Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA

Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Scared Of The CIA (via Techdirt)

Over the past few months, one thing we keep hearing over and over again from defenders of the intelligence community is that everything is under control and “legal” because Congress has powerful oversight. We’ve shown, repeatedly, how that’s something…


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14 Responses

  1. .
    If the Obama Administration is so afraid of Bush’s Generals that it took Stan McChrystal openly ridiculing the Prez before anyone would call him to heel,
    and the military is supposed to be under the direct control of the Chain of Command whose pictures are posted up on the wall of the Orderly Room,

    What chance is there that a Donilon or Rice or McDonough is going to call a CIA Director in on the carpet ?
    And without a functioning Congress,
    what chance that career CIA-types are going to care what political appointees tell them to do ?

    Speaking as a minnow,
    I’m taking some comfort that the big fish are getting caught and fried.

  2. Congress being managed by the “kind and gentle” hand of the NRA and AIPAC is a bit different than the sort of hardball with which CIA (or the NSA) might approach the chore.

    ASSUMING we can get past that American Exceptionalism hang-up, and consider the natural dispositions and actions of intelligence services historically, things very quickly come into a clear and plausible focus. You betcha Congress is afraid of the community, especially as it has evolved over the past decade.

    I liked that post on the right side of the new IC format on how America is now a Managed Democracy. There’s an interesting, and to be fair, reasonable argument, you can get into whether this is in the best interests of the US, but its getting hard to not see things for what it they are.

  3. US intelligence now owns America. What it can surveille is unknown and uncontrolled. Its funding is secret. What it can share, with whom and what, is secret. Those who protest or reveal are persecuted. Those who become subservient and cooperate are rewarded. Protestations of limits, law, civilian control, and transparency by the intelligence community has consistently and nearly completely been shown to be lies, with reality of surveillance depth still unknown. The privatization of intelligence has allowed that information to be circulated in secrecy into the hands of those whose intent is not national security but personal or organizational profit and power, extending far into the grasp of corporations. Given what little we know so far, all of Congress, heads of foreign states, Wall Street, and corporations globally have been the subject of intelligence gathering at the whim of intelligence leaders, for reasons far afield of national security. The office of the Presidency, like those of Congress, has been seduced by the carrot of information and power, but is itself unable to be completely certain it is not a target. The mere bulk of data gathering eliminates any timely investigation, rendering moot any efforts toward balance or control by any of the branches of the government. US media is moribund with investigative journalism at low ebb and repression of the press aggressive, effective, and pervasive. We have come to the point where the intelligence networks designed to protect the American people have made Americans themselves targets, and much more vulnerable than before the rise to power of intelligence networks and technology. Having been instituted, what has become clear is that there is no functional governmental mechanism to investigate, limit, curtail, disempower, defund, or end these secret structures. What also has become clear is that Americans, and in fact America as we know it, or like to think we know it, will be sacrificed before intelligence will be sacrificed. The willingness to sacrifice the citizenry in favor of a minority seeking absolute information and power, will either soon, or already has ended democracy in America. Perhaps worst of all, the intent of the intelligence community is to seek and identify enemies. With this constant intent, that is what will be found. Ever more enemies, and ever fewer friends. Ever more reason to seek more power.

    • “In Search of Enemies,” was a memoir/criticism of CIA back in the day, and that goes to the heart of its danger. They are by definition and design, paranoid. After Snowden made his trip through HK/PRC and Russia they had to make the assumption he was compromised and that he gave both countries the whole enchilada.

      They could not get their head around the idea that he may not have, and that’s the perspective narrow technocrats should have. In their little world, and properly managed, that approach is proper and works. The trouble is keeping them in their box when they must operate outside of it.

      Bringing us to where we are now. The potential enemy, dear reader, against which they are now working, is YOU.

  4. Of course. This goes back to J Edgar Hoover keeping FBI files on anyone in government he suspected he might need to control. He effectively blackmailed every administration until his death to retain his power and position. This has been well documented. To expect no less of the CIA and its allies is sheer naivete.

