CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

2003

General

October - December

 

Materials presented in chronological order.

[Campbell, John.] "Speech by John Campbell, Lt Gen USAF (Ret,), Associate DCI for Military Support, CIRA Meeting -- October 2, 2003." CIRA Newsletter 28, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 3-10.

This is a more interesting speech than most of its kind, and includes the Q&As after the speech. General Campbell said, among other things, that "[a] lot of lessons were learned in Afghanistan on how we [the CIA and DoD] can work together, the kinds of teams we can put together, the relationships in the field. We took all those to the bank in Iraq. We did a lot of preplanning in Iraq to try to figure out the right kinds of relationships."

Pincus, Walter, and Mike Allen. "Leak of Agent's Name Causes Exposure of CIA Front Firm." Washington Post, 4 Oct. 2003, A3. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to Bush administration officials on 3 October 2003, "[t]he leak of a CIA operative's name has also exposed the identity of a CIA front company.... The company's identity, Brewster-Jennings & Associates, became public because it appeared in Federal Election Commission records on a form filled out in 1999 by Valerie Plame, the case officer at the center of the controversy, when she contributed $1,000 to Al Gore's presidential primary campaign....

"[A]dministration officials confirmed that [Brewster-Jennings] was a CIA front.... Plame's name was first published July 14 in a newspaper column by Robert D. Novak that quoted two senior administration officials. They were critical of her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, for his handling of a CIA mission that undercut President Bush's claim that Iraq had sought uranium from the African nation of Niger for possible use in developing nuclear weapons. The Justice Department began a formal criminal investigation of the leak Sept. 26."

Powell, Bill. "How George Tenet Brought the CIA Back from the Dead." Fortune, 13 Oct. 2003, 128-134.

This is a breezy article that makes some good points and, despite the access given the reporter at CIA Headquarters, misses others. Nonetheless, the main point is clear: that "[a]mid controversy and two wars," George Tenet has "led a classic turnaround by running the Agency like a business."

Ignatius, David. "The CIA and the WMD." Washington Post, 21 Oct. 2003, A25. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

"If the CIA's predictions about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction prove to be wrong, how can Americans have confidence in CIA intelligence warnings in the future?"

Duffy, Michael, and Timothy J. Burger. "NOC, NOC. Who's There? A Special Kind of Agent." Time, 27 Oct. 2003, 36-37.

"Some Bush partisans have suggested that the outing of Plame is no big deal.... But the facts tell otherwise. Plame was, for starters, a former NOC -- that is, a spy with nonofficial cover who worked overseas as a private individual with no apparent connection to the U.S. government. NOCs are among the government's most closely guarded secrets, because they often work for real or fictive private companies overseas and are set loose to spy solo. NOCs are harder to train, more expensive to place and can remain undercover longer than conventional spooks. They can also go places and see people whom those under official cover cannot. They are in some ways the most vulnerable of all clandestine officers, since they have no claim to diplomatic immunity if they get caught."

Pincus, Walter. "2 CIA Employees Killed in Ambush: Ex-Special Forces Officers Worked in Eastern Afghanistan." Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2003, A20. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The CIA announced on 28 October 2003 that William Carlson and Christopher Glenn Mueller, "former Special Forces officers working as contract employees in counterterrorism for the CIA[,] were killed in an ambush in eastern Afghanistan" on 25 October 2003. "The two were involved in what became a six-hour firefight between Taliban rebels and U.S.-led coalition and Afghan forces." See also, Douglas Jehl, "Two C.I.A. Operatives Killed in an Ambush in Afghanistan." New York Times, 29 Oct. 2003.

Powers, Thomas. "The Vanishing Case for War." New York Review of Books 50, no. 19 (4 Dec. 2003). [http://www.nybooks.com]

The U.S. "invasion and conquest of Iraq ... was the result of what is probably the least ambiguous case of the misreading of secret intelligence information in American history. Whether it is even possible that a misreading so profound could yet be in some sense 'a mistake' is a question....

"[W]hat American intelligence organizations learn is all filtered through the CIA, which is part of the executive branch of the government, led by directors appointed by the president, answerable to the president. In theory the director of the CIA can and should reach his own independent judgment; but in fact no director of central intelligence can disagree with the White House and keep his job for long. What Congress knew came entirely from CIA officials....

