RANGER AGAINST WAR: Gone, But Not Forgotten <

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Meeting and greeting, in happier days
(Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld,
then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.)

It has been our unwavering position that the Department of Defense (DoD) is preempting the traditional functions of the Departments of Justice and State, as well as the CIA. In addition, it seems this is done to eliminate congressional oversight into such covert operations.

Wall Street Journal article covers the topic quite well ("Pentagon's Covert Activities Come Under Senate Scrutiny"). Following are some excerpts:
"Critics have said the effort amounts to building a parallel intelligence network that competes with the CIA, but without the broader oversight under which the CIA operates."

"So far, however, the Pentagon appears to have been able to conduct those operations without the formal steps required of other U.S. intelligence agencies before covert action."

"Traditionally, covert actions overseas have been the task of the CIA. They entail activities such as secret attempts to capture or kill suspected terrorists and propaganda campaigns. One question to be explored during the hearings will be whether the Pentagon's secret operations may have violated a federal law that requires a written presidential finding and notification of the congressional intelligence committees when a covert action is to be carried out."

"(T)he Congressional Research Service report notes, [the Pentagon] claimed exemption from the requirements because it said the new secret operations carried out by military personnel in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere amount to traditional military activities intended to help prepare for battle.

The law, added in 1991 as a new section of the National Security Act of 1947, defines covert activity as action by the U.S. government 'to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly.'"

"Former Army Lt. Gen. William Odom, now at the Hudson Institute, said oversight is important partly because such operations easily can go awry, causing unintended results and diplomatic embarrassment for the U.S. 'Rumsfeld just ran loose,' he said, adding, 'You have to have a system where you hold people accountable for making the decisions.'"

"Mr. Rumsfeld has said the expanded intelligence activities by the Pentagon were vital to the global war on terrorism. Gen. Odom also noted recent complaints from CIA officials that covert actions were taking place in countries where local CIA station chiefs knew nothing about them. The Pentagon's press office didn't respond to repeated requests for comment."

The DoD appears to be trying to run an autonomous foreign policy machine that also carries rifles and kills people.


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