By Thomas W. Pauken II. author of US vs. China: From Trade Wars to Reciprocal Deal
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has long been recognized as the World’s leading intelligence-gathering agency but its agents and directors in charge have also been suspected of engaging in devilish duplicity, criminal-inspired covert operations, allying with rogue operators, dictators, as well as bungling up fact-checking missions and in many cases with malicious intent in order to fool US government officials, diplomats, military personnel and the White House when they are expected to make crucial “life or death” decisions.
The CIA was not founded to play nice with nation-states that are perceived “unfriendly” to Washington but the US national security apparatus has made every effort to hide its dark motives, deeds and failures in order to portray “American exceptionalism” as a positive symbol on the world stage. If global citizens really understood the CIA and the US federal government acting corrupt to the core there would come a time when Washington would be treated a pariah within the global diplomatic community.
Nonetheless, former US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who served as director of the CIA from 2017 to 2018, told the truth about the CIA when visiting Texas A&M University on April 15, 2019. He said:
“But in terms of how you think about problem sets, I – when I was a cadet, what’s the first – what’s the cadet motto at West Point? You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do. I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. (Laughter) It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. (Applause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”
Reportedly, the audience gave a thunderous applause to his remarks as if they believed the CIA was fulfilling its mission to act as a world-class liar, cheater and thief. Pompeo was observed smiling when making the shocking disclosure. But when a liar admits to speaking falsehoods and enjoying it, how can they recover their reputation? Pompeo had also exposed the CIA’s treachery. And since the CIA has been unmasked as a deceiver, how can they be trusted later on? additionally, the CIA along with other US intelligence agencies have stumbled on numerous occasions and usually in spectacular fashion.
Russia, Russia, Russia
After Donald J. Trump won his bid to be US president in November 2016, a so-called “Russian Dossier” was leaked by Buzzfeed on Jan. 11, 2017, which claimed US intelligence agencies had allegedly “verified” a report composed by Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS. The report printed outlandish claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was working closely with Trump and his associates for the prior eight years to mastermind a scheme to place Trump in the White House. The report also said Trump asked Russians to hire prostitutes to urinate on hotel beds before Obama’s scheduled state visit to Moscow. Steele alleged the Kremlin hacked into US voters’ rolls to “scan and probe” them.
The Russian Dossier had prompted US Congress and Senate to launch investigations. Former CIA director John Brennan served under Obama and he had hinted the report was verified. The report had nearly led to Trump’s impeachment as US President.
The “Russian Dossier” was eventually debunked. Steele, when granting testimony at a hearing on Capitol Hilll, said under oath the claims were “not verified”. But the incident had demonstrated that CIA, FBI and other intelligence agencies under the Obama administration were highly-politicized. Obama and Brennan had both ignored the truth and proof of Trump’s innocence. CIA delivered documents citing Steele as “credible”, which is deemed the “highest praise” for their sources.
Steele, a former MI5 agent (United Kingdom’s intelligence service), had not visited Russia for over 13 years before writing the report. He was a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal. The Democrats had a political agenda to destroy Trump’s reputation and they wanted to use the Russian Dossier as a sledge hammer. Steele served as a willing but discredited informant for them.
The Russian Dossier was compiled from hearsay, third-hand gossip from two low-level sources, who denied the claims under oath. Last October, former director of US National Intelligence John Ratcliffe had de-classified several handwritten notes from Brennan and a CIA memo during his meeting with Obama at the Oval Office in January 2017. Brennan, at the time, believed the Russian dossier was orchestrated by Hillary Clinton’s operatives to distract the public over her apparent mishandling of her email server when she was US Secretary of State, according to Yahoo News.
The Russian Dossier and its damaging impact on all US intelligence services should have served as a devastating blow to their respective reputations. At the very least, agents connected to the Russian and Trump smear campaigns deserved to be fired from their posts and this humiliating incident was more like a dreaded wake up call. Nonetheless, Trump stood powerless to crack down on any of these intelligence agencies and after Joe Biden entered the White House, CIA, FBI, and NSA went back to business as usual. As a consequence, the Taliban recognized how to exploit it.
Last April Biden announced the withdrawal of US troops deployed in Afghanistan would be concluded no later than September 11th. Middle East and Central Asia experts had expressed concerns that the pullout would made Taliban, a radical Islamist terrorist organization, takeover Afghanistan. The Taliban calls for a strict enforcement of shaira law (Islamic law), againsts women’s rights and allows Afghanistan to be a haven for Islamic militants from throughout the world.
The Taliban quickly extended their influence in the rural regions for the past few months and began seizing vast swathes of territory. But the Biden administration and the US intelligence agencies failed to ring alarm bells until it was too late. On July 8th at a press conference, Biden was asked if he was concerned about the Taliban and if US intelligence agencies had warned him. He said:
“That is not true. They did not reach that conclusion … the Afghanistan government has to come together. They have the capacity. They have the forces. They have the equipment. The question is: will they do it?”
Biden’s statement made it clear, neither CIA nor NSA had ever warned him of the impending and imminent doom in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is currently on a pace to drawdown the US troops and insists that the 300,000 Afghanistan’s government troops would fight off the Taliban. The US State Department is blamed for not acting more urgently to evacuate US citizens from the country. Washington had promised that the US troops’ pullout would be peaceful and the evacuations would be orderly. But the Biden administration’s expectations were proven wildly inaccurate. When Taliban marched into Kabul, taking down the Afghan government, chaos ensued. The US reputation as faithful guardian of its allies will forever be tainted. The US soldiers left the country in haste, leaving thousands of US civilians stranded. Washington closed Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan a month earlier. When Taliban arrived, thousands of people flocked to Kabul Airport hoping to get on the planes back to the US.
These people didn’t get to be taken with the US troops to flying to that “land of freedom”. Instead, news reports had shown video footage of cargo planes taking off while people were holding on to the bottom part of the planes, and several seconds later, they fell off in mid-air.
The US intelligence agencies failed to alert the White House about the Taliban but they had claimed otherwise, according to recent media reports. CIA is trying to protect their reputation while in fact they should be criticized for flip-flopping on that issue.
Considering the CIA’s dubious history for intelligence-gathering and Pompeo’s boast about the agency as a training ground for compulsive liars, we could predict the US intelligence agencies would hype up new media narratives to distract US citizens and allied nations form noticing their past failures. The ruling Democrat Party recognizes the Afghanistan debacle will shake the US status as a superpower. The CIA will be eager to plot schemes to shine a negative spotlight on their perceived enemy——China.
The Biden administration asked the US Intelligence Community take a closer look at the conspiracy theory alleging there was a virus leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in late 2019. The accusation sounds unreasonable since the World Health Organization had conducted a coronavirus investigation, deploying a team of scientific investigators to visit China earlier this year. The experts concluded that the virus leaked from a laboratory is “extremely unlikely”. Nevertheless, Biden continues to playing politics when ordering the WHO to return to Wuhan for another investigation this summer. Beijing refused such proposal.
The CIA loves to play games of deception and smearing China has become routine for them. Many ordinary Americans hold negative sentiments of China. According to a recent Pew Poll, a majority of Americans see China as the “greatest threat”. US elected officials seek to stay in power so they know the “Blame China” game is a winning re-elections’ strategy for them. Biden knows that more than anyone else. In the near future, don’t be surprised if the Biden administration takes a more belligerent tone towards Beijing, for example, hyping up the Wuhan lab leak conspiracy as a fait accompli.