Old Faces At The CIA
US President George W. Bush with Gen. Michael Hayden and John Negroponte. Photo courtesy of AFP.
UPI Outside View Commentator
Moscow (UPI) Jun 08, 2006
U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden has been sworn in as CIA director and, unlike his predecessor, also as first deputy of John Negroponte, director of National Intelligence. This signifies the subordinate position of the once unquestionable authority in the U.S. intelligence community.
But the most interesting development is the appearance of a striking figure in the new CIA leadership. When now-retired CIA Director Porter Goss started a purge several years ago, he dismissed a few top professionals. Analysts said it looked very much like personal revenge against those who had stood in his way when he was an undercover operative and chairman of the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.
One of the "victims" was Deputy Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, a former Moscow station chief who is poised to return to the CIA's No. 2 post now. He will most likely bring in some former "victims," above all his successor in Moscow, Michael Sulick. This will renew the power struggle within the CIA, the quest for a correct answer to the "Who is to blame" in Iraq question, and more heads will roll.
Kappes' return provoked mixed reactions. Democrats in U.S. Congress hailed his return as the savior of the sinking CIA ship.
Kappes has an impressive service record. He played a key role in getting Libyan leader Moamar Gadhafi to give up his weapons of mass destruction program, which put the spotlight on the scale of illegal operations of Abdul Qadeer Khan. The "father" of the Pakistani nuclear bomb exploited the favorable attitude of the national leadership to create an international black market of banned nuclear materials and technologies. Khan is also rumored to be involved in North Korea's and Iran's nuclear programs.
Russian security experts say Stephen Kappes was a top authority on weapons of mass destruction, but it was back when a Democrat sat in the White House. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Kappes' return signified the victory of bureaucrats in the CIA who resisted U.S. President George W. Bush's reforms.
Gen. Hayden retorted to this that Kappes' return meant that the time of amateurs in the CIA was over.
This alarming statement means that the previous leaders of the CIA, an agency of exceptional significance for political and military decision-making, were amateurs and the fierce propaganda battle over Iran and its nuclear program was probably a result of political gambling by amateurish yes-men, who were quick to see what Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wanted.
The overt anti-Russian campaign, initiated with the assistance of American secret services before the St. Petersburg G8 summit, also looks somewhat amateurish.
At the same time, the continued group fighting in the Republican establishment shows that the United States has lost many political guidelines, has a deficit of new ideas, and has to use the services of retirees.
Moscow probably has little to gain from the CIA reshuffle, in particular for the joint struggle against WMD proliferation. Kappes, who had known about Khan's black market machinations, nevertheless did nothing to stop him, in line with his government's policy of double standards. Washington closed its eyes to the creation of nuclear weapons by its strategic partner, Pakistan. But now it is threatening a war on its ex-strategic partner, Iran, for the same crime.
Lt. Gen. Gennady Yevstafyev, Ret., is a former senior officer of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, also known as the SVR. He is now a senior adviser at the Center for Policy Studies in Russia or PIR Center. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti. United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.