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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Did the Obama Administration manipulate intelligence to influence the 2012 election?

Link: Was Al-Qaeda 'on the Run'?

I have spent my fair share of time in Washington DC.  Personally, I think the DC Metropolitan Area is lovely throughout the year.  Spring brings a tremendous display of flowers, summers are usually not oppressively hot, and winter snowfall on the White House paints a beautiful picture.  The District is home to a fascinating variety of people, many speaking different languages.  But the majority of folks I ran into during my time in the nation's capital worked either in politics or for Uncle Sam.  That is why I have always considered Washington DC to be a city of duel functions: it is the seat of political power, with Congress, the Supreme Court and the President all within a snowball's toss of each other, and the brain center for the functions of government.  The Department of Housing and Urban Development is here, as is Health and Human Services.  Foggy Bottom is home to the headquarters for the Department of State, and the Department of Justice is not far from Ford's Theater, the tragic location of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination.  By living in this community and daily interacting with its residents, I quickly lost any illusions I had about politics being an honorable profession.  I am proud to say that during my years working in the Intelligence Community, I seldom saw or experienced a decision that was motivated by politics (as opposed to the best interests of the nation).  I believe that folks in the Intelligence Community take into account that the American people are trusting us with the secrets of the United States, and this reality alone goes a long way to keeping politics out of our work.  Today I read an article in the reliable Weekly Standard that literally took my breath away.  Because I have a basic understanding of the Constitution, I don't use the word "Impeachment" very often.  "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" are difficult accusations to prove, especially in this environment.  For the first time in my lifetime, though, if the allegations implied in this article are accurate, I believe it is time for me to use that word.

In May 2011, brave men and women of the U.S. military killed Osama Bin Laden.  He was hiding out in a nondescript compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.  I will not repeat the details of the link which you have just read, but to say that during the 40 minutes that U.S.
personnel were on site, a great deal of intelligence-related material was collected, including hard drives, thumb drives, documents, maps, diagrams, letters, DVDs and audiotapes.  I remember hearing through the grapevine that the intel haul on that day was LEGENDARY.  According to the Weekly Standard, only 10 percent of the collected intelligence was accessed and decoded/translated before it was decided to shut things down "for a while".  At least until after the 2012 election.  Interestingly enough, the small amount of intelligence that was reviewed gave the distinct impression that Al-Qaeda was in shambles.  Our efforts to destabilize the organization had made it almost impossible for them to communicate with one another and had also negatively impacted their funding and recruitment.  This information was released to an understandably excited press, and the headlines read "Al-Qaeda on the Run".  The Obama Administration took full advantage of the story that was painted by the release of this select few pieces of intelligence.  The American people were told repeatedly during the 2012 election cycle, that the Obama Administration was responsible for the crippling of Al-Qaeda.  As I recall, no one asked any really difficult questions.  A number of Al-Qaeda big wigs besides Bin Laden had also been recently dispatched, and I, just like most folks, believed the storyline.  George Bush went to war to destroy Al-Qaeda and failed in that effort.  But President Obama, following a separate policy that did not involve invading another country, had been successful.

Now we learn that once the election was over and the rest of the haul was decoded, translated and deciphered, that the reality was quite different.  According to the Weekly Standard, documents obtained during the May 2011 Abbottabad raid detail an Al-Qaeda still active and plotting.  The documents revealed that Al-Qaeda was in contact with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a particularly heinous terrorist group operating in India, and that Bin Laden may have actually been involved in the planning of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.  We also learned that a potentially dangerous relationship between Iran and Al-Qaeda was a real possibility, and that Bin Laden had established a "vast array of increasingly deadly affiliates", including ISIS/ISIL.  In fact, once DIA (military intelligence) had been given access to the full amount of seized Abbottabad intelligence, they came to the opposite conclusion than was being repeatedly declared on the 2012 campaign trail.  In their view, Al-Qaeda had grown even stronger.

If the CIA selectively exploited the intelligence gathered during the Abbottabad raid for the purpose of created a false storyline, then this development calls for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor.  No Administration, Republican, Democrat or Whig, should manipulate the tools of national security for political purposes.  If this has occurred and is not addressed appropriately, then we should not be surprised when the Department of Commerce (or any other branch of government) is directed to act for partisan political purposes.  In fact, a close look at some of the other current scandals stinking up the Potomac right now hint at the use of other government agencies for partisan political reasons.  It is for this reason that I give consideration to the use of the word "Impeachment".  Of course, even if these allegations are correct, it doesn't mean any particular member of the current Administration is involved.  It could have been a decision made solely within the halls of the CIA.  But if an Independent Council is appointed, and evidence is uncovered that points to the highest office in the land, then I do believe we are looking at a case of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors". 

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