Sunday, October 08, 2006

Armitage was offered both Tenet and Negroponte's jobs

* over at ew's place, pow wow has been trying to make the case that Armitage wasn't really on the side of powell/State (my personal twist on this is that it is wrong to think if a Powell/sane/State wing) - and i dropped a comment over there mentioning that Armitage was offered both Tenet and Negroponte's jobs, and it's difficult to imagine that he got those offers without the imprimatur of OVP et al

ew responds:
"As to the Corn DCI or DNI gig (keeping in mind that, for all his history as a Death Squads afficianado, Negroponte is considered a State entity), do you really think they wanted to give DCI/DNI to someone they cared about? That job exists soley to oversee a massive failure. They want that person to fail a bureaucratic battle in favor of Rummy (as Negroponte currently is doing)."
i'm smart enough to know not to argue with emptywheel on the merits, and i only have a helicopter-view of this, but this seems wrong on a couple of fronts. primarily, if the DCI/DNI roles were intended to 'fail', then it makes sense to put enablers in those positions - which is exactly what they did with Goss, and Goss diligently dragged his gosslings over to the agency. that is, they got exactly what they wanted from Goss (apart from the hooker thing) - i can only presume that when they asked armitage to take the gig, they gave him some pre-conditions (which he appears to have declined)

lemme put it this way. EW says:
"do you really think they wanted to give DCI/DNI to someone they cared about? That job exists soley to oversee a massive failure."
the flipside is that if you want to put someone in place to "oversee a massive failure" - would you rather install one of your own cronies, or someone who is weakish but on the other side? i'd prefer a crony. and they offered the gig to armitage. their second choice, Goss, gave them exactly what they wanted. Why should we presume that they didn't expect the same from Armitage when he was offered the gig? armitage didnt take the bait - but they apparently thought they had him in their pocket.

as for negroponte being perceived as being State - well, that just seems to reinforce my point that those boundaries are artificial.


profmarcus said...

crony, weak, what's the difference...? it doesn't matter who's presiding over what arm of the executive branch or whether it's rummy or negroponte or someone else calling the intelligence shots... the fundamental agenda is to create the kind of chaos that we're seeing today - the type of chaos and conditions for creating violence that will insure the "need" for endless war and allow our brain-dead citizenry to continue to make whole-burnt offerings out of our liberties and the u.s. constitution... yeah, it LOOKS like "failure," but that's the whole idea...

starroute said...

No, not chaos. The agenda is apparently to put the real power in the Department of Defense -- to have Rummy's special forces and such doing everything the CIA used to and more -- and to strongly cut back on the CIA's ability to do independent analysis as well, leaving it mainly in the business of old-timey spying.

I haven't been looking closely at this since last year, but I'll see what I can dig out. Meanwhile, recommended reading would include this November 2002 article on P20G:

"Run away from the light": Such might be the motto of a new, covert policy that the Bush administration is considering implementing. According to recent news reports, it would be the largest expansion into the world of black ops and covert action since the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s.

And that's saying quite a lot, considering that since Vietnam the Pentagon has not exactly been dormant in this area.

As well-known military analyst William Arkin pointed out in an October 27 column in the Los Angeles Times, the development of the Pentagon's covert counter-terror capability has its roots in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The army created a highly compartmentalized organization that could collect clandestine intelligence independent of the rest of the US intelligence community, and follow through with covert military action. Today, it operates under the code name Grey Fox. In Afghanistan it operated alongside the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) paramilitary Special Activities Division and the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command. . . .

According to the leak, the United States is engaged in a global war on terrorism that is "a real war" in case anyone doubts it. This means, among other things, a "committed, resourceful and globally dispersed adversary with strategic reach" against whom the US will wage "a long, at times violent, and borderless war" which "requires new strategies, postures and organization".

That explains why the United States has, so to speak, decided to fight fire with fire. Although the study is filled with lots of the usual buzzwords and phrases that Pentagon planners love, such as "robust connectivity, agile ground forces, adaptive joint command and control and discriminant use of force", one thing that does stand out is its call for "preemption/proaction/interdiction/disruption/quick-response capabilities". . . .

