tv American History TV CSPAN August 18, 2014 12:01am-1:06am EDT
do i. [applause] most americans want continually expanding prosperity and so do i. [applause] these are your goals, these are our goals, these are the goals and will be the achievements of the democratic party. [applause] these are the goals of this great, rich nation. these are the goals toward which i will lead if the american people choose to follow. [applause]
>> next on the presidency, author and intelligence expert melvin goodman describes the relationship between the white house and the cia from the truman years through today. goodman explains how president becames intelligence arm a politicized source of covert actions around the world, from the pay of pigs invasion -- from the bay of pigs invasion to the iran contra affair. >> thank you and good evening. thank you to dale with invitation to come out here. all the wonderful hospitality to see the world war i museum which is a remarkable museum. it has been an extremely pleasant couple of days. great topic to deal with because it is controversial from the outset. no matter what i say, it will be
controversial. let me start with some controversial remarks that others made before i get to my own. i would like to start with senator frank church from idaho. he was the chairman of the church commission. when the church commission investigation started, he made remarks that were unfortunate. an elephante cia that was out of control. that is entirely wrong. the cia were a rogue elements -- elephant of control, the problem would be easy. you would get it under control somehow. the president should be able to do that. but the president has given all of the missions and quite a few of the more regrettable, that the cia carried out, came from the white house. the cia is quite obedient to authority, quite responsive to what a president wants, and if you look at the various covert actions over the years, i will be discussing some of them, these were direct did,
conceptualize, orchestrated, endorsed by residents of the united states. the controversy of the cia itself, it is important to understand that when presidents them to washington and they fall in love with two institutions. they fall in love with camp david and they fall in love with the cia. when they follow level the cia, unfortunately, it is with the clandestine aspect of the cia. this clandestine operations and theyovert actions that fall in love with. harry truman was an exception to this. i will discuss that in a minute. when presidents have had trouble with the cia it has been over intelligence analysis, where i spent 24 years as a soviet analyst. remarks of a couple presidents will demonstrate what i mean. one of my favorites is richard nixon. when richard nixon sent jim/and
or after the cia to become the director in the 1970's, he made it clear to slice in your -- shall i send your --schlessinger. that clearly said to him the cia is nothing but a sanctuary of a bunch of ivy league intellectuals who don't like me very much, a typical mix and observation. he also referred to them as a bunch of clowns. we wanted to know was, what in the world to all those clowns do out there, anyway? essinger's job to settle the problem. he said i want this agency to stop screwing richard nixon. we knew this is going to be a very difficult. eriod. the other president who
are think has made remarks about , but also the cia was lyndon johnson. what lyndon johnson like to do was explain to people who came to the white house what it is that intelligence analysts do at the cia. he had his own interpretation of that. expressed ways he what cia analysts do was to compare us to when he was on the farm and he had a favorite tower named bessie. bessie and pull up oftool and pull up a pail milk from bessie. if he wasn't paying attention, and often happened that bessie would take her shirt smeared tail and run up to that pail of milk. that is what intelligence analysts do. both nixon and johnson were
talking about was the cia criticism of what we were doing in vietnam. vietnam was an unwinnable war. harry truman did not fall in love with the cia. he may have created the cia, but he did not fall in love with it. by 1963, he wrote a very important op-ed describing the problems of the cia, which is relevant to today's situation. iiwas clear after world war that we were going to have a central intelligence agency for two very good reasons. one was pearl harbor. in the case of pearl harbor, we -- the japanese military code. we knew they were going to war with united states. we knew they were on to break relations with the united states. we knew that the embassy had been directed to destroy all of their sensitive information in washington, another indicator of war. this information did not get to
the right people. if it had on any short list of possible targets, you would have to pearl harbor in the philippines. this is a tragedy that did not have to happen in the way that it did. six months after the war ended was when he sat down with intelligence types, most of them from the office of strategic services, and began to talk about the need for an intelligence agency, never discussing the possibility of covert action or even clandestine operations, but putting the emphasis on intelligent analysis and clandestine collection of intelligence, which he thought were two legitimate functions for intelligence agencies. in 1947 when you get the national security act, which really is the act that still governs the national security architecture of united states, infected can argue it is time to go back and re-examine the national security act. remember, he created the national security council as we
know it today. it created the department of created the united states air force as a separate service and it created the central intelligence agency. the director of cia was also the director of central intelligence. here was one of the flaws in this piece of legislation. even though the director of the cia was supposed to be the director of all the intelligence agencies, he had no authorization for personnel, for budget, forecasting, even to be the central intelligence figure for the president of the united the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the central military figure. that is a problem that still has not been corrected even with the intelligence reform of 2004.
when i went to deal with is not only the 16 year. . you're talking about presidencies of eisenhower and kennedy, but to look at the presidents of followed, these two presidents. truman's concerns were highly topical and relevant to today. they were with what the cia had become, which was not part of his original concept. in other words, when he was thinking of the cia, he referred to this as the quiet intelligence arm of the president of the united states. he wanted a place where he could go outside of the policy arena, outside of the state department, outside of the pentagon, outside of the joint chiefs of staff, were he to get intelligent grindingthat was not
some policy acts. it was supposed to be objective and balanced. we saw that the cia had become over the 16 intervening years was a very subversive organization that he said had become much too noisy in terms of all the news that the cia was creating, unfortunately, and was putting too much attention into covert action. he said something that is very topical for today, which is that he didn't want the cia to become another pentagon. one of the arguments i was making over the years and in the book that given in the cia and the failure of intelligence was the cia had become a paramilitary organization, which i think is not what truman had in mind. one thing the truman understood that presidents after truman did not concern themselves with is that if you have an organization that conducts covert action, covert action is part of policy. already, you tainted the
intelligence company tainted the intelligence collection, because covert action is in support of policy and comes directly from the white house in support of a very specific policy. what happened in that 16 year. ? eisenhower is an interesting study in this regard because when we think of eisenhower, we think of all the warnings he gave about overuse of the military. are all valid warnings and remain valid warnings to the state. you're all familiar with the military-industrial complex observation and the farewell address of 1961. he gave a very important warning in a speech early in his first term called the cross of iron speech that he wrote himself. warning about bloated defense budgets that would not allow the united states to do what it needed to do in terms of infrastructure, domestic economy, educating our children.
there is a great line in it that he wrote that when we are spending on defense and particularly when we are overspending on defense, we are spending the brains or scientists, the sweat of our labors and hopes of our children. he warned against his. any era or.ed that of global war or permanent war such as the one we're in now would lead to definite limitations of personal liberty. you can argue that is exactly what happened over the past 10 years. president whothe started the cia down this trail of covert activity. when you run down the list of covert actions that he endorsed that came out of the white house , in every case they left the united states in a week or strategic position that existed before these covert actions were conducted. 1953, the overthrow of the
democratically elected government of iran, most the sadeq. the following year, guatemala. the work of the cia did working with the guatemalan military in creating the k unit which was responsible for all sorts of horrors and nightmares in guatemala against the indigenous population. the decision to assassinate lumumba in the congo. think of the successor to butu. eveno was move though eisenhower didn't endorse , and wasf pigs supported by john foster dulles and allen dulles, the brothers
who ran the state and cia, eisenhower consider the bay of pigs to be madness. but attempts to overthrow castro began in the last year of the eisenhower administration. and finally indonesia. the great crimes against indonesian civilian population because of the feeling that left foras too far american interests, particularly economic interests. these are not only covert actions that were strategic weremares, but they supported by a committee that eisenhower appointed in 1954 under general doolittle, the doolittle commission, which endorsed this kind of repugnant activity. that is exactly what doolittle recalled it. he said now they were up against an implacable, -- enemy that was seeking world domination, a tremendous exaggeration of the soviet union even by the 1950's. doolittle wrote a report that basically said that ends would
justify the means and americans would have to learn to understand this kind of repugnant behavior and frankly, if you fast-forward to more current time. we you think of dick cheney's remarks about the dark side, they come from the same kind of thinking and conceptualization to we saw from the doolittle committee. office hedy came into had none of the experience that eisenhower had. he was somewhat uncertain about thatlans are given to him, included the bay of pigs. he did call eisenhower at the farm. instead of eisenhower saying or giving a sense of all the quorums and hesitations he had about the bay of pigs, unfortunately, he advised kennedy that when you have an excel force of your training, if you don't put them to use, they will eventually all go home and
talk about an operation that never took lace and united states could ultimately be embarrassed by this. kennedy went ahead with the bay of pigs, even though he is been misled by some of the briefings he got from the cia, that there were people around him, including former secretary of state dean atchison and arthur/and your -- and arthur schlessinger. this is what the cia called the perfect failure. the bay of pigs was just a nightmare. it is interesting that here it is more than 50 years later and there's a federal court of appeals -- this is just last month in may -- upheld the cia and or efforts to hold onto documentation for the bay of pigs and we still do not know about, that still has not been declassified. we are still living with this great fear of cuba and great fear of castro and still
