter with President Bush and Vice President Cheney and questioned more than two dozen other people, including senior Bush adviser Karl Rove; John Hannah, Cheney's deputy national security adviser; and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's chief of staff. White House chief of staff Andy Card; spokesman Scott McClellan; senior adviser Dan Bartlett; former communications aide Adam Levine and former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer also were questioned.
New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Matt Cooper of Time magazine testified before the grand jury about their roles in the Plame affair. Miller spent 85 days in jail before agreeing to reveal her sources. NBC's Tim Russert, and The Post's Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler were all questioned by Fitzgerald's investigators as well.
At issue is section 421 of the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it illegal to intentionally disclose any information identifying a covert officer "to any individual not authorized to receive classified information." Fitzgerald is looking into whether the disclosure of Plame's CIA role was in fact a violation of the law, whether there were violations of other laws and whether any officials may have given false statements to the grand jury or investigators, thereby hindering the initial probe.
Valerie Plame - The CIA officer was unmasked in July 2003 by columnist Robert D. Novak after her husband, Joseph Wilson, criticized President Bush for stating that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein bought nuclear weapons-grade uranium in the African nation of Niger. The revelation set off an investigation into whether White House officials broke a 1982 law prohibiting the disclosure of the identities of covert CIA officers when they revealed Plame's status to Novak and other reporters.
Joseph C. Wilson IV - In February 2002 the ex-diplomat was asked by the CIA and other agencies to investigate claims that Iraq had attempted to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger. Wilson, a former ambassador, said he found the claims to be false and that his reports to administration officials reflected that finding.
In a July 6, 2003, opinion piece for the New York Times the ex-diplomat criticized President Bush for stating in his January 2003 State of the Union address that Iraq was seeking to buy nuclear material in Niger. Wilson wrote, "If my information was deemed inaccurate, I understand. If the information was ignored because it did not fit certain preconceptions about Iraq, then a legitimate argument can be made that we went to war under false pretenses."
Days later Novak's column identified Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA "operative on weapons of mass destruction." Wilson charged that the move was an attempt at intimidation by the Bush administration in retaliation for his criticism.
In his memoir, "The Politics of Truth," Wilson wrote that his wife "would never be able to regain the anonymity and secrecy that her professional life had required; she would not be able to return to her discreet work on some of the most sensitive threats to our society in the foreseeable future, and perhaps ever."
Robert D. Novak - Columnist. In July 2003 Novak wrote a column about Joseph Wilson's claim (written eight days earlier in the New York Times) that reports of Iraqi attempts to procure uranium from Niger were false. Novak identified Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, by name as a CIA operative and noted that "two senior administration officials told [him] that Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate" possible Iraqi involvement. In addition to Novak, six other journalists are reported to have known Plame's identity before the Novak column was published, including Judith Miller.
Novak's career as a reporter and columnist dates back to the 1950s. He writes a regular, syndicated column for the Chicago Sun-Times and is well-known as a conservative television personality, appearing regularly on programs like CNN's "Capital Gang" and "Crossfire." (For further details: "Inquiry as Exacting As Special Counsel Is," The Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2005)
Karl Rove - Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the President. A top adviser to President Bush, Karl Rove has testified four times before the grand jury charged with investigating the Plame affair. Rove is a long-time political adviser to Bush who helped shape the administration's case to the American public for the Iraq war. In testimony to the grand jury investigating the Plame leak, Rove said I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby may have been his source on Plame's CIA status. (For further details: "Rove Told Jury Libby May Have Been His Source In Leak Case," The Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2005)
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's top aide, said he discussed Valerie Plame with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, but did not mention her covert status. Libby testified twice before the grand jury and sent a letter to Miller on Sept. 15, 2005, in which he urged her to comply with the special prosecutor's request to testify about her sources and noted that he had released her from any confidentiality agreement in January 2004. Libby reportedly testified that he learned Wilson's wife was in the CIA from NBC correspondent Tim Russert. Russert has denied providing the information to Libby. (For further details: "In the Spotlight And on the Spot," The Washington Post, Oct. 23, 2005)
Judith Miller - Reporter, New York Times. Jailed for 85 days after refusing to testify about her source before the grand jury, New York Times reporter Judith Miller never wrote about Valerie Plame's role as a CIA operative. She eventually testified that Libby talked to her about Plame on three separate occasions before the Novak column publicly identified Plame as a covert CIA operative. In the days since her release Miller has said that she initially refused to testify because she believed Libby did not want her to cooperate in the CIA leak investigation unless her account would clear him. (For further details: "Reporter Says Libby Told Her About CIA Operative," The Washington Post, Oct. 16, 2005)
Matthew Cooper - Reporter, Time Magazine. Along with Judith Miller, Cooper was initially held in contempt of court and threatened with imprisonment for refusing to disclose his sources to the grand jury investigation. Unlike Miller, Cooper wrote a story for his magazine based, in part, on his confidential sources.
On July 6, 2005, Cooper agreed to comply with the court order compelling him to testify. Cooper told the judge he received a last-minute call from his confidential sources freeing him from his confidentiality agreements. Karl Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, later confirmed the senior Bush adviser as Cooper's source.
( - AP)
Vice President Richard Cheney - Administration officials say Joseph Wilson's Niger trip was triggered by questions from Cheney about a Defense Intelligence Agency report. A former aide told The Washington Post it was "implausible" that Cheney was involved in the leaking of Plame's name. The vice president led the White House effort to build the case that Iraq was an imminent threat because it possessed weapons of mass destruction.
John Hannah - Deputy National Security Adviser, Office of the Vice President. Hannah is one of at least five people in Cheney's office to be interviewed by federal prosecutors, but it is unclear whether he had any role in unmasking Plame's identity. Joseph Wilson pointed to Hannah as a possible source in his book "The Politics of Truth." It is believed that Hannah worked with vice-presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby on the issue of weapons of mass destruction as part of an informal team known as the "White House Iraq Group." According to The Post, Hannah has told friends in recent months he is worried he may be implicated by the investigation.
Hannah is on loan to the vice president's office from the State Department, where he worked with then-undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs John Bolton.
Ari Fleischer - Former White House Press Secretary (January 2001 to July 2003). Fleischer has been suggested as a possible second source in the leak of Plame's identity. It has been reported that, in his testimony before the grand jury, Fleischer denied having seen a State Department memo circulating on Air Force One on July 7, 2003, that named Plame in connection to Wilson's mission and identified her as a covert CIA operative. However a former Bush administration official also on the plane testified to having seen Fleischer perusing the document. Robert Novak made a call to Fleischer on that same day; it is unclear whether Fleischer returned Novak's call.
Fleischer became President Bush's press secretary after serving in a similar role with Elizabeth Dole's unsuccessful 2000 presidential campaign. He became known for an often-combative style with reporters in the press briefing room but is held in high regard by supporters of the president.
Scott McClellan - White House Press Secretary. McClellan has been interviewed by the FBI several times in relation to the ongoing investigation, but it is not believed that he had a direct role in the original leak. McClellan has been under fire from reporters for refusing to comment on the Plame investigation after initially issuing a strong defense of administration officials thought to be involved.
