FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

David Ignatius, the CIA’s Apologist-in-Chief

Photo by Toxic5 | DeviantArt

Photo by Toxic5 | DeviantArt

There is universal agreement that President Donald Trump’s “advertisement for himself” in front of CIA’s memorial wall on Saturday was an unmitigated disaster for both the vainglorious president and the Central Intelligence Agency.  But there are always favorable reviews to be found.  In this case, there were two: one from the president who told ABC’s David Muir that the presentation was “great;” the other from the Washington Post’s long-time apologist-in-chief for the CIA, David Ignatius.

Over the past several decades, Ignatius has defended the CIA’s political assassination program, and argued that no investigation was necessary because “nobody had been killed.”  He never condemned the CIA training of death squads in Central America, including Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. He never deplored the CIA’s Phoenix operation during the Vietnam War, when the agency ran a paramilitary campaign of interrogation, torture, and assassination that targeted many innocent victims.  And he never favored accountability for agency operatives who manned the secret prisons, and conducted the program of torture and abuse.

Thus, it is no surprise that Ignatius, writing in the Washington Post on Monday, welcomed President Trump’s “ingratiating message” after months of attacks on the agency.  According to Ignatius, the CIA was tired of having a “kick me” sign on its backside and found it “nice to be massaged.”  He made no attempt to assess the danger of trying to co-opt and politicize an intelligence agency that must remain apolitical in order to carry out its mission.  And there was no attempt to judge the indignity of CIA officers responding enthusiastically to the president’s harsh political statements, particularly his attacks on the press.

Ignatius even endorsed the self-serving remarks of agency operatives who dismissed the stewardship of former CIA director John Brennan and praised the appointment of CIA director Mike Pompeo.  Brennan has never been popular in the directorate of operations because he was an intelligence analyst who received an unusual appointment to be a CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia and, as director, merged the intelligence analysts and clandestine operatives into one bureaucratic organization.  He endorsed a paramilitary officer, who stated the visit was “well-received by the worker bees.”  He referred to the president’s “rambling braggadocio” as part of his style, but said that “the country (including the CIA) will have to get used to it.”

Although CIA’s unlawful activities during the Iraq War and the Global War on Terror must never be repeated, Ignatius argued in the past that any period of discovery would weaken the CIA and cause serious morale problems.  Now that we know that the Trump administration is considering a return to the CIA’s “black site” prisons where suspects were detained and tortured and even re-examining the use of torture, we will need journalists with integrity to keep us informed of the internal political struggle that is already taking place.

The fact that CIA director Pompeo testified he would never carry out an order to conduct torture, but wrote to the committee after the hearing that he wouldn’t rule out reinstating  torture “if experts believed current law was an impediment to gathering vital intelligence” is worrisome.   We need honest journalists to track such contradictions.  Sadly, we cannot count on “journalists” such as Ignatius who apologizes for the CIA in order to gain and protect his access to agency operatives.

More articles by:

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. His latest book is A Whistleblower at the CIA. (City Lights Publishers, 2017).  Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail