|Are the Good Guys actually the Bad Guys? Media.graytvinc.com|
Click here for related story [Greenwich-Post.com]
We are in the midst of still another scandal in which CIA's operational procedures have been revealed and reflect poorly on their "clandestine/covert/black" operations.
As a bit of history, the CIA was formed following World War II consequent to the National Security Act of 1947; the paramilitary OSS [Office of Strategic Services] was abolished, and the CIA came into being. The difficulty there was that the OSS First String players, mostly corporate executives, accomplished academics, scientists, and a herd of Blue-bloods returned to their pre-War professions, leaving the Second-String support group to fill the senior ranks of the new Intelligence Agency.
[We had the privilege of working with several of these gentlemen, to include Vernon Walters [DCI], Joseph Alsop [syndicated columnist], Bill Yarborough [father of the Green Berets], Willis H. Bird [created the Bangkok Stock Exchange]
The First String consisted men and women who could travel throughout the world and connect with their peers on any continent, and dine and drink with with newly minted Nazis and/or Communists who previously occupied the upper tier of the social strata. Through their professional contacts, the OSS operatives were able to recruit action agents and support networks which lasted well beyond the end of WWII, and which were then managed by the less socially adept Second String operational folk. Nonetheless, these recruited assets functioned well until they aged and left the "biz", or retired, or were rounded up by the Secret Police, tortured and/or executed following operational blunders by the Second String Agency "case officers."
As we entered the 1960s, the multi-lingual deep thinkers and professionals were exiting the CIA, leaving the FNGs [fucking new guys], who had been recruited from US police agencies and military Special Forces. They weren't bad people, and meant well, but they simply didn't have the finesse or international savoir faire which allowed them to move about from one social strata to the next. They routinely stood out like the traditional "sore thumb" in social situations, allowing the local security folks to easily identify them -- and the assets they "recruited."
Thus, the Clandestine Service suffered greatly in terms of finesse and intellect.
Worse, as the Clandestine Service declined in capability, the Covert operations element became synonymous with paramilitary operations, incorporating Special Forces personnel to combat Communist military units operating in regions in which the US had a "strategic interest." Among those regions were the Middle East and Southeast Asia, both of which were key to land and water-based international trade, and of course -- oil.
Initially, Covert Ops were designed for the neutralization of targeted enemy units, and later for the assassination of foreign leaders who disagreed with us. That included eliminating designated "bad guys" such as Salvadore Allende in Chile, Iranian leader Mohammad Mosaddegh [installing the Shah], Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat [installing Hosni Mubarak], and, of course, Vietnamese Leader Ngo Dinh Diem -- installing movable human fence posts and William Westmoreland to run the country.
With the CIA running both civilian and military strategy, equipped only with Third String Wannabes, the colossal screw-ups were a dime a dozen since, all too often, the CIA station chiefs and base chiefs had little or no experience in military or paramilitary operations, and would bring in Army Special Forces or Military Intelligence personnel who were fluent in both language and area expertise -- a process referred to in modern times as "sheep-dipping", i.e., shedding the military uniform and status and donning quasi-military garb and assuming rank much senior to local Military officers. The paramilitary Special Operations and/or Black Ops complete with armored vests and SWAT unit imagery has now replaced any refined espionage conducted via Clandestine Operations -- previously known as "Espionage" -- but that is another discussion entirely.
Yours truly was one of these "sheep-dipped" operators, selected on the basis of language skills, tactical military training, a graduate of Fort Holabird [the Military counterpart of the CIA's "Farm"] with in-depth training in clandestine and covert operations, and ultimately, in-depth area knowledge.
We enjoyed, as the Regional Intelligence Advisor, the peer status of a Brigadier General [sans uniform] in order to maintain the respect and cooperation of our foreign Military counterparts in directing one of the few successful counter-insurgency efforts in US history.
In so doing, we overcame the obstacle that only one of the CIA's officers had even a marginal degree of knowledge of the local language, and that deficit in another base led to one of the most spectacular SNAFUs in foreign intelligence lore -- referred to as "The Sakhon Nakon Letter"
[but that's fodder for another story].
[This is not to say that the CIA was totally devoid of linguistic and area expertise - as the subject of the referenced article, Jack Divine, was one of the few area experts the CIA could boast. We wouldn't mind seeing Jack heading up the CIA today. Over the years, we did meet a number of very professional CIA officers; but they were in the minority after the Church Committee purges.]
Now, boring as the preceding history lesson has been, it lays the groundwork for the problem the CIA now faces, i.e., disclosure that it is not terribly competent at espionage, but moreso at torture and murder. That would not be considered a "bad thing" except that such disclosures reflect poorly on the US image as "good guys", i.e, the purveyors of chocolate bars to lovable, little, foreign urchins as portrayed in our magazines and movies.
Inquisition. Now, to be fair, the objective of the Inquisitors was simply to force their victims to renounce Satan, or their Abbots, or the head of the Jesuits, or Islam. A simple "yes" or "no" was the usual objective, but it was so much more fun to see how much pain could be inflicted before the victims offered up their agonized confessions to whatever their interrogators sought for satisfaction.
