For Immediate Release
Who's Afraid of the CIA?
Ray McGovern says that the President and CIA director seem afraid to hold the intelligence agency accountable
WASHINGTON - "It would be wonderful if it were fantasy; it's all too
real," Ray McGovern says about Liz Cheney's accusations against
Lawrence Wilkerson of fabricating "fantasies" about her father, former
US Vice President Dick Cheney.
Wilkerson accused Cheney of being involved in a series of actions,
including authorizing the torture of Al-Qaeda suspects, to justify the
war in Iraq.
On May 17, Liz Cheney accused Wilkerson, the
former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, of creating a "cottage industry"
making up "fantasy stories" about her father on the George
However, McGovern, retired CIA analyst, says that former President
Bush "deputized" Cheney in ordering the CIA to treat and torture
prisoners to obtain information about connections between Sadaam
Hussein and Al-Qaeda and Iraq's possession of weapons of mass
"Dick Cheney was the acting president, Dick Cheney told [former CIA
Director] George Tenet what to do and George Tenet said, 'Yes, sir how
high would you like me to jump? You want weapons of mass destruction,
no problem, I'll serve them up to you,'" McGovern says.
McGovern also says that The National Security Act of 1947 gave the
US President almost complete control over CIA operations. "[That act]
says the director of intelligence shall perform such other functions
and duties related to intelligence as the head of the National Security
Council shall direct," McGovern says. "Who's the head of the National
Security Council? The President. Is there any vote? No, the President
decides. That gives the President, and I use this word carefully, the
power to have his own Gestapo. The only check on that is to have a kind
of director that will say, 'No, I won't do this kind of thing,' or a
Congress that's supposed to have an oversight role, but in the last
years, has had this overlook role and we know the result of that. It's
a structural flaw, a structural flaw, in the role of the intelligence
apparatus of our country, but there's also a premium on character. I've
worked with nine CIA directors, and most of them stood up to this
schizophrenic, two-headed approach. Most of them had integrity. The
last couple have not had any integrity."
While the President may appear to have command of CIA operations on
paper, McGovern also suggests that the current administration may not
have as tight a hold on the agency. "I think the President is afraid of
the CIA. I think [new CIA Director] Leon Panetta is afraid of the
CIA[...]they have either been co-opted or they're afraid. And that's,
that's new. I haven't seen that in my forty-six years in this city
where the Head of State and the Director is afraid," McGovern says. "If
that's the case, if it has come to that point, that's dangerous for our
civil liberties, that's dangerous for our foreign policy, that's
dangerous for our ability to defend ourselves."
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