declassified documents. kennedy was responsible for that nightmare, which could have undercut the kennedy administration from the very start if it hadn't been for the cuban missile crisis. kennedy's image would've been much different. kennedy was also responsible for the governmentf of vietnam. it was totally flawed. one of the reasons returned to move him out of the way was that ways to looking for open up negotiations with the north vietnamese which we are not in favor of. a really endede, any possibility of having a legitimate government in vietnam that we could work with. when you look at vietnam as an unwinnable war, which it was, like iraq and afghanistan, this is something that you knew from the outset. president through the
after eisenhower and kennedy, the die was cast, innocence. the model of covert action and clandestine operations and political assassinations, for regime change, all this had been set. nixon inget to richard the operation against chile, again, like the guatemalan operation which was encouraged by united fruit which was the largest landholder in guatemala, in chile to get economic and miningike itt interests that will work in favor of overthrowing the democratically elected government of allende. in response you get pinochet which brought more horrors to chile. in fact, when richard helms left the white house with the mission
that he been given by henry kissinger, he was stunned by the authority that he had to conduct covert operations in chile. he ended up flying before a congressional committee and was fined for that. but he was somewhat shocked by the authority that he had. followed by gerald ford. ford's contribution to the cia was extremely unfortunate. ford introduced the concept for politicizing the intelligence of the cia. introduced at concept of team a and team b. team a was the cia in the political analysis. team b was a team that the ford administration wanted to introduce. i have no trouble with that is a discipline for challenging the analysis of the cia, but this was a group of neoconservatives, hand-picked by the white house,
led by harvard professor who is very anti-soviet. general danny graham was very anti-server -- anti-soviet. paul wolfowitz was very anti-soviet. you try to push analysis of the cia to the right. ironically, at the very time the soviets were realizing that the missile race is getting them nowhere and it was time to seek another push toward -- two more arms control. a and team b concept which is fostered to a great extent by two names that very familiar to you, did cheney -- donald rumsfeld at that time was the undersecretary of defense and separation of the national security act and the department of defense. ironically, he became the oldest secretary of defense in our history when he served for george w. bush. ford was followed of course by carter.
carter was extreme and suspicious of the cia. his vice president was, too. carter usedime that where we did not send soldiers into combat. until the last year of his administration, there's really a walking away, at least a great reduction in covert action. 1979 whenhanged in the soviets invaded afghanistan. i think we reacted very vigorously and probably unwisely. i think it was napoleon who won seven adversaries did something stupid, leave him alone. the soviets were certainly doing something stupid. unfortunately, we replicated all of that and now we're finding a way out of that -- out of afghanistan. we started a covert action in
afghanistan before the soviets invaded. i've always been convinced that zbigniew brzezinski was trying to bring the soviets into afghanistan. with the country would not accept that strategic setback and would find a way to get back . the soviets felt like a good idea to be his mission in afghanistan for at least a. of time. in any event, that tenure. was a nightmare for the soviet union, building up to 100,000 troops. we repeated everything they did. again, over a decade, 100,000 troops tried to create a central government in a country that never had a centralized form of government. reagan.as followed by you probably have as much harm
done and misuse of the cia by president reagan than any other president with the possible exception of george w. bush. i will come to him in a minute. contra, look at iran and it has always been a subject of conjecture about how much reagan really knew and understood about iran contra, the fact of the matter is, these were reagan's people. bill casey, the director of central intelligence who is a first rector ever put on a president's cabinet, which is something truman never would've approved of. the cia was not supposed to be part of policy. in theled by people national security council including john poindexter, the national security advisor to the officials of both the national security council and the cia, all of whom were
pardoned later by george w. bush . we will never get a full understanding, but clearly this was reagan ignoring the law of the land. arms,rst case, selling first israeli inventories and in our inventory to iran, a state that was involved with act of terrorism, which was violation of law, and then using the profits from the sales to provide money to the contras, which was a violation of the bowling amendment. when you think about impeachment , particularly based on not following the law of the land, there were clear grounds for impeachment. the country had gone through the nixon process,e there may have been some people who would have considered impeachment, but reagan was much too popular for that and the country did not want to live through that kind of experience so soon again.
