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Barack Obama’s “Mission-Critical” Assignment at the CIA

In the name of open government, the CIA continues to declassify sensitive documents at a torrid pace. From deep within the agency’s document vaults, we now have a tantalizing revelation about a candidate for the President of the United States.

Posted yesterday on the agency’s website is a copy of a letter from the CIA dated November 28, 2005, attempting to recruit Obama to take part in a covert operation under the codename: “In the Spirit of Unity and Service: Remember! Celebrate! Act!” 

As the CIA letter explained to Obama, “Our focus is on mission-critical diversity, which we believe is essential if we are to overcome the radical, and sometimes extreme, forces currently arrayed against our country.”

It is not known if Obama agreed to participate in this clandestine initiative against the radical, and sometime extreme, forces. Whatever the case, Connecting the Dots has some questions about the operation, and about the declassification process at the CIA.

1. Why was this “mission-critical” affirmative-action initiative classified?

2. Why are names of officials in the CIA’s Office of Diversity Plans and Programs redacted from the letter? Are these CIA officers covert in the same sense that Valerie Plame was covert?

3. Is the decision to release such “mission-critical” information now, in the middle of Obama’s race for his party’s presidential nomination, an attempt to influence the course of American politics in violation of the CIA’s charter?

4. Most interestingly of all: why was this letter cc’ed to Hillary Rodham Clinton, another candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination? Is there a cabal in the CIA trying to help or hurt these two candidates by releasing this information now?



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