Ed Garvey: Is the CIA under civilian control? Do pigs fly?

2014-03-17T04:30:00Z Ed Garvey: Is the CIA under civilian control? Do pigs fly?ED GARVEY | local columnist madison.com
March 17, 2014 4:30 am  • 

Just saying. I was not shocked or even surprised by the revelation that the Central Intelligence Agency may have hacked computers and spied on the Senate Intelligence Committee, the congressional committee that oversees CIA and National Security Agency operations. What is a poor spook agency to do when the enemy disappears? Look inward perhaps?

I thought I was being bold in my suggestion that the CIA was not to be trusted but it turns out I was way, way too timid. What Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has discovered is scary. The CIA can intimidate Senate staff, read the documents that expose CIA overreach in its interrogation methods, and refuse to tell Congress what is going on — they are in charge in the name of security. I think it is safe to conclude the CIA is way out there and I am not sure how to bring them into the corral.

Who guards the hen house? Think about it. The CIA knew just where to hack the information that might blow a huge whistle ON the CIA. Can’t let that happen, can we? 

Not even Edward Snowden could have guessed how bad it is. Snowden, who is painted as the enemy, is a hero. We would never have figured out the truth about the NSA's collection of millions of communications among Americans and others without the information he exposed. He alerted us to the Stasi-like breadth of the NSA's programs, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. That operation should make all of us nervous. Collected data are valuable. Who can and will use it? Suppose the information is made available to political candidates. Can’t happen? Yes, it can.

After Snowden, what is a spy agency to do? Answer: Spy on everything and every potential threat, including those who are charged with regulating the agency! Is Congress a potential threat to secrecy? You bet — we better keep tabs on them for certain. True believers in the CIA worry about losing the intelligence contest, so just to be safe ... Maybe the sad conclusion is that the only controller of the CIA is the CIA itself. They must spy on Congress and not let Congress get in the way. And you can count on the super spies to lie if asked if they are spying!

Now that raises a question in my mind: What has the CIA been doing in Russia and the Crimea? Do you think it is possible/probable that the CIA was secretly stirring up trouble in Ukraine, as some charge? Will we ever think that would seem logical? Will we ever know if the CIA started the mischief to see if we are ready for war? Or to increase military spending? Is our government in control or not?

If not spying in the region, what has the CIA been doing? Who is calling the shots? Who defines the mission? Talk about making me nervous, how about former Vice President Dick Cheney being back in the news with his opinions? Unless we figure out how to crack the CIA information system, we could get pushed into another war we don’t want to fight. 

The blasts from GOP candidates would lead you to believe that we should be thinking about sending troops! Don’t send our young people to fight another losing effort.

Shouldn't we look in the mirror first? Think of all wars and invasions. Who is at fault? We know Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction, but we bombed Iraq anyway! Rachel Maddow exposed the real reason for war in Iraq: oil, oil and oil! Are we safer today? Is the CIA under civilian control? Do pigs fly?

Ed Garvey is a Madison lawyer, political activist and the editor of the fightingbob.com website. comments@fightingbob.com

Copyright 2015 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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