10 January 2009

Obama Begins His Dismantling Of U.S. Intelligence

Sure, it could be argued that Barack Obama destroyed U.S. intelligence when he convinced a majority of Americans to elect him, but now he's taking steps to make it official.

First, "The President Elect" tagged Eric Holder as his choice for Attorney General. Yeah, the same guy who played a special little role in Bill Clinton's pardon of ga-zillionaire fugitive Marc Rich and 16 members of the FALN terrorist organization. On top of that, Holder was the guy with Janet Reno's back when she worked with the Clinton administration to compartmentalize American intelligence organizations, making it impossible for the FBI and CIA to share information (a disaster Bush corrected after 9/11).

Now Obama has identified Leon Panetta to head the CIA. Yep, another Clinton retread, proving that these people make more comebacks than the Eagles. This is the same Leon Panetta who, as a Congressman, supported the "Institute for Policy Studies" (IPS), a Washington think tank famous for its opposition to the U.S. intelligence community. In fact, the FBI reportedly has a file on the organization linking it and its founders to KGB activity as well "fronting an intensive campaign to discredit the CIA." But that not the only time Panetta proved less-than-friendly to the agency he is about to take over. REDSTATE reports:

Leon Panetta, the Clinton administration’s first director of OMB, had indicated to Woolsey early in 1993 that OMB was considering providing the DCI with top-line guidance, perhaps with a publicly disclosed figure, and seeking sizable out-year cuts in intelligence spending. Woolsey also faced skeptical audiences in Congress anxious to find an additional “peace dividend” in intelligence spending as well as in the larger defense budget. From Woolsey’s perspective, he had the unenviable task of managing declining intelligence budgets in an era of multiplying intelligence targets (the “poisonous snakes”) . . .

Which, of course, brings us to Embassy bombings, the USS Cole and 9/11 once again, all wonderful results from the last time we had leadership who saw value in dismantling America's intelligence apparatus. Oh, and did I mention that Panetta has no real intelligence experience? Well, then I guess he'll fit in well with the rest of the administration.


  1. DB said...

    I agree that intel spending should not be decreased, especially now. Actually, I don't think it should be decreased ever and we should increase spending. :-) Obama should leave Hayden in charge or find another intelligence careerist. While I am against water boarding and other forms of torture not listed in the Army manual, Hayden himself has acknowledged that they only rarely (3 times) water boarded (and no longer do) and even more rarely strayed from the Army manual in other interrogations. All Obama needs to do is say "no" and it goes away. Rather "stays away" as Bush already stopped most of those practices (and Hayden did as well). A political appointment to the agency won't survive. He could easily pick someone with an intel background.

    Though, I would like to point out that our Embassies and Consulates get attacked all the time and even Bush's war time intel budget has not stopped these attacks. In just the last couple years I can remember attacks on San'a, Athens, Istanbul, and Belgrade to name a few (with which I have close friends assigned to Belgrade and Athens-where the rocket attack happened). Oh ya, and even a Molotav cocktail attack on the Okinawa Consulate just a few months ago. This doesn't even count diplomats and their families who are targets in the countries they work in.

  2. Khaki Elephant said...

    DB, I'll agree that embassies and consulates are constant targets . . . in fact, my wife was working for the U.S. Embassy in Bonn, Germany (this was before the move back to Berlin) when the '98 bombing occured and the German police found explosives in an apartment across the Rhine shortly afterward. However, non have been as effectively planned and carried out as the simultaneous attacks in Tanzania and Kenya. The toll was staggering, killing hundreds and injuring thousands . . . the shock value was simply diminished in the States because most of the victims were not American.

    As for waterboarding . . . I was against it before I was for it. However, what the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did to save American lives changed my mind. This killer should have had a bullet put between his eyes for his crimes, so why not a little discomfort to save hundreds.