The Obama administration’s emotional reaction to the alleged chemical attack in Syria may be understandable given the human toll, but the high-level clamor for action put pressure on intelligence analysts assessing the evidence. It also could have distorted their judgments, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.
After a terrorist attack – like Benghazi or the Boston Marathon – the press, pols and much of the public decry the failure to prevent the violence, but the mood shifts amid disclosures of intrusive means to counter threats. This ambivalence can put government officials in an impossible spot, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Truly objective journalism would value facts and accuracy above all else, but the mainstream U.S. press – while pretending to be “objective” – treasures faux patriotism much more, as is evident with recent whistleblowers as it was with the hostility toward the late Phil Agee who exposed CIA crimes, as William Blum recalls.
Exclusive: For several decades, mainstream U.S. journalists have fled from the career-threatening label “liberal,” even to the point of destroying honest colleagues who got in the crosshairs of the Right. The story of the late Gary Webb and his Contra-cocaine revelations was a troubling case in point, writes Robert Parry.
The Republican fixation on Benghazi “talking points” has obscured the bigger scandal of last September’s fatal attacks, the CIA’s use of the consulate as an operational base without sufficient security. That failure underscores a series of other unexamined intelligence failures, says ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman.
American foreign policy remains locked in a cycle of violence, with the Obama administration failing to escape the neocon insistence on a swaggering “tough-guy-ism” abroad. That reliance on military intervention also comes with the cost of “blowback,” as ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman notes.
After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. intelligence community threw extraordinary resources into the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists, so much so that some experts fear a possible new blindness to other threats, a dilemma addressed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.
Starring Jeremy Renner as the late Gary Webb, the movie of Webb’s investigation of the CIA’s Contra-cocaine scandal – and of Webb’s destruction by mainstream news outlets – is set to begin filming this summer. If Hollywood gets the story right, it will be a dark and enlightening tale, says H. “Corky” Johnson.
Exclusive: In the 1970s, Father Jorge Bergoglio faced a moment of truth: Would he stand up to Argentina’s military neo-Nazis “disappearing” thousands including priests, or keep his mouth shut and his career on track? Like many other Church leaders, Pope Francis took the safe route, Robert Parry reports.
From the Archive: In 1987, amid the Iran-Contra inquiry, investigators found that the scandal fit within a larger Republican scheme for manipulating American public opinion through CIA-style disinformation. But GOP senators blocked inclusion of the chapter in the final report, Robert Parry wrote in 2008.