February 15, 2005

Another perspective on Gannongate:
The only thing that almost surprised me about the "Jeff Gannon" story was that the White House ran the operation. But, when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. The White House has taken over the work formerly done by the intelligence agencies. While there has never been a time when the intelligence agencies and the White House and Congress all got along and worked together like good children, in the past there was at least a stated goal of using intelligence to make decisions. That's over. Decisions are now made and brazenly thrown out in public, and the intelligence flunkies better come up with the supporting evidence fast, unless they're ready for immediate retirement (at best). The current happy working environment requires the "intelligence data" to completely support predetermined White House policy, while intelligence data that doesn't meet current Bush Administration policy (Bin Laden agents preparing for a massive hijacking & air attack campaign within the United States in the fall of 2001, for example, or inept Arab flight-school students demanding to fly passenger jets when they can't manage to pilot a Cessna) is tossed aside, totally ignored, while those who bring in the inconvenient intel are removed and destroyed.

And the White House has a fantastic new weapon unknown to any American intelligence agency save for J. Edgar Hoover's FBI: There is no oversight. Nobody can get in the way. Better still, it doesn't matter if you get caught. There's no penalty for lies, obstruction, killing 1,500 Americans in Iraq, handing out billions of taxpayer dollars to your friends' companies, inventing fake New York terrorist plots to scare the hell out of voters right before the election, the widespread torturing of foreign suspects, engineering the transformation of Iraq from a beaten secular rogue state to an emboldened Islamic rogue state, the failure to prosecute a single U.S. "terrorist," or even blowing the cover of your own spies and double-agents to tip the polls for a week. Nothing is punishable. So why not plant a weirdo in the press-briefing room and call on him to make fun of whatever limp opposition remains? Send your opponents scrambling to keep up with whatever falsehoods you're currently peddling, and your people can keep on with the hard work: Sending another $100 billion straight to your donors who run the defense industry and untold billions to the boys running the "homeland security" business.
--Ken Layne

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