The CIA’s Congressional Mumblers and Dissemblers
Originally published by Ken Silverstein in Washington Babylon on Harpers.org. Emphasis added.
A former deep-cover CIA operative says the spy agency’s congressional briefers routinely shade the truth or hide facts altogether from congressional overseers. “They mumble, they dissemble, and there’s a lot of ‘on the one hand . . .’” said the retired official, who spent 25 years as a CIA operations officer but now writes blistering, unauthorized critiques of the spy agency using the pen name “Ishmael Jones.” …
The CIA deploys so many briefers to the Hill it’s hard for both the agency and intelligence committee members to reconstruct who said what to whom, he added. “Its enormous numbers of employees have led to briefings being handled by groups, with vague chains of command, so that it may have been difficult to pin down what was said, when it was said, and who was in charge,” Jones said of the CIA interrogation briefings.Jones also charged that, contrary to beliefs that the agency has a political agenda, “In reality the CIA is loyal only to itself. As long as Mrs. Pelosi supported its bureaucratic lifestyle, it supported her, but when she attacked it, it fought back. The CIA may not be able to conduct efficient intelligence operations, but it knows how to survive.” Reports that CIA managers were outraged or demoralized by the water-boarding controversy are wrong, Jones also maintained. To the contrary, he said, they felt that revelations of their interrogators roughing up, or even torturing, detainees made them look tough.