If adopted, some of the proposals appear to push the military into territory that traditionally has been the domain of the CIA, raising questions about whether such missions would be subject to the same legal restraints imposed on CIA activities. . . .

Yet lawmakers have expressed concern with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's push to expand the Pentagon's covert capabilities, mainly because the Pentagon is not subject to rules that require the CIA to report its covert activities to Congress.

starroute said...

Seymour Hersh's December 2003 piece, "MOVING TARGETS: Will the counter-insurgency plan in Iraq repeat the mistakes of Vietnam?" is another excellent reference point. Stephen Cambone is someone of particular significance here:

The Bush Administration has authorized a major escalation of the Special Forces covert war in Iraq. In interviews over the past month, American officials and former officials said that the main target was a hard-core group of Baathists who are believed to be behind much of the underground insurgency against the soldiers of the United States and its allies. A new Special Forces group, designated Task Force 121, has been assembled from Army Delta Force members, Navy seals, and C.I.A. paramilitary operatives, with many additional personnel ordered to report by January. Its highest priority is the neutralization of the Baathist insurgents, by capture or assassination.

The revitalized Special Forces mission is a policy victory for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has struggled for two years to get the military leadership to accept the strategy of what he calls “Manhunts”—a phrase that he has used both publicly and in internal Pentagon communications. Rumsfeld has had to change much of the Pentagon’s leadership to get his way. “Knocking off two regimes allows us to do extraordinary things,” a Pentagon adviser told me, referring to Afghanistan and Iraq. . . .

Inside the Pentagon, it is now understood that simply bringing in or killing Saddam Hussein and his immediate circle—those who appeared in the Bush Administration’s famed “deck of cards”—will not stop the insurgency. The new Special Forces operation is aimed instead at the broad middle of the Baathist underground. But many of the officials I spoke to were skeptical of the Administration’s plans. Many of them fear that the proposed operation—called “preĆ«mptive manhunting” by one Pentagon adviser—has the potential to turn into another Phoenix Program. Phoenix was the code name for a counter-insurgency program that the U.S. adopted during the Vietnam War, in which Special Forces teams were sent out to capture or assassinate Vietnamese believed to be working with or sympathetic to the Vietcong. In choosing targets, the Americans relied on information supplied by South Vietnamese Army officers and village chiefs. The operation got out of control. . . .

The rising star in Rumsfeld’s Pentagon is Stephen Cambone, the Under-Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, who has been deeply involved in developing the new Special Forces approach. Cambone, who earned a doctorate in political science from Claremont Graduate University in 1982, served as staff director for a 1998 committee, headed by Rumsfeld, that warned in its report of an emerging ballistic-missile threat to the United States and argued that intelligence agencies should be willing to go beyond the data at hand in their analyses. Cambone, in his confirmation hearings, in February, told the Senate that consumers of intelligence assessments must ask questions of the analysts—“how they arrived at those conclusions and what the sources of the information were.” This approach was championed by Rumsfeld. It came under attack, however, when the Administration’s predictions about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and the potential for insurgency failed to be realized, and the Pentagon civilians were widely accused of politicizing intelligence. (A month after the fall of Baghdad, Cambone was the first senior Pentagon official to publicly claim, wrongly, as it turned out, that a captured Iraqi military truck might be a mobile biological-weapons laboratory.)

Cambone also shares Rumsfeld’s views on how to fight terrorism. They both believe that the United States needs to become far more proactive in combatting terrorism, searching for terrorist leaders around the world and eliminating them. And Cambone, like Rumsfeld, has been frustrated by the reluctance of the military leadership to embrace the manhunting mission. Since his confirmation, he has been seeking operational authority over Special Forces. “Rumsfeld’s been looking for somebody to have all the answers, and Steve is the guy,” a former high-level Pentagon official told me. “He has more direct access to Rummy than anyone else.”


lukery said...

thnx SR - as always.

i still havent got my head around cambone.