Today the CIA released their full 'family jewels' report detailing 25 years of Agency misdeeds. It is now available on the National Security Archive's Web site. The 702-page collection was delivered by CIA officers to the Archive at approximately 11:30 this morning -- 15 years after the Archive filed a Freedom of Information request for the documents. (Dick Cheney, your turn is next.)
"Most of it is unflattering, but it is CIA's history", said CIA Director Michael V. Hayden. Some of the cables and memos from the 50's to 1975 are very informative, even if many excisions remain.The airing of the dirty laundry list includes: behavior modification experiments on "unwitting" U.S. citizens, assassination plots against Castro, Lumumba, and Trujillo (on the latter, "no active part" but a "faint connection" to the killers, and surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971. Most of this has been leaked along time ago before to journalists such as Sy Hersh. so there are unlikely to be any new 'smoking guns'.
Mark Kleiman gives the cautionary but hardly reassuring caveat of intel specialist and UCLA colleague Amy Zegart:
" The CIA's newfound glasnost only applies to ancient history. For the past 2 years, the agency has steadfastly refused to release ANY of its internal review of 9/11 intelligence failures, despite repeated and often bipartisan requests by the Senate Intelligence Committee."
(Kleiman continues) Zegart's thesis adviser at Stanford was Condoleezza Rice (that must have been quite an experience). Her first book was on why the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Council, and the CIA were all designed to fail due to the bureaucratic pressures that shaped the National Security Act of 1947. She is about to come out with a new book called 'Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11'. I've read it in manuscript, and it's a bombshell (this August).
Zegart admitted in September 2004 that she is not too optimistic. "I believe it will take another catastrophic terrorist attack at a minimum, and even that may not be enough -- because the barriers to reform are so deeply entrenched and so high."
Of course, having principal actors as complacent as Condoleezza Rice, her former thesis advisor in high positions, such as the National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State doesn't seem to have helped.
And the current situation ... What is the cooperation like between the CIA, FBI, the State Department and Homeland Security on terrorism, given George Bush's almost daily reminder to the nation that this is his number one priority? As you might expect from this administration that's very strong in rhetoric but very weak in execution, according to the Government Accountability Office, 'Bad cooperation hurts terror probes'.
The Justice, State and Homeland Security Departments have all made it clear they want to help other countries prevent terrorism. They're not nearly as clear about how they plan to do that. Such lack of clarity leaves U.S. agencies unsure about their international responsibilities and may have compromised several counter-terrorism operations overseas".
UPDATE: For those very interested in the 'Family Jewels', 'The New York Times' has assembled a panel of experts, working through the night, interpreting the newly declassified information.
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