McClellan was formerly deputy communications director and took on his current role when Ari Fleischer left in July 2003. (For further details: "Bush Aides Testify in Leak Probe," The Washington Post, Feb. 24, 2004)
( - AP)
Patrick J. Fitzgerald - Prosecutor, Office of Special Counsel. Fitzgerald, a political independent, was appointed as special prosecutor to investigate the CIA leak on Dec. 31, 2003. Since 2001 he has been U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, which includes Chicago. As an assistant U.S. attorney in New York, where he participated in the prosecution of terrorism cases coming from the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center and the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Fitzgerald was the first lawyer to build a criminal indictment against Osama bin Laden. (For further details: "Inquiry as Exacting As Special Counsel Is," The Washington Post, Oct. 24, 2005)
Additional Figures Interviewed by the Special Prosecutor
# President George W. Bush, ("Bush Interviewed About CIA Leak," The Washington Post, June 25, 2004)
# Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State and former national security advisor
# Mary Matalin, former political strategist, Office of the Vice President
# Catherine Martin, former communications director, Office of the Vice President
# Jennifer Millerwise, former spokesperson, Office of the Vice President
# Dan Bartlett, White House communications director
# Claire Buchan, deputy press secretary
# Adam Levine, former assistant press secretary
# Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State
# Carl W. Ford Jr., former director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
# George Tenet, former Director of Central Intelligence, ("Prosecutor In CIA Leak Case Casting A Wide Net," The Washington Post, July 27, 2005)
# John E. McLaughlin, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
# John Harlow, former spokesperson, Central Intelligence Agency
# Tim Russert, reporter and host, "Meet the Press," NBC News
# Walter Pincus, Washington Post reporter
# Glenn Kessler, Washington Post reporter ("Post State Dept. Reporter Questioned in Leak Probe," The Washington Post, June 23, 2004)
# Unnamed person, individual approached Robert Novak on Pennsylvania Ave. on July 8, 2003
VALERIE PLAME COURTWALK WHITE HOUSE CHIEFS
Love on the Job, CIA Style
Female CIA Officers Say They Faced Retaliation for Love Affairs Abroad
They work in the shadows, trade in secrets and travel the world's capitals. They are the women of the CIA.
The exact number of America's women spies and analysts is classified information, though estimates top 1,000. Now a handful of them are accusing the CIA of gender discrimination, saying the agency unfairly faulted them for falling in love with foreign men.
Popular figures like James Bond often intertwine their spy life with love life, but in real life, CIA officers are barred from having any unauthorized contact with foreign nationals. The woman involved in the case against the CIA, filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says the agency applied a double standard by imposing tougher consequences on women than on men.
Lora Griffith, an operative for roughly 20 years, filed the EEOC complaint. She cannot say exactly what she did for the CIA — her work was classified — but she hinted that her job included cloak-and-dagger tactics in dangerous places and at the height of the Cold War.
"The Soviet Union was leaving Afghanistan, so that was a big issue in the world at the time," Griffith told ABC News.
But in the midst of her work, Griffith crossed a line: Her professional relationship with a foreign counterpart turned personal.
"We had a close relationship. … When I felt that I had feelings for the person, I suggested that the case be turned over to another officer," said Griffith.
It was that romance, she says, that cost her her job. The CIA, on the other hand, says that Griffith was not truthful and that she disclosed classified information without authority, claims she has denied.
Tip of the Iceberg?
Griffith is the only woman to file a formal complaint so far, but other women formerly with the CIA tell similar stories of a double standard. They have hired lawyers and hope to join the complaint.
All of the women say they lost their security clearance because of their romantic relationships, making it impossible for them to continue doing their jobs. In some cases they were simply terminated.
Sheila, a CIA officer who spoke to ABC News on the condition that an alias be used, fell in love on the job but says she followed all the agency's rules. She reported every aspect of her relationship with a foreigner from one of America's close ally countries, from her first date to her first overnight stay.
When she asked the CIA for permission to marry her foreign paramour, however, Sheila says the agency said no.
"They told me that I had to make a choice between marrying my husband and working there, so I chose my husband," Sheila said. She is now looking to join Griffith's discrimination complaint against the CIA.
The women are not arguing agency policy, but claim it is unequally enforced. They say that when gender roles were reversed — when male CIA agents were dating or marrying foreign women without authorization — there were few, if any consequences.
The EEOC complaint lists several different examples of men having unauthorized relationships, including one male officer who was allegedly promoted despite having a foreign girlfriend while working in a dangerous Middle Eastern county.
"There's a definite cultural bias. … Men pretty much have carte blanche," Griffith said.
For that alleged gender discrimination, the complaint seeks damages that include compensation for lost salary and $300,000 for pain, suffering, stress, anxiety and humiliation. It also requests the CIA strike all derogatory, inaccurate and falsely prejudicial material from the women's personnel files and agency records.
In its statement to ABC News, the agency said that "the CIA's code of conduct applies equally to all our officers, regardless of gender."
"For obvious reasons, we expect all employees to report relationships with foreign nationals, and to do so promptly, fully and honestly. If you're disingenuous about it, if you're in a relationship that has counterintelligence implications or you continue a relationship after being told to end it, you're apt to have trouble," the CIA's statement said.
"The agency has an established, professional process, which includes women and men, to review and evaluate these kinds of issues."
Tough Road Ahead for Discrimination Case
The women involved in the complaint could have a tough time winning their case, says one former CIA lawyer. The agency argues in legal documents that revoking security clearances is a matter of national security and lies beyond any court's jurisdiction.
"At the CIA, the balance always tilts toward the national security [and] away from the personal preferences of applicants and employees," according to John Radsan, a law professor and one-time assistant general counsel for the CIA.
"That makes it difficult for employees to get redress for even legitimate grievances," Radsan said.
The women who spoke to ABC News all said they had served in the CIA out of a profound dedication to their country.
"9/11 was a real personal thing, and I had a background in Middle East languages. … I really went to work for the agency to serve my nation," Sheila said.
Amy, a career CIA analyst who lost her security clearance because of a relationship, hopes to join the discrimination complaint. Speaking to ABC News under an alias, she described her passion for the profession.
"I never for a moment felt that what I was doing was not important," Amy said.
That personal commitment made leaving the CIA all the more painful.
"I lost my career. I lost my job satisfaction. I lost the value that I could contribute to our nation."
The life and times of the CIA
The American people may not know it, but they have some severe problems with one of their official governmental entities, the Central Intelligence Agency. Because of the almost total secrecy surrounding its activities and the lack of cost accounting on how it spends the money covertly appropriated for it within the defense budget, it is impossible for citizens to know what the CIA's approximately 17,000 employees do with, or for, their share of the yearly US$44 billion to $48 billion or more spent on "intelligence". This inability to account for anything at the CIA is, however, only one problem with the agency, and hardly the most serious one, either.
