So I send off some questions to my favorite lib. And we get some good answers. Its not a cut and dry political topic, but very interesting for numerous reasons.
You have to get this and read the juicy bits. Mind you, these are the legal pinheads representing all of the Mass Liberal Leftwing Mainstream Media. I mean, you don't get any more liberal than this. Yet, more than wanting to stick it to the Pres, their main disdain is CLEARLY against the evil dark uncontrollable CIA. unbelievable. I wish I had read this earlier. I want your thoughts on three points in light of this:
1) Who is going to make the most money on this story in one year, when the books come out for the midterm elections..... Miller? Cooper? Wilson? Maybe our gal Val will even turn to penmanship. And do you think they are doing this purely for publicity and money? I.E. the above.
V: Wilson's book is already out, I gotta copy! The books are just positions in the political battle, trying to gain points for each side's way of looking at things. They all will make some money out of it, but hey, that's not the reason. The Wilson's are really PO'ed about this, and their supporters see a way of attacking both Scrub and the CIA....more power to them! Both Scrub and the CIA are corrupt and ineffective....the CIA hasn't gotten anything right for quite a few years now, for various reasons. (Not the least of which is the continuing politicization of the agency and the dependence on SIGINT etc rather than HUMINT....but, long story there.)
2) What can be done politically to change the nature of the CIA and intelligence? Apart from any politics. I mean, when I read the Amici, I can't help but agree with the disdain shown for the bungling bureaucracy that is our front line against terrorism. Argh, agreeing with the worst type of liberal...... My neo-con lockstep robot warning meter is screaming.
V: Well, the CIA has "evolved" over the past years. Growing from the old OSS it was made up of New England types, from well known universities, well educated, knew languages, well traveled, learned the culture of the countries they worked in etc etc....in that sense they were "liberal". At the same time a great many of the same people were from well known families in business, government etc, and were politically moderate and conservative (in the Robert Taft/Berry Goldwater sense.) They were not listened to in the late 40's and 50's about China and Vietnam, nor about the Pan-African movements, nor for that matter on the nature of eastern European communism....They were right and the political types were wrong. But, the political types controlled congress and hence the budget. So, from the sixties onward the agency has become more and more politically conservative (in the neo-con sense), more and more dependent on "technical" intelligence, and less and less able and willing to support field operations. The result today is that very few in the agency know anything about the countries they are "in charge" of, speak no language of the country, never been outside the US embassy in the country, and certainly don't have a set of agents inside telling him what's going on!! The answer is to make it into a professional agency, non-political, who do analysis and intelligence and place that analysis in unvarnished form in front of the politicians....little chance of that happening these days. It will take 20 years and a whole new generation of folks at CIA before results can be seen.
3) What is the historical perspective on the relationship between the press and foreign intelligence, and how will this be altered in the future? I know there is a whole book there, but what key points do you see?
V: In days gone by the press used to be a good source of info for the CIA....the press got around, talked to everybody, saw everything, went places no known agent could/would/should go. It was all VERY informal. Nobody got paid (well, very few). But, with the reign of technie methods the human side is all but gone, so there is no role for the press. Besides, the press is now very hostile to the CIA...read Vietnam, South America, Middle East, Africa....and views the CIA as a bunch of ignorant political stooges. And they are right! The press, of course, has also lost it's way. Partly driven by 'new school' journalism, partly by money concerns, and partly by the fact that it is SO hard to get the publics attention span to last longer than 30 seconds. No easy solution here! Maybe no solution at all. It would be nice to see leadership from the top, meaning the White House, Congress, etc, but not likely....the whole nature of politics has changed. As recently as Johnson/Nixon presidents and Congress worked on some kind of strained consensus model. No more....now it is very shrill, loud, brief sound bites and extraordinarily ideological...compromise is taken as weakness rather than as the usual way of reaching a consensus. Lotsa luck.
Anyhow, if you haven't read the juicy bits of this yet, enjoy! (most of it is legal mumbo, so just skip up to the contents, and especially the discourse on whether any crime has been committed)