Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Another should-be indictee leaves the government

Remarkable. Steve Kappes, "who had signaled a desire to step down as long as two years ago" and whose "departure ... had been expected for some time" [/Postspeak], is resigning as no. 2 at CIA, shortly after a sharply critical profile of Kappes appeared. Coincidence, according to the news article press release in the WaPo. Via Sully.

I thought I'd posted on that profile, but apparently not.
When Obama’s intelligence transition team had visited Langley, it had gotten a pitch from Kappes and other CIA officials to “retain the option of reestablishing secret prisons and using aggressive interrogation methods,” according to an anecdote buried in a Washington Post story.

“It was one of the most deeply disturbing experiences I have had,” David Boren, the moderate Oklahoma Democrat and former Senate Intelligence committee chair who led the transition team, told the Post.

“I wanted to take a bath when I heard it,” said Boren, now president of the University of Oklahoma, adding that “fear was used to justify the use of techniques that violate our values and weaken our intelligence.”

That made Kappes as unconfirmable as Brennan--perhaps more so. But Senate-committee Democrats were perfectly happy to have Kappes quietly run the agency for Panetta.

Evidently they still are, despite a string of embarrassments over the past year, from the CIA’s continuing failure to capture Osama bin Laden to conflicting accounts over what the agency told Congress about waterboarding, the conviction of 23 of its operatives on kidnapping charges in Italy, and a suicide bomber’s deadly penetration of the spy agency’s most important field office in Afghanistan.

The bombing of the CIA station in Khost, Afghanistan, on December 30 by a Jordanian double agent wearing an explosive vest was a heavy blow to an agency that has struggled to navigate the post-9/11 world. When the Jordanian was escorted into the CIA’s secret compound in Khost, he hadn’t been frisked, according to news accounts. The explosion killed seven CIA officers, including the chief of base, a mother of three who was the agency’s top expert on al-Qaeda.

Old CIA hands were appalled at the security lapse. One attributed the disaster to having left the arrangements in the hands of an intelligence analyst—a person who pores over reports at a desk—instead of an experienced field-operations case officer.
Plenty more at the link.

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