There are currently at least two criminal trials under way, in Italy and Germany, against several dozen CIA officials for felonies committed in those countries, including kidnapping people with a legal right to be in Germany and Italy, illegally transporting them to countries such as Egypt and Jordan for torture, and causing them to "disappear" into secret foreign or CIA-run prisons outside the United States without any form of due process of law.
The possibility that CIA funds are simply being ripped off by insiders is also acute. The CIA's former No 3 official, its executive director and chief procurement officer, Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, is under federal indictment in San Diego for corruptly funneling contracts for water, air services, and armored vehicles to a lifelong friend and defense contractor, Brent Wilkes, who was unqualified to perform the services being sought. In return, Wilkes allegedly treated Foggo to thousands of dollars' worth of vacation trips and dinners, and promised him a top job at his company when he retired from the CIA.
Thirty years ago, in a futile attempt to provide some check on endemic misbehavior by the CIA, the administration of Gerald Ford created the President's Intelligence Oversight Board. It was to be a civilian watchdog over the agency. A 1981 executive order by president Ronald Reagan made the board permanent and gave it the mission of identifying CIA violations of the law (while keeping them secret so as not to endanger national security). Through five subsequent administrations, members of the board - all civilians not employed by the government - actively reported on and investigated some of the CIA's most secret operations that seemed to breach legal limits.
However, on July 15, 2007, John Solomon of the Washington Post reported that, for the first five and a half years of the administration of President George W Bush, the Intelligence Oversight Board did nothing - no investigations, no reports, no questioning of CIA officials. It evidently found no reason to inquire into the interrogation methods agency operatives employed at secret prisons or the transfer of captives to countries that use torture, or domestic wiretapping not warranted by a federal court.
Who were the members of this non-oversight board of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil monkeys? The board now in place is led by former Bush economic adviser Stephen Friedman. It includes Don Evans, a former commerce secretary and friend of the president, former Admiral David Jeremiah, and lawyer Arthur B Culvahouse. The only thing they accomplished was to express their contempt for a legal order by a president of the United States.
Corrupt and undemocratic practices by the CIA have prevailed since it was created in 1947. However, US citizens have now, for the first time, been given a striking range of critical information necessary to understand how this situation came about and why it has been impossible to remedy. We have a long, richly documented history of the CIA from its post-World War II origins to its failure to supply even the most elementary information about Iraq before the 2003 invasion of that country.
Declassified CIA records
Tim Weiner's book Legacy of Ashes is important for many reasons, but certainly one is that it brings back from the dead the possibility that journalism can actually help citizens perform elementary oversight on the US government.
Until Weiner's magnificent effort, I would have agreed with Seymour Hersh that, in the current crisis of US governance and foreign policy, the failure of the press has been almost complete. American journalists have generally not even tried to penetrate the layers of secrecy that the executive branch throws up to ward off scrutiny of its often illegal and incompetent activities. This is the first book I've read in a long time that documents its very important assertions in a way that goes well beyond asking readers merely to trust the reporter.
Weiner, a New York Times correspondent, has been working on Legacy of Ashes for 20 years. He has read more than 50,000 government documents, mostly from the CIA, the White House and the State Department. He was instrumental in causing the CIA Records Search Technology (CREST) program of the National Archives to declassify many of them, particularly in 2005 and 2006. He has read more than 2,000 oral histories of American intelligence officers, soldiers and diplomats and has himself conducted more than 300 on-the-record interviews with current and past CIA officers, including 10 former directors of central intelligence. Truly exceptional among authors of books on the CIA, he makes the following claim: "This book is on the record - no anonymous sources, no blind quotations, no hearsay."
Weiner's history contains 154 pages of endnotes keyed to comments in the text. (Numbered notes and standard scholarly citations would have been preferable, as well as an annotated bibliography providing information on where documents could be found; but what he has done is still light-years ahead of competing works.) These notes contain extensive verbatim quotations from documents, interviews and oral histories. Weiner also observes: "The CIA has reneged on pledges made by three consecutive directors of central intelligence - [Robert] Gates, [James] Woolsey, and [John] Deutch - to declassify records on nine major covert actions: France and Italy in the 1940s and 1950s; North Korea in the 1950s; Iran in 1953; Indonesia in 1958; Tibet in the 1950s and 1960s; and the Congo, the Dominican Republic, and Laos in the 1960s." He is nonetheless able to supply key details on each of these operations from unofficial, but fully identified, sources.
In May 2003, after a lengthy delay, the government finally released the documents on president Dwight D Eisenhower's engineered regime change in Guatemala in 1954; most of the records from the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco in which a CIA-created exile army of Cubans went to their deaths or to prison in a hapless invasion of that island have been released; and the reports on the CIA's 1953 overthrow of Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq were leaked. Weiner's efforts and his resulting book are monuments to serious historical research in America's allegedly "open society". Still, he warns,
While I was gathering and obtaining declassification authorization for some of the CIA records used in this book at the National Archives, the agency [the CIA] was engaged in a secret effort to reclassify many of those same records, dating back to the 1940s, flouting the law and breaking its word. Nevertheless, the work of historians, archivists, and journalists has created a foundation of documents on which a book can be built.
As an idea, if not an actual entity, the Central Intelligence Agency came into being as a result of December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It functionally came to an end, as Weiner makes clear, on September 11, 2001, when operatives of al-Qaeda flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center towers in Manhattan and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Both assaults were successful surprise attacks.
The Central Intelligence Agency itself was created during the administration of Harry Truman to prevent future surprise attacks like that on Pearl Harbor by uncovering planning for them and so forewarning against them. On September 11, 2001, the CIA was revealed to be a failure precisely because it had been unable to discover the al-Qaeda plot and sound the alarm against a surprise
attack that would prove almost as devastating as Pearl Harbor. After September 11, the agency, having largely discredited itself, went into a steep decline and finished the job. Weiner concludes: "Under [CIA director George Tenet's] leadership, the agency produced the worst body of work in its long history: a special National Intelligence Estimate titled 'Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction'." It is axiomatic that, as political leaders lose faith in an intelligence agency and quit listening to it, its functional life is over, even if the people working there continue to report to their offices.
In December 1941, there was sufficient intelligence on Japanese activities for the US to have been much better prepared for a surprise attack. Naval Intelligence had cracked Japanese diplomatic and military codes; radar stations and patrol flights had been authorized (but not fully deployed); and strategic knowledge of Japanese past behaviors and capabilities (if not of intentions) was adequate. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had even observed the Japanese consul general in Honolulu, Hawaii, burning records in his back yard but reported this information only to director J Edgar Hoover, who did not pass it on.
Lacking was a central office to collate, analyze, and put in suitable form for presentation to the president all US government information on an important issue. In 1941, there were plenty of signals about what was coming, but the US government lacked the organization and expertise to distinguish true signals from the background "noise" of day-to-day communications. In the 1950s, Roberta Wohlstetter, a strategist for the US Air Force's think-tank, the Rand Corporation, wrote a secret study that documented the coordination and communications failings leading up to Pearl Harbor. (Titled Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, it was declassified and published by Stanford University Press in 1962.)
