Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Follow the Money

So the CIA will now lead the search for WMD in Iraq. Not surprising.

When I watched George deliver this line last night on television;

He drew applause when he declared that "Saddam Hussein was a threat to America and the free world in '91, in '98, in 2003".

I shook my head and laughed. It's always been a mystery to me how rabid conservatives reconciled themselves with their pages of 'wag the dog' accusations against Clinton in that '98 campaign and George's continuation of the policy. Both men even relied upon the same bogus information yet when George used it suddenly it became fact.

That Bush is now including this reference to Clinton's campaign in his own rhetoric tells me just how desperate his administration is to quell this 'revisionist' investigation.

Sad. Truly sad the hypocrisy that runs rampant these days.

I'm sure apologies to Clinton are in the mail, eh? They certainly aren't in the press. For the record I believe Bill 'wagged the dog'.

But back to the CIA. I will always remember the look on Robert Mueller's face when Bush made these comments during his January 2003 SOTU...he was absolutely fuming;

Since September the 11th, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have worked more closely than ever to track and disrupt the terrorists. The FBI is improving its ability to analyze intelligence, and is transforming itself to meet new threats.

Tonight, I am instructing the leaders of the FBI, the CIA, the Homeland Security and the Department of Defense to develop a Terrorist Threat Integration Center, to merge and analyze all threat information in a single location.

Our government must have the very best information possible, and we will use it to make sure the right people are in the right places to protect our citizens.

One agency accountable to no one with Tenet in charge.

Mueller was likely also upset that Bush touted the FBI's improved abilities to analyze intelligence considering their new computer program was plagued by delays and cost overruns.

CIA deliberately misled UN arms inspectors, says senator

The row over Iraq's missing weapons intensified in Washington yesterday as a leading Senate Democrat accused the CIA of deliberately misleading United Nations inspectors to help clear the decks for an invasion of Iraq.

The charge by Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, comes as Congress gears up for its own hearings into whether the Bush administration misinterpreted or manipulated pre-war intelligence on the scale of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

So what's my point?

For some time it's seemed to me that the Bush administration has worked in concert with key operatives in his Daddy's CIA to the exclusion of the FBI. They've done so not to 'secure the peace' but to build a case for forging ahead with the goals outlined in PNAC.

What I'm wondering now is if the CIA can stand up to microscopic scrutiny when and if it comes. For instance in this WP article Rand Beers not only resigned as a WH anti-terror adviser because of dodgy practices he witnessed but went to work for John Kerry. There have been grumblings within the rank and file of the CIA since the WH started its campaign against Iraq.

As well the British government does not seem to be as corrupt as its U.S. ally and not constrained by inside deals and oaths of loyalty to the point of submission so even if our own joke of a Congress fails to investigate this properly the blowback from any investigation the Brits do may be inescapable.

Finally the reason for the title of this post. The following is something sent out in e-mail form to subscribers of Steven Aftergood's updates. He maintains the Project On Government Secrecy located on the Federation of American Scientists website. I'm going to post it in full because it is an old mailing and I'm not sure how to find it as is on the site itself. I'm not going to italicise it to make for easier reading so know that everything beyond this point was written by Mr. Aftergood.


On the eve of war March 19, Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet paused to sign a 28 page statement opposing declassification of the Fiscal Year 2002 intelligence budget total.

"I have determined ... that the FY 2002 intelligence community aggregate budget figure must be withheld because its disclosure reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security and would tend to reveal intelligence sources and methods," DCI Tenet concluded.

The Tenet declaration was filed in D.C. District Court on April 4 as part of a government motion to dismiss a Federation of American Scientists lawsuit to compel release of the 2002 budget figure. The government motion and the Tenet declaration may be found here.

Ordinarily, this would be the end of the matter, since Freedom of Information Act case law in the D.C. District generally dictates that courts defer to agency heads such as the Director of Central Intelligence in disputes over national security information. There is, however, an exception to this rule for "contrary record evidence" or "evidence of agency bad faith."

In this case, there is evidence that DCI Tenet has grossly misrepresented the significance of the aggregate budget total. Briefly put, the aggregate figure is an artificial construct that has no intelligence significance or sensitivity whatsoever. It is a composite of several distinct budget categories (i.e., NFIP, JMIP and TIARA) that are independently generated, authorized and appropriated. As a result, its disclosure could have no adverse consequences on national security or intelligence sources and methods, as the declassification of the 1997 and 1998 budget totals demonstrated in practice.

Evidence to rebut the DCI's declaration will be presented in a reply to the government motion that is due on May 5.


The Bush Administration is audaciously pushing budget secrecy into new precincts of the congressional appropriations process where it had previously been unheard of.

"In what members said was an unprecedented move, Bush asked for the $2.5 billion [postwar Iraq] reconstruction fund to be appropriated to the White House itself," the Washington Post reported.

"A memo prepared by senior GOP staff for the House Appropriations Committee noted that the arrangement would erect a 'wall of executive privilege [that] would deny Congress and the Committee access to the management of the Fund. Decision-makers determining the allocation . . . could not be called as witnesses before hearings, and most fiscal data would be beyond the Committee's reach'."

See "U.S. Plan For Iraq's Future Is Challenged: Pentagon Control, Secrecy Questioned," by Karen DeYoung and Dan Morgan, Washington Post, April 6.

Meanwhile, routine budget justification documents are being inexplicably withheld from congressional appropriators, provoking anger even among Republican lawmakers who are sympathetic to the Administration.

Last week, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) abruptly adjourned a hearing of a House Appropriations Subcommittee because the requisite documents had not been delivered, Jim McGee reported in CQ Homeland Security, published by Congressional Quarterly, on April 4.

"The unusual display of resentment by Rogers, a respected Republican loyalist who takes pride in his congenial but businesslike review of agency budgets, brought to the surface weeks of tension on Capitol Hill over the legislative tactics of the Bush Administration," Mr. McGee wrote.

"We need those [budget] justifications to perform our Constitutional duty," said Rep. Rogers before terminating the hearing.

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