ON THE ONGOING CONVULSIONS AT THE CIA, Douglas Jehl writes:
Porter J. Goss, the new intelligence chief, has told Central Intelligence Agency employees that their job is to “support the administration and its policies in our work,” a copy of an internal memorandum shows.
“As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies,” Mr. Goss said in the memorandum, which was circulated late on Monday. He said in the document that he was seeking “to clarify beyond doubt the rules of the road.”
While his words could be construed as urging analysts to conform with administration policies, Mr. Goss also wrote, “We provide the intelligence as we see it — and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker.”
This is clearly a war about loyalty to a White House that many agents feel exploited intelligence management protocols and process.
The danger for progressives in this debate is that they not automatically become CIA-huggers. The agency is a sprawling one, often positioning its institutional prerogatives in competition with other parts of the intel bureaucracy, often at the expense of important American security interests.
The public has so few real parameters for understanding this CIA mess that we need more Michael Scheuer‘s to step forward anonymously or publicly to lay out the corner of debate from the purview of analysts or operatives that we are not seeing.
There is considerable discussion in the public posts after my post on the CIA yesterday arguing that there is no safe and easy way for disaffected CIA personnel to be in touch with me electronically.
Seymour Hersh told me that he often talks to senior DoD officials and his other sources by phone — but some feel it’s not safe. He flies out of the country in some cases to meet his sources.
That is tough for me to do — but I’m sure that smart agents, analysts, operatives who would like to anonymously discuss the state of war within the agency will find a way to get to me.
I’ll post opportunities now and then, one being a major conference on the current state of al Qaeda that I am organizing with CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen and NYU Law School Center for Law and Security Executive Director Karen Greenberg.
I’ll soon post more on this conference but it will run from 8 a.m. through 5:30 p.m. on December 2nd and will take place in the Caucus Room of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C. I will be helping to M.C. the event.
In any case, agents — find me, write to me, or give me a call from a pay phone.
— Steve Clemons