The legacy of the OSS
The National Security Act of 1947 created the Central Intelligence Agency with emphasis on the word "central" in its title. The agency was supposed to become the unifying organization that would distill and write up all available intelligence, and offer it to political leaders in a manageable form.
The act gave the CIA five functions, four of them dealing with the collection, coordination, and dissemination of intelligence from open sources as well as espionage. It was the fifth function - lodged in a vaguely worded passage that allowed the CIA to "perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct" - that turned the CIA into the personal, secret, unaccountable army of the president.
From the very beginning, the agency failed to do what president Truman expected of it, turning at once to "cloak and dagger" projects that were clearly beyond its mandate and only imperfectly integrated into any grand strategy of the US government. Weiner stresses that the true author of the CIA's clandestine functions was George Kennan, the senior State Department authority on the Soviet Union and creator of the idea of "containing" the spread of communism rather than going to war with ("rolling back") the USSR.
Kennan had been alarmed by the ease with which the Soviets were setting up satellites in Eastern Europe and he wanted to "fight fire with fire". Others joined with him to promote this agenda, above all the veterans of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), a unit that, under General William J "Wild Bill" Donovan during World War II, had sent saboteurs behind enemy lines, disseminated disinformation and propaganda to mislead Axis forces, and tried to recruit resistance fighters in occupied countries.
On September 20, 1945, Truman had abolished the OSS - a bureaucratic victory for the Pentagon, the State Department, and the FBI, all of which considered the OSS an upstart organization that impinged on their respective jurisdictions. Many of the early leaders of the CIA were OSS veterans and devoted themselves to consolidating and entrenching their new vehicle for influence in Washington. They also passionately believed that they were people with a self-appointed mission of world-shaking importance and that, as a result, they were beyond the normal legal restraints placed on government officials.
From its inception the CIA has labored under two contradictory conceptions of what it was supposed to be doing, and no president ever succeeded in correcting or resolving this situation. Espionage and intelligence analysis seek to know the world as it is; covert action seeks to change the world, whether it understands it or not. The best CIA exemplar of the intelligence-collecting function was Richard Helms, director of central intelligence (DCI) from 1966 to 1973 (who died in 2002). The great protagonist of cloak-and-dagger work was Frank Wisner, the CIA's director of operations from 1948 until the late 1950s when he went insane and, in 1965, committed suicide. Wisner never had any patience for espionage.
Weiner quotes William Colby, a future DCI (1973-76), on this subject. The separation of the scholars of the research and analysis division from the spies of the clandestine service created two cultures within the intelligence profession, he said, "separate, unequal, and contemptuous of each other". That critique remained true throughout the CIA's first 60 years.
By 1964, the CIA's clandestine service was consuming close to two-thirds of its budget and 90% of the director's time. The agency gathered under one roof Wall Street brokers, Ivy League professors, soldiers of fortune, ad men, newsmen, stuntmen, second-story men, and con men. They never learned to work together - the ultimate result being a series of failures in both intelligence and covert operations. In January 1961, on leaving office after two terms, president Eisenhower had already grasped the situation fully. "Nothing has changed since Pearl Harbor," he told his DCI, Allen Dulles. "I leave a legacy of ashes to my successor." Weiner, of course, draws his title from Eisenhower's metaphor. It would only get worse in the years to come.
The historical record is unequivocal. The United States is ham-handed and brutal in conceiving and executing clandestine operations, and it is simply no good at espionage; its operatives never have enough linguistic and cultural knowledge of target countries to recruit spies effectively. The CIA also appears to be one of the most easily penetrated espionage organizations on the planet. From the beginning, it repeatedly lost its assets to double agents.
Typically, in the early 1950s, the agency dropped millions of dollars' worth of gold bars, arms, two-way radios and agents into Poland to support what its top officials believed was a powerful Polish underground movement against the Soviets. In fact, Soviet agents had wiped out the movement years before, turned key people in it into double agents, and played the CIA for suckers. As Weiner comments, not only had five years of planning, various agents, and millions of dollars "gone down the drain", but the "unkindest cut might have been [the agency's] discovery that the Poles had sent a chunk of the CIA's money to the Communist Party of Italy" (pp 67-68).
The story would prove unending. On February 21, 1994, the agency finally discovered and arrested Aldrich Ames, the CIA's chief of counterintelligence for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, who had been spying for the USSR for seven years and
had sent innumerable US agents before KGB firing squads. Weiner comments, "The Ames case revealed an institutional carelessness that bordered on criminal negligence" (p 451).
The search for technological means
Over the years, to compensate for these serious inadequacies, the CIA turned increasingly to signals intelligence and other technological means of spying, such as U-2 reconnaissance aircraft and satellites. In 1952, the top leaders of the CIA created
the National Security Agency - an eavesdropping and cryptological unit - to overcome the CIA's abject failure to place any spies in North Korea during the Korean War. The CIA debacle at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba led a frustrated Pentagon to create its own Defense Intelligence Agency as a check on the military amateurism of the CIA's clandestine service officers.
Still, technological means, whether satellite spying or electronic eavesdropping, will seldom reveal intentions - and that is the raison d'etre of intelligence estimates. Haviland Smith, who ran operations against the USSR in the 1960s and 1970s, lamented, "The only thing missing is - we don't have anything on Soviet intentions. And I don't know how you get that. And that's the charter of the clandestine service" (emphasis in original, pp 360-61).
The actual intelligence collected was just as problematic. On the most important annual intelligence estimate throughout the Cold War - that of the Soviet order of battle - the CIA invariably overstated its size and menace. Then, to add insult to injury, under George H W Bush's tenure as DCI (1976-77), the agency tore itself apart over ill-informed right-wing claims that it was actually underestimating Soviet military forces. The result was the appointment of "Team B" during the Ford presidency, led by Polish exiles and neo-conservative fanatics. It was tasked to "correct" the work of the Office of National Estimates.
"After the Cold War was over," writes Weiner, "the agency put Team B's findings to the test. Every one of them was wrong" (p 352). But the problem was not simply one of the CIA succumbing to political pressure. It was also structural: "For 13 years, from [president Richard] Nixon's era to the dying days of the Cold War, every estimate of Soviet strategic nuclear forces overstated [emphasis in original] the rate at which Moscow was modernizing its weaponry" (p 297).
