As Kash updates and extends what I noted on Friday, I have to agree with his view that Bush is “throwing the CIA into turmoil and potentially causing a large fraction of its most experienced staff to quit in disgust”. Contrast Kash’s reasoning with this oped from David Brooks:
President Bush is going to have to differentiate between his opponents and his enemies. His opponents are found in the Democratic Party. His enemies are in certain offices of the Central Intelligence Agency…At the height of the campaign, C.I.A. officials, who are supposed to serve the president and stay out of politics and policy, served up leak after leak to discredit the president’s Iraq policy…The White House-C.I.A. relationship became dysfunctional, and while the blame was certainly not all on one side.
OK – when David used my term “dysfunctional”, he at least conceded blame might go to both sides. When I used the term, I was not trying to absolve the CIA of any of its problems, but I beg to differ with David as far as who was playing politics here versus who was trying to serve the security of interests of the nation. Unless David thinks Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat to our security in early 2003 – it seems what he is really trying to say is that the President has the right to demand the CIA serve his partisan interests. While that seems to be the real situation within this Administration, I would have hoped David would call the Administration dysfunctional as opposed to his tacit endorsement of this behavior.
Also on another note, read his last paragraph:
Not that it will do him much good at this point, but I owe John Kerry an apology. I recently mischaracterized some comments he made to Larry King in December 2001. I said he had embraced the decision to use Afghans to hunt down Al Qaeda at Tora Bora. He did not. I regret the error.
Error? What Senator Kerry said on December 14, 2001 was crystal clear but it also became the fodder of the Bush-Cheney supporters who lied at every turn to win the election. Mr. Brooks willingly carry their water in so many ways. This apology is too little as well as too late.