What Part of “Covert” Does the White House Not Understand?

April 4th, 2011 at 12:00 am | 25 Comments |

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President Obama has recently authorized The Central Intelligence Agency to send clandestine operatives into Libya to gain intelligence information.  The problem is that these initial reports came from someone inside the Obama Administration.

Some intelligence experts interviewed by FrumForum could not understand why the information was leaked.  They question whether the Obama Administration was putting the President’s political ambitions ahead of America’s national security.  A former senior CIA official speculated that “there was not one but a multitude of sources that leaked this information and it was done to prove they were tough.” Another former CIA official went further and stated that, “They should have kept their big flapping mouth shut, and they said exactly the wrong thing.  They said the CIA is there to collect information on the opposition to determine who the rebels are which makes the operatives job harder.”   A former operative angrily noted that those officers on the ground have been compromised and now have to explain to the rebels that they are not collecting information about them.

Just as with the initial intervention into Afghanistan during the early days of the War on Terror, the CIA is in the forefront in helping determine the major issues of the conflict.  Throughout Qaddafi’s forty-one year reign the only legitimate opposition was from the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.  The logical conclusion has to be that at least some of the rebels are Al Qaeda sympathizers.  The CIA is currently in Libya to assess motivations, decide who the rebels are aligned with, what they need to win, and then make recommendations.

Many interviewed hope that through covert action America will be able to cultivate someone who is pro-Western, and possibly even a former military officer who has strong tribal connections.  This means that the CIA has to be able to assess if America should assist the rebels by training, funding, and arming them.  As former CIA Director Michael Hayden told FrumForum “the worst possible outcome is a stalemate because there will be an ungoverned area that would give power to Al Qaeda.  The CIA needs to find out who the rebels are and what do they support.”

The lesson learned from this is that the CIA needs more analysts and more collectors to be able to focus on a multitude of issues since as Hayden commented “it becomes infinite because there are so many possible problems.” Besides the importance of counter-terrorism they need to have analysts and operatives that can collect political information to identify who the opposition is and their motives.  The CIA’s role is vital to securing America’s national security. The Obama Administration should rely on the CIA to gather information or conduct covert actions but out of the public eye.  As a former CIA official sarcastically noted “what part of covert doesn’t the administration understand?”

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25 Comments so far ↓

  • PatrickQuint

    “Many interviewed hope that through covert action America will be able to cultivate someone who is pro Western, a former military officer who has strong tribal connections.”

    Oh for $?$#& sake. [/facepalm]

    This is the plan? Really? Remind me, how exactly did this turn out in all those other countries where the CIA decided to cultivate someone who is a pro-Western former military officer with strong tribal connections?

    While we’re on the subject, wasn’t Qaddafi a pro-Western former military officer with strong tribal connections before this rebellion happened?

  • hisgirlfriday

    Some intelligence experts interviewed by FrumForum could not understand why the information was leaked.

    So what was the sense from the intelligence experts interviewed by FrumForum who could understand why the information was leaked (like if the military leaked this information to get pressure off our strained military being called upon to put boots on the ground there)? Were they left out of the piece because they didn’t fit the narrative or what?

    In any event, I’m not a big fan of the CIA and its track record of meddling in civil wars but who didn’t think they were already there? I mean, it’s adorable if CIA folks actually thought this would be a surprise to people.

    • balconesfault

      I mean, it’s adorable if CIA folks actually thought this would be a surprise to people.

      lol – my thoughts exactly. It’s like people being surprised that a pro football team sends scouts to watch their upcoming opponents games.

  • luke_anthony

    They said the CIA is there to collect information on the opposition to determine who the rebels are which makes the operatives job harder.” A former operative angrily noted that those officers on the ground have been compromised and now have to explain to the rebels that they are not collecting information about them.

    ——————————————————————————————————

    And yet another mistake of the Obama administartion on the grounds of foreign policy, proving inexperience. Acually when a nonamerican (Canadian) looks at this I find it quite laughable.
    Arming these jihady thugs is a mistake, let alone exclaiming to the world that the US is about to do so.
    If the AngloAmerican/European world has some type of “interest” in Libya then the our countries should be dealing with it in a way that will work (Killings Gaddaffi and stabilizing the country with an humanitarian occupation force). One can intelligently argue that yes starting this war was unreasonable, but the US and its global partners cannont be seen weak, incompetant, and scared to engage.

