Monday, June 04, 2007

Cleaning up George’s Mess—Part 8: Intelligence

By now we all know that the Bush Regime not only pressured the intelligence services to produce evidence that would justify the invasion of Iraq, they actually distorted it when they didn’t like what they saw. James Bamford tells the story in the “Intelligence” section of “Undoing Bush” in Harper’s Magazine.

He begins by reminding us that the most significant intelligence error by the Bushies has been to treat terrorism not as a crime to be dealt with by intelligence and law enforcement agencies, but as “an existential military threat.” (Among other consequences of this decision, our policy has actually pushed much of the Middle East into the arms of terrorists who easily use our military excesses as recruiting tools.)
“An April 2006 report from the administration’s own director of national intelligence found that ‘the Iraq conflict has become the “cause celebre” for jihadists’ and was ‘shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives.’”
Meanwhile, where are bin Laden and his main henchmen?

Although we can’t change the fact that we’ve screwed up in Iraq, Bamford says the next president can at least undo Bush’s “aversion to intelligence.” Some of the intelligence bureaucracy could be eliminated, including the director of national intelligence and the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, both redundant positions that impede intelligence and bypass the CIA. Shifting control of intelligence away from the Pentagon to the CIA could help avert the kinds of manipulation that Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld will be remembered for.

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