Morale has sagged at the CIA following the release of additional portions of an inspector general’s review of the agency’s interrogation program and the announcement that the Justice Department would investigate possible abuses by interrogators, according to former intelligence officials, especially those associated with the program.
A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard, the third-ranking CIA official at the time of the use of harsh interrogation practices, said that although vigorous oversight is crucial, the public airing of once-classified internal assessments and the prospect of further investigation are damaging the agency. “Morale at the agency is down to minus 50,” he said.
At the same time, former inspector general John L. Helgerson, whose review of the program was largely declassified Monday, said that the release, though painful, would ensure that the agency confronts difficult issues head on, instead of ignoring or trying to bury them.
Unlike virtually everything else in Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap, I tend to trust Pincus and his body of work, so I have no doubt that morale might be low.
What astounds me, though, is that morale might be low at the CIA because the Justice department might prosecute people who- get this- BROKE THE LAW. Imagine that- the Justice department has duties other than politically motivated prosecutions, micromanaging US Attorneys, and stocking the department with religious nuts and gay-bashers.
And what I find even more astounding is that the Republicans and Dick Cheney are, so far, successfully pivoting and presenting themselves as the defenders of the CIA, when it has been Dick Cheney and the neocon establishment that has spent the last four decades undermining, attacking, and debasing the CIA. It wasn’t the liberals who cooked up Team B– that would be George Herbert Walker Bush who approved it, Paul Wolfowitz who was part of the team, and Richard Perle who was instrumental in making it happen. It wasn’t Ted Kennedy and the liberals who spent the entire last decade undermining the CIA and basically making George Tenet say whatever the hell Dick Cheney wanted them to say, that would be the Republicans. It wasn’t Dennis Kucinich who ignored the August 6th CIA memo about bin Laden, setting the stage for the largest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor. It wasn’t the dirty hippies at the DNC who created the Office of Special Plans to create an excuse to attack Iraq and directly undermine the intelligence from the CIA, that was Dick Cheney and Doug Feith and company.
And let’s not forget that it wasn’t Russ Feingold and Barbara Boxer who outed a covert CIA agent and then conducted a full-on media jihad against her and her husband. No, again the honors for that go to Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, and Bob Novak.
So if morale is low at the CIA and they are feeling a little butthurt, they might want to think about how things have happened the last few decades. They aren’t in the position they are in because of Eric Holder. Far from it. And if they can’t figure this out on their own, and need me to point this crap out, then quite frankly, I don’t think they are smart enough to be handling classified intelligence in the first damned place.