From 1967 to 1973, I served as an outside consultant to the Office of National Estimates, one of about a dozen specialists brought in to try to overcome the myopia and bureaucratism involved in the writing of these National Intelligence Estimates. I recall agonized debates over how the mechanical highlighting of worst-case analyses of Soviet weapons was helping to promote the arms race. Some senior intelligence analysts tried to resist the pressures of the US Air Force and the military-industrial complex. Nonetheless, the late John Huizenga, an erudite intelligence analyst who headed the Office of National Estimates from 1971 until the wholesale purge of the agency by DCI James Schlesinger in 1973, bluntly said to the CIA's historians:
In retrospect ... I really do not believe that an intelligence organization in this government is able to deliver an honest analytical product without facing the risk of political contention ... I think that intelligence has had relatively little impact on the policies that we've made over the years. Relatively none ... Ideally, what had been supposed was that ... serious intelligence analysis could ... assist the policy side to re-examine premises, render policymaking more sophisticated, closer to the reality of the world. Those were the large ambitions which I think were never realized. (p 353)
On the clandestine side, the human costs were much higher. The CIA's incessant, almost always misguided attempts to determine how other people should govern themselves; its secret support for fascists (eg, Greece under George Papadopoulos), militarists (eg, Chile under General Augusto Pinochet) and murderers (eg, the Congo under Joseph Mobutu); its uncritical support of death squads (El Salvador) and religious fanatics (Muslim fundamentalists in Afghanistan) - all these and more activities combined to pepper the world with blowback movements against the United States.
Nothing has done more to undercut the reputation of the United States than the CIA's "clandestine" (only in terms of the American people) murders of the presidents of South Vietnam and the Congo, its ravishing of the governments of Iran, Indonesia (three times), South Korea (twice), all of the Indochinese states, virtually every government in Latin America, and Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. The deaths from these armed assaults run into the millions. After September 11, President Bush asked, "Why do they hate us?" From Iran (1953) to Iraq (2003), the better question would be, "Who does not?"
The cash nexus
There is a major exception to this portrait of long-term agency incompetence. "One weapon the CIA used with surpassing skill," Weiner writes, "was cold cash. The agency excelled at buying the services of foreign politicians" (p 116). It started with the Italian elections of April 1948. The CIA did not yet have a secure source of clandestine money and had to raise it secretly from Wall Street operators, rich Italian-Americans, and others.
The millions were delivered to Italian politicians and the priests of Catholic Action, a political arm of the Vatican. Suitcases filed with cash changed hands in the four-star Hassler Hotel ... Italy's Christian Democrats won by a comfortable margin and formed a government that excluded communists. A long romance between the [Christian Democratic] party and the agency began. The CIA's practice of purchasing elections and politicians with bags of cash was repeated in Italy - and in many other countries - for the next 25 years. (p 27)
The CIA ultimately spent at least $65 million on Italy's politicians - including "every Christian Democrat who ever won a national election in Italy" (p 298). As the Marshall Plan to reconstruct Europe got up to speed in the late 1940s, the CIA secretly skimmed the money it needed from Marshall Plan accounts. After the plan ended, secret funds buried in the annual defense appropriation bill continued to finance the CIA's operations.
After Italy, the CIA moved on to Japan, paying to bring Nobusuke Kishi, the country's World War II minister of munitions, to power as prime minister (in office 1957-60). It ultimately used its financial muscle to entrench the (conservative) Liberal Democratic Party in power and to turn Japan into a single-party state, which it remains to this day. The cynicism with which the CIA continued to subsidize "democratic" elections in Western Europe, Latin America and East Asia, starting in the late 1950s, led to disillusionment with the United States and a distinct blunting of the idealism with which it had waged the early Cold War.
Another major use for its money was a campaign to bankroll alternatives in Western Europe to Soviet-influenced newspapers and books. Attempting to influence the attitudes of students and intellectuals, the CIA sponsored literary magazines in Germany (Der Monat) and Britain (Encounter), promoted abstract expressionism in art as a radical alternative to the Soviet Union's socialist realism, and secretly funded the publication and distribution of more than two and a half million books and periodicals. Weiner treats these activities rather cursorily. He
should have consulted Frances Stonor Saunders' indispensable The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters.
Despite all this, the CIA was protected from criticism by its impenetrable secrecy and by the tireless propaganda efforts of such leaders as Allen W Dulles, director of the agency under Eisenhower, and Richard Bissell, chief of the clandestine service after Wisner. Even when the CIA seemed to fail at everything it undertook, writes Weiner, "The ability to represent failure as success was becoming a CIA tradition"
After the Chinese intervention in the Korean War, the CIA dropped 212 foreign agents into Manchuria. Within a matter of days, 101 had been killed and the other 111 captured - but this information was effectively suppressed. The CIA's station chief in Seoul, Albert R Haney, an incompetent army colonel and intelligence fabricator, never suspected that the hundreds of agents he claimed to have working for him all reported to North Korean control officers.
Haney survived his incredible performance in the Korean War because, at the end of his tour in November 1952, he helped to arrange for the transportation of a grievously wounded marine lieutenant back to the United States. That marine turned out to be the son of Allen Dulles, who repaid his debt of gratitude by putting Haney in charge of the covert operation that - despite a largely bungled, badly directed secret campaign - did succeed in overthrowing the Guatemalan government of president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954. The CIA's handiwork in Guatemala ultimately led to the deaths of 200,000 civilians during the 40 years of bloodshed and civil war that followed the sabotage of an elected government for the sake of the United Fruit Co.
Weiner has made innumerable contributions to many hidden issues of postwar foreign policy, some of them still ongoing. For example, during the debate over America's invasion of Iraq after 2003, one of the constant laments was that the CIA did not have access to a single agent inside Saddam Hussein's inner circle. That was not true. Ironically, the intelligence service of France - a country US politicians publicly lambasted for its failure to support the United States - had cultivated Naji Sabri, Iraq's foreign minister. Sabri told the French agency, and through it the US government, that Saddam Hussein did not have an active nuclear or biological weapons program, but the CIA ignored him. Weiner comments ruefully, "The CIA had almost no ability to analyze accurately what little intelligence it had" (pp 666-67, n 487).
Perhaps the most comical of all CIA clandestine activities - unfortunately all too typical of its covert operations over the past 60 years - was the spying it did in 1994 on the newly appointed US ambassador to Guatemala, Marilyn McAfee, who sought to promote policies of human rights and justice in that country. Loyal to the murderous Guatemalan intelligence service, the CIA had bugged her bedroom and picked up sounds that led their agents to conclude that the ambassador was having a lesbian love affair with her secretary, Carol Murphy. The CIA station chief "recorded her cooing endearments to Murphy". The agency spread the word in Washington that the liberal ambassador was a lesbian without realizing that "Murphy" was also the name of her two-year-old black standard poodle. The bug in her bedroom had recorded her petting her dog. She was actually a married woman from a conservative family (p 459).
Back in August 1945, General William Donovan, the head of the OSS, said to president Truman, "Prior to the present war, the United States had no foreign intelligence service. It never has had and does not now have a coordinated intelligence system." Weiner adds, "Tragically, it still does not have one." I agree with Weiner's assessment, but based on his truly exemplary analysis of the Central Intelligence Agency in Legacy of Ashes, I do not think that this is a tragedy. Given his evidence, it is hard to believe that the United States would not have been better off if it had left intelligence collection and analysis to the State Department and had assigned infrequent covert actions to the Pentagon.
