Thursday, July 9, 2009

Insulting Our Intelligence

The headline was buried at the bottom of page 11A of my Detroit Free Press this morning, a rare A.M. when I'm lucky enough to get a real-life newspaper plopped onto my doorstep.

It was given newspaper real estate normally reserved for the ho-hum, oh-by-the-way types of stories.

CIA director says agency has misled Congress since 2001

Well, well, isn't that something?

Or maybe not.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress last month, in letters revealed yesterday, that his agency has been naughty. Of course, it's a lot easier to spill beans when those beans were gathered prior to your watch.

Anyhow, Panetta told Congress that senior CIA officials have concealed "significant" actions and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001.

Now I know why this got the bum steer when it comes to prime location in the paper.

This, in more perfect times, ought to have been Earth-shattering news. This should have shocked and stunned and dismayed us.

But the Freep got it right; they accorded it the newsworthiness that it deserves.

For if anyone is truly shocked and dismayed that the CIA has been fibbing, even to members of Congress, then that person is either hopelessly idealistic or just plain hopeless.


CIA Director Leon Panetta


House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, had this to say.

"These notifications have led me to conclude that this committee has been misled, has not been provided full and complete notifications, and (in at least one case) was affirmatively lied to," Reyes wrote in a letter to Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Holland, MI, the committee's senior Republican.

Reyes also indicated that he's considering opening a full investigation.

Good luck with that.

Panetta, it's presumed, brought everything to the committee's attention because he wanted to serve notice that the agency, under his watch, won't engage in those sorts of things.

I believe Leon Panetta means well, but I also believe that there have been rogue elements within the CIA and probably there always will be.

The CIA has, for too many years, acted in a brazen, cocky manner in too many instances. I firmly believe there are those within its walls who believe the agency to be above the law.

Or to the right or left of the law, or below it, or hiding from it. Something.

It struck me how little newspaper space Panetta's revelation received, at least from the Free Press. A sign of the times, I s'pose.

CIA spokesman George Little piled on.

"It is not the policy or practice of the CIA to mislead Congress," Little said in a statement to the Associated Press. "This agency and its director believe it is vital to keep the Congress fully and currently informed. Director Panetta's actions back that up."

It's not the director you have to worry about, though. It's the minions slithering below the surface who ought to give you the shakes.

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