Sunday, August 14, 2011

Government Brutally Silences Yet Another Dissident

Just kidding. His name is Richard Clarke, and he's taking the CIA to task for what appears to be his own incompetence.

His complaint is old: The CIA and the FBI, because of their parochialism and the great walls of red tape, were unable to effectively coordinate the trailing of al Qaeda members in 2000 and 2001. It goes unnoted that the dismantling of this great wall was a chief aim of the CIA and the Bush Administration immediately after 9/11 – nor that the sudden appearance of what looks an awful lot like an effective if monolithic intelligence community is also a chief complaint of 9/11 deniers, and yet here they are trotting out the existence of such as an indictment of the Bush and Obama Administrations.

We know 9/11 deniers already latched onto this claim and needed only a Federal official with a book coming out to hit the press circuit and defrost it.

Yet this version was particularly baffling to me, as they seem to point to Clarke’s own staggering incompetence on the issue. Around minute three:

Every morning I come in and I turn on my computer, and I get a hundred to a hundred-fifty CIA reports. ..You have to intentionally stop it, you have to intervene and say, ‘No, I don’t want that to go.’ And I never got a report to that effect.

So, as we are all grizzled Microsoft Outlook users, let’s assess this claim: The intel chief didn’t get an automatic update, and wasn’t sure how to go about getting it when it didn’t just land in his inbox.

I’m baffled as to how this claim is spreading back over the 9/11 denier community. Richard Clarke, whose real and valiant work in the name of intelligence reform has certainly saved many lives (and led in no small part to the much-bitched-about “drone war” focus of intelligence strikes), is a godsend to 9/11 deniers. He throws out complaints until they stick and, among them, quotes are mined that point to malfeasance. I’m hearing nothing even bordering on malfeasance. I’m hearing about an intelligence chief who was not proactive in digesting intelligence.

For those keeping score, this further adds to the tally of “people to blame” saddling already-sagging 9/11 denier claims: “Forty-eight CIA officials” who could have forwarded him those reports, but didn’t.

We therefore conclude that there was a high-order decision within the CIA ordering people not to share this information. I think it would have to be made by the director.

Ah, scratch that. Given that reports migrate upward, this may wind up in the hundreds.

Also, come on guys: Godspeed You! Black Emperor is a great band. Let’s not abuse their music in this fashion.

Clarke claims that this is the one species of report that was suddenly redacted from his daily clips. I call shenanigans. What was the through rate on those reports? Given that he could recall “100 to 150” reports landing in his box every day, how did this reporting fluctuate? From where? Just on Al Qaeda, or were there other reports Clarke about which never felt sufficiently motivated to call up his “friends” at the CIA and inquire?

Whose intern didn’t hit which “send” button? How were they ‘kept quiet’ after 9/11? Who was reprimanded on Clarke’s staff for the failure? And why is this being repackaged as a complaint against the CIA? Anyone? Please.

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