foran was also responsible appointing the most ideological cia director in the history of the cia, and that was william casey. casey was a campaign director for ronald reagan. he did a wonderful job as a campaign director, but he certainly was not suited to be a cia director. in fact in the 1970's when i worked at the state department kissinger came over to the state to become not only the national security adviser but also the secretary of state, he was being taken on the building and he saw --laque on one of the doors william casey, undersecretary for international affairs. how did he get this building? he's senile. was a foreign service officer can do about we in casey echo
with george h.w. bush, you get not only the appointment of robert gates as a cia director, even though gates was the deputy to bill casey. when you look at all of the politicization of intelligence which led to the failure to anticipate the decline of the soviet union, and have to point to casey and gates were the filters for intelligence during this. time. they didn't try to make gates cia director in 1987 when bill casey died. the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, david boren, a senator from oklahoma said the committee does not believe you in terms of your expressions of knowing nothing about iran contra.
lying and hads is to pull his name out of the process. in 1991 he lauded his credentials and convinced -- that he would be a good director. guaranteed that he would get them through and that is exactly what he did. when you get to bill clinton and ,eorge w. bush and barack obama i think you get three presidents whose appointments to the cia and churches of cia were extremely questionable. i had a lot of questions with regard to bill clinton's stewardship of national security in general. bill clinton was responsible for abolishing the arms control and disarmament agency. possible tot is
understand how close they work in terms of providing verification and monitoring of arms control agreements. we lost aa very important tool for arms control and disarmament on an international level. if you look at clinton's woolsey,nts, jim george tenet, the same george tenet who told george w. bush said it would be a slamdunk to produce intelligence to support the decision to invade iraq. remember, george bush did not want that intelligence to convince himself, he wanted the intelligence to convince us. bush was dedicated to the idea of using military force in iraq. and i think it really mattered what the intelligence said, but
if you go to the memoirs of bush, rumsfeld and condoleezza rice, the convince them that we needed to take action. that was just total nonsense. the intelligence was totally knew,, the people who knew there was also intelligence amid a clear there were no weapons of mass destruction. bush,ou get to george w. and get really to some of the cia conduct inf the field of clandestine operations. i am talking about the secret prisons, the renditions policy which was a kidnapping policy. detentions, torture and abuse. all of these things were part of what cheney called the dark side and u.s. clandestine operations.
barack obama comes into office with for a little background in national security affairs. that was always a weakness of the obama candidacy. it is not that he had not been in washington that much to be a political participant in how washington operates on a political level, but it never really demonstrated an intense concern with national security policy. alice saw from the start that he was somewhat intimidated by the military and the central intelligence agency. his appointments when you look at the first national security team were extremely weak, leaving robert gates as it -- in the defense department. not only the into right wing but conservatives within the democratic party --ting hillary clinton
appointing three-star retired marine general jones to be the national security advisor, which lasted about 18 months because he is totally unsuited for the role. , whoutting in leon panetta is been a wonderful civil servant of the years, but was a rather tired civil servant by this time. he was not an effective director of the central intelligence agency. captured from the outset of the operational side of the house and he carried out the white house mission started by george w. bush to weaken the process of oversight within the cia. remember, the role of the statutory inspector general of the cia was extremely important. it was created by one of the reforms after iran contra. a statutory ig as opposed to just a regular
inspector general. this was an inspector general appointed by the president of the united states. individual a terminus amount of clout. we think of the work was done by the statutory ig's over the years, particularly the reports and 911 a lot of reports we had not seen yet, the report that work, itntion policy produced a 6000 page report that isortunately the cia dragging details on in terms of sanitizing for the american public areas i think senator feinstein should fight harder to get it released hurt i think obama should allow whatever reduction -- reductions are needed, but get the paper out. we need to see what happened in our name during the global war on terror. the problem in pursuing this talk away i have has been highly negative.
