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Friday, May 05, 2006

the Porter Goss resignation

The sudden resignation of Porter J. Goss from the CIA today, while inspiring spirited discussion of Republican scandal and insider speculation as to why Goss resigned, drives a different train of thought in my mind.

All the evidence from Washington points to, to use Congresswoman Jane Harman's words, not simply a "freefall" at the CIA but also raises deeply troubling questions regarding the Bush administration's use and abuse of United States' intelligence gathering as a whole.

For one, Goss's resignation marks the second markedly abrubt resignation of a CIA director in the space of two years. In the wake of 9/11, the Plame scandal, and in the midst of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has now seen two CIA directors leave suddenly, neither providing much explanation or, significantly, time to provide for a smooth transition for a successor in a time of crisis. There is no way to spin this in a positive light. This is disturbing stuff from an oftentimes already disturbing agency. Either the agency is in freefall, or it is subject to behind-the-scenes machinations that make it look that way...and perhaps both. Either way, this kind of "bush league" turbulence spells trouble.

In the meantime, the creation of the Cabinet level position of Director of National Intelligence, a position currently held by former ambassador to Iraq, and Iran/Contra figure, John Negroponte, is hardly common knowledge. It's worth a look.

It may come as a surprise to most Americans that the President now receives his daily intelligence briefings from DNI Director Negroponte, whose oversight of the United States Intelligence Community is hardly clear, even from their own less than impressive website. (Click on this link. As a citizen, does that web page make you feel safer or better informed? The words "hardly reassuring" come to mind. This wiki link is slightly more informative.)

As it stands, U.S. citizens, almost five years after 9/11, and in the midst of a war in Iraq whose central questions continue to revolve around the Bush administration's misuse of intelligence, stand witness to a CIA in revolving door freefall. And while we have little knowledge of the man and the institution giving the President his daily intelligence briefings, we have even less sense how DNI Director Negroponte might be held accountable to us. That's relevant.

With reports that the President is poised to nominate, at Negroponte's suggestion, General Michael Hayden, one of the central figures in the domestic spying scandal, and someone who may well have lied about it to Congress, to replace Porter Goss at the CIA, at this point, viewing the Goss resignation simply in terms of GOP scandal seems to me myopic.

To abuse a phrase.....something is rotten in the state of U.S. Intelligence. The challenge facing this country is to determine what exactly the Bush/Cheney administration is cooking up behind the scenes with the DNI and exactly how far the freefall at the CIA has gone. What would a "health report" of the nation's intelligence read in May of 2006? It's long past time to open the windows and have a thorough accounting and Congressional oversight.

We have a right to know and they've told us less than nothing. Which could just about be a phrase that sums up the Bush administration as a whole. General Hayden's emergence....just after the wires closed for tommorrow's papers...stinks to high heaven.

When it comes to the Bush administration's use and abuse of U.S. Intelligence, it goes without saying: if you're not concerned, you just haven't been paying attention.

3 Comments:

  • The sudden resignation of Porter J. Goss from the CIA... To abuse a movie quote:

    Sheriff: What could have done that to him? Bribe-taking? Hookers?
    Agent Rogersz: It happens sometimes. People just resign. Natural causes.

    By Blogger &y, at 8:13 AM  

  • Something here smells totally fishy about Goss and his implication in the hooker scandal, which is barely getting a peep in the mainstream media - at least George Stephanopoulos laid out the situation nicely this morning.

    By Anonymous Archana, at 4:21 PM  

  • ==Narus ST-6400 and NarusInsight by Narus Ltd.==
    Under Gen. Michael V. Hayden the NSA has forced tecom companies to implement massive domestic spying hardware. Even though Gen. Hayden has said at the National Press Club that "As the director, I was the one responsible to ensure that this program was limited in its scope and disciplined in its application." The NarusInsight is one type of domestic spying hardware. Capable of monitoring 10 billion bits of data per second in real-time. This means the NarusInsight can monitor an OC-192 in realtime. For reference 10 billion bits is 10 million Kbts, divide that by the average DSL user witch is 256 Kbts (10000000/256) you get monitoring of 39062.5 DSL lines in realtime for every piece of hardware. After data capture Narus softeware can replay data. What does this mean well acrodding too Narus website "Capabilities include playback of streaming media (for example, VoIP), rendering of Web pages, examination of e-mails and the ability to analyze the payload/attachments of e-mail or file transfer protocols." Think of it as Tivo for the internet able to replay 39000 US DSL users activity in realtime for every piece of hardware.
    References:
    Narus Ltd http://narus.com,
    NATIONAL PRESS CLUB Transcript: http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/library/news/2006/intell-060123-dni01.htm http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1564046/posts
    Hoover's company factsheet: http://www.hoovers.com/narus/--ID__60701--/free-co-factsheet.xhtml
    Report by bewert: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/8/14724/28476
    EFF case against AT&T http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/att_complaint_amended.pdf
    All websits have been saved to preserve history.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:47 PM  

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