by Lance Thompson
“It is the nature of an intelligence service that it must receive encouragement and support from the government of the day; if the government lacks interest in or expert understanding for its intelligence service, not even the best service will succeed in overcoming external prejudices against it.” These are the words of Reinhard Gehlen, chief of the German federal intelligence service , the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), in 1971, in his excellent memoir, “The Service.” (English edition: World Publishing, New York, 1972). Gehlen brought invaluable intelligence assets to the United States regarding Russia after World War II, and founded the BND which continues its important work to this day.
Gehlen’s wisdom is alarmingly relevant today, as the American foreign intelligence service, the CIA, is battered by politically motivated attacks by Democrats and the Obama administration. The CIA, whose mission is to inform our leaders about the capabilities and intentions of our adversaries and allies, has always been a favorite target of liberals. But in recent weeks, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA of deceiving her when she was caught lying about briefings she received concerning interrogation techniques. When Pelosi’s false claims were exposed, she chose to denigrate the CIA rather than admit her deliberate deception.
Now, we learn that the House Intelligence Committee is investigating Democrat charges that former Vice President Cheney ordered the CIA not to inform Congress of a secret CIA plan to target al Qaeda terrorist leaders. This charge, of course, ignores the fact that the CIA reports directly to the President, is not under the command of the Vice President, and that both houses of Congress have independent intelligence committees who oversee the CIA.
Since the charge involves actions that took place years ago, under an administration that is no longer in power, it is evident that this is not a matter of urgency. Thus, it is obvious that this issue was chosen for other reasons–primarily to embarrass the previous administration. For such an exposure to be effective, the previous administration must be shown to have done something wrong.
The CIA is an intelligence agency, and many of its activities are effective only if kept secret. Therefore, the secrecy of the plans in question is not in itself questionable. Whether the vice president wanted greater secrecy or not is irrelevant–he did not have the authority or ability to demand what information the CIA revealed to congressional intelligence committees.
Therefore, the Democrats who want so badly to bring this investigation to light must believe that the plan itself–killing al Qaeda terrorist leaders–is wrong. They must believe that if Americans knew that the previous administration was studying ways of destroying our enemies who murdered thousands of Americans and were devising ways to murder thousands more, then it would bring shame and opprobrium upon that administration.
The Obama administration seeks closer ties to terrorist-sponsoring governments in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. They seek to extend the Constitutional rights of American citizens to terrorists who will sacrifice themselves in our destruction. The Obama state department won’t even call the war on terror the war on terror, or even call terrorists terrorists. So it is quite possible that Democrats believe that a plan to kill terrorists is not only contrary to current policy, but legally and morally wrong. So wrong, in fact, that if the American people discovered that the previous administration was planning such acts, that they would be filled with indignation and revulsion.
The Democrats, then, must believe that the oaths sworn by their president and congressmen to defend the United States are not only non-binding, but that any action or decision made to augment that defense is a transgression. Thus, the Bush administration, with its war on terror, its detention and prosecution of terrorists, and its covert efforts to expose and prevent further terrorists attacks, has been caught doing something that the American people won’t stand for. The Democrats believe that standing against the war on terror is the morally superior position, and using the CIA as a scapegoat is a politically smart strategy.
With this view, the majority party has succeeded in undercutting our efforts to counter the terrorist threat. In the few short months of the Obama administration, America has gone from the great arsenal of democracy to the great apologist for terrorism and the great enabler of tyranny. The Democrats believe this is what Americans want. Whether you agree or disagree, there is one place to let your voice be heard–the ballot box next year.