James Carden – former Advisor to the US-Russia Presidential Commission at the US State Department – writes in an article titled Why Are the Media Taking the CIA’s Hacking Claims at Face Value?
The working assumption here seems to be that the job of the president (and apparently of media outlets like CNN and The Washington Post) is to stand, salute, and never question Langley.
The high-profile anchors and analysts on CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC who have cited the work of The Washington Post and The New York Times seem to have come down with a bad case of historical amnesia.
The CIA, in their telling, is a bulwark of American democracy, not a largely unaccountable, out-of-control behemoth that has often sought to subvert press freedom at home and undermine democratic norms abroad.
The columnists, anchors, and commentators who rushed to condemn Trump for not showing due deference to the CIA seem to be unaware that, throughout its history, the agency has been the target of far more astute and credible critics than the president-elect.
In his memoir Present at the Creation, Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson wrote that about the CIA, “I had the gravest forebodings.” Acheson wrote that he had “warned the President that as set up neither he, the National Security Council, nor anyone else would be in a position to know what it was doing or to control it.”
Following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President John F. Kennedy expressed his desire to “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”
The late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan twice introduced bills, in 1991 and 1995, to abolish the agency and move its functions to the State Department which, as the journalist John Judis has observed, “is what Acheson and his predecessor, George Marshall, had advocated.”
The CIA has been busted lying under both Democratic and Republican administrations.
The CIA lied about Iraq’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction”:
The CIA admitted that it lied about torture. For example, Wikipedia notes:
- The CIA’s directors (George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden) lied to members of the U.S. Congress, the White House and the Director of National Intelligence about the program’s effectiveness and the number of prisoners that the CIA held.
- The CIA deliberately planted false stories with members of the media and claimed that the stories had been leaked.
- The CIA had used waterboarding at locations where previously it claimed it had not (e.g. at the Salt Pit).
- The CIA lied in official documents to government officials about the value of information extracted from prisoners subjected to torture (e.g. stating that information extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during torture had allowed for the capture of Riduan Isamuddin).
- Despite contrary statements made by the CIA’s Director, Michael V. Hayden, the CIA did employ individuals who “had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.”
- The CIA provided false information to the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel about the methods of interrogation it was using against prisoners.
- CIA Deputy Director Phillip Mudd deliberately lied to Congress about the program and stated that “We either get out and sell, or we get hammered, which has implications beyond the media. [C]ongress reads it, cuts our authorities, mess up our budget.”
- The report found that the CIA held at least 119 detainees during the course of the interrogation program, more than the 98 previously reported to Congress.
- An email cited in the report and prepared by a subordinate indicates that CIA Director Michael Hayden instructed that out-of-date information be used in briefing Congress so that fewer than 100 detainees would be reported.
The CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations. 9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:
Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.
Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed. If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.
Glenn Greenwald notes:
CIA officials are professional, systematic liars; they lie constantly, by design, and with great skill, and have for many decades, as have intelligence officials in other agencies.
Many of those incidents demonstrate, as hurtful as it is to accept, that these agencies even lie when there’s a Democrat overseeing the executive branch.
CIA officials have, of course, deployed propaganda on U.S. soil and around the world for many years.
CIA agents and documents admit that the agency gave Iran plans for building nuclear weapons … so it could frame Iran for trying to build the bomb.
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reported that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this and this.
And the CIA has also admitted to carrying out numerous acts of terrorism, and then falsely blaming others. For example:
(1) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.
(2) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligenceadmit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s through the 1980s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism.
As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security” … so that “a state of emergency could be declared, so people would willingly trade part of their freedom for the security” (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.
The CIA also stressed to the head of the Italian program that Italy needed to use the program to control internal uprisings.
(3) A declassified 1973 CIA document reveals a program to train foreign police and troops on how to make booby traps, pretending that they were training them on how to investigate terrorist acts:
The Agency maintains liaison in varying degrees with foreign police/security organizations through its field stations ….
[CIA provides training sessions as follows:]
a. Providing trainees with basic knowledge in the uses of commercial and military demolitions and incendiaries as they may be applied in terrorism and industrial sabotage operations.
b. Introducing the trainees to commercially available materials and home laboratory techniques, likely to he used in the manufacture of explosives and incendiaries by terrorists or saboteurs.
c. Familiarizing the trainees with the concept of target analysis and operational planning that a saboteur or terrorist must employ.
d. Introducing the trainees to booby trapping devices and techniques giving practical experience with both manufactured and improvised devices through actual fabrication.
The program provides the trainees with ample opportunity to develop basic familiarity and use proficiently through handling, preparing and applying the various explosive charges, incendiary agents, terrorist devices and sabotage techniques.
(4) A CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:
At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.