Don’t Reform the CIA, Abolish It

The latest CIA scandal will once again teach Americans a valuable lesson: It is the CIA, not the Congress, that is the ultimate governing authority in this nation. No one messes with the CIA, and the CIA knows it. That’s why it knew that it could destroy CIA’s torture tapes without asking anyone’s permission. And, after all, as Richard Nixon’s advisers told him, better to take a bit of heat for destroying the tapes than to take the heat for what the tapes contained.

While there undoubtedly will be a big hub-hub over the destruction of the tapes and possibly some minor slapping of wrists, the CIA knows that no one is going to be sent to jail or severely punished for torture, obstruction of justice, murder, kidnapping, or any other crime. The uncomfortable fact is – the fact that all too many Americans just don’t want to face, just as many Germans didn’t want to face the truth about the Gestapo – is not that the CIA is above the law but rather that the CIA is the law. It can do whatever it wants with impunity.

The CIA is at the rot at the center of the U.S. Empire. It does the dirty work – the torture, the murders, the assassinations, the regime changes, the coups, the secret prison camps. The secrecy of its operations is guaranteed. No one dares to jack with the CIA. Other federal departments and agencies, as well as Congress, essentially operate in a support role.

Don’t forget that this isn’t the first time that the CIA has destroyed tapes. Recall that the CIA destroyed its tapes regarding Lee Harvey Oswald’s trip to Mexico City prior to the Kennedy assassination.

Did any heads roll at the CIA because of that? Of course not. Like I say, no one jacks with the CIA, an agency whose mission is to spy on people, keep files on people, kidnap people, drug people, torture people, and murder people. Who is going to jack with an agency with that kind of power? Why, compared to the CIA, J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI, with their secret files and blackmail, were amateurs.

Also, don’t forget what the CIA did to obstruct justice with CIA operative George Joannides’s role in Congress’s JFK assassination investigation during the 1970s. Acting as if they intended to fully cooperate with the congressional investigation into Kennedy’s murder, they brought Joannides out of retirement to serve as the CIA’s liaison with Congress.

However, the real purpose of appointing Joannides to that position was to keep secret from Congress the fact that the CIA had been funding the anti-Castro group in New Orleans with whom Oswald was interacting. To this date, the CIA absolutely refuses to open its Joannides files to the public, claiming – yes, you guessed it! – “national security.” See, for example, ” ”Denied in Full’: Federal Judges Grill CIA Lawyers on JFK Secrets ” by Jefferson Morley.

Have heads rolled at the CIA for that obstruction of justice? Nope. And if the CIA is ever ordered to release the Joannides files on the ground that its “national security” argument is ridiculous, the CIA could then destroy such files without having to worry one whit about the consequences.

In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the CIA has already destroyed the Joannides files. Who could do anything about it? Don’t forget that this is the agency that destroys people, kidnaps people, tortures people, and kills people with impunity. And everyone in Congress and the rest of the federal government is fully aware of that uncomfortable fact.

Consider, for another example, the CIA’s kidnapping, rendition, and torture of people in Italy and Germany. Will the CIA hand over its agents for trial in those countries, as the authorities in those countries are requesting? Of course not! Why not? Because, again, the CIA is the law – everywhere. It wields the power to kidnap, torture, and kill anyone it wants anywhere in the world and without congressional or judicial interference. I repeat: The CIA is not above the law; it is the law, just as the Gestapo was the law in Nazi Germany.

There is only one solution to the rot at the center of the empire – the same solution that exists when someone is diagnosed with cancer: Radical surgery entailing the eradication of the rot by abolishing, not reforming, the CIA. The abolition of the CIA is a necessary prerequisite to restoring morality and liberty to our country.

JACOB HORNBERGER is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.