    China and Russia are closely watching/calculating this situation, watching for weakness in the existing western world order.

    • llbroo49

      You really believe that Russia or China will think we are weak if we and our lies don’t topple Qaddafi? Do you think the Russians are weak becAuse they have their hands full in Chechnya? Or perhaps you think the Chinese are weak because Tawain refuse to reunite with the mainland.

      Your comments are similar to those who claim that if Qaddafi remains in power other tyrants will feel empowered to use violence against their people. In reality the violence is why many of them rose and remain in power- they dont need any examples- and never have, because they are doing what is natural to them

      • luke_anthony

        Let me state this clearly, I believe that the United States we’ll be perceived as weak because of its hesitation to actually fight the war it “picked”. And of course, this shows weakness, i would like to ask you how does it not? NATO would gladly bomb a age old regime to the stone age but does it have the will power to actually to fight this conflict properly with the assurance of a stable, democratic Libya? The answer is no.

        I’m pretty positive that anyone with a brain on their head who follows international affairs knows the CIA is operating in Libya with the rebels, but it was a stupid decision for Obama to tell the world this.

        I’m not in anyway promoting the ground invasion of Libya, such would be terrible for Obama politically. But one needs to understand that in a way this conflict is backwards, it shows no signs of ending anytime soon, and the international powers show no true fight in properly fighting it. With the United States funding this conflict, all were doing is maximizing the damage.

      • luke_anthony

        Your comparisons to Chechnya and Taiwan make sense but don’t prove me incorrect. China is a developing world power with little ambition as of yet to spread its influence around the world, Russia is a powerful country, don’t get me wrong, but in no way does it match up in comparison to the United States.

        When the most powerful country on this planet and its allies start a fight but aren’t in it to win it and accomplish their goal (removing Gadaffi) for political and economic reasons, its challengers will perceive it weak as undoubtedly it is.

  • Gray Area

    Shocked! I’m shocked, I tell you!

    How dare the White House just go and tell the world the CIA’s mission?!

    They might as well just publish it in the newspaper, or post it on the Internet!

    Or …

    https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values/index.html

    Oh … sorry. My bad.

    • medinnus

      “Shocked! I’m shocked, I tell you!” — Gray Area

      “Your winnings sir….”

      In other news, Obama is running in 2012, and the CIA spies on other countries…

      At least they didn’t out a CIA covert operative for petty political revenge, like some we could name…

  • PatrickQuint

    CIA, on service: “we pride ourselves on our extraordinary responsiveness to the needs of our customers.”

    Hold the phone… exactly how many customers does the CIA have? Did they get privatized while I wasn’t looking?

    • hisgirlfriday

      Pretty much the whole history of the CIA has been the U.S. government expending resources to expand the reach of private business interests, isn’t it?

      I mean it’s not like we were took out the democratically-elected but BP-hostile Mossadegh in Iran and installed the Shah there just out of the goodness of our hearts.

    • Gramps

      Patrick…everything the “Company” does; is metaphorical, euphemistic or anonymous.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    yeah, what hisgirlfriday said. Come on Eli. I also don’t know how much this is deliberate psychological as well, on one hand letting Gadhafi know we are training the opposition, and on the other giving the opposition knowledge that our interest in them is not unconditional.

    And with all due respect to Hayden, a stalemate is precisely what we want for now, if the rebels march forward they will have to confront the Gadhafi stronghold of Sirte, rebels attacking that city would ruin the narrative of how this is all to protect civilians. I am not saying a prolonged stalemate, the game here is to show Gadhafi he can not hope to win, that now that the rebels are starting to sell oil, are being formally trained, are getting more and more international recognition (Italy just recognized the rebels) that his and his children’s only hope is exile.
    And if they don’t go, the Gadhafi supporters around him will soon see this is an unwinnable situation with Gadhafi, but with him gone they will have a seat at the table, the longer they wait, the weaker they will become.

  • jreb

    This is yet another illustration of the present Administration ineptness in the field of Foreign Policy and its ability to determine the best interests of the United States. When the President succumbs to doing the bidding of the United Nations without understanding the players and their interests in the present conflict. Before we commit to using any military force, we should have an understanding of who we were dealing with.

    • Gramps

      jreb…do you recall the praise that was heaped on GHW Bush “One”…for forging an international collation before embarking on “Desert Storm”?

