Revolt of the CIA analysts

“Goss is a political conservative and a reformer. He is pro-Bush Doctrine and pro-shaking-up-the-CIA. We hope the president will select a new CIA director who is willing–eager, even–to challenge CIA careerists and who will continue the reforms of that dysfunctional bureaucracy that started under Goss. We hope the new director will be an independent thinker, someone who is not cowed by criticism from a vocal (and highly partisan) crew of recently retired intelligence officials.”

— The Weekly Standard

“CIA employees were sitting at their computers Friday afternoon when they saw a message advising them to toggle to the agency’s in-house television channel. On their screens they saw CIA Director Porter Goss abruptly announcing his resignation. In at least one office at the agency, and I suspect many more, there were quiet cheers.”

— David Ignatius, Washington Post, May 7, 2006

There is a lot of speculation as to why Porter Goss was outed from the CIA. Some suggest it had something to do with losing a turf battle with John Negroponte –” his immediate boss. Other reports make a convincing case that his resignation is related to his staff’s passion for hookers, poker and bribes –” a fallout from the scandals surrounding Congressman Duke Cunningham.

But the above quotes lead me to suspect he was outed as a result of a mutiny by the CIA’s rank and file. When the neocon priests at the Weekly Standard groan and the folks at Langley cheer –” it’s a sure sign that the Feith/Libby crowd has lost a major battle with the intelligence community.

Goss Porter was assigned to the CIA to ‘clean house’ of dissenters who were unwilling to take the fall for intelligence failures that never happened. It was no secret that the administration didn’t take kindly to the agency’s ‘negative feedback’ about the day to day realities of their Iraqi ventures. In short, the professionals in Langley were guilty of demoralizing their neo-con overlords by insisting on doing their job of providing sound analysis to policy makers. It didn’t help matters that former CIA analysts were less than enthusiastic about the outing of Valerie Plame.

Under the able leadership of Goss, the neo-cons got their wish and the CIA troublemakers were given their pink slips or quietly opted for early retirement. The rascals had it coming for not being disciplined enough to gracefully take the fall for the bum WMD intelligence that was cooked up by Douglas Feith at his little canard factory –” the Office of Special Plans.

We now have a thousand and one reasons to believe that the intelligence was fabricated to provide justification for this disastrous war of choice. We know that Douglas Feith was the man who had primary responsibility for engineering the WMD hoax. The myth about ‘intelligence failure’ would have been put to rest two years ago if only the mainstream media had dared to ask some very basic questions about the OSP. But we are where we are because they tell us only what they want us to know.

It is only by the grace of neo-con media moguls in high places that we still have to argue about the systematic lies and deception that paved the path to war. Isn’t it enough to know that Judith Miller was one of the media operatives who collaborated in disseminating the WMD leaks – with the explicit approval of Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times.

If the general public was less than curious about who exactly was working on the assembly line of Douglas Feith’s intelligence manufacturing operation, the folks at Langley knew every little detail about the anatomy of this hoax. Once the war turned into something spectacularly at variance with the cakewalk envisioned by the neo-cons –” many CIA agents refused to take the fall for what they regarded as a ‘failure of Likudnik fantasies.’

Porter Goss’s mission was to make the Langley rebels ‘team players.’ Unfortunately for Goss and his neo-con brethren –” many of the agency’s top guns refused to sign up. Some became insubordinate. Others quit. A few went public with their misgivings.

Which brings us back to all the speculation about hookers, gambling and booze. My guess is that a few disgruntled CIA insiders called on their old contacts in the FBI to dig up some dirt on Porter Goss.

For those who think this is far fetched –” check out the following extract from an article I published in February of 2004. And ask yourself one question. If your humble servant – who can’t place Langley on the map – knew enough to write this two years ago –” what did the folks at the CIA know about the so-called ‘intelligence hoax.’

Intelligence Failures for Dummies (originally published 2/4/2004) :

Why engineer an intelligence failure? When the intelligence community is not giving you the kind of results you desire, a responsible administration needs to find a way to manufacture its own intelligence and make it look like it was cooked at the CIA.

How do you get around the CIA? First, you let Douglas Feith and Wolfie set up their own intelligence unit in the Pentagon and give it a big name like the Office of Special Plans. Make sure the office is staffed with those who share your neo-con agenda.

What next? You need to develop and groom your own independent sources. You get a guy like Chalabi and his imaginary friends to provide you with the exact answers that fit your game plan. Just to make it legitimate, you use a few trusted journalists like Judith ‘WMD’ Miller of the New York Times to circulate stories confirming your ‘findings’. You now have ‘double sourcing’

And then what? You challenge the CIA to match your work. Accuse them of timidity. You get Cheney and Libby to breathe down their necks and berate them for missing the Chalabi lead. You point out that Judith Miller is a second source who confirms the Chalabi story. Who can argue with the New York Times?

Isn’t this risky business? Not if the war is a cakewalk. Every body loves a winner. Those who made a fuss about the risks will be made to eat crow. We’ll just sit back and enjoy reruns of the ‘shock and awe’ show. Who will hear the detractors over the din of a victory parade?

What if the war ends up being a long hard slog? Well, in that case, we dispatch David Kay to dig up the phantom WMDs. Let him take his own sweet time. The public will be asked to show a little patience.

What happens when Kay doesn’t find a trace of WMDs? Well, Dummy, we just stall and send another guy to resume the search. If that doesn’t work, we’ll just throw a tantrum and blame it on an ‘intelligence failure’. Let the CIA take the fall. The President might have to stitch together a bipartisan inquiry staffed by the usual suspects (like Porter Goss.) By the time they set up shop, argue over rules and scope and agree on a list of witnesses, it will be late spring, early summer. The story will die down once it is ‘under investigation by the proper authorities’. Look at the 911 probes and the Plame investigation.

What if the public demands an investigation of the OSP, instead of the CIA? By that time, we would have closed our doors, shredded our files and ceased to exist as an intelligence unit.

Isn’t it possible that the media boys will smell a rat? If they smell a rat, it will be the stench of their own skin. Can you see the New York Times investigating Judith Miller’s role in our little scam? Better still, how likely is it that Bob Woodward of Watergate fame would look into Krauthammer’s collaboration with the OSP. They both toil for the Washington Post. The beauty of this whole venture is that we can get our media operatives to turn up the heat on the CIA and put Langley on the defensive. What can the CIA do? Act like a crybaby and say that a few analysts in an obscure Pentagon office managed to bully them.

Can anything go wrong? Not a chance. Intelligence failures happen. We should know. We make them happen. We’ll blame the whole thing on Chalabi and his imaginary friends. Chalabi is more than ready to act as the culprit who passed us bum information. He has been accused of worse things. Chalabi is a good sport and not the kind who worries about his reputation.

Notes in the Margins: An internal Pentagon probe and the Senate Intelligence Committee are supposedly investigating Douglas Feith’s intelligence manufacturing operation –” the OSP. For reasons unknown, no progress has been made in either of these probes. There is also a suspicious lack of interest by Judith Miller’s former employers at the New York Times. In the meantime, Douglas J. Feith has just accepted an offer to join the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. I suggest they assign him to teach “intelligence failures 101.”