I believe that this is where we stand today: the CIA has failed badly, and it would be an important step toward a restoration of the checks and balances within the US political system simply to abolish it. Some observers argue that this would be an inadequate remedy because what the government now ostentatiously calls the "intelligence community" - complete with its own website - is composed of 16 discrete and competitive intelligence organizations ready to step into the CIA's shoes. This, however, is a misunderstanding. Most of the members of the so-called intelligence community are bureaucratic appendages of well-established departments or belong to extremely technical units whose functions have nothing at all to do with either espionage or cloak-and-dagger adventures.
The 16 entities include the intelligence organizations of each military service - the air force, army, coast guard, Marine Corps, navy, and Defense Intelligence Agency - and reflect inter-service rivalries more than national needs or interests; the departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasury, and Drug Enforcement Administration, as well as the FBI and the National Security Agency; and the units devoted to satellites and reconnaissance (National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office). The only one of these units that could conceivably compete with the CIA is the one that I recommend to replace it - namely, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR). Interestingly enough, it had by far the best record of any US intelligence entity in analyzing Iraq under Saddam Hussein and estimating what was likely to happen if the US pursued the Bush administration's misconceived scheme of invading his country. Its work was, of course, largely ignored by the White House of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.
Weiner does not cover every single aspect of the record of the CIA, but his book is one of the best possible places for a serious citizen to begin to understand the depths to which the US government has sunk. It also brings home the lesson that an incompetent or unscrupulous intelligence agency can be as great a threat to national security as not having one at all.
CIA Director Says Agency Working to Infiltrate Terrorist Strongholds
Porter Goss Reiterates Agency Stance It Does Not Engage in Torture
The CIA, accused of using harsh interrogation techniques to extract intelligence from detainees, does not engage in torture, agency Director Porter Goss said today. He said agents were working to penetrate terrorist sanctuaries and had made some headway in locating the leaders of al Qaeda.
"What I wish I knew more about now was how to penetrate into some of the sanctuary areas," Goss said in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America" at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va. "They can be in harsh terrain that is hard to manage or they can be in the heart of the city, in a ghetto or slum area where people don't regularly go. Knowing how to find those places and getting to penetrate them, I think is going to be the hardest part of this business."
A perfect example of this is the search for Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Bin Laden is believed to be in the mountains of Afghanistan; al-Zarqawi, somewhere in war-ravaged Iraq.
"We know a great deal more about bin Laden, Zarqawi and [bin Laden aide Ayman] Zawahiri then we're able to say publicly," Goss said. He said the men had not been found "primarily because they don't want us to find them and they're going to great lengths to make sure we don't find them."
Goss would not discuss the agency's interrogation techniques, but steadfastly refused to call them torture.
"… I define torture probably the way most people would -- in the eye of the beholder," he said. "What we do does not come close because torture in terms of inflicting pain or something like that, physical pain or causing a disability, those kinds of things that probably would be a common definition for most Americans, sort of you know it when you see it, we don't do that because it doesn't get what you want.
"We do debriefings because debriefings are the nature of our business, is to get information," he said. "We want accurate information and we want to make sure that we have professional people doing that work, and we do all that, and we do it in a way that does not involve torture because torture is counterproductive."
Goss has been the director of the CIA for a little more than a year. A Florida congressman for 15 years, he served as an U.S. Army intelligence officer from 1960 to 1962 and a clandestine service officer with the CIA from 1962 until 1972.
Goss, 67, said he was playing a "new game," and trying to run a leaner agency with "a little less regulation and less red tape."
"We're putting people overseas in different ways than we have ever done before," he said.
Goss said that the agency was "the gold standard by any measure" in terms of human intelligence.
"We don't get it right every time," he said, "but I don't think there's anybody who could even come close."
Goss also would not address recent reports that the CIA runs secret prisons in Europe for detaining and interrogating detainees.
"We're fighting a war on terror," he said in response to a question about the prisons. "We're doing quite well. Inevitably, we're going to have to capture some terrorists and inevitably they're going to have to have some due process. It's going to be done lawfully."
CIA TORTURED A GERMAN CITIZEN - THE STORY OF KHALED EL-MASRI
German Court Seeks Arrest of 13 C.I.A. Agents
FRANKFURT, Jan. 31 — In the most serious legal challenge yet to the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret transfers of terrorism suspects, a German court has issued an arrest warrant for 13 people in connection with the mistaken kidnapping and jailing of a German citizen of Lebanese descent.
Prosecutors in Munich said the suspects, whom they did not name, were part of a C.I.A. “abduction team” that seized the man, Khaled el-Masri, in Macedonia in late 2003 and flew him to Afghanistan. He was imprisoned there for five months, and has said he was shackled, beaten, and interrogated about his alleged ties to Al Qaeda, before being released without charges.
His ordeal is the most documented case of the C.I.A.’s practice of “extraordinary rendition,” in which suspected terrorists are seized and sent for interrogation to countries where torture is practiced.
“This is a very consequential step,” August Stern, the deputy prosecutor in Munich, said in a telephone interview. “It is a necessary step before bringing a criminal case against these people.”
The Central Intelligence Agency has never acknowledged any role in Mr. Masri’s detention, and a C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment today. The German government said it would not comment on the case, except to affirm the independence of the public prosecutor.
Mr. Stern said investigators would seek to establish the true identities of the 13 people, most of whom are believed to use aliases. They include the four-member crew of the Boeing 737 that picked up Mr. Masri, a mechanic, and several other C.I.A. operatives in Macedonia, people familiar with the case said.
The issuing of an arrest warrant represents a major expansion of the legal assault on the C.I.A.’s rendition program in Europe. Italian prosecutors are seeking indictments against 25 C.I.A. operatives, as well as Italy’s former intelligence chief, for the kidnapping of a militant Egyptian cleric in 2003.
But the German case carries more weight, according to legal experts, because of the reputation of the courts here for painstaking deliberation, as well as the strong diplomatic ties between Germany and the United States.
It comes at a delicate time for both countries. The Bush administration has faced a drumbeat of criticism over its anti-terrorism policies since the Sept. 11 attacks, while the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been eager to heal rifts in the trans-Atlantic alliance over the Iraq war.
“It is unique that a German court would issue warrants against 13 C.I.A. agents,” said Hans-Christian Ströbele, a Green Party member of a German parliamentary committee which is investigating the flights.
The case also has political implications within Germany, where the role of the German government in tolerating — or even facilitating — C.I.A. flights has come under increased scrutiny. Frankfurt Airport was used for many of the flights, as was the American air base at Ramstein.
Unlike Italy, Germany does not permit trials in absentia. And as a practical matter, it is unlikely that the Bush administration would acquiesce in the extradition to Germany of the 13 people covered by the arrest warrant. Still, the indictment could hinder the defendants’ ability to move around Europe.
A German radio station, NDR, published what it said were the names of the 13 people today, listing 11 men and two women. Mr. Stern declined to discuss the names, which have been picked up in other German news media.
The whereabouts of all 13 people is unknown, though a German television program, Panorama, tracked down three of them in North Carolina last September. They declined to comment to the program on their activities.