i am saying that there what successes, by think the point i wanted to make was is the one of presidential misuse of the central intelligence agency. there have been good directors. general smith for president truman was a very good director. though kobe delta lot of the excesses of cia behavior. someone who was very new to washington community and aser felt really comfortable a cia director. their presidents who used cia intelligence for effectively. actually, richard nixon who was analysis usef cia that analysis on two very
important occasions. one to start the arms control process in terms of the salt agreement in 72 and the abm treaty, the anti-ballistic missile treaty in 1972. guaranteeingia i was working -- on salt at that time. he called a sin. he said remember, only politicians can verify an agreement. basically, we are taking on the pentagon which is against arms control and arguing that these agreements could not be verified. in terms of abm and the salt and very important weapons systems, it was the intelligence of the cia and intelligence community in general that was essential to get arms control under way. of course when you think of the most important strategic initiative of any president over
the last 40 or 50 years, it was the strategic triangle of richard nixon and henry kissinger that would allow the united states to build better relations with china and the soviet union than they had with each other. it was cia intelligence that provided the impetus to suggest that we could do this. as a result, the soviet union would have to engage us, which they did in terms of the treaty of berlin and arms control agreements. a goodd end up with relations with both of them. the cia can be effective as a support instrument in this area. in terms of what needs to be , i think they could do ourselves a lot of good by going back to that op-ed that president truman wrote in december. the covert action and the warning of covert action policy.
covert action can taint clandestine collection and intelligence analysis. the cia should not be a second pentagon or a paramilitary organization. it was necessary to return the role to a quiet intelligence arm of the president. this means the militarizing -- demilitarizing the cia. president obama, i thought, made it clear that he wanted the usage of drones turned over to the military. we have reduced the missions and they are still being run by the cia. we need to demilitarize and decentralize. it might be good to have a statute for the cia director so that each president does not have to feel like he has to have
his own director. that is what we have been doing for the last 30 years. finally, what i would like to see is separating intelligence analysis and clandestine activity into two different organizations. going back to president truman would be a good start. i would like to hear your comments and questions. we have a lot to talk about. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> it is usually hard to get the first question. i usually jump to the second. >> can you talk about the
national security agency and the cia? we have been hearing a lot about the nsa's collection of information. what you seem to be referring to is what the cia should be doing, strictly collecting information. >> the cia was created by truman in 1947 as part of the national security act. the nsa was created secretly by truman in 1952 with a specific mission in communications and signal intelligence. they had the task to intercept all signals and communications abroad. it was a foreign mission dealing with foreign collection. no responsibility for domestic function. the cia it was going to have
jurisdiction in national security matters. the national security agency is a collection agency. they have gone off the rails. it is interesting that the director of the cia, when they got into domestic surveillance, which i think is a violation of the constitution and one judge agrees. when michael hayden was nominated to be the director and i went down to talk to some staffers about the issue, the question of his role at the cia and metadata never came up in the confirmation process and that is unfortunate. they are focused on intelligence collections of signals and, when
you look at the body of law, they get protection in the law that no other intelligence collections gets. whatever you think about snowden, he violated serious laws that make his return to this country and how that is conducted an extremely difficult process because the laws will be pursued, in terms of violation of signals and communication intelligence. he is in a lot of trouble, as we all know. >> several years after 9/11, there was a reorganization of intelligence agencies and there is one director overseeing absolutely everything. how has that impacted the cia?