"[T]he United States is certain to pay a debilitating price for the conquest of Iraq for a generation, and the argument over the cause of the disaster is sure to be long and bitter. The first round in this contest is already taking shape inside the Senate Intelligence Committee, where the majority is drafting a critique that blames the 'mistake' on the CIA, while the minority argues that equally to blame were the marching orders coming out of the White House.

"The two sides will never agree, but they are both right. The administration could never have convinced Congress of its argument for war without the mystique of secret intelligence to lend gravity to its case; and the CIA would never have made so much of so little if George Tenet had not been a willing member of the President's team. The problem is structural, not personal. Presidents can fire directors they don't like, and the CIA has no other customer. The big mistakes all come when presidents don't listen, or let it be known what they want to hear. The CIA is as serious, as prudent, as honest as the presidents for whom it works -- never more. Directors deliver what is wanted, or depart....

"[W]e have ample reason to conclude that the intelligence wasn't solid at all, there was no need for war, Iraq's weapons of mass destruction didn't exist. This discovery ought to put the American people on constructive notice that the functioning of our democracy is threatened by the nexus of the White House and a too-pliant CIA -- a closed loop of presidents who know what they want, intelligence chiefs willing to make the argument and classify the evidence, and members of Congress under their spell."

Priest, Dana, and Robin Wright. "Iraq Spy Service Planned by U.S. to Stem Attacks; CIA Said to Be Enlisting Hussein Agents." Washington Post, 11 Dec. 2003, A41. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. government officials, "[t]he Bush administration has authorized creation of an Iraqi intelligence service to spy on groups and individuals inside Iraq that are targeting U.S. troops and civilians working to form a new government.... The new service will be trained, financed and equipped largely by the CIA with help from Jordan..... Although no deadline has been set, officials hope to have the service running by mid-February. Congress had approved money for the effort in the classified annex of this year's budget."

Jehl, Douglas. "Spy Agencies Vindicated After String of Setbacks." New York Times, 15 Dec. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Although it was American soldiers who unearthed [Saddam] Hussein, it was the intelligence community, including the Central Intelligence Agency and its military counterparts, that set them on the right path.... C.I.A. officers have played a major part in the supersecret military Special Operations teams, including Task Force 121, that were given the leading role in tracking down Iraqi leaders. In recent weeks, the information gathered by the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency and the intelligence arms of the military services has been closely shared among the agencies through a new cooperative arrangement in Baghdad."

Priest, Dana, and Thomas E. Ricks. "CIA Poised to Quiz Hussein; Rumsfeld Says Agency To Control Interrogations." Washington Post, 17 Dec. 2003, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost. com]

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said on 16 December 2003 that the CIA "will take the lead in questioning Saddam Hussein.... Rumsfeld ... said he asked CIA Director George J. Tenet to take responsibility for the interrogation because the agency has 'the people who have competence in that area....' The CIA, he said, 'will be the regulator over the interrogations -- who will do it, the questions that'll get posed, the management of the information that flows from those interrogations.'"

Risen, James, and Thom Shanker. "Hussein Enters Post-9/11 Web of U.S. Prisons." New York Times, 18 Dec. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to U.S. government officials, Saddam Hussein will be held "in what has developed into a global detention system run by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency." The system is "made up of large and small facilities scattered throughout the world," which have been established "to handle the hundreds of suspected terrorists of Al Qaeda, Taliban warlords and former officials of the Iraqi government arrested by the United States and its allies.... The C.I.A. has quietly established its own detention system to handle especially important prisoners. The most important Qaeda leaders are held in small groups in undisclosed locations in friendly countries in the developing world."

Lichtblau, Eric. "Special Counsel Is Named to Head Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak." New York Times, 31 Dec. 2003. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 30 December 2003, "Attorney General John Ashcroft disqualified himself ... from any involvement in the investigation into whether Bush administration officials illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover C.I.A. officer." Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, Jr., will now oversee the investigation. Comey's "first decision in that role was to name Patrick J. Fitzgerald," the U.S. attorney in Chicago, as a "special counsel" to direct the investigation.

Goodman, Melvin A. "9/11: The Failure of Strategic Intelligence." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 59-71.

The author again manages to discuss his favorite topic, the "politicization" of intelligence by William Casey and Robert Gates; and, then, takes it one step further by accusing DCI George Tenet of "serving the policy interests of the Bush administration." Whether there is some truth in the latter accusation will probably be argued about into some distant future, although a simple assertion that it is true is hardly sufficient as proof.

Return to CIA 2003 Table of Contents