Letter to NPR’s “All Things Considered”:
In John Hernden’s report on the choice of Robert Gates as the new Secretary of Defense, he says that Gates is “theoretically” above politics.
That’s a big theoretical. Anyone who’d done a couple of minutes research about Gates would have known that he admitted during testimony at his CIA confirmation hearing in 1992 that the Agency had exaggerated claims of Soviet military strength to President Reagan and his advisors while he was the deputy chief. He was also involved with some of the key figures in the Iran-contra scandal.
He already has a self-admitted background in — as the British say — “sexing up” intelligence as well as subverting public oversight, which has been one of the problems of the Dept. of Defense throughout the current administration.
Seriously, doesn’t anyone there have “the Google”? Did the Monica Lewinsky thing erase everyone’s memories of previous history?
The article linked above with the paragraph about Gates is from 1998, when al Qaeda bombed US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. It also contained this interesting observation:
Indeed, to this day, those involved in the decision to give the Afghan rebels access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry continue to defend that move in the context of the Cold War. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee making those decisions, told my colleague Robert Windrem that he would make the same call again today even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. “It was worth it,” he said.