>> it has weakened the cia and the intention was to weaken the cia. you talk about the policy direction and now, to a certain extent, you could argue that the director of the cia, who was the director of central intelligence, war the hats -- wore the two hats, had too much responsibility for one individual. they did not give the cia director any authority, in terms of personnel or budget or testing. when they created the director of national intelligence, he did not get the authority because the pentagon would not allow it. before it could be sworn in, rumsfeld, who was a detroit in
-- who was very adroit in terms of understanding -- adroit in terms of understanding and your accuracy -- a bureaucracy. the national intelligence czar got a desk at the new building and rumsfeld had created the undersecretary of defense or intelligence to make sure that all of the responsibilities that dealt with military intelligence stayed with the pentagon. you look at the intelligence community and budget and personnel along to the military. -- belong to the military. it is a military operation and that is why the cia outside of the military process was so important. if you look at the directors of national intelligence, with the exception of one, a retired foreign service officer who had no authority whatsoever and resigned to take a position at state, all of the directors of
national intelligence had been retired and i would argue that the military, which does a lot of things well, one of the things they do not do well in strategic intelligence. the real problem we have with intelligence analysis is strategic intelligence. long-term intelligence. that is a long time -- another reason why present truman was. it has not been a measure that has led to improvements in the intelligence community. >> i read a book called "the brothers." >> good book. >> it seems to set the table for the cia and for policy for the rest of the century. my question is, how influential was that on eisenhower or was
eisenhower calling the shots? it was not clear, from that book, at least. >> when you deal with eisenhower and strategic concerns, it was eisenhower's policy. john dollars and allen dulles, they did not have great influence over eisenhower. he had an uncanny sense on how to control the military. one of the best things he did not put in writing was on his way out of the white house in 1960-1961, when he was ruminating with close advisers and said, god help the united states when the person who sits in this chair does not know how to deal with the military. eisenhower did. all of the efforts to bail out the french, nixon was prepared
to use nuclear weapons. getting involved in vietnam. bailing out the british, french, and the israelis in the stupid attack to prevent the nationalization of the suez canal. look at eisenhower in hungary. eisenhower accepted a stalemate in korea and a lot of presidents would not have been willing to do that. it was his policy and the dulles brothers and nixon were not that influential. he relied on military officers, to a large extent. particularly matthew ridgway. that was a close relationship.
the one between eisenhower and ridgway. on covert action, for some reason, they did that cheaply and it was not noisy or visible. i ran a p a to be a success and -- iran appeared to be a success and he followed their lead on those issues. the way he controlled the defense budget, for example, and kept a lid on spending. covert operations were influential because he did not pay attention to them as he did to strategic matters. >> a two-part question. on the intelligence leading up to the iraq war, you said it was flawed. my understanding was that saddam's generals believe that he had wmd's.
other people said that they knew the intelligence was flawed. can you clarify who they are and why they did not speak up? what happened with that? >> first of all, one of the things that saddam hussein did well was convincing international communities and his own people, including generals, that he had weapons of mass destruction that he was willing to use against his own people. saddam hussein never thought he would use the weapons against us. he was concerned about internal revolts, particular after the war in iran in the 1980's. he had chemical weapons and use them.d
the cia had collections that made it clear, including from a defector in jordan who went back into the country and was killed for giving this information, who made it clear that there was no weapons of mass destruction. they were destroyed by his own forces or the u.s. military during desert storm or in the wake of desert storm. you have a former minister who said this and the cia ran an excellent operation in iraq. the americans in scientific areas went back and talked to relatives who were still working in important industries. they all made it clear that they did not have this weaponry. you had sources reporting that it was based on -- reporting -- it was single source reporting. it could not be supported by other sources or other reporting.
even powell, who gave that speech at the u.n., was lied to. the people who knew and the people who wanted to learn new that there was no weapons of mass destruction. -- knew that there were no weapons of mass destruction. somewhat were shocked when they found out. clearly, a total misusage of intelligence and a politicization. you look at the october 2002, and the white papers that were prevented from the charter -- by the charter from doing, these were allegations that were all
he was cowering people. richard clarke wrote about this in his book. he said, they want to do find out what iraq's role was in 9/11. not only was there no role, saddam hussein and osama bin laden hated each other. they were not allies at all. the position was the 1% factor. there is a 1% chance that saddam hussein has weapons of mass destruction. this is justification for what cheney wanted to do. there was no punishment to afghanistan because there were no strategic targets. there was no real terrorist movement because al qaeda had been routed. over two months, with 450 people. that is why the war is such a tragedy. the various ethnic groups were effective in getting the taliban out of kabul. we did not have to be there for another 12-13 years with all of the losses suffered.