      Perhaps President Obama is a student of history…?

      Unlike that erstwhile professor of history, Newt the “Hootter Chaser”…!

  • Frumplestiltskin

    jreb, absolute rubbish of a post, you literally said nothing beyond whining. There was no way in hell Obama was going to allow Gadhafi, the man who ordered the bombing of Pan Am 101, to raze Benghazi and allow a huge refugee crisis in Egypt, a critical US ally in the region. But I seriously doubt you know any of this, to call it “succumbing to doing the bidding of the UN” when it was using the UN to give authorization for something he HAD to do shows you don’t understand pretty much anything.

    • DorkyDan

      Oh My God!! It is YOU who doesn’t understand ANYTHING!! Obama did NOT “Have to do”
      ANYTHING in Libya!! That is PREPOSTEROUS to even insinuate that this invasion
      had ANYTHING to do with the Lockerbie plane explosion. It has been TWENTY FRICKIN YEARS!! If something was to be DONE about it … like getting rid of Quadafi … the time has
      LONG PAST!!

      WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST IN LIBYA! It is a CIVIL WAR, instigated by Al Queda!!
      Obama has NO IDEA who these people are, and calling it a “Hunanitarian Effort” is a JOKE!! There was NO imminent danger to the United States, as required by the U.S. Constitution to attack another country. And CLAIMING that Quadafi was GOING to kill MILLIONS of his people .. is PURE FICTION!! WHERE IS THE EVIDENCE? Where is there any indication
      AT ALL that Quadafi PLANNED to do this!! It simply is an uprising of HIS OWN PEOPLE!!
      And INSTIGATED by AL Queda … who will CONTINUALLY instigate and bring wars in
      every country … until they get THEIR way … which is total control of the world. Not knowing this simple fact, just shows how SHALLOW HEADED YOU REALLY ARE!!!!!

  • ScoopAway

    LOL, kinda predictable…

    Response to the news(leak) that the CIA is in Libya: “This is yet another illustration of the present Administration ineptness in the field of Foreign Policy and its ability to determine the best interests of the United States. ”

    Response to the news that the CIA is NOT in Libya: “This is yet another illustration of the present Administration ineptness in the field of Foreign Policy and its ability to determine the best interests of the United States. “

  • jakester

    I’m sure we’ll end up with a real bang up ally and a modern country just like what happened after we helped the Afghan rebels back in the 80s

  • Nanotek

    there was nothing in the referenced article that said the leak came from “within the Obama administration.” Leaks from “within the US government” aren’t the same.

    And, Ms. Cooper, try as I might, I couldn’t find any article by you that condemned Bush and Cheney for revealing the identity of a CIA agent or — far more devastating — for revealing the corporate cover of the agency that had been built up over years and destroyed in an instant by Robert Novak from information supplied by Cheney, Bush, Scooter, Armitage and Rove.

    If your concern for the agency was real, we would still be able to hear you calling for Obama to investigate the Plame scandal, which Bush refused to to do. Crickets. Your concern isn’t the CIA … it’s clacking for the GOP.

    • abk1985

      I think it’s worse than that. There are a lot of neocons who really think the US should be in this fight all the way. They live in a fantasy world where well-trained and well-rested American troops are lying around in barracks with nothing to do: Instead of the reality, in which most US troops are exhausted by annual tours to Afraq with many suffering from PTSD and substance abuse issues, not to mention the tens of thousands who have been seriously injured or permanently crippled.

      I say again: I can accept the argument that the US should be the world’s policeman and/or Custodian of the world’s oil reserves. That is a legitimate foreign policy goal. But if we want to get there, we need to (1) raise taxes, (2) aggressively use the draft, and (3) take to the American people. AND — if the American people don’t want it, then, guess what, the President has NO RIGHT to do it.

  • pnumi2

    It’s what I’ve been saying since Egypt: safe oil, secure oil, dependable oil, friendly oil, controllable oil, etc. etc.

    How will you like it when we come out of this recession and demand for oil shoots up and we have trouble garnering enough supply? And gas goes over $5.00 a gallon? Won’t that be a kick in the bupkies? And then the recovery poops out.

    We are at that point when the G8 needs an Oil Czar to make sure all the oil producing nations are pumping up a sufficiency and every country gets it at the same price.

    Until we develop a substitute fuel or an electric motor that can pull an 18 wheeler.