Aug 22 2007

CIA Screw Ups Were Really FISA Blinders

Published by at 7:32 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

Why did key CIA people like Plame/Wilson (Plame was head of the IC Iraq Task Force) and a list of others come out over the past few years to the media to tarnish the Administration with stories of CIA torture, CIA prisons, NSA snooping and forged uranium trade documents? Seems they were trying to compensate – for their own ineptitude:

An executive summary of the report, prepared by the agency’s inspector general’s office in 2005 and finally released Tuesday under orders from Congress, is unquestionably embarrassing for former agency director George Tenet and many of his top deputies. According to the report’s findings, the CIA under Tenet’s leadership repeatedly blew opportunities to disrupt the Al Qaeda network—and possibly even penetrate the 9/11 plot itself—because of “mismanagement,” a lack of strategic direction and a “systemic breakdown” within the agency’s Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC).

I am on business travel so I will have to leave it to other bloggers and commentators to tie which leaks lead back to this den of impotence. But the bottom line is clear: these people failed. And to understand why they would react as they did by blaming others one has to have had to deal with these people and their bottomless arrogance and egoes. Because they have access to tools and methods reserved for only a few who can meet the requirements, they have concluded they are omnipotent and humanities finest in all things. The rah-rah used to create esprite de corpse (spelling?) can really FUBAR weak, insecure personalities like you find when you deal with someone like Larry Johnson who somehow became an expert in all things intel after a brief (and probably forced terminated) career in the CIA.

It is this arrogance that made them sloppy, and it is their egoes that made the lash out at others. The story of their screw up is not pretty – even without the amplification of arrogance and ego which makes it look worse in the minds eye of these people:

The report also seemed to raise new questions about former President Clinton’s angry claim to Fox News anchor Chris Wallace last year that he had authorized the CIA to “kill” Osama bin Laden—a directive that the report suggested was more ambiguous and limited than Clinton asserted.

The conservative bloggers have had Clinton on tape himself commenting on how he talked himself into impotence on Bin Laden. Clinton was not a lame duck in his second term – he was a hamstrung duck. He could not dare to make any bold moves because of his personal/professional issues. So while he was being serviced by an intern in the Oval Office he let Bin Laden run free to finish his work on 9-11. They ultimate screwing of the American people – and he did not even offer us a drink.

The report found that U.S. counter-terrorism efforts against Al Qaeda were damaged by a fierce turf battle between the CIA and the National Security Agency (then under Hayden’s leadership) over access to transcripts of intercepted communications picked up by the government’s spy satellites and listening posts. Throughout the late 1990s right up to 9/11, the two U.S. intelligence agencies appear to have sharply feuded over the issue. The NSA eavesdropped on the conversations of top Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the globe. It then prepared verbatim written transcripts of this raw “signals intelligence” (known as SIGINT in the intel world).

But what Newsweek and the NY Times and others will not explain (but they know it just as I find out) is the NSA could NOT pass leads to the CIA or others that included the details of identity and location of contacts in the US. This is the essence of the FISA-NSA crap the NY Times got ALL WRONG due to another leak by someone who wanted power and would risk our security for their gain. The NSA had known of Atta – General Hayden admitted as much:

He admits that we knew that Mohamed Atta and his crew were in the US. But he says that “we did not know anything more” because prior to 9/11 “Mohamed Atta and his fellow 18 hijackers would have been presumed to have been protected persons, U.S. persons, by NSA “.

Because of the antiquated FISA laws and the foolishly naive policy that separated intel from the FBI and domestic law investigation (the only one authorized to investigate here in the US from the Feds), which peaked with Clinton’s administration and the Gorelick wall, we had information on Atta and others prior to the attack. But the rules required all details on Atta and his killers here in the US be removed before the NSA passed the information on to others – making it useless. It made the information ‘chatter’ without clear indication of when and where because the when and where of the side of the discussions in the US was DELETED – per pre 9-11 policies. Policies Bush wisely tore down.

But there is more to this story still – the CIA wanted to play God and not team lead for the Intel Community (IC) so they established their control by limiting acccess to information and putting up road blocks. Here is a post I did over a year ago on an article that had uncovered the problem with the CIA’s turf issues (they had to be the heroes to America). This is not news and the reporting is incomplete from prior versions. The Nesweek article claims the NSA would not share intel the earlier article claims the CIA had the intel and would not share it with the FBI. I tend to believe the latter given the abysmal reporting on this matter. And Newsweek has a quote cnfirming this position:

Some in the intelligence community take issue with the report’s characterization of the disagreement. “It was a question of law, not turf,” one U.S. intel official said Tuesday when asked why Hayden’s NSA had refused to share such vital information with another U.S. intelligence agency. “The most efficient way to ensure compliance with the law when it comes to raw transcripts was to have the SIGINT reviewed inside NSA spaces.”

And a companion NY Times article also confirms the CIA knew and someone is trying to deflect blame:

The 19-page report, prepared by the agency’s inspector general, also says 50 to 60 C.I.A. officers knew of intelligence reports in 2000 that two of the Sept. 11 hijackers, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, may have been in the United States. But none of those officers thought to notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the potential domestic threat, the report says, evidence of what it calls a systemic failure.

Yeah, like the NY Times is going to tell its readers that it was FISA that would not allow the NSA or CIA to tell the FBI. That would require correcting their erroneous reporting on the FISA role in 9-11.

The news media are such dunces it is simply amazing. All these stories on FISA and the NSA and not going around the court and they cannot connect the dots. Read the article and realize all the whining from the CIA was because of FISA and the Gorelick Wall had penetrated so far into out national security that they blind folded us to what was happening (blind justice you know). The fact is the FISA tried to extend this by making it a requirement to get a warrant to eavesdrop on terrorists overseas (no US component). Things to remember about warrants is they LIMIT who can have access to the information gained. This is exactly how we got to 9-11 – lawyers playing CYA.