>> you spoke in your opening remarks about the cia not being a rogue agency and that the things that have happened had been misused by the president it is my perception that, at least for the last two years, they have gone before congress and repeatedly misled various committees. i also feel that the committees have really practiced a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach to the cia. in addition to the president misusing the agency, there is a lack of supervision by congress and i would like to hear your thoughts. >> there is no question that oversight has been compromised. the shocking thing to me is that we created a secret organization, the cia, with no oversight whatsoever.
you do not have a statutory ig. it took a series of abuses before church and pike, who just died in the last six months, realized that you need oversight committees. for 30 years, the cia it was out with no responsibilities to the congress. i would argue up that the intelligence committee was an elite group and they were the powerhouses within the senate. it was bipartisan. you could tell it was bipartisan.
that was the turning point. with democrats and republicans, it has been a cat's paw for the white house. dianne feinstein, is finally exercising -- because she knows the cia was lying to congress -- and i'm not saying that cia did not try to play sleight-of-hand with the congress. they often did that with the policies given by the white house. feinstein was in the position to know where all of the obfuscations were and she should still be engaged with the white house to get the report out. it has to come out. we are entitled to see the violations. we have to know what they are because they were conducted in our name.
>> on the benghazi thing and hillary clinton, she was saying she did not want to get involved in the issue. it seems like mike was talking about how he prepared the talking points or whatever. it seems like he was involved in that whole benghazi issue. do you have thoughts about that? >> the important thing about benghazi -- and this is a misunderstanding from the beginning -- it was not a consulate platform. we had a consulate that was small. benghazi was an intelligence platform. the cia presence in benghazi had a specific mission and was probably four times as big as the state department presence.
all of the other foreign communities had taken their consulates out of benghazi because of instability in benghazi. the cia was buying weapons back that had been sold to malicious. -- militias. it is interesting how many times the cia has to buy back weapons that never should have been provided in the first place. from the work i did, 24 people on the plane were cia and six were state department. to me, the state department has gotten off of the vote. there is no question. why was the ambassador, chris stevens, a popular young ambassador, even in an ghazi and -- benghazi and what business could he have been doing? to what degree was clinton interested in showing success in
libya when the overthrow of qadhafi has been a nightmare and counterproductive? i believe that there is politicization of the briefing points and that susan rice, who now has trouble giving a description of what happened in the trade-off between the american soldiers and the taliban is the same person who bollocks the briefings about benghazi on the talk shows. benghazi was a nightmare and the people who were there knew it was a terrorist attack that had nothing to do with this film that was making the rounds in the united states. it is unfortunate that it has been so politicized. i do not think that anyone is really trying to look at benghazi for what really
happened. it is being used as a partisan weapon and it is not good for this. >> i am told i am the last. we negotiated that i get two! i have about ten. i have agreed to settle for two. let's do the easy one. would it be your position, looking at the intelligence agency over the years and for purposes here, assuming it has two operations, intelligence and operations, would it be your position that they should not have an intelligence division? -- operations division? >> the director of operations needs the ability to collect intelligence and i would support
that. i am thinking of some assignment that i had where i benefited from intelligence collection that was clandestine. for example, when the egyptians decided to kick out the soviets in 1972. i thought it was a signal that they were interested in israel and the intelligence was spot on. the important thing to remember is that the united states does a tremendous collection -- job with collection. the collection is always good enough to prevent us from being wrong. the errors are made on the
analytical level. on just a lack of rigor. 9/11 was an intelligence failure that could have been prevented. the collection was there. iraq, the collection was there. the decline of the soviet union, the intention -- the information was there and gates did not allow them to do what they needed to do with the intelligence. the hard question. >> i will get to that in a moment. i want to say that i have read some of the books that you have written.