Monday, February 26, 2007

Picking through Hersh

It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”
David Seaton's News Links
I'm sure you've already read Seymour Hersh's latest New Yorker piece about the lead up to war with Iran, so I'll just point up a fragment that especially grabbed my attention. John Negroponte of Central American, death squad fame, lately US ambassador (viceroy) to Iraq and intelligence czar, someone you wouldn't take for having exactly a delicate stomach, is putting all the distance he can between himself and what a former National Security Council aide described to Hersh as "amateur hour".

I find this similar to Tony Blair's draw down of British troops in Iraq. Neither Blair or Negroponte could be described as being over weighed down with scruples, but they know what's coming and they don't want their fingerprints on what may be a major disaster that will break many careers and maybe even land some VIPs in jail before it has run its course. DS

Abstract: Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said. I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.) The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.” The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.” The Pentagon consultant added that one difficulty, in terms of oversight, was accounting for covert funds. “There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions,” he said. The budgetary chaos in Iraq, where billions of dollars are unaccounted for, has made it a vehicle for such transactions, according to the former senior intelligence official and the retired four-star general. “This goes back to Iran-Contra,” a former National Security Council aide told me. “And much of what they’re doing is to keep the agency out of it.” He said that Congress was not being briefed on the full extent of the U.S.-Saudi operations. And, he said, “The C.I.A. is asking, ‘What’s going on?’ They’re concerned, because they think it’s amateur hour.” READ IT ALL

1 comment:

Bobbywally said...

Well great. Being a conspiracy theorist just got easier. It never occurred to me that our own black ops types stole the cash from Iraq. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

Its nice to know that we still have people like Kissinger and Negroponte around to keeps our ‘Merican values safe.