CIA And The Washington Post: Joined At The Hip
By Melvin A. Goodman
27 April 2009
Under the stewardship of Fred Hiatt, the editorial and op-ed pages of the Washington Post have gradually moved to the right. Post editorials and op-eds have defended the decision to go to war in Iraq; opposed any improvement in bilateral relations with Russia; refused to acknowledge Israel’s misuse of military power in the Middle East; and lobbied against the need for investigation of the detention and interrogation programs of the Bush administration.
As part of the campaign to prevent a rigorous examination of “enhanced interrogation techniques” (read: “torture and abuse”), the Washington Post's editorial pages have been particularly protective of the Central Intelligence Agency and its senior leaders--the ideological drivers for torture and extraordinary renditions policies. These CIA leaders, particularly deputy director Steven Kappes and acting general counsel John Rizzo, are not trying to protect the reputation and mission of the CIA; they are trying to protect themselves.
Surely senior journalists from the mainstream media must understand that reliance on anonymous CIA clandestine sources is neither good reporting nor professional journalism. Many of these “anonymous sources” almost certainly are former and current CIA officials seeking to protect themselves. George Tenet, John McLaughlin, and John Brennan are individuals who fit that description.
In the past several days, the Post has carried editorials and op-eds by its own editorial writer David Ignatius; its longtime national security writer Walter Pincus; former CIA director Porter Goss; former CIA operative Michael Scheuer; and Marc Thiessen, a former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush. These articles have been similar in content and similar to the statements of other CIA directors past and present (Leon Panetta, Michael Hayden, Goss, Tenet, and John Deutch) who opposed the release of the memoranda of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that justified the use of torture and abuse.
The Scheuer article is particularly scurrilous, accusing President Obama of self-righteousness and intellectual arrogance” in deciding to release the torture memos. Scheuer believes that an end to torture will lead to future terrorist attacks that could involve the “loss of major cities and tens of thousands of countrymen,” and that the president will bear some responsibility. ...
The leader of the Washington Post editorial squad has been Ignatius, who has developed close relations with CIA clandestine operatives over a period that spans three decades. ... Over the years, retired and active members of the directorate of operations have taken their stories to Ignatius; they have been rewarded by Ignatius’ one-sided accounts of CIA derring-do and willingness to ignore operational and analytical failures....
Both Ignatius and Goss argue that, because of the release of the memos, CIA clandestine operatives will keep their heads down and avoid assignments that carry political risk, and that the decline in CIA “morale and effectiveness” will harm American national security. More nonsense! ...