July 20, 2005

Are They Recruiting or Repulsing Future Spies?

NPR had a story recently about how the CIA is running spy camp for high-schoolers in order to entice young people into a career with the CIA. The kids who are attending camp are learning about intelligence work and spy craft in the hope that they will one day choose to join the CIA.

President Bush has ordered the CIA to double it's research and development staff and to increase the number of clandesine operators and intelligence analysts by 50%. ... And so Congress has funded a program to help find students who might be interested. .... spy camp.

Yet, is it not an irony that this government funds spy camp to attract new recruits, but at the same time actively jeopardizes the brave men and women who are today's spies? Certainly, that is the message that some former intelligence officers are sending to the Congress. They are quite concerned about the message our government is sending when it says exposing an active under-cover CIA officer for revenge is no problem.

The disclosure of Ms. Plame’s name was a shameful event in American history and, in our professional judgment, may have damaged U.S. national security and poses a threat to the ability of U.S. intelligence gathering using human sources. Any breach of the code of confidentiality and cover weakens the overall fabric of intelligence, and, directly or indirectly, jeopardizes the work and safety of intelligence workers and their sources.


These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who “work at a desk” in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

While we are pleased that the U.S. Department of Justice is conducting an investigation and that the U.S. Attorney General has recused himself, we believe that the partisan attacks against Valerie Plame are sending a deeply discouraging message to the men and women who have agreed to work undercover for their nation’s security.

This administration seems to have a knack for speaking honorable words while acting in a very dishonorable way. How long will the American public let them get away with this?

Hat tip to Josh Marshall for the letter.

Posted by Mary at July 20, 2005 12:23 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |

I wish I could find the page where I saw this: Some radio host, meeting Rove, said, "You're Bush's brain? To be honest, I was expecting a much smaller person."

No matter how bad Rove is, though, please, let's not start sanctifying the CIA. It's a huge outfit, and has many many operations. Some of these may actually have something to do with the nation's security, but most are simply "helping" US business around the globe by supporting fascist dictators and exterminating union organizers and social justice workers, on general principles.

Rove is despicable (and was despicable even before all this), and he clearly put CIA operatives and their contacts at risk. He broke the law, violated legal agreements, embarassed the Administration. He used his power maliciously. Most seriously, it appears that he initially misled Fitzgerald's investigators. This is bad enough. It's gratuituous to add portrayals of the CIA as an aggrieved innocent, suffering ("stabbed in the back"?) from "treason".

Treason talk is always trash talk, and just as much a waste of brainpower for us as for RW trash-talkers. It tends to bring out lower primate tendancies. But basically, you can't make opportunistic accusations of treason against Rove without whitewashing the CIA. (I mean, you could, but it would be reasonably difficult, and the arguments would be too complex for the media to relate.)

Posted by: PhilK at July 20, 2005 07:41 AM

Funny how timely Trudeau can be: Walden College student Jeff Redfern has interned with The Company for the past couple of summers.

Posted by: Thomas Ware at July 20, 2005 03:39 PM