Comment: CIA Insiders Issue Torture Probe Warnings
September 1, 2009 4 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Sensing that a government probe into its post-9/11 practices is around the corner, the CIA has employed its usual practice of issuing public warnings through friendly news outlets. Several Agency insiders appear to have simultaneously decided to break their customary silence. Speaking to The Washington Post, they sternly warned that “[m]orale has sagged at the CIA” because of the rumored government investigation into torture of detainees and other controversial intelligence projects.
Not surprisingly, most vocal are those CIA officials directly associated with torture practices, such as the Agency’s Executive Director Alvin Bernard Krongard (now retired), who told The Washington Post that morale at the CIA “is down to minus 50”. There are also the usual warnings, routinely recycled since 2004, that CIA agents are frantically hiring lawyers and are preparing in panic to leave the Agency.
In reality, morale at the CIA has been low for several years. It was irreparably wounded by the CIA’s failure to prevent the tragedy of 9/11. It was further damaged during the period of the Agency’s intense politicization, in the lead-up to the Iraq War. It was almost reduced to zero after its leadership allowed the Agency’s intelligence product to be hijacked by a Bush Administration desperate to convince a skeptical US public that the Ba’athist government of Iraq was a national threat. And it has now sunk to near-unprecedented levels following public revelations of the CIA’s leading role in the torture controversy, which has resulted to the Agency’s virtual exclusion from US interrogation protocol.
“Buzzy” Krongard is right when he says that morale at the CIA is below zero. But this is not the result of the US government’s attempt to reassert constitutional control over the Agency’s controversial practices. Rather, it is the result of the CIA’s operational and administrative failures, which have once again exposed its chronic inefficiencies and increasingly problematic relationship with acceptable legal standards. If it fails to collaborate with the rumored investigation, it will not only damage its own institutional credibility, but that of the US political system as well.