The undermining of the Bush administration by the permanent bureaucracy at the CIA and the State Department. I think it is a scandal, one that I dubbed “Three years of the Condor.” Since the publication of the CIA’s absurd key judgments in the NIE on Iran, the recognition of the scandal has gone mainstream. Last week Jack Kelly wrote an interesting column on the scandal, and Henry Kissinger diplomatically noted it in his Washington Post column on the NIE. Today Charles Krauthammer writes in his evaluation of the Bush administration’s handling of the Axis of Evil:
Bush has thrown in the towel on Iran’s nuclear program because the intelligence bureaucracy, in a spectacularly successful coup, seized control of the policy with a National Intelligence Estimate that very misleadingly trumpeted the claim that Iran had halted its nuclear program. In fact, Iran only halted the least important component of its nuclear program, namely weaponization.
The NIE is the visible tip of a much bigger story that would tell the secret history of the Bush administration. Once upon a time, liberals worried about the takeover of the executive branch by intelligence and military operatives. Think back to 1962’s Seven Days In May. The novel and the movie that was made of it pioneered what has become a genre unto itself. “Three Days of the Condor,” for example, extended the concerns of Seven Days In May to the CIA. Of course, the operatives in these novels and films were always depicted as right-wing or “fascist.”
Now that the scenario has begun to play out, the real-life counterparts of the fictional villains have proved to be leftist. The permanent bureaucracy that mans the intelligence community is a virtual preserve of the left. The visible role undertaken by the CIA in undermining administration foreign policy should be a concern to Americans of all stripes, but the left’s silence is deafening.
PAUL adds: The left’s cheerleading isn’t.
UPDATE: One reader in the intelligence community (not with the CIA) objects:
As a very conservative member of the IC, I resent being painted with such a broad brush. I have been in the IC for 27 years and have encountered many more conservatives than liberals. Of course, this is at the working level, actually collecting and processing the information. I think it is only the highest strata of the IC that is overwhelmingly liberal. The rest of us are just as frustrated with the NIE as you are.