Tag Archives: Central Intelligence Agency

Zero Dark Thirty

ZeroDarkThirty2012PosterWe went this afternoon to see it and I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you- they get Bin Laden!  And it’s a fine telling of the tale indeed.  The torture scenes have gotten a lot of complaint from the whiny sorts in Hollywood who think the world consists of bunnies and powdery substances to be sucked through one’s nostrils.  But they were not at all excessive and frankly no more graphic and tellingly less so than many of the violent scenes in movies about which Hollywood never whispers a complaint.

One is forced to conclude that all the bluster is aimed more at Bigelow than at the scenes themselves- probably stirred up by her unskilled and inept ex husband who fancies himself a director.

You should go see this movie- it’s excellent.  That it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar simply shows how useless and meaningless those self congratulatory awards are and does not at all reflect the worthwhile-ness of the film.

The Banality of Evil: Richard Clarke as Cassandra

NPR aired an absolutely fascinating report on the events which led up to the 9/11 tragedy.  It illustrates both the disconnect between intelligence gathering and policy implementation in the United States and the ‘banality’ of evil, or how evil made simple, plodding, and un-amazing steps to carry out the attacks.

Yet to me the most bizarre fact is that Clarke had warned and warned and was ignored time and again.  Amazing.

Do give the essay a read.  Here’s just a bit

The summer of 2001 will likely go down in history as the summer of missed opportunities.

“We were listening to al-Qaida people. We were intercepting their phone calls. We were intercepting their emails,” Clarke says, “and all of those indicators were coming back that there was a major attack in the works.”

Still, clues were overlooked: A man named Zacarias Moussaoui was arrested in Minnesota after his flight school instructor said he was acting like a hijacker. The CIA gave Bush a briefing with the now famous title of “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

All summer, Clarke couldn’t get the Bush administration to plan a Cabinet-level meeting on al-Qaida. Too many people were on vacation. By the time a meeting was scheduled in September, Clarke was already planning on transferring jobs.

“So I left the Sept. 4 meeting frustrated that they hadn’t made decisions and frustrated that they still hadn’t got it, and thinking, ‘Well at least in three weeks it won’t be my responsibility anymore,'” he says.

Again, read the whole.  Amazing.  And food for thought.

Pakistan Is No Ally

CNN informs us that our pseudo-allies in Pakistan

… arrested “a few” informants who gave information to the CIA before the raid that left Osama bin Laden dead, Pakistani intelligence officials said Wednesday.

That is, help the US find the world’s most wanted man and be arrested by the Pakistani intelligence troops.

Asked Wednesday to rate the Pakistani spy agency’s relationship with the CIA from a scale of 1 to 10, a Pakistani military spokesman said four.

Hardly.  A 1 is more likely.  And yet we pump money into the place as if they are actually friends.  Absurd.

Farewell Mubarak?

SHARM EL SHEIKH/EGYPT, 18MAY08 - Muhammad Hosn...

It seems his departure may well be closer than we thought.  But will his handing of power over to his CIA backed Vice President make Egyptians happy, or just the United States and Israel?  And can the VP hold things together and implement some reforms before elections in September?  And in September, will he simply assert his plan to stay in power no matter how the rigged elections turn out?

Life is filled with questions.  In the meanwhile, before we know their answers

The Supreme Council of Egyptian Armed Forces has met to discuss the ongoing protests against the government of Hosni Mubarak, the president.   In a statement entitled ‘Communique Number One’, televised on state television, the army said it had convened the meeting response to the current political turmoil, and that it would continue to convene such meetings.  Thurday’s meeting was chaired by Mohamed Tantawi, the defence minister, rather than Mubarak, who, as president, would normally have headed the meeting.  “Based on the responsibility of the armed forces and its commitment to protect the people and its keenness to protect the nation… and in support of the legitimate demands of the people [the army] will continue meeting on a continuous basis to examine measures to be taken to protect the nation and its gains and the ambitions of the great Egyptian people,” the statement.  The army’s statement was met with a roar of approval from protesters in Tahrir Square as vast crowds poured into the area.

It certainly sounds promising.  Stay tuned.