This is not a new story, it is just the news media groping to at some point – maybe – see the real story they have been screwing up for years now. The CIA is not performing to the level of their arrogance or egoes. They are fallible and then some. They missed 9-11. But when lawyers make up theoretical reasons NOT to pass around threatening information you can only blame the IC so much. We cannot let the ignorant media pass on their ignorance to America – this story needs to get out and be accurate.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “CIA Screw Ups Were Really FISA Blinders”

  1. lurker9876 says:

    We should be grateful to have someone like Michael McConnell to fight for the tools his people needed to perform their jobs adequately and successfully.

  2. kathie says:

    I think the answer is simple……why did the leaks happen? Clinton and his group were totally incompetent by design. They did not fight Al Queda. Clinton did not task Tenet to put the CIA on a war footing. Clinton ignored the attack on our soil, the embassies, the Cole. All were acts of war. Clinton did nothing. Clinton had to protect his reputation and he knew Hillary would run for president. So he found a way to make Bush look terrible ( he always had the media in his back pocket) and could use them again. Why……because Bush was someone that the public trusted. First was the Wilson/Plame game, that gave the media and Senate the reason to call the President a lair, over and over again. Make him into someone that was just like Clinton, untrustworthy. Then all the other secret stuff that the President couldn’t respond to because it was secret, FISA, NSA etc. The whole thing was a political game for his ego and to get Hillary elected. Bring down Bush, the Clintons look good. I think it is that simple. PS the reason they demonize Cheney is because he was onto their game and had people in high places who knew what they were upto.

  3. dhunter says:

    I think you are right Kathie and now Karl “The Brain” Rove is not a member of the administration and free to voice his opinions and write books, could be fun the next 15 months. Maybe he can force Monicas boyfriend into another red faced fingure wagging moment.

  4. kathie says:

    The game is over with the CIA and Clinton lost. I would love to see them brought to their knees. We, the United States of America can not afford another Clinton. Rove could be very helpful to the Republican nominee.

  5. BarbaraS says:

    Unfortunately the FISA revision only lasts 6 months. This fight will have to be fought again in February. The dems arranging for our enemies to kill us? Is this the way congress protects us? We will never know if safeguards are in place from one year to the next due to dems playing politics.

  6. Terrye says:


    i am not sure fighting this fight in Feb will help the Dems. It might backfire on them.

  7. Did Clinton Lie? Is The Pope Catholic?…

    How do you know if Bill Clinton is lying? His lips are moving:
    The report also criticized int…

  8. dhunter says:

    If this gets enough wide spread publicity the Dems would be suicidal to try to limit the FISA provisions again, but then that is what they seem to be some days in more ways than one. And the sheeple are too busy with Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the next hollyweed junky to pay attention to something that might actually save their ass and their country. Perhaps Jamie Gore-lick should be brought before a committee and actually asked some questions this time. Oh right it’s the Clintons, we don’t need to know.

  9. lurker9876 says:


    It depends on how the Democrats play the “lack of political success” with the war in Iraq. After the Democrats lost on the military successes and they lose on the political argument, they would be wise to not play the FISA bill renewal. They would be smart to either do the FISA reform OR abolish FISA entirely. Will they be this smart?

    What do you think the Democrats will do after Sept 4th? They seem to be changing their tunes over this war now that more reports coming from Iraq of late are very positive.

  10. Clinton Caught In Yet Another Lie…

    Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, weigh in on the scathing CIA Inspector’s General Report the CIA didn’t want us to see. Buried on page three of the web exclusive is a passage which shows that Slick Willie lied during his September 2006…

  11. Newsweek: Report Raises Questions About Bill Clint…

    Anyone remember when Chris Wallace interviewed Bill Clinton and Clinton melted down on public television?If you don’t, I have the transcript of that interview from when we posted about it at the time,…

  12. DubiousD says:

    Must-read interview with National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell on FISA:

    One excerpt:

    “There are a couple of issues to just be sensitive to. There’s a claim of reverse targeting. Now what that means is we would target somebody in a foreign country who is calling into the United States and our intent is to not go after the bad guy, but to listen to somebody in the United States. That’s not legal, it’s, it would be a breach of the Fourth Amendment. You can go to jail for that sort of thing. And If a foreign bad guy is calling into the United States, if there’s a need to have a warrant, for the person in the United States, you just get a warrant. And so if a terrorist calls in and it’s another terrorist, I think the American public would want us to do surveillance of that U.S. person in this case. So we would just get a warrant and do that. It’s a manageable thing. On the U.S. persons side it’s 100 or less. And then the foreign side, it’s in the thousands. Now there’s a sense that we’re doing massive data mining. In fact, what we’re doing is surgical. A telephone number is surgical. So, if you know what number, you can select it out. So that’s, we’ve got a lot of territory to make up with people believing that we’re doing things we’re not doing.”

    h/t: that Captain Ed guy

  13. Another Smear On Bill Clinton Circulating…

    In 1998 President Clinton launched a major attack on al Queda and tried to kill Osama bin Laden:The United States launched cruise missile strikes in Afghanistan and Sudan yesterday against centres allegedly linked with the terrorist bombings of two Ame…

  14. BarbaraS says:

    There’s that word “smear” again. If the left want to idolize the fabricator-in-chief that’s their privilege. Just don’t accuse the right of “smearing” when we catch him in his lies. This guy has strained his credibility to the limits. Anyone who believcs any thing he says is either brain dead or brain washed.

  15. ivehadit says:

    Telling the truth is not smearing. But then, we know that the party of “is,is” really will never understand what that means…