It's a hard thing to believe, even for one such as I who was a CIA-paranoid leftie in the 70's. Camp Peary, a CIA training ground, was a few miles from my college. There were any number of paranoid urban legends about what had gone on there. I spread a few myself, knowing they were unlikely, but because it would be so cool - so ironic and beautiful and perfect - if they were true.
If the CIA says that Bush's ideas are bad and foolish, well, perhaps the CIA is right. They're supposed to be the experts, with bright people of unusual talents laboring in obscurity their whole lives, devoting themselves to specialised areas of knowledge. Certainly, there are enough folks who currently believe that the Bush/neocon plans were terrible, and to think that the CIA - the "real experts" - agree with them must give some satisfaction.
But that is not how the system is supposed to work. Secret intelligence agencies are not supposed to make their own policy, no matter how sure they are that they are right. Those on the left currently cheering the CIA should recognise that taking that side gives up any ground for criticising Oliver North, or the adventures in South and Central America in the 1950's-70's. You can't have it both ways. We elect governments for very good reasons.
There is also the entirely plausible motive ready to hand about why the CIA might do such a thing. They have been spectacularly wrong repeatedly over the last 20 years at least. Group motives are hard to assess, because they are necessarily mixed and even fluid. But the same accusation has not only been made, but evidenced, in the books noted above. Today's statement by the CIA about Scarborough's book is very disquieting.
CIA Director of Public Affairs Mark Mansfield issued the following statement today:
We generally don't comment on books, but we have departed from that on occasion, and have decided to do so in connection with Rowan Scarborough's new book, "Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA."
CIA employees work very hard to protect their fellow citizens and to help keep America safe. They take great pride -- and take great risks -- in serving our country. They know that the intelligence they collect, analyze and deliver to policymakers, diplomats, law enforcement officers, and military commanders makes a difference, each and every day.
The premise of Mr. Scarborough's book -- that CIA employees are working to undermine our government -- is both ridiculous and offensive.
You will notice that they do not answer the accusation that they have specifically tried to undermine the Bush Administration. They answer a different accusation; one that was not made.
* Books: I make no recommendations here, simply record. This is a subject I have no particular expertise on. I just notice the controversy and the irony of the left suddenly believing the CIA. Such is the power of BDS.
Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
Laurie Mylroie's Bush Vs The Beltway: The Inside Battle Over The War In Iraq
Joseph Trento's The Secret History of the CIA
Richard Russell's Sharpening Strategic Intelligence: Why the CIA Gets It Wrong and What Needs to Be Done to Get It Right