Tales from the Trail

How much power should the CIA have?

August 25, 2009

In the alphabet soup of government national security agencies, the letters CIA seem to be sinking.

The First Draft: no rest for the weary?

August 24, 2009

The Obamas may be on vacation this week, but the news hasn’t taken a break. OBAMA/

The First Draft: Will Cheney spill the beans about Bush?

August 13, 2009

USA-SECURITY/CHENEYHow would you spend the dog days of summer, if you were a former vice president? If you were Dick Cheney, you would be ensconced in your new office above the garage in McLean, Virginia (just down the road from the CIA!), writing your memoir of the administration of George W. Bush. But would you tell all?

Coincidence? April spy meeting, Taliban leader (probably) killed

August 10, 2009

A top level U.S.-Pakistani spy meeting in April.

A top Taliban official killed (90 percent certain) in August.

Coincidence?

USA/CIA Director Leon Panetta and Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shujaa Pasha, head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, held a hush-hush meeting in the Washington area  in April.

Obama official takes shots at Bush’s words

August 6, 2009

President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser on Thursday offered a pointed critique of several of former President George W. Bush’s catch phrases on terrorism.

Someone at the CIA lied and Congress is not happy

July 9, 2009

Someone lied about something at the CIA, that much is clear.

Members of the House Intelligence Committee are not happy about it, that is also clear.

Spy turf fight being umpired by White House

July 7, 2009

The daggers are out in the U.S. spy world — for each other.

And the job of breaking up the fight in the ring of shadows has gone to the White House, which is expected to rule soon.

No apology for CIA coup plotting? Well, how about a photo then…

June 23, 2009

President Barack Obama artfully dodged a request from Chilean reporters Tuesday for an apology for CIA meddling in Latin America, but he caved in to another demand.
 
“President Obama, can you take a photograph with the Chilean press, please?” one reporter OBAMA/asked at the end of an Oval Office statement by Obama and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.
 
“A photograph with the press?” Obama asked. “OK, why don’t we go outside?”
 
The U.S. leader was less forthcoming on the matter of apologizing for the CIA’s long history of meddling in the affairs of Latin American governments.
 
The CIA has denied direct involvement in the overthrow and death of Chilean President Salvador Allende in 1973 but has acknowledged trying to prevent him from assuming the presidency three years earlier.
 
And it has acknowledged supporting the military junta that took control of country after the coup.
 
Bachelet, then a college student, was imprisoned and tortured following the coup, as was her mother. Her father, who had been an air force general in the Allende government, was imprisoned and tortured to death.
 
Asked if it was time for an apology for the CIA’s activities in Chile, Obama said, “I’m interested in going forward, not looking backward.”
 
“I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world. I think there have been times where we’ve made mistakes,” he said. “But I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today, and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region.”
 
That said, he did manage a chuckle at U.S. expense — over the old joke that there’s never been a coup in the United States because it has no American Embassy.
 
Someone else told the joke, Bachelet insisted after it was attributed to her.
 
“I just said it was a good joke,” she said.
 
“Yes, it is,” said Obama, laughing.
 
For more Reuters political news, please click here.

House Democrats block Republican call for probe of Pelosi

May 21, 2009

                        

                                      There was polBRITAIN/itical theater, drama, but no surprise ending on Thursday on a topic involving spies, torture and truth in the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives.

CIA’s Panetta swings back

May 15, 2009

CIA Director Leon Panetta is no stranger to Washington political drama, and he showed on Friday that he wasn’t going to watch from the sidelines while Congress threw stones at his spy agency.