Sunday, June 13, 2004

Thomas Powers: The Third War 

Just posted at Salon:
The U.S. is now waging three wars, says intelligence expert Thomas Powers. One is in Iraq. The second is in Afghanistan. And the third is in Washington -- an all-out war between the White House and the nation's own intelligence agencies.

Powers, the author of Intelligence Wars: American Secret History From Hitler to Al Qaeda, charges that the Bush administration is responsible for what is perhaps the greatest disaster in the history of U.S. intelligence. From failing to anticipate 9/11 to pressuring the CIA to produce bogus justifications for war, from abusing Iraqi prisoners to misrepresenting the nature of Iraqi insurgents, the Bush White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies they corrupted, coerced or ignored have made extraordinarily grave errors which could threaten our national security for years. By manipulating intelligence and punishing dissent while pursuing an extreme foreign-policy agenda, Bush leaders have set spy against U.S. spy and deeply damaged America's intelligence capabilities.

"It's a catastrophe beyond belief. Going into Afghanistan was inevitable, and in my opinion the right thing to do. But everything since then has been a horrible mistake," Powers says. "The CIA is politicized to an extreme. It's under the control of the White House. Tenet is leaving in the middle of an unresolved political crisis -- what really amounts to a constitutional crisis."

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