30 Years of "Cooked" Intelligence: Profiting From Fear
If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. --George Bernard Shaw
This article from The American Conservative magazine highlights the situation Karen Kwiatkowski found herself in while working under William Luti and being exposed to the malignant Neoconservative influence on the intelligence that made its way to the White House via the Office of Special Plans.
This attempt to pre-empt vetted information from America's formal intelligence analysts at the CIA and DIA that the Neoconservatives didn't find useful to their ideological plans is not new. History shows it to be an ongoing and successful trend, both in implementing Neocon policy and in managing public opinion in that policies support. Many of the same players nearly thirty years ago worked to influence politicians and the media through leaks and politically "cooked" intelligence. This time the Neocons were afraid of President Ford's moves toward detente' with the Soviet Union.
Ford was concerned that he would lose the Republican Presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan, who called his Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger too liberal.
Under Kissinger and Ford," Reagan intoned, "this nation has become number two in a world where it is dangerous--if not fatal--to be second best."
President Ford was supportive of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II. The CIA assessments showed radically less arms spending by the USSR, dropping from 68% to less than 17% of their GNP. Soviet military expenditures were destroying their economy by the end of the 1960's. Showed that the missiles they had were less accurate than was widely thought. Using hard data, CIA National Intelligence Estimates showed a USSR that was no longer a threat. History shows that their supposedly "soft" estimates underestimated the weakness and instability of the Soviet government.
But politics won out over common sense. The word "detente'" disappeared from the Presidents vocabulary. He was afraid his support of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty II would cause him to look soft on our ailing enemy. Kissinger was perceived as a liability to Ford during the election campaign.
A shakeup occured to Fords staff. Henry Kissinger lost his position as special assistant to the president for national security affairs but was retained as Secretary of State. Ford fired outspoken Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, a one time RAND researcher and hired one of Fords closest associates and advisors, Donald Rumsfeld, former US Ambassador to NATO and part of Fords transition team to be the new Secretary of Defense. William Colby was replaced as Director of the CIA by George H.W. Bush. In a departure from the thought of Colby Bush was warm to the idea of non-analysts critiquing CIA intelligence estimates.
It was, Colby said, hard "to envisage how an ad hoc independent group of analysts could prepare a more thorough, comprehensive assessment of Soviet strategic capabilities than could the intelligence community".
Team B was started under the auspices of Bush.
1976 found our Neo-conservative lead actors staffing a George H. W. Bush - then Director of Central Intelligence- approved intelligence Team B. The Team was made possible by Neo-con leading light and Rand Corporation heavyweight Albert Wohlstetter. Staffers included Wohlstetter's son-in-law Richard Perle and associate Paul Wolfowitz. Team B was headed by Neo-con media maven Daniel Pipes' father, Richard. The President was Gerald Ford, high in his administration were Richard Cheney, who reportedly helped Bush Senior secure the CIA job, and Donald Rumsfeld. This early Neo-Con venture challenged and hoped to undermine nuclear detente with the USSR. CIA and State Department analysis were not well suited to this goal. Traditional and professional assessments were not panic inducing, questions and opposition remained credible- even reasonable. Opponents of containment needed another understanding to dominate. "Intelligence" from Team B offered a possible solution. The Team set out to develop its own assessments of Soviet Military might
An "untimely" end to the cold war could derail hawk/neocon plans for a pre-eminent US military authority in the world. Without the threat of the Soviet Union it would become hard to get the American people, who were growing more isolationist after the Viet Nam debacle, fully behind greatly increased US arms spending.
Today, the Team B reports recall the stridency and militancy of the conservatives in the 1970s. Team B accused the CIA of consistently underestimating the "intensity, scope, and implicit threat" posed by the Soviet Union by relying on technical or "hard" data rather than "contemplat[ing] Soviet strategic objectives in terms of the Soviet conception of 'strategy' as well as in light of Soviet history, the structure of Soviet society, and the pronouncements of Soviet leaders."
Team B ramped up the Soviet threat. Housed in the offices of Coalition for a Democratic Majority, bringing together Conservatives of all stripes, Republican and Democrat. Founded by Henry "Scoop" Jackson the group believes in
"peace through stength".
The CDM argued that the U.S. must have a strong national defense and a foreign policy of active resistance to what it calls "totalitarianism and repression." Further it urges strong support for "foreign allies who share America's democratic values--whether it is the government of Israel in the Middle East or the government of El Salvador's Jose Napoleon Duarte in Central America."
Bush, who had written Ford stating "I want to get the CIA off the front pages and at some point out of the papers altogether," under President Carter promoted the ad hoc intelligence group on "Meet the Press". The Times carried an article on Team B.
Team B promoted it's skewed intelligence through leaks to journalists and "top secret" briefings held with Legislators on the Hill. Through the revitalized Committee on the Present Danger media was managed to put the public in a state of fear concerning the Soviet Union. This undermined incoming President Jimmy Carter and his administrations efforts concerning disarmament and set the stage for the Reagan Presidential campaign based on fear of "the Evil Empire". This spin also allowed him to to drain the countries finances in a one sided arms race, enriching weapons manufacturers and ensuring campaign contributions and support from the military/industrial complex.
The Neocons presently controlling US policy rose to power based on lies and fear, and consolidated their hold on America under Reagan.
Rumsfeld again was party to using "cooked" intelligence to counter the CIA analysts counselling against a need for National Missile Defense when he chaired the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States. Newt Gingrich helped him to establish this group dedicated to pumping up fear contrary to a credible CIA assessment.
Much like Ford changing his stance on detente', Democrats do not wish to be seen as weak on defense. Clinton vetoed the idea but Rumsfeld would run with his pet project. He has longstanding ties to organizations funded by interested weapons contractors.
Perhaps worst of all, for missile defense to become a reality, the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty needs to be amended--something the Russians are not eager to do. No matter, says Rumsfeld; at his confirmation hearings, he dismissed the ABM treaty as "ancient history" and said he had no compunction about abrogating it.
In his weekly radio address Mr Bush said that the US is threatened by ballistic missiles.
As the case of the intelligence concerning Iraq shows, the same players have been skewing intelligence to serve their ends since the mid seventies, coming up with a new "cause" in line with their inherent militarism each time the old one is revealed for the sham it is.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it...
Slacktivist has some good information on the RNC courting the NASCAR crowd. The demographic information is eye opening, as is the fact that NASCAR doesn't name the figures for fans earning less than 30,000 dollars a year. Glad my public school education serves me so I can figure out the figure for myself. It is a good post, pretty much anything I could say here would be redundant...
Bush at Daytona, Bush at the Superbowl- some good free campaign commercials...