How Obama Hurt the CIA and National Security

At the Central Intelligence Agency, it’s known as “slow rolling.” That’s what agency officers sometimes do on politically sensitive assignments. They go through the motions; they pass cables back and forth; they take other jobs out of the danger zone; they cover their backsides.

By David Ignatius
The Washington Post

Sad to say, it’s slow roll time at Langley after the release of interrogation memos that, in the words of one veteran officer, “hit the agency like a car bomb in the driveway.” President Obama promised CIA officers that they won’t be prosecuted for carrying out lawful orders, but the people on the firing line don’t believe him. They think the memos have opened a new season of investigation and retribution.

The lesson for younger officers is obvious: Keep your head down. Duck the assignments that carry political risk. Stay away from a counterterrorism program that has become a career hazard.

Obama tried personally to reassure the CIA workforce during a visit to Langley on Monday. He said all the right things about the agency’s clandestine role. But it had the look of a campaign event, with employees hooting and hollering and the president reading from his teleprompter with a backdrop of stars that commemorate the CIA’s fallen warriors. By yesterday, Obama was deferring to the attorney general whether to prosecute “those who formulated those legal decisions,” whatever that means.

Obama seems to think he can have it both ways — authorizing an unprecedented disclosure of CIA operational methods and at the same time galvanizing a clandestine service whose best days, he told them Monday, are “yet to come.” Life doesn’t work that way — even for charismatic politicians. Disclosure of the torture memos may have been necessary, as part of an overdue campaign to change America’s image in the world. But nobody should pretend that the disclosures weren’t costly to CIA morale and effectiveness.

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One Response to “How Obama Hurt the CIA and National Security”

  1. futiledemocracy Says:

    “CIA operational methods” – beautifully eloquent way of saying “torture”.
    And let’s face it, even if they were “innocent” they’re arabs, and so don’t believe in Jesus Christ, and so they deserve it.

    Those poor CIA operatives. All they were doing was torturing people who might be terrorists, or might know a terrorist, or might have said the word “terrorist” before, and now they might go to prison. I mean, if I start to torture a bunch of muslims, and then I get threatened with prosecution, I might just have to cry my victimised self to sleep.

    Courtesy of: The British Republican

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