Thursday, July 09, 2009

The CIA: Secret Army Secret Wars

Raw Story has an exclusive article written by Gareth Porter claiming that Robert McNamara lied to Lyndon Johnson about the so-called Tonkin Gulf Incident. As you recall the Tonkin gulf Incident was the now debunked story that North Vietnamese boats had attacked U.S. war ships. The incident was used to escalate the Vietnam War and Lyndon Johnson has taken the rap for lying about what actually took place. Yet according to Gareth Porter this was not the case at all.


Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1967, took many secrets with him when he died Monday at 93. But probably no secret was more sensitive politically than the one that would have changed fundamentally the public perception of his role in Vietnam policy had it been become widely known.

The secret was his deliberate deceit of President Lyndon B. Johnson on Aug. 4, 1964 regarding the alleged attack on US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

This does not entirely vindicate Johnson who had a choice on how to react to the incident whether it had actually happened or not. It is possible that Johnson was more concerned about the report not being true because it could come out at some future time with adverse effect. And it isn’t clear that Johnson actually believed what McNamara was telling him concerning the incident. Still, I think that it is important to try to get history right considering how so much of what is written is patently garbage. But go read the essay by Porter and decide for yourself. And whether it was Johnson or McNamara who lied it provides more evidence that intelligence is manufactured to clear the way for war which brings us to the CIA.

In today’s Guardian we can find proof that the CIA is the president’s personal army. Leon Panetta admitted that during the W. Bush years the CIA had not informed Congress of “Significant actions” and though there is nothing new about that Congressional members act as if they were greatly surprised and shocked.


The Central Intelligence Agency has admitted "concealing significant actions" from Congress for years during the Bush administration, prompting the chairman of the House of Representatives intelligence committee to accuse the agency of having "affirmatively lied".

The admission raised fresh questions over what political pressure was applied to the CIA to manipulate and distort intelligence in order to mislead Congress and the public over a range of issues from Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction to the use of torture against al-Qaida detainees.

Members of Congress say the CIA director, Leon Panetta, made the admission at a closed session last month. At the time, a political feud had broken out between the agency and the speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, after she accused it of intentionally misleading her over the repeated waterboarding of the al-Qaida detainee, Abu Zubaydah.

The CIA's admission came to light after seven Democratic members of the House intelligence committee wrote to Panetta demanding he correct a statement in May in which he denied Pelosi's assertionsk, saying that it is not the agency's "policy or practice to mislead Congress".

Yet it has been the agency’s policy to deceive Congress for decades.

From Chalmers Johnson’s book Nemisis.


Porter J. Goss, the newly appointed director of central intelligence (DCI), November 2004,
in an internal memorandum to CIA employees
[Our job is to] support the administration and its policies in our work. As agency employees, we do not identify with, support, or champion opposition to the administration or its policies.

Thomas Powers, an authority on the CIA
No one can understand, much less predict, [t]he behavior of the CIA who does not understand that the agency works for the president. I know of no exceptions to this general rule. In practice it means that in the end the CIA will always bend to the wishes of the president .... The general rule applies both to intelligence and to operations: what the CIA says, as well as what it does, will shape itself over time to what the president wants.

Congressional oversight of the agency [CIA] and many other, ever-expanding intelligence outfits in the U.S. government, including the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA) - is, at best, a theatrical performance designed to distract and mislead the few Americans left who are concerned about constitutional government.

The president's untrammeled control of the CIA is probably the single most extraordinary power the imperial presidency possesses - totally beyond the balance of powers intended to protect the United States from the rise of a tyrant.

James Schlesinger, Director of CIA, 1973
l am here to see that you guys don't screw Richard Nixon.

Whatever happens, the CIA will remain first and foremost the president's private army, officially accountable to no other branch of the government.

The National Security Act of 1947 placed the CIA under the explicit direction of the National Security Council (NSC), the president's chief staff unit-composed of appointed members not subject to congressional approval-focused on making decisions about war and peace. The CIA was given five functions, four of them dealing with the collection, coordination, and dissemination of intelligence. It was the fifth-a vaguely worded passage that allowed the CIA to "perform such other functions and duties related to intelligence affecting the national security as the National Security Council may from time to time direct"-that turned the CIA into the personal, secret, unaccountable army of the president. At least since 1953, when it secretly overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran, the CIA has often been ordered into battle without Congress having declared war, as the Constitution requires.

Not only has the CIA been ordered into battle without Congress having declared war but the U.S. has gone to war many times over the last century without Congress declaring war. This practice goes as far back as 1900.


In the summer of 1900, as the Boxers are besieging the foreign ligation in Beijing and threatening to kill all of the foreigners they can get their hands on, McKinley has to make a historic decision. And the decision is whether or not to send US troops out of Manila and onto the mainland of Asia. Obviously, American troops had never fought in this theater before and what McKinley does is not only order the troops onto the Asian mainland to fight in China, but he does it without consulting anyone. He essentially goes to war without asking Congress anything about it. He uses his commander-in-chief powers and it becomes a very important point historic precedent, the kind of precedent that later American Presidents will use to order American troops around the world.

Ironically one of the ideas behind the birth of the CIA was that intelligence could prevent wars from happening. This was a fatal error in judgment which did not take into consideration the true nature of the presidency and American foreign policy regarding interventions, overthrowing unwanted leaders of other nations, and imperialism. For in the end as was so dramatically illustrated during the build-up to the Iraq War we see that rather than preventing wars intelligence is used to actually engage in war at the president’s bidding.


At July 10, 2009 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

some stuff you may be interested in, rob --,_Brown_and_Root

piece together what you find believable in those 3 sources and you will see what kind of man LBJ was.

At July 10, 2009 8:01 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

those are good links, CFO, and certainly illuminating. I noticed the wiki article about Billy Sol Estes said he's presently living in Granbury, which isn't too far from here, just south of Ft. Worth.

At July 10, 2009 9:16 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Those are interesting links. Johnson obviously had a lot to gain from the death of Kennedy but who knows. It really doesn’t take a giant leap that if Johnson had had people murdered in his early career that he may have had something to do with the Kennedy’s death. But really, you don’t have to convince me about what kind of person Johnson is, he tried to send me to Vietnam which doesn’t give him a high rating in my book.
In the end Johnson like so many leaders before him was responsible for far too many deaths; national leaders are basically all the same.

At July 12, 2009 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that LBJ sent thousands to die or be irreparably maimed physically, psychologically or both is only one facet of LBJ's cold, calculated person of immense political ambition.

More interesting is how KBR got its nose under the federal tent for the first time with LBJ.

LBJ was not the only person who stood to gain from a JFK-killing coup. He was just one of many.

At July 12, 2009 7:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, the idea that the CIA was created to garner intelligence to avoid wars...?


The CIA has always been a playground for the idle rich. The OSS --its forerunner-- was the same. The whole field of "intelligence" is an arena of turning gossip into "useful information" and the origins of gaining the gossip and "useful information" do not and did not avoid the use of torture.

There was never anything innocent, innocuous or humane about the OSS or the CIA.


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