"Night of the Long Knives" at the CIA


Porter Goss has unleashed a “blood purge” at the CIA to rid the agency of its subversive elements. This comes as no surprise. Bush’s problems with the agency go back to 9-11 and peaked just prior to the Iraq war. Leaks were sprouting everywhere and “cold feet” threatened to derail his Middle East crusade. The spooks were clearly edgy about fabricating the reasons for war, and their reluctance was slowing down the process. Now, its pay-back time for those nervous Nellie’s in the form of freshly minted pink slips from the Oval Office.

CIA chief Porter Goss has been appointed to wield the hatchet and cleanse “the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources.”

Disloyalty is tantamount to treason in the Bush administration. The remedy is termination.

True, some of the unlucky agents believed they were doing the right thing. Perhaps their skepticism slowed the rush to war. They put their futures at risk by exposing information that they thought was in the public interest. In the case of the Iraq war or 9-11 it’s clear that some of the embarrassing information might have saved American lives. No matter. The message from the top is simple; “Loyalty first”.

According to a former senior CIA official, “The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House. Goss was given instructions … to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats.”

Make room for the “yes men”; the neoconservative pure-bloods who will keep their mouths shut even when the public is at risk. They know that government work under Bush is like joining a religion, where facts have to be modified to fit the prevailing theology. It’s a matter of “I see what I believe, not I believe what I see”. Those who can,t conform to the new regimen are shown the door. There’s no room for dissent in the “us against them” paradigm.

The action at the CIA proves that the Bush administration accepts no blame for the tragedy in Iraq, the attacks of 9-11 or any of its other foreign policy blunders. It shows their resistance to any objective analysis that might upset their rigid dogma. Instead, information is tailored to their particular objectives, put through a doctrinal meat grinder, and molded to their specifications. This is how intelligence gathering deteriorates into institutionalized “brown-nosing”.

The Goss purge has already netted a few high-ranking veterans, including Stephen R. Kappes, deputy director of clandestine services, the CIA’s most powerful division, and John E. McLaughlin, a 32-year veteran of the intelligence division who served as acting CIA director before Goss was appointed. This shows that the new director puts allegiance over competence and fidelity over talent. It’s a surefire way to hasten the slide towards ineptitude and cronyism.

All of the misgivings about the Goss appointment have been borne out in just a matter of weeks. He’s already engaged in the partisan activity he promised to forgo. Now it’s evident that that is why he was nominated. His one qualification for the job is his willingness to carry out a White House vendetta.

It’s “Nacht der langen” (Night of the Long Knives) at the CIA with Goss wielding the presidential broadax. The agency is entering a new dark age where potential threats are swiftly vanquished and the “ideologically pure” are rewarded. It’s a shift in values that’s reminiscent of other notable security organizations, like the KGB.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com


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MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

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