Friday, December 09, 2005
CIA deliberately leaking to shut down prisons
Some in the CIA who are disgruntled with the Bush administration are deliberately leaking information in order to shut down certain programs.
Several longtime analysts of the CIA's operations said the agency needs to investigate how its own tactics permitted the prisoner-transfer flights to become so widely publicized.
"It's bad tradecraft. It's very bad tradecraft," John Pike, the executive director of a group that studies secret government operations, GlobalSecurity.org, said. "You just have to wonder what it is they thought they were doing."
The agency may also have misjudged the way the Internet allows journalists, human rights activists, and the hobbyists who spot planes at airports, to pool their information in a way that would have been impossible even a decade ago.
"Certainly, an operation of this kind is harder to do than it ever was in the past simply because you have so many people watching and communicating instantly around the globe," an intelligence analyst at the Federation of American Scientists, Steven Aftergood, said. He called the disclosures "a breach of operational security" and said he believes the CIA has already changed its procedures as a result.
Mr. Aftergood said the secrecy of the program may also have been doomed by the sharp increase in the frequency of renditions after September 11, 2001. "This is an ambitious program that crosses many geographical and political boundaries. As such, it's very difficult to keep secret indefinitely," the analyst said. He noted that some conservatives believe some in the CIA who are disgruntled with the Bush administration are deliberately leaking information in order to shut down certain programs. Mr. Aftergood said he did not believe that was the case with the renditions program.
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