CIA scores Washington Post charm offensive
April 27, 2010 1 Comment
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
For an agency whose very future is routinely questioned by former employees, the CIA has been getting plenty of positive press in the pages of The Washington Post lately. On Monday, The Post’s Jeff Stein cited “a former top CIA official” who claimed that the Agency’s unmanned drone assassination program in the Afghan-Pakistan border has the Taliban in disarray, “thinking that we can track them anywhere”. The former official also said that the speed of the CIA and “its Pentagon partners” (presumably NSA) in intercepting targeted communications makes the process of assassinating Taliban leaders “like mowing a lawn”. Does this sound too good to be true? How about an article published on the same day, also in The Washington Post, which claims that the CIA’s Predator drone assassination program has “kept the number of civilian deaths extremely low”? Citing “current and former officials in the United States and Pakistan”, the paper says the Agency is now “using new, smaller missiles and advanced surveillance techniques to minimize civilian casualties”, though no proof of this is offered. Interestingly, the article also states that “Pakistan’s government has tolerated the airstrikes”, which is accurate only in the sense that enraged Islamabad is at a loss as to how to respond to Washington’s not-so-secret war in Waziristan. In reality, the Predator drone war has stretched the relations between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to a stage just short of all-out war. This, however, does not appear to have affected CIA director Leon Panetta’s image in the Obama administration: in an article published on Sunday, The Post’s David Ignatius praised Panetta for having “defused a number of bombs that threatened to blow up what was left of the agency’s credibility, and in the process [...] focused the CIA on getting the job done”. He also cited “an official” who said that the CIA’s targeted assassination program in Afghanistan and Pakistan is “the most aggressive operation in the history of the agency”. They need to be careful over at The Post; Langley hasn’t had so much good publicity in such a short while in decades!