For Mr. Masri, who has had to overcome a tide of public skepticism about his account since it was first reported in The New York Times in early 2005, the court’s action is a significant reinforcement of the credibility of his claims, according to his lawyer, Manfred Gnjidic.
“This is unbelievably important for our case,” Mr. Gnjidic said in an interview. “It’s the first direct sign of the German government against the C.I.A. that they did the wrong thing.”
Mr. Masri, who is unemployed, lives in Neu-Ulm in southern Germany. Mr. Gnjidic said he had been buoyed by a statement of support from the former German interior minister, Otto Schily.
Mr. Masri has petitioned an American federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., to reinstate a lawsuit he filed against the C.I.A. Last May, a federal judge threw out the suit, accepting the government’s contention that it would impossible to try the case without revealing state secrets.
The Justice Department has declined to help the German prosecutors in their investigation, citing pending legal cases in the United States. This has made the Germans dependent on information from other sources, including journalists investigating the C.I.A. rendition program.
Mr. Stern, the prosecutor, said that a major break came from a Spanish reporter, who compiled a list of the names of people involved Mr. Masri’s abduction from sources in the Civil Guard, a Spanish paramilitary unit. The C.I.A. used the Spanish island of Majorca as a logistics center for its flights, Mr. Gnjidic said, and authorities found the names of members of the rendition team on hotel logs there.
Mr. Stern also credited tips from prosecutors in Milan and from Dick Marty, a Swiss senator who conducted an inquiry into the rendition program on behalf of the Council of Europe.
The nature of Germany’s role in Mr. Masri’s case, and in other C.I.A. flights, remains murky. Mr. Masri has claimed that when he was imprisoned in Kabul, he was interrogated three times by a German who identified himself as Sam.
Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said he was not told of Mr. Masri’s abduction until June 2004, after Mr. Masri had been released in Albania. As chief of staff to the former chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, Mr. Steinmeier oversaw all German intelligence services.
Mr. Steinmeier is facing questions about his role in another case, involving a German-born Turkish man who was imprisoned for more than four years at the American military jail in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The man, Murat Kurnaz, was released by the United States last August after lengthy negotiations between Berlin and Washington. But internal German intelligence documents say that the Germans turned down an offer by the Americans to send Mr. Kurnaz home as early as 2002.
Mr. Steinmeier has insisted that the Americans never made an “official” offer to release Mr. Kurnaz. He has also noted that worries about security were running high in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.
German newspapers have been full of speculation recently about whether the affair will cost Mr. Steinmeier his job.
CIA discounted British concerns, say MPs
· Americans ignored caveats on intelligence
· 'Serious implications' after British residents seized
MI5 contributed to the seizure of two British residents by the CIA, which secretly flew them to Guantánamo Bay in a move with "serious implications for the intelligence relationship" between Britain and the US, a cross-party committee of senior MPs said in a damning report released yesterday.
The security service passed information to the Americans on Bisher al-Rawi, an Iraqi, and Jamil el-Banna, from Jordan, as they flew to the Gambia to set up a business there in 2002. Both had lived in Britain for many years.
Mr Rawi was released from Guantánamo in March after evidence emerged in a British court that he helped MI5 monitor Abu Qatada, the radical cleric. Mr Banna is still held in the US base on Cuba. Though the US has said he can leave, the British government said his UK residence status had expired because of his absence.
In its report yesterday, the parliamentary intelligence and security committee said MI5 was "indirectly and inadvertently" involved in the rendition of the two men by passing on the information, which included claims about their Islamist sympathies.
The committee said it was satisfied MI5 did not intend the men to be arrested and had used "caveats" specifically forbidding the CIA to seize the men as a result of the information it handed over. The case showed a "lack of regard on the part of the US for UK concerns - despite strong protests - and that has serious implications for the intelligence relationship," the MPs said.
In unprecedented criticism of Britain's security and intelligence agencies, the committee said both MI6 and MI5 "were slow to appreciate [the] change in US rendition policy" - a reference to the practice of seizing terrorist suspects and flying them to secret destinations where they risked being tortured.
The report was sent to the prime minister on June 28 but released by Downing Street only yesterday. The committee recognised there was a "great deal of 'tough talk' being used by the US". But it added that MI6 and MI5 should have detected sooner what the CIA was up to.
The brushing aside of British concerns had been "surprising and concerning" in "this usually close relationship". The MPs said: "Secret detention, without legal or other representation, is of itself mistreatment. Therefore, where there is a real possibility of 'rendition to detention' to a secret facility, even it would be for a limited time, we consider that approval must never be given."
The full extent of British logistic support for America's "extraordinary rendition" programme was first disclosed by the Guardian, which reported in September 2005 that aircraft operated by the CIA had flown in and out of UK civilian and military airports hundreds of times. The Council of Europe and European parliament have since reported that the CIA operated secret prisons in Europe where terrorism suspects could be interrogated and were allegedly tortured.
In their report, the MPs said there was no evidence any British agency had been "directly involved" in America's rendition programme. Paul Murphy, the former Labour cabinet minister who chairs the committee, castigated the government over its failure to keep proper records.
"Our inquiry has not been helped by the fact that government departments have had such difficulty in establishing the facts from their own records in relation to requests to conduct renditions through UK airspace," he said.
Clive Stafford Smith, legal director of Reprieve, which represents prisoners open to abuse, said last night: "The report makes clear some awful facts about the arrest and rendition of Jamil el-Banna and Bisher al-Rawi. The British government sent the Americans incorrect information that led directly to the arrest of these men ... Jamil remains in Guantánamo Bay while the UK dithers about whether to allow him home to his wife and five British children. The UK started this chain of suffering. It must end it and bring Jamil back."
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative who chairs the all-party group on rendition, said: "In response to a question from me, the prime minister refused to condemn extraordinary rendition."
British officials last night stressed that the report concluded that intelligence-sharing relationships, particularly with the US, were crucial to countering the threat posed to the UK by global terrorism.
Shocking Report Showing Involvement of US Psychologists in Torture of Military Detainees Requires Emergency Reform of American Psychological Association, Says Coalition of Psychologists
Today's deeply disturbing revelations in Vanity Fair show the essential role US psychologists played in the torture of detainees in CIA and Department of Defense (DoD) custody, heightening the urgent need for the American Psychological Association (APA) to issue clear ethical guidelines prohibiting psychologists in the military or intelligence services from violating basic human rights as part of interrogation processes, the Coalition for an Ethical APA stated. [The article is available at http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/}
When read in conjunction with the recently declassified Defense Department investigation which revealed that psychologists re-engineered counter-terrorist training techniques as mechanisms for detainee abuse at Guantánamo, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, this article is an indictment not only of participating psychologists, but of the Association which refuses to condemn these practices.
In early 2005, the APA appointed a Presidential Task Force to form ethics policy that was dominated by psychologists from the military and intelligence establishment, some of whom were involved in the very interrogation chains of command now shown to have facilitated abuse. The ethics policy of the APA and the report of the APA's Presidential Task Force, taken together, currently allow psychologists to participate in national security interrogations, unlike physicians and psychiatrists, and even permits contravening the ethics code when faced with a conflicting "lawful order" from a governing authority.
