Monday, February 16, 2009

Outing

The following is an article by Greg Miller from the Los Angeles Times.

After you read this (being aware that Pakistan also just over the weekend made it official to allow unbridled Taliban influence in the northwestern territories), consider the "outing" of Valerie Plame and then take a look at the short piece of history immediately following this article. Sometimes inadvertent comments and public announcements can have unintended consequences.

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Feinstein: CIA drones based inside Pakistan
Senator's remarks about missile strikes highlight ally's conflicted stance.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

WASHINGTON — A senior U.S. lawmaker said that CIA Predator aircraft operating in Pakistan are flown from an air base inside that country, a revelation likely to embarrass Pakistan's government and complicate its counterterrorism collaboration with the United States.

The disclosure by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was the first time a U.S. official had publicly commented on where the Predator aircraft patrolling Pakistan take off and land.

At a hearing Thursday, Feinstein expressed surprise at Pakistani opposition to the ongoing campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against extremist targets just inside Pakistan's northwest border.

"As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base," she said.

The CIA declined to comment, but former U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information, confirmed that Feinstein's account was accurate.

Feinstein's spokesman, Philip LaVelle, citing a Washington Post story published in March, said her comment was based solely on previous news reports that Predators were operated from bases near Islamabad.

Many counterterrorism experts have assumed that the aircraft were operated from U.S. military installations in Afghanistan.

The basing of the pilotless aircraft inside the country suggests a much deeper Pakistani relationship with the United States on counterterrorism matters than has been publicly acknowledged.

Such an arrangement would be at odds with public protests by Pakistan's officials over the Predator strikes and could inflame anti-American sentiment in that country.

"If accurate, what this says is that Pakistani involvement, or at least acquiescence, has been much more extensive than has previously been known," said Bruce Hoffman, a Georgetown University terrorism expert. "It puts the Pakistani government in a far more difficult position (in terms of) its credibility with its own people."

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from Wikipedia re Andrew J. May:

The May Incident

During World War II, May was responsible for a major release of highly confidential military information, known as the May Incident. In that incident, U.S. submarines had been conducting a successful undersea war against Japanese shipping during World War II, frequently escaping Japanese anti-submarine depth charge attacks. However, the deficiencies of Japanese depth-charge tactics were revealed in a press conference held in June 1943 by Congressman May, a member of the House Committee on Military Affairs. May had visited the Pacific Theater and received various confidential intelligence and operational briefings. At this press conference, May revealed the highly sensitive fact that American submarines had a high survival rate because Japanese depth charges were typically fuzed to explode at too shallow a depth. Various press associations sent this leaked news story over their wires and many newspapers (including one in Honolulu, Hawaii), published it.[3][4]

Japanese naval forces heard of May's security breach and were quick to exploit the information. The inevitable result was that in future, Japanese depth charges were adjusted to explode at a more effective average depth of 250 feet (80 m). Vice Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, commander of the U.S. submarine fleet in the Pacific, later estimated that May's highly damaging security breach cost the United States Navy as many as ten submarines and 800 crewmen killed in action.[3]

Though the Roosevelt administration and the Navy Department in particular were furious with May's disclosures, they could do little about it. At the time, Roosevelt was preparing his election run for the 1944 presidential campaign, May was Chairman and ranking Democratic member of the powerful Military Affairs Committee, and public revelation of the consequences of May's indiscretions could have come at a high political price for the Roosevelt administration.

1 comment:

Robert Miller said...

I interviewed for a job with the CIA in 2000. The position I was offered was an analyst for WINPAC: Weapons Intelligence Nonproliferation and Arms Control.

I had requested Antiterrorism. I was perplexed why I, as an economist, an antiterrorism instructor, and an Army intelligence officer would be assigned to WINPAC.

I turned down the job, taking a tenure track position at a university. Anyway, the person who interviewed me - my immediate supervisor to be - was none other than Valerie Plame. She even had lunch with me in the cafeteria. Of course, I didn't know who she was at the time. It occurred to me only many years later.

WINPAC is in the Directorate of Intelligence, not the Directorate of Operations. I was going to be an analyst. I can say with a fair amount of certainty that I would not have been working for nor interviewed by a "spook". She was not a covert agent at that time.

The whole "outing" story was contrived to shield them from an egregious conflict of interest, inadequate performance of duty, and specified or implied violation of confidentiality.

Wilson had a lot of arrogance believing his report, even if it had ever been transmitted to the POTUS or VP, was authoritative. All the man did, by his own admission, was drink mint tea with some old buddies who denied having any knowledge of Iraqi uranium purchases. The attempted purchase may not have occurred, the sources may not have been in the know, or they may have been lying to him.

All Wilson did was validate his pre-conceived conclusion with a paper-thin investigation. He issued no written report of his findings. He's in complete denial of the possibility that independent evidence outside of the scope of his paltry investigation led to different conclusions. The British government maintains to this day that Iraq did indeed attempt to purchase uranium from Niger.