But, that was so, so far in the past that most folk today have completely forgotten that era.
And, God forbid anyone make reference to Christ in that scenario; how does one rationalize the compassionate teachings of Christ with the savagery of Holy Mother Church embodied in the Inquisition.
And how do we, as Americans, accept the debauchery conducted by our Intelligence operatives as "acceptable torture"!
But, just as the Inquisitors sought
answers -- and the consummate auto-ca-fe' , so too have the CIA leadership as they rationalized torture for the sake of torture rather than the elicitation of actionable intelligence.
Since the CIA does not train expert interrogators anymore, they have reached into the bowels of the Military for such expertise.
The value of using Military personnel for egregious acts was, that if compromised, the CIA leadership would immediately report to the SSCI [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] and the HPSCI [House Permanent SubCommittee on Intelligence] and pronounce the latest debacle the fault of Military Intelligence, since, after all, the perps were indeed Military folk engaged in "Intelligence" operations [albeit under the direction of the CIA]. The bottom line of these testimonials was that these SNAFUs were still more evidence that Military Intelligence should be placed under the direct supervision of the CIA.
Unfortunately, they have not tapped into the valuable Military Intelligence resources of trained and highly skilled interrogators with decades of experience, but rather, the CIA has routinely used their Military Liaison Office to acquire thugs from the Marines or the Special Operations organizations. Keep in mind, these are guys [and some women] who are trained in black ops, stealth, and fatal shoot-em-ups to satisfy a momentary objective.
Now, we're not condemning these folk, since many are God-fearing, highly religious people who firmly believe that, like their Inquisitor counterparts, the more a prisoner shrieks in pain and anguish, the greater the intelligence gain. The difficulty with that approach is that, after a period of time, the prisoner will admit to any heinous act, up to and including voting for President Obama or sleeping with Michelle. In essence, there is no positive result of torture as an intelligence tool.
This is an area in which we have considerable expertise, since we have conducted several hundred interrogations in foreign engagements in a non-hostile fashion, eliciting well over 1,000 IIRs [DoD Intelligence Information Reports] and TD-FIRs [CIA Field Intelligence Reports], the bulk of which were highly rated by the analytical community. Not a drop of blood was spilled; no fingernails pulled; no eyes gouged out; no teeth pulled with pliers as in the Marathon Man.
Routinely, our interrogations were mere question-and-answer periods, with the tacit threat that lying would result in transfer to the less desirable facilities managed by sadistic interrogators. The worst we could be accused of was psychological manipulation -- a craft at which we were quite skilled, and which produced marvelous results.
We were challenged, at one point, by an Infantry colonel at Fort Huachuca who professed he could endure ANY form of interrogation and never reveal a nugget of useful information. We provided the audience a list of actionable intelligence information we intended to extract, and then proceeded to do so to the great delight of the audience which ticked off each new nugget.
When we concluded the two hour interrogation demonstration, the colonel smirked and announced his victory over us in not revealing any valuable information; to his dismay, we then posted each element of information he had revealed which my analyst had then converted into a detailed description of his unit, his key personnel, the full listing of his unit's equipment and readiness, radio call signs, areas of operation, and his mission objective. He remembered revealing none of that information until I played back video clips of each element -- which we then compiled into our Interrogation Report. He was mortified.
Now, in that post-Vietnam era, we had formed and commanded a tactical training detachment which trained more than 1,000 US Military units in all phases of tactical intelligence, among which was the art of interrogation. Within the Military units we trained [from battalions through corps], we had refined the techniques of several thousand interrogators, many of whom proved themselves in the first Gulf War, and most of whom remained in the Army Reserves following the Gulf War.
The point of this discussion is that interrogation is an art form which requires extensive training and refinement to achieve the desired results. Bringing in the knuckle-draggers guarantees failure, no matter what the CIA leadership tells Congress.
We really do need to review the Church Commission and Pike Committee findings of the 1970s to see the comparisons of the abuses of the Intelligence Community then those we've seen revealed today. Those investigations revealed horrendous activities which can only be matched by today's revelations by Fast Eddie Snowden. Has history repeated itself?
To offset the CIA's incorporation of paramilitary operations which displaced Clandestine [Espionage] operations in Military Target Areas, in 1984 we formed the DCS [Defense Clandestine Service (codename not disclosed)] by which we deployed highly skilled, well trained, linguistically qualified, area experts to conduct espionage operations around the world.
Our compromise in this enterprise was that we would work hand-in-glove with the CIA, to include sending our new case officers to train at "The Farm" since Fort Holabird had long since closed. Nonetheless, while the CIA focused on penetrating the KGB and running paramilitary ops, we focused solely on penetrating terrorist organizations and the military of foreign countries which we gauged as potential or actual adversaries.
The DCS was quite a success and received accolades from both the SSCI and the HPSCI for the extraordinary amounts of actionable intelligence it produced -- without a single paramilitary operation! or even a SNAFU.
|Flynn: Destroyed DCS|
Meanwhile, both Flynn and his deputy were relieved of their posts -- and on a very personal note, may they both rot in hell for destroying the DCS.