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Now HERE’S a cheery headline

Posted by Charles II on November 17, 2008

Ex-CIA Officials Tied to Rendition Program and Faulty Iraq Intel Tapped to Head Obama’s Intelligence Transition Team

It’s from a DemocracyNow! interview of CIA analyst Melvin Goodman and CCR head Michael Ratner.

AMY GOODMAN:No appointees have been named as yet, but questions are already being raised about the people heading Obama’s transition efforts on intelligence policy. John Brennan and Jami Miscik, both former intelligence officials under George Tenet, are leading the review of intelligence agencies and helping make recommendations to the new administration. …

MELVIN GOODMAN: OK. John Brennan was deputy executive secretary to George Tenet during the worst violations during the CIA period in the run-up to the Iraq war, so he sat there at Tenet’s knee when they passed judgment on torture and abuse, on extraordinary renditions, on black sites, on secret prisons. He was part of all of that decision making.

Jami Miscik was the Deputy Director for Intelligence during the run-up to the Iraq war. So she went along with the phony intelligence estimate of October 2002, the phony white paper that was prepared by Paul Pillar in October 2002. She helped with the drafting of the speech that Colin Powell gave to the United Nations—[inaudible] 2003, which made the phony case for war to the international community.

So, when George Tenet said, “slam dunk, we can provide all the intelligence you need,” [inaudible] to the President in December of 2002, it was people like Jami Miscik and John Brennan who were part of the team who provided that phony intelligence. So what I think people at the CIA are worried about—and I’ve talked to many of them over the weekend—is that there will never be any accountability …

I am not surprised. Let’s just hope that whistleblowers will still come forward and tell the truth, even if they face a less than optimal leadership at the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

8 Responses to “Now HERE’S a cheery headline”

  1. Are there any high-level intel people we can trust and who are decent human beings?

  2. Reminds me: There was an AP story today that stated that Obama’s administration didn’t plan to prosecute torturers — but what the AP story didn’t say was that the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act makes that all but impossible anyway. However, going after the architects of torture might well be possible.

  3. Charles II said

    Well, never forget that Melvin Goodman and Ray McGover, two incredibly decent people, are former CIA analysts.

    But, as with all hierarchies, the people who get promoted tend to be the ones who swallow the Kool Aid. So I wouldn’t look for too many decent people at high levels.

  4. MEC said

    I’d enjoy watching heads explode if Obama brought in Valerie Plame as an adviser.

  5. IIRC, Suskind in his One Percent Solution portrayed Jami Miscik as pushing back vigorously against the pressure to produce that white paper. She kept writing versions that were too honest, Cheney kept sending them back for unspecified revisions (though everybody knew what lies he wanted). And in the end her boss blew up at Cheney’s goons and said this is the final cut, stop leaning on her.

    So, to the extent one trusts Suskind (and one has to take into account his casting Tenet as pretty much the hero of the piece), Miscik may have gone along to get along, but she did it with bad grace and good instincts.

    Brennan is more worrisome to me.

  6. Charles II said

    Tenet as hero, pt?

    Tenet clearly has a great agent, but he was Bush’s willing servant. I like Suskind, but think that he may have been too desperate to find a good guy in an agency that is led by sycophants and worse.

  7. pt bridgeport said

    Yeah, Charles. I put a lot of trust in Suskind’s journalistic chops, and Solution contains a lot of valuable information. But it’s clear that Tenet must have been a principal source, as well as being highly regarded by some of Suskind’s other spook sources. Consequently, Suskind seems to have gone overboard in his gratitude for the war stories.

    Still, the anecdote about Miscik hating the politicization, and trying to dig in her heels against it, is bound to have serious founding in fact. Obama needs people around who know the spook world. None of them are going to be pure, so I’m willing to settle for one who wasn’t eagerly sycophantic.

  8. Charles II said

    I’m with MEC. Valerie Plame for DNI.

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