U.S. Sen. Feingold:
Resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Wed Nov 8, 2006 15:22

U.S. Sen. Feingold: Statement on the Resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

Contact: Zach Lowe
(202) 224-8657

I welcome President Bush’s decision to accept Defense Secretary Rumsfeld’s resignation. If it were up to me he would have been gone a long time ago. But Secretary Rumsfeld’s departure is only a small step in fixing the larger problem that stems from the President's failed Iraq policy. The President has continually refused to change our current approach in Iraq despite a growing number of policymakers and experts, including many Republicans, advocating for a change of course. And the President has refused to acknowledge the devastating consequences of an indefinite military presence in Iraq. As I have argued for over a year, a timetable for the redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq will help pressure the Iraqis to get their political house in order and will help the U.S. military refocus on defeating global terrorist networks.


US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld Resigns

Robert M. Gates, who served as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under President George H. W. Bush, ...

Someone in CIA has been relentlessly altering and withholding evidence to support his view of the world. But it wasn't Robert Gates.

THOSE WHO listened to the Senate hearings on the nomination of Robert Gates to be Director of Central Intelligence heard Gates (a former CIA official) accused of having purveyed conservative ideological fancies at the expense of facts. The hearings themselves, however, consisted largely of gossip from the CIA bureaucracy rather than of arguments about the outside world. Listeners quickly got the feeling of witnessing a family squabble they did not really understand. What was going on? Two sets of liberals-Democratic senators and CIA analysts-were bashing Gates in order to push two somewhat overlapping agendas.

The senators' agenda was transparent enough. Ronald Reagan had built a decade's political dominance by depicting the Soviet Union as an evil empire at home and dangerous abroad. Now the Democrats asserted that their (highly unpopular) opposition to U.S. military spending and muscular foreign policy had been right all along because the "real" CIA had always known that the Soviet Union was collapsing at home and a paper tiger abroad. By filling intelligence documents with Mr. Reagan's favorite images-raw meat thrown to Reaganite lions-Gates and his former boss William Casey had indirectly disinformed the American people. Even Daniel P. Moynihan, who knows much better, pilloried Gates along these lines. Dogs bite man.

The agenda of the CIA analysts who testified against Gates-and hence made possible the senators' attack-was harder to figure out. Their personal vehemence was the sort normally reserved for criminals. One former analyst, Melvin Goodman, said that "Gates's role . . . was to corrupt the process and the ethics of intelligence." Gates had been "responsible" for "misleading and false information" that had "cost lives." According to another, Jennifer Glaudemans, Gates contributed to "the culture of fear and cynicism among frontline analysts" and had left her "scarred."

Yet the specific charges were few, and Gates had little trouble rebutting their details. Had Gates introduced a false item into a CIA publication? True or false, the item had been introduced by somebody else on a day when Gates was out of town. Had Gates killed a draft estimate in 1982? At the time he had no authority to kill anything. Had he ordered somebody fired? The man's immediate boss testified that he had done it on his own initiative. Had Gates not paid attention to the possibility that the Soviet Union would fall apart? Paper aplenty showed that he was one of the few people in the government who had. Had Gates ordered the CIA to find the Soviets guilty of ordering the attempted murder of the Pope? He had not.

Details, however, were not what had fueled the passionate belief of many at CIA that Gates is their blood enemy, evil incarnate. Why then do they hate him so violently? Because they see in Gates a challenge to what they believe is their due as the "best and the brightest"-a monopoly on the right to determine how the U. S. Government views the world. A quick survey of two points of contention-the Pope plot and the Soviet collapse-will show that for CIA analysts what happens in the world is less important than their own feelings of superiority. On Whose Account?

WHEN THE Italian police arrested Mehmet Ali Agca in St. Peter's Square, they quickly noticed that he did not have a religious or fanatical bone in his body. Cool and businesslike, he had no motive of his own for shooting the Pope. A check of border crossings and hotels showed that he had traveled Western Europe in style for weeks. But just before entering Western Europe, this penniless Tark had stayed at Bulgaria's luxurious Hotel Vitosha. Hence, even before Agea began to dribble out information about his acquaintance with Bulgarian intelligence officers who had given him the gun and had been in St. Peter's Square at the time of the shooting, the Italian authorities had built a solid circumstantial case that the Bulgarian secret service had paid him to shoot the Pope. If the Bulgarians had done it, it could only have been at the behest of the KGB.

CIA had no information at all that someone might attempt to kill the Pope. Thereafter, some of its sources delivered a few third-hand rumors. Hence one might have expected CIA to write nothing of its own, but merely to pass on the Italians' findings. But no. It quickly became orthodoxy at CIA that the Bulgarians and Soviets had nothing to do with the shooting, and that to suggest otherwise was irresponsible sabotage of U.S.-Soviet relations. In November 1982 1 sat with a CIA official in Rome as the Italian Minister of the Interior laid out Italy's case. The CIA man snapped: You have no proof" The minister replied: "What proof do you want?" The CIA man warned that Italy was fouling up U.S.-Soviet relations and in the end would be left alone. In February 1983 CIA Director Casey, accompanied by Robert Gates, delivered to Congress the CIA analysts' critique of Claire Sterling's book The Terror Network (the thesis of which is that the Soviets facilitated anti-Western terrorism through a network in Eastern Europe and the Middle East) as well as a refutation of the Italian magistrates' case against the Bulgarians. The refutation contained no facts. (There was an allusion to a decisive," "sensitive source," but this turned out to be a defector who had heard a conversation amongst some Bulgarians who did not happen to know anything themselves.) The most typical sentence starters were "We believe . . ." and "We have no evidence . . ." Nevertheless, the document put the weight of the U.S. Government behind the proposition that the Soviets just would not sponsor terrorism in any way, shape, or form.

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