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Posts Tagged ‘Panetta’

Here’s what I’m wondering: When CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress last month that he and the CIA had lied to Congress in the past, was he lying or telling the truth?  When an agency that is charged with providing information also gets into the disinformation business, how do you know which product is being provided to you, since they are expert at both? And if you know they have lied to you, how do you know you can trust them ever again?

The question to be asked is this: has the CIA, as a result of its complete loyalty to the regal Bush administration and thereby its participation in the cover-up of torture, as well as the providing of completely false information that was used to justify the Iraq War, become “beyond salvage”? Or can the CIA be fixed, and if so how do we fix it and even more, how do we confirm that it is fixed?

Things shouldn’t be like this.  The Central Intelligence Agency was created for a definite mission that is necessary for the defense of America.  For more than half a century the CIA has provided invaluable service to many Presidents and to the country.  It’s stated mission and goals are lofty and admirable. So what went wrong? How can it be that one of our most dedicated, pro-American, self-sacrificing organizations finds itself cross-threaded with the United States House of Representatives and maybe the Senate too?

The fundamental problem lies not with the CIA.  The CIA has tried to follow what it has been told is the chain of command, and it has done so to a fault.  They just followed orders, like good clandestine soldiers.  However, in this case, there was no other possible outcome because there is a fundamental flaw in the way our government is structured.  The CIA serves the President of the United States. They take orders from the President – not the House of Representatives and not the Senate.  However, the Congress does have oversight responsibility of the CIA, i.e, they have the authority to know what is going on in case some laws are being broken and so forth. But what happens if the President tells the CIA not to tell Congress what is going on? What if the President tells the CIA to lie to Congress?  Then whose orders do they follow, the President’s or those of Congress?  I believe we have excellent illustration here of the truth of the saying, “No man can serve two masters.”

It appears that the CIA Director Leon Panetta chose to follow the orders of the President.  Oh, wait.  Are you thinking that maybe George or Dick wasn’t involved? Could it be that good clandestine soldier Leon was just deceiving Congress for the Hell of it????  Was he just going rogue????  Right.

A Congressional investigation is almost sure to happen now.  Isn’t it? I mean how could Congress not try to find out exactly what went wrong? Surely they want to know.  Don’t they? They’re not afraid of what they’ll find are they?

The problem with the CIA trying to satisfy two masters is not unusual.  The same is true for the Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force.  They all have a Commander in Chief, i.e. the President, and they all serve him too. This also includes all the civil servants who make up a good part of our government work force. In fact, not too many people report to Congress, do they? Which is probably why there is so much unhappiness among civil servants when a Congressman or Senator writes language in a Bill instructing money to be spent on some project that wasn’t in the “President’s budget”. It’s like the Civil Servants believe that the Congress has no right to participate in these decisions.  Except that it does. It’s in the Constitution.  It’s the way our government is structured. Checks and balances and so forth so we won’t have any more tyrants like King George.

Yes, although it makes a lot of government employees very unhappy, Congress does have a say.  It does have authority. Our President is not a monarch – something George Bush and Dick Cheney never quite realized.  It seems that these two characters happily manipulated the system, taking advantage of the delicate relationship between the powers of the Executive and the Congress…..  Actually, they just steamrolled Congress, let’s face it.  They got away with everything they wanted and they had people, like CIA Director Panetta, do the dirty work for them.  Like lying to Congress, I’m guessing. I know – it’s a wild and crazy guess.

Now, I suppose Panetta will pay the price for his loyalty to King George Bush.  On the other hand, if he didn’t lie to Congress, he probably would have lost his job a long time ago. (If my tenuous hypothesis is right, of course) Basically Leon was in a lose – lose situation from the beginning, he just didn’t know it.  He thought he was doing his job, being loyal to the King… uh..President.  The real problem was that the President and Vice President didn’t seem to be too loyal to the people or the Constitution, and so we were all in a lose – lose situation. And now, like Leon, we have to pay the price too.

But what about my original question? Can we trust the CIA? Yes, of course we can – just as much as we trust our President, no more and no less.

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