    • Just what I was going to write, Kozmo, only better. I assume that much of this attitude stems from a belief that “what we’re doing is so important, that we can’t allow any cheap politicians to get in our way.”

      This also can encourage a feeling that no stinkin’ LAWS should stand in the way, either. After all, they’re made by those cheap politicians. And EVERYBODY has some kind of dirt in their backgrounds – which intelligence agencies are uniquely equipped to find. Or alternatively, have the credibility to fabricate, no questions asked.

      • So much turns on how one defines that word “important.” From my viewpoint, a lot of what the sneaky-petes do and congratulate themselves is “important” is immoral, evil and too often idiotic, even in terms of effectiveness (see, e.g., cigars doped to make Castro’s bead fall out.) But there’s no question that in supporting US business interests (most of which have long since floated above and away from any anchoring ties to “America”), the Wild Bill Donovan/Dulles element of the CIA has done a bang-up job of adding destabilization and fear and horror to the anthropophagous stewpot of international human behaviors. link to

  5. I believe Mr. Truman did not realize that he had given an unlimited iron fist to the unseen rulers of his country. He even remarked that it was the worst thing he had done. J.F.K. fired Allen Dulles the head of the C.I.A. and was determined to take any military action away from them and put it under the “Joint Chiefs”. He intended to “smash the C.I.A. into a thousand pieces”. Who got smashed?
    When Mr. Obama was elected his first visits were to the C.I.A. and the Joint Chiefs. Was that just to tell them he was “onside” as an insurance policy?

    • You wonder how, or maybe whether, these many little vignettes will be covered in the probably inevitable memoir, and the audiovisual experiences in the Obama Presidential Library and Basketball Court… GO MICHIGAN STATE!

  6. Congress is far too late in fearing the dark agencies it expanded and failed to restrain. The Executive branch has the enforcement power with only voluntary restraints, and Congress increased those powers by expanding dark agencies with ineffective checks, as now admitted by the surviving Church committee members.

    Dark agencies drift into corruption, due to inadequate regulation of factions, rogues within and without, and human nature. In those attracted to discretionary power by the opportunity to abuse it or impose personal views, we see amusement in being above the law, contempt for democracy, and equating of personal views with public good. Internal and external vigilance is truly the price of freedom.

    But oversight of dark agencies by all government branches has a history of failure, whether by the Executive branch (J Edgar Hoover’s well-intentioned misconduct; Bush’s zionist appointees at CIA giving false information to Iraq warmongers), by the Judicial branch (FISA court rubberstamps), or by the Legislative branch (oversight committees of false conservatives whose blind trust eliminated oversight by presuming it unnecessary). The complete failure of oversight required whistleblowers to turn to the press, which also failed almost completely in its presumed oversight capability.

    These Checks and Balances were all defeated by Gold, the power of economic concentrations that did not exist when the Constitution was written. The mass media are controlled by gold. Congress and the Executive are dependent for election upon gold and the support of the mass media, and they believe in gold, represent gold, and have installed the agents of gold in the Judiciary. So long as the dark agencies serve gold, and work with its other servants, neither the mass media nor any branch of government will oppose secret corruption of democracy.

    So long as Congress has no duty higher than gold, it has nothing to fear. There is no need to speculate on blackmail or personal secrets, because everyone is vulnerable to rumors of impropriety, in public office, employment, and social life. Life and Democracy depend upon reputations; reputations depend upon mere rumors; and rumors depend upon credibility, except accusations for which evidence cannot be revealed (security issues), is not expected (state of mind judgments), or is not desired (opponents of the target). So dark state rumors of character flaws or bad associations need no proof to destroy lives, and the threat can be subtle, polite, attributed to third parties, friendly, and systematic. Those who have nothing to hide have everything to fear from the dark state, and every reason to cooperate. After all, we’re all here to serve gold.

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