CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

2007

June - August

Materials presented in chronological order.

Pillar, Paul R. "Inside Track: Sometimes the CIA Is Right." National Interest, 6 Jun. 2007. "The Right Stuff." National Interest, 29 Aug. 2007. [http://www.nationalinterest.org]

The author was NIO/Near East and South Asia 2000-2005. He notes that the much excoriated "estimate was one of only three ... community-coordinated assessments about Iraq that the intelligence community [IC] produced ... prior to the war." The other estimates "addressed the principal challenges that Iraq likely would present during the first several years after Saddam's removal, as well as likely repercussions in the surrounding region." These estimates present a different view of how the IC really performed on Iraq. They "offered judgments on the issues that turned out to be most important in the war..., even though those judgments conspicuously contradicted the administration's rosy vision.... And for the most part, those judgments were correct."

Moore, Molly. "Report Gives Details on CIA Prisons: NATO Pacts Exploited, European Probe Finds." Washington Post, 9 Jun. 2007, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to an investigative report completed for the Council of Europe and released in Paris on 8 June 2007, "[t]he CIA exploited NATO military agreements to help it run secret prisons in Poland and Romania where alleged terrorists were held in solitary confinement for months, shackled and subjected to other mental and physical torture.... Officials speaking on behalf of the CIA, NATO, Poland and Romania ... criticized the report's findings."

Pincus, Walter, and Stephen Barr. "CIA Plans Cutbacks, Limits on Contractor Staffing." Washington Post, 11 Jun. 2007, A2. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"Acting under pressure from Congress, the CIA has decided to trim its contractor staffing by 10 percent.... Contractors currently make up about one-third of the CIA workforce." Effective 1 June 2007, "the agency also began to bar contracting firms from hiring former CIA employees and then offering the employees' services to the CIA within the first year and a half of their retirement from the agency."

DeYoung, Karen, and Walter Pincus. "CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry: Assassination Attempts Among Abuses Detailed." Washington Post, 22 Jun. 2007 A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said on 21 June 2007 that "the CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing some of the intelligence agency's worst illegal abuses.... Most of the major incidents and operations in the reports to be released next week were revealed in varying detail during congressional investigations.... But the treasure-trove of CIA documents ... is expected to provide far more comprehensive accounts, written by the agency itself."

Assessing the 26 June 2007 release, Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, "CIA Releases Files on Past Misdeeds: Assassination Plots, Domestic Spying Cited," Washington Post, 27 Jun. 2007, A1, find that "[t]he documents provided few new details of CIA operations, most of which were revealed long ago, either by Congress or the media. Rather than being a comprehensive accounting of a quarter-century of agency history, they were a haphazard collection of internal memos, communications with Congress and press clippings."

Robarge, David. "Perspective on the Jewels from the C.I.A.'s Chief Historian." 27 Jun. 2007. New York Times Blog. [http://washington.blogs.nytimes.com]

Among some 500 pages of substantive material, "except for an account of the use of Mafioso Johnny Roselli in a plot to kill Castro (12-16) ... there are only passing references to already disclosed assassination plots and drug-testing programs and next to nothing of importance about purely foreign operations.... [T]he collection is nearly all about activities involving American citizens or occurring inside the United States ... and includes much about agency contact with the White House 'Plumbers,' the Watergate break-in perpetrators, and now-obscure characters such as the fugitive financier Robert Vesco." Indeed, "the long set of documents about C.I.A.'s involvement with United States Government activities targeting American dissidents suspected of receiving foreign assistance to help them disrupt the presidential nominating conventions in 1972 (549-74)" shows "the extent to which MHCHAOS and related programs concentrated on the foreign angle."

Pomerantz, David. "Wife of Ex-Spy Says CIA Blocked Her from Lawyer." New York Sun, 9 Jul. 2007. [http://www.nysun.com]

In a brief filed on 6 July 2007, the wife of a former covert CIA official accuses "the CIA of blocking communication between her and her lawyer about a suit she filed against the intelligence agency in 2006." A federal district judge in Manhattan dismissed the case in January 2007 on national security grounds. The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, "is now appealing to the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. "

DeYoung, Karen. "Bush Approves New CIA Methods: Interrogations of Detainees to Resume." Washington Post, 21 Jul. 2007, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 20 July 2007, President Bush issued an executive order setting "broad legal boundaries for the CIA's harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects." This allows "the intelligence agency to resume a program that was suspended last year after criticism that it violated U.S. and international law." The order does not include "any details about actual interrogation techniques."

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. "[Press Release:] CIA Statement on 'Legacy of Ashes.'"  6 Aug. 2007. [https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/legacy-of-ashes.html]

In a rare event, the CIA has chosen to respond publicly to Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes (2007). Among other criticisms, the press release states that the author "paints far too dark a picture of the agency's past. Backed by selective citations, sweeping assertions, and a fascination with the negative, Weiner overlooks, minimizes, or distorts agency achievements." The statement notes that the book "is marked by errors great and small," and provides an "incomplete[] catalogue" of some of the errors. In the end, Weiner's "bias overwhelm[ed] his scholarship."

The Agency statement is reprinted in AFIO WIN 31-07 (13 Aug. 2007).

Mazzetti, Mark. "C.I.A. Lays Out Errors It Made Before Sept. 11." New York Times, 22 Aug. 2007. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The executive summary of CIA Inspector General John Helgerson's report, released on 21 August 2007, cites the agency's "failures to grasp the role being played by ... Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and to assess fully the threats streaming into the C.I.A. in the summer of 2001." The release of the report has "reignited a debate about whether the C.I.A. should have done more before the attacks and whether [former DCI George] Tenet and other officials should be held accountable." See also, Joby Warrick and Walter Pincus, "CIA Finds Holes in Pre-9/11 Work: Agency Reluctantly Releases 2-Year-Old Document Critical of Tenet," Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2007, A1.

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