Monday, June 30, 2003
William Pitt digs the dirt on CIA from former agent ::: Service From Kennedy to Bush. Sr.
And ::: thoughts on Bush II
Excerpts ::: Read all at 27 Year CIA Vet
PITT: With all of your background, and with all the time that you spent in the CIA, can you tell me why you are speaking out now about the foreign policy issues that are facing this country?
McG: It’s actually very simple. There’s an inscription at the entrance to the CIA, chiseled into the marble there, which reads, “You Shall Know The Truth, And The Truth Shall Set You Free.” Not many folks realize that the primary function of the Central Intelligence Agency is to seek the truth regarding what is going on abroad and be able to report that truth without fear or favor. In other words, the CIA at its best is the one place in Washington that a President can turn to for an unvarnished truthful answer to a delicate policy problem. We didn’t have to defend State Department policies, we didn’t have to make the Soviets seem ten feet tall, as the Defense Department was inclined to do. We could tell it like it was, and it was very, very heady. We could tell it like it was and have career protection for doing that. In other words, that’s what our job was.
When you come out of that ethic, when you come out of a situation where you realize the political pressures to do it otherwise – you’ve seen it, you’ve been there, you’ve done that – and your senior colleagues face up to those pressures as have you yourself, and then you watch what is going on today, it is disturbing in the extreme. You ask yourself, “Do I not have some kind of duty, by virtue of my experience and my knowledge of these things, do I not have some kind of duty to speak out here and tell the rest of the American people what’s going on?”
PITT: Do you feel as though the ‘truth-telling’ abilities of the CIA, the ability to come in with data without fear of reprisal or career displacement, has been abrogated by this administration?
McG: It has been corroded, or eroded, very much. A lot of it has to do with who is Director. In the best days, under Colby for example, or John McCone, we had very clear instructions. I myself, junior as I was in those days, would go up against Henry Kissinger and tell it like we thought it was. I was not winning any friends there, by any stretch, but I came back proud for having done my job. That was because Colby told me to do that, and I worked directly for him. I also worked directly for George Bush I, and he, I have to say to his great credit, acted the same way. He was very careful to keep himself out of policy advocacy, and he told it like it was.
Smoking Guns ::: September 11 to Iraq
PITT: On September 26 2001, George Bush II went down to the CIA, put an arm around Tenet, and said that he had a “report” for the American people, that we have the best possible intelligence thanks to the good people at the CIA. We’ve come a fair piece down the road since then, and if you read through the news these days, you get the definite sense that the Bush administration is attempting to lay blame for the fact that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, to lay blame for that at the feet of the CIA. Furthermore, by all appearances, the months of reports the administration put out about Iraq’s weapons capabilities are not turning out to be accurate. To no small extent, it appears that there is a scapegoating process taking place here. What is your take on this?
McG: It is interesting that you would go back to September 26, because that was a very key performance on the part of our President. Here was an agency that was created expressly to prevent another Pearl Harbor. That was why the CIA was created originally in 1947. Harry Truman was hell-bent on making sure that, if there were little pieces of information spread around the government, that they all came to one central intelligence agency, one place where they could be collated and analyzed, and the analysis be given to policy people.
So here is September 11, the first time since Pearl Harbor that this system failed. It was worse than Pearl Harbor. More people were killed on September 11 than were killed at Pearl Harbor, and where were the pieces? They were scattered all around the government, just like they were before Pearl Harbor. For George Bush to go out to CIA headquarters and put his arm around George Tenet and tell the world that we have the best intelligence services in the world, this really called for some analysis, if you will.
My analysis is that George Bush had no option but to keep George Tenet on as Director, because George Tenet had warned Bush repeatedly, for months and months before September 11, that something very bad was about to happen.
PITT: There was the August 6 2001 briefing…
McG: On August 6, the title of the briefing was, “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US,” and that briefing had the word “Hijacking” in it. That’s all I know about it, but that’s quite enough. In September, Bush had to make a decision. Is it feasible to let go of Tenet, whose agency flubbed the dub on this one? And the answer was no, because Tenet knows too much about what Bush knew, and Bush didn’t know what to do about it. That’s the bottom line for me.
After Hearing America Was About To Be Attacked ::: Bush Decided To Chop Wood
::: Kinda Reminds You Of Reading A Goat Story, Huh?
Bush was well-briefed. Before he went off to Texas to chop wood for a month like Reagan did in California, he was told all these things. He didn’t even have the presence of mind to convene his National Security Council, and say, “OK guys, we have all these reports, what are we going to do about it?” He just went off to chop wood.
PITT: Now why is that? There are people in America who believe this kind of behavior was deliberate – the administration was repeatedly warned and nothing was done about those warnings. It smacks of deliberate policy for a lot of people. This is the current World Heavyweight Champion of conspiracy theories