Why is it that when a copiously decorated general offers his firsthand account of a current war, he’s treated with a mixture of resentment and cynicism so profound as to lead Senator Hillary Clinton to all but call him a liar, but when the U.S. intelligence community releases an assessment of Iranian nuclear capabilities, the mysteriously synthesized report is accepted as the last word?
And will such willful gullibility undergo revision in light of the latest C.I.A. catastrophe?
On Thursday we learned that the C.I.A. took it upon themselves to destroy videos showing the severe interrogation of al Qaeda suspects. Today, we find out they did so despite warnings from the Justice Department, the White House, and Congress. This roguish maneuver casts long and dark shadows on the NIE made public only days earlier. The New York Times reports: “The disclosures provide new details about what Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, has said was a decision ‘made within C.I.A. itself’ to destroy the videotapes.” One wonders what other decisions have been “made within the C.I.A. itself,” and how we’d find out.
It’s obvious why full transparency is impossible in matters of intelligence gathering, but given this latest example of both the incompetence and politicization of the C.I.A., it would be unwise to give them the benefit of the doubt on matters of global security—particularly when they’re urging us to give that same benefit to the regime in Tehran.