Friday, January 23, 2004

from Salon's interview with Larry C. Johnson,"The CIA revolt against the White House":

Accountability is also a problem within these huge bureaucracies. Here's one quick example: The individual at CIA who was blamed for the wrong targeting information that led to the attack on the Chinese embassy in the former Yugoslav Republic several years back [NATO air strikes mistakenly hit the Chinese embassy in Belgrade on May 7, 1999], was actually the same person who raised concerns that the targeting information was wrong. But that analyst's senior managers ignored him.

...Salon: But why does the intelligence community appear increasingly to be in open revolt against the White House? If the political pressures are nothing new, why the unprecedented degree of protest?

A:Put it this way, with this White House, I see an outright pattern of bullying: Gen. Eric Shinseki, the former Army chief of staff, warned that the U.S. was going to need several hundred thousand troops in Iraq, and he's attacked for that, and basically told that he doesn't know what he's talking about -- and he's fired essentially a year before he's out of that job. When it's time for him to retire, not a single senior representative of the Department of Defense or White House leadership is there for his retirement. Then there was Thomas White, the secretary of the Army who was forced out. There was a senior CIA analyst by the name of Fulton Armstrong who was attacked, using leaks to the press, which alleged that he was disloyal and somehow under the influence of the Cuban government. There was a prosecutor [ousted from] the Department of Justice who had warned that John Walker Lindh's father had hired a lawyer and that [the DOJ] needed to consider the Miranda rights.

So what we've seen is a repeated pattern across different agencies, all with the apparent sanction of the White House, of going after anybody who's a critic, or who's seen as not being in tune with the administration's message. When people raise legitimate issues that may not be consistent with existing policy, instead of conducting a fair intellectual assessment of those issues, those people are attacked and their character is impugned.