POL326Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: United States Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, Julian Assange, Paul Wolfowitz

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14 Dec 2016
of 8
Last lecture: INTELLIGENCE
Daniel Wellsburg: during Vietnam War; whistleblowing; charged for treason; however, he didn’t
see any jail time;
Bradley Manning (Chelsea Manning); Edward Snowden; Julian Assange (provided the platform
for people leaking information);
Julian Assange: charges brought mostly under espionage; these types of charges during
Presidents during WWI or WWII; Obama has used this the most; however, Assange is not a U.S.
Last Lecture continuation…
- Intelligence gathering and complexity of intelligence gathering agencies; 16 different
agencies with different functions;
- Gabriel Coco: Americans do not gather intelligence in the conventional sense that lead to
policy; US does not act rationally in utilizing intelligence in decision-making; failures:
collapse of USSR, Shah of Iran, the Sandinistas; recently: failure in Iraq in regards to
WMD and Iraqi government connection to Al-Qaeda; WHY?
- Conventional wisdom among law makers: US made a mistake; in hindsight, no weapons
and no connections with Al-Qaeda; therefore, had we known back then what we know
now, we would not have made that decision to go to Iraq; HILARY CLINTON’S VIEW
as well;
- Others argue: NOT A MISTAKE: what US suffered was what Donald Rumsfeld:
unknown unknown;
- All of that is rather convenient; allowing Bush administration off the hook;
- If no justification for invasion, then the US was engaged in a war of aggression; as such,
highest crime in international law; because within it, it contains all other crimes;
- Under US law, they should also be held accountable;
- If on the other hand, we say that they all looked at the same intelligence and they all
came to the same conclusion, then they couldn’t take the chance; IS THAT REALLY
- How did fiasco come about?
o To understand that we have to look back at IC and how this is possible
o One of the main problems: there are 16 different agencies; at the same time some
overlap in their duties;
o In each agency, separate bureaucracies; and they compete with each other; to
justify their budgets and existence; to do so, they want the info appear useful and
justify funding;
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o Upshot: since each of these compete with each other, there is a very strong
tendency of politicization of intelligence; TEXTBOOK: producer-consumer
o Intelligence produce, higher in chain of command consume;
o Producers produce what their superiors are required;
o ALSO, tendency of two types of perversions of intelligence process; they distort
One is: STOVE PIPING: intelligence process inherently involves
gathering raw information, going through it and finding the meaningful
pieces and putting it into a report for the decision-makers; that’s how it is
supposed to work; hwoever, clear demand for certain types of intelligence;
that type of intelligence bypasses the process (stove pipes); good example:
Iraq, intelligence source known as Curve Ball; Iraqi taxi driver in
Germany claiming to be a high Saddam government; and claimed that
Hussain met with representatives of Al-Qaeda; interesting thing, this
intelligence found by Germans and passed on to US with statement that
they didn’t believe him; but it by-passed all agencies and found it to the
The other: CHERRY PICKING: if you have 16 different sources, there is
a good likelihood that there are different conclusions; problem:
policymakers listen to conclusions they like to hear and downplay the ones
they don’t like to hear; basically, example: various competing intelligence
with regards to making progress in Vietnam; that intelligence based on
body counts; coclusion: by 1968 only 300,000 Vietcongs; problems: body
count exaggerated; also, how do you distinguish between civilians and
combatants; at the same time, CIA proved to be much more accurate in
determining enemy strength; however, CIA’s findings sidelined by
Johnson administration because of his re-election campaign;
o Implications for decision in Iraq: excuse of policymakers in Bush and Obama
administrations that they were shocked that there were no WMD; is that
o New York Times as the biggest cheerleader for the war, in 2008 published an
apology for being misled by the Bush administration;
o The Bush administration not only cherry picked information, but also set up a
branch under Paul Wolfowitz to justify a war with Iraq; prior and right after 9/11
impetus for finding justification for war in Iraq; a lot of pressure on people to find
connections between Al-Qaeda and Iraq;
- These sorts of human rights violations happen and if are dealt with, takes decades if not
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- New example: Syria and Iraq; and current conflict in Ukraine; different intelligence on
the ground than what is being depicted by policy-makers;
- Intelligence gathering subject to the same pendulum swing as presidential power; in times
of crisis, greater leeway for intelligence agencies; height of Cold War, a good example of
intelligence agency power; Phoenix program in Vietnam; Operation Chaos by CIA; MK-
Ultra, the psychological warfare in which large numbers of unsuspecting individuals
including one spouse of Canadian parliamentary subjected to large doses of LSD
developed by CIA; actually developed by Swiss scientist; LSD drugs suddenly available
to protesters protesting Vietnam War;
- Pike and Church Committees: imposed permanent oversight over intelligence agencies;
that took place in the context of declining consensus in the US when Détente was
happening and recognition of communist China;
- During 9/11 pendulum swung to an extreme; resulting in drastic changes besides rise of
intelligence powers; Congress not inclined to step in the way of intelligence agencies;
- BUSH: why US attacked? Because they hate our freedoms; how to deal with it? Get rid
of our freedoms;
- Concept of oversight drastically changed; no longer did Senate Intelligence Committee
have open access to what administration was doing;
- The Gang of Eight Proposal: 8 senior most intelligence committee members access to
everything; but sworn to absolute secrecy; they were not allowed to take notes on
information provided to them; not allowed to ask any questions; meaning the Bush
administration told them what they wanted to tell them; Senate did not push against them;
- Fairly evident that the threat or perceived threat determines the pendulum swing; also,
various branches of government with various different interests;
- Those in favour of Patriot Act are busy saying that terror threat as big as ever has been;
strong incentive towards fear-mongering;
- Intelligence activities since 2001 not particularly effective; failed in the context of Boston
bomber, as Russians had already warned the US IC;
- On the other hand, many Americans think that threat not as high as 2001 and not high
enough to justify curtailment of civil liberties; slight shift in Congress towards relaxation;
governments no longer have access to meta-data; with Freedom Act, intelligence
agencies need to provide a warrant for accessing such information;
- These activities are responsibility of National Clandestine Services aka Directive of
Operations; origins of CIA out of Office of Strategic Services during WWII; behind
battle line opeartions in Asia in particular; largely seen as cowboys; emerged after WWII
and incorporated into CIA;
- At the time, not taken seriously; because of distrust of Office of Strategic Services;
however, that changed after the establishment of CIA; because of successes of Direction
of Operations;
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