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15 April 2013


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Bill H

SecDef turning to the Secretary of State and saying "you are wrong" during an argument over who is in charge on a foriegn station. Wow.



I believe Panetta was then DCIA. pl

FB Ali

The title of the NYT story is catchy but incorrect. The Raymond Davis affair was merely one added negative factor in a relationship that had soured much earlier. This incident merely confirmed for Pakistanis their fear that the US was using them for its own ends, and its protestations of friendship etc were mere talk.


And Davis, when he got back to the States, got into trouble in short order in beating up a minister who had parked in a parking space that he wanted. The story touches on how the CIA used (and presumably is still using) contractors in sensitive areas. Davis was, in retrospect, a problematic choice to be in the situation he was place in. One wonders how many other unsuitable people are being used in sensitive areas by the Agency, and whether they will bring the blowback that Davis did.


This helps explain the inanity of US foreign policy...many agencies, no decider.

It begs the question of just how far the freedom of action of these agencies extends. The Justice Department wrote Rand Paul a memo stating that an American can't be killed by drone in the United States. But CIA controls the drones. And they don't work for the Justice Department.

William R. Cumming

Wondering who really runs the CIA? A rogue organization historically?

Probably won't happen but the NYTimes article should prompt hearings in Congress!


It sure is hard to maintain an empire when the adults have left the building.


I am probably missing something, but if General Clapper is the DNI, why was this matter not brought up for his solomonic judgment?

The beaver


Correct . Panneta became Sec Def only in mid-2011.
However, one should not forget the famous memo that brought down Amb Hannaqui.

Now, who buried whom? Mullen or Hannaqui.


Apart from the NYT editorializing on Davis's physique by word and picture, that was a great read.

Colonel, if both the CIA and State Department are under the Executive, is it the Executive's prerogative to say which has ascendancy?

John Bennett

The Ambassador is not in charge so long as he can't get a majority of both the immediate bureaucracy and that in Washington to agree. I write from senior State Department experience in Washington and Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere. Problems occur when one doesn't understand this. I would also defend this system. It is slow, hidebound, and often wrong or ineffective, but more often than not, reaches reasonable conclusions and policies.
If your judgement is that the US is all-powerful militarily and should be able to do what it wants, you are forgetting that we "won" only one of the post-colonial wars we have fought since WWII--Korea. "Winning" is hard and never permanent. We are most likely to end with an unsatisfactory compromise as the best achievable outcome.


A few questions?

1. What was the strategic rationale for the campaign of massive spying/clandestine action within Pakistan against an array of targets? Who designed it? Who approved it?

2. How is it possible for the CIA station chief there to be ignorant of the most elementary facts about the Pakistani government, laws, procedures and personalities?

3. Who decided to give a moron like Davis serious operational responsibilities based on what assessment?Did he receive any training? Does the practice of using people like this provide a hint of what happened in Benghazi?

4. Who if anyone vetted the flotsam and jetsam collected by Blackwater and then shipped over at $200,000 a head?

5. Who decided on what basis to continue to work with those people until this very day?

6. Where is the president of the U.S. when his collection of senior foreign policy officials, all equally ignorant of Pakistan and with no evident idea as to what we are trying to do there, take major decisions on sensitive matters that affect core interests of the United States?

7. How does someone with Panetta's manifest crassness and lack of elementary perception get appointed to the high offices he occupied?


And a contractor might be getting $200 K a year- it costs the government much more than that- maybe up to $500K for the same person, depending on contract.

FB Ali

A couple of other recent articles should help to add some depth and perspective to the issues raised by this NYT article, and commented on above.

The CIA wasn't just rolling over Ambassador Munter in Islamabad. They were doing the same thing to policy makers in Washington. TIME has an article on how Holbrooke's attempts to develop a wider and deeper relationship with Pakistan were torpedoed in Washington, by the CIA among others. Vali Nasr quotes Holbrooke as saying: "Watch them [the CIA] ruin this relationship. And when it is ruined, they are going to say, ‘We told you, you can’t work with Pakistan!’ We never learn".


For a deeper analysis of what is behind the mindset that guides the strange policies that the US follows, both at home and abroad, in its War on Terror read the brilliant article by Tom Engelhardt at:


ex-PFC Chuck

re # 7: It's called "Failing Upwards." A common phenomenon in American management circles, whether in government or business.

Bill H

Ah. My bad, but that makes it perhaps even worse.

William R.Cumming

Many in CIA are second or third generation employees.

And none call it NEPOTISM?

William R. Cumming

Thanks for the Tom Englehardt link General Ali!


I see former President Musharraf has been arrested in Pakistan. Does this have any affect on relations with the US?


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