Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lee in Wonderland

I just spent the last 30 days at an isolated bush camp in the middle of Chad, which is in the middle of Africa without radio, TV or Internet only to return to the capitol N’djamena and CNN International and an on again off again Internet to find the world and American in particular had gone insane.

First I discovered that the NIE had determined that Iran had stopped their secret military nuclear weapons program in 2003, now it would appear that the threat isn’t what we thought it was, but am I to believe that the program Iran denies having is no more and Iran is now saying we told you so while still deigning the existence of the program?

Next up was the release of a letter from the director of the CIA to its employees announcing that in 2005 tapes of harsh interrogations that occurred in 2003 were destroyed after CIA lawyers said it was ok to do so and the appropriate congressional panels were notified of both the intent of the destruction and the actual destruction although if you listen to several democrats they weren’t notified and the CIA might have obstructed justice. Now I can’t for the life of me understand why the director would release such a letter so publicly.

What the hell is going in the US intelligence community? I feel like Alice in Wonderland coming out of the dark and finding the World, as I knew it had changed dramatically. In both cases I can’t for the life me understand what those in the know felt they could accomplish in either case but then I started to think this through and began to wonder why at this time did the NIE come out and use the language they did?

Well here’s my theory on this: First the intelligence community is still very upset with the administrations response to the way they’ve allowed the CIA to take the wrap for the WMD failure prior to the second gulf war. The intelligence community maintains that the administration misused the information and analysis that was provided to them. I must say it’s a little childish but very possible that the language used in the latest NIE was clearly meant to teach the administration a nice little lesion. Administration’s will come and go but we actually run the place. It certainly put the Bush administration into a tough spot going forward with a very dangerous Iran who is still actively working against US interests in Iraq, Syria Israel and Lebanon and without a doubt regardless of their struggles in creating fissile material will continue to try to do so, so the leadership has options. They have also watched how the US finally had to deal with North Korea eagerly and are focused on developing missiles as quickly as possible to get as far down the nuclear road as they can without the security council shutting them down. Second the NIE wanted to publicly ensure that if the administration went ahead with it’s plans and eventually attacked Iran and found that once again the administration was wrong they’d be in the clear.

When we look at the CIA, my first guess is that the destruction of the tapes was about to leak and the Director simply wanted to get ahead of the story and ensure it was clear when the tapes were destroyed and who was in charge then, he also attempted to put a reason out there for the destruction that Americans might accept, that being the welfare and safety of those working to keep us safe. I was pretty surprised by the congressional response denying that they had been notified as I highly doubt the CIA director would make such a statement without having the signed copies of the documents acknowledging receipt of information that are required when such information is provided to congress. I’ve noticed the rhetoric has died down a great deal after the first few days and that most members are now saying let’s see what the investigation shows. That’s typically the line folks take after the actual leadership had a chance to get the word to shut up out there as I’m very sure Congress was informed as required by the oversight laws and didn’t object at the time so it’s much harder to do so two years later.

I must say I’m still stunned over the whole affair and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly and completely America is willing to hurt its own interests. For all those that talk about secret or hidden agenda’s you’ve got to ask yourself if anything is really a secret anymore or if any topic is off limits in this age of information.

Having come from my info vacuum into this madness was an interesting experience in itself and certainly made me wonder how the world managed to respond to issues in a timely manner in the past. It also certainly left me wanting to return to my isolated ignorant world as soon as possible. It would appear the mad hatter is running America these days!

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