After two years of reports that psychologists were aiding abusive interrogations, we now have clear evidence that psychologists directly participated in torture. During this time the APA, the main voice of the psychological profession, has closed its eyes and ears to all reports of abuse" said Dr. Stephen Soldz, Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation and Program Development of the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis
The Vanity Fair article reports the role of psychologists in developing the CIA's regime of abusive interrogations ("torture"). The article states "that psychologists weren't merely complicit in America's aggressive new interrogation regime. Psychologists, working in secrecy, had actually designed the tactics and trained interrogators in them while on contract to the CIA." Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen of the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) program were brought in by the CIA to use SERE techniques, developed to help our soldiers resist collaboration if captured, to break down detainees.
While Mitchell and Jessen used so-called "enhanced" techniques such as waterboarding (i.e., simulated drowning), most of their techniques became staples of interrogation tactics toward detainees in the war on terror and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The article quotes one source as describing the Mitchell and Jessen approach as being to "break down [the detainees] through isolation, [use] white noise, completely take away their ability to predict the future, [and] create dependence on interrogators." The description of these techniques matches those techniques described by former interrogator Tony Lagouranis in his new book, Fear Up Harsh as being used by numerous interrogators in Iraq.
The article also makes clear that the sometimes misplaced prestige of psychology as a science and the importance of the supposed "scientific credentials" of the SERE psychologists were crucial to the acceptance of these abusive techniques by general interrogation staff and superiors alike. The article additionally reports that the APA supported the claim that Mitchell and Jessen had specialized scientific knowledge by inviting them to a joint APA-Rand Corporation, CIA-funded conference on the "Science of Deception: Integration of Practice and Theory." This conference debated "the effectiveness of truth serum and other coercive techniques," according to Vanity Fair.
The article also reports that the these SERE-based techniques developed by Mitchell and Jessen in the CIA's secret "black sites" proliferated to other venues where detainees were interrogated, including Guantánamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The proliferation of SERE techniques was aided by the scientific "patina" afforded by psychology, as stated in the article by Human Rights Watch's John Sifton. The article further reports that psychologists at Guantanamo participated in interrogations as judges of abuse levels, as "safety officers" deciding just how much abuse a given detainee could tolerate. This very role has been objected to by other health provider organizations, including the American Medical Association.
Since 2005, multiple press reports and government documents have clearly demonstrated that US military and intelligence service psychologists were involved in developing a regime of psychological torture for use on suspected terrorists. In May, the Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General (OIG) declassified a report revealing that psychologists from the military's SERE program worked with US military psychologists at Guantanamo tasked with "developing the standard operating procedure" for interrogations using tactics that violate the Geneva Conventions. The OIG report also documented that these SERE psychologists played a role in bringing abusive interrogation techniques to Iraq and that the SERE-based techniques also migrated to Afghanistan.
"When the APA leadership chose psychologists to formulate its ethical position on interrogations and torture, they included six from the military and intelligence services, some of whom were in the chain of command that directed the abuse." said Steven Reisner, of the Coalition for an Ethical APA and Columbia University's International Trauma Studies Program. "Is it really any surprise that, unlike psychiatrists and physicians who prohibited their members' participation in interrogation, the APA concluded that psychologists could abandon 'do no harm' in favor of 'break them down?'"
Increasingly, as the number of these reports multiplied, members of the APA have called for the Association to unequivocally condemn the use of psychological knowledge for purposes of coercion, abuse and torture, and to take concrete steps to prevent further participation of psychologists in abusive interrogations. In June, the Coalition for an Ethical APA sent an Open Letter to the President of the APA, Dr. Sharon Brehm, demanding swift and comprehensive changes in APA policy. In six weeks, the number of signatories to the letter has risen to over 650. The APA leadership has yet to respond to this letter. Soon afterwards, 58 psychologists from the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs issued an additional letter expressing outrage over the failure of the APA to adequately respond to the growing evidence of psychologist involvement in torture. Numerous individual psychologists have written additional letters of protest, and a group of APA members has organized a campaign to withhold their dues until the APA changes its ethical policy to prohibit such abuses.
"The evidence was strong and is now irrefutable," states Brad Olson, chair of Divisions for Social Justice (DSJ), a collection of divisions within the APA, and faculty member at Northwestern University, "psychologists not only organized abusive interrogations, they directly participated in torture itself. APA members and psychologists everywhere will not stop our efforts until the APA changes its policy to prevent these disturbing violations of human rights from happening again."
The APA leadership has stated repeatedly that psychologists' participation in interrogations help keep interrogations "safe, legal, ethical, and effective." The public record now suggests that the exact opposite is the case.
In response, the Coalition for an Ethical APA today reasserted its call for basic changes in APA policy regarding participation in interrogations and for fundamental reforms in the Association to prevent the reoccurrence of such catastrophic ethical breaches in the future, the Coalition said. The Coalition believes it is critical that the APA take immediate steps to remedy the damage done to the reputation of the profession and its ethical standards, to the Association, and to human rights, in general.
The group urgently recommends the following:
1. The President of the APA must immediately acknowledge errors and abuses committed by its leadership, and substantively reaffirm its commitment to promoting adherence by all psychologists to international human rights standards.
2. The APA Board of Directors and Ethics Committee must endorse the APA Moratorium on psychologist participation in interrogations of foreign detainees, to be voted upon at the August convention.
3. The APA Board of Directors must encourage, support, and cooperate with ongoing Senate investigations into the role of psychologist's utilization of SERE techniques in developing the US regime of psychological torture used at Guantanamo, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the CIA Black Sites, and elsewhere.
4. The APA Board of Directors must commence a neutral third-party investigation of its own involvement, and that of APA staff, in APA-military conflicts of interest. Among the issues this investigation must examine are:
a) the numerous procedural irregularities alleged to have occurred during the PENS process;
b) the role of the military and intelligence agencies in the formation and functioning of the PENS Task Force;
c) the reasons the APA and its leadership have systematically ignored the accumulating evidence that psychologists participating in interrogations are contributing to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, rather than helping to prevent it;
d) the overall nexus of close ties between the APA staff/leadership and the military and intelligence agencies, ties that may have contributed to a climate that permits undo influence of military and intelligence agencies in the creation of these policies and that encourages turning a blind eye to abuse;
e) the transformation of the APA Ethics Code, from one that protects psychologists' ethical conduct when such conduct conflicts with law and military regulations to one that protects psychologists who follow unethical law and military regulations.
The Coalition for an Ethical APA calls on all concerned APA members and other psychologists to join them by signing the Open Letter to APA President Sharon Brehm at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/BrehmLetter/, to participate actively in mini-convention sessions on ethics and interrogation at the APA Convention in San Francisco beginning this August 18th, and to join the demonstrations planned for this Convention [information available at http://ethicalapa.com/].
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