Should We Blindly Trust the CIA On Its Claims About the Democratic Emails?

James Carden – former Advisor to the US-Russia Presidential Commission at the US State Department – writes in an article titled Why Are the Media Taking the CIA’s Hacking Claims at Face Value?

The working assumption here seems to be that the job of the president (and apparently of media outlets like CNN and The Washington Post) is to stand, salute, and never question Langley.

The high-profile anchors and analysts on CNN, CBS, ABC, and NBC who have cited the work of The Washington Post and The New York Times seem to have come down with a bad case of historical amnesia.

The CIA, in their telling, is a bulwark of American democracy, not a largely unaccountable, out-of-control behemoth that has often sought to subvert press freedom at home and undermine democratic norms abroad.

The columnists, anchors, and commentators who rushed to condemn Trump for not showing due deference to the CIA seem to be unaware that, throughout its history, the agency has been the target of far more astute and credible critics than the president-elect.

In his memoir Present at the Creation, Truman’s Secretary of State Dean Acheson wrote that about the CIA, “I had the gravest forebodings.” Acheson wrote that he had “warned the President that as set up neither he, the National Security Council, nor anyone else would be in a position to know what it was doing or to control it.”

Following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, President John F. Kennedy expressed his desire to “to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”

The late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan twice introduced bills, in 1991 and 1995, to abolish the agency and move its functions to the State Department which, as the journalist John Judis has observed, “is what Acheson and his predecessor, George Marshall, had advocated.”

The CIA has been busted lying under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

The CIA lied about Iraq’s supposed “weapons of mass destruction”:

The current CIA director lied to Congress and the American people about spying on Congress members.  This led Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden to accuse the CIA of having a “culture of misinformation“.

The CIA admitted that it lied about torture. For example, Wikipedia notes:

  • The CIA’s directors (George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden) lied to members of the U.S. Congress, the White House and the Director of National Intelligence about the program’s effectiveness and the number of prisoners that the CIA held.
  • The CIA deliberately planted false stories with members of the media and claimed that the stories had been leaked.
  • The CIA had used waterboarding at locations where previously it claimed it had not (e.g. at the Salt Pit).
  • The CIA lied in official documents to government officials about the value of information extracted from prisoners subjected to torture (e.g. stating that information extracted from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed during torture had allowed for the capture of Riduan Isamuddin).
  • Despite contrary statements made by the CIA’s Director, Michael V. Hayden, the CIA did employ individuals who “had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.”
  • The CIA provided false information to the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel about the methods of interrogation it was using against prisoners.
  • CIA Deputy Director Phillip Mudd deliberately lied to Congress about the program and stated that “We either get out and sell, or we get hammered, which has implications beyond the media. [C]ongress reads it, cuts our authorities, mess up our budget.”
  • The report found that the CIA held at least 119 detainees during the course of the interrogation program, more than the 98 previously reported to Congress.
  • An email cited in the report and prepared by a subordinate indicates that CIA Director Michael Hayden instructed that out-of-date information be used in briefing Congress so that fewer than 100 detainees would be reported.

(footnotes omitted).

The CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations.

9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:

Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.


Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed.

If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.

Glenn Greenwald notes:

CIA officials are professional, systematic liars; they lie constantly, by design, and with great skill, and have for many decades, as have intelligence officials in other agencies.

Many of those incidents demonstrate, as hurtful as it is to accept, that these agencies even lie when there’s a Democrat overseeing the executive branch.

CIA officials have, of course, deployed propaganda on U.S. soil and around the world for many years.

CIA agents and documents admit that the agency gave Iran plans for building nuclear weapons … so it could frame Iran for trying to build the bomb.

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reported that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this and this.

And the CIA has also admitted to carrying out numerous acts of terrorism, and then falsely blaming others. For example:

(1) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950′s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.

(2) The former Italian Prime Minister, an Italian judge, and the former head of Italian counterintelligence admit that NATO, with the help of the Pentagon and CIA, carried out terror bombings in Italy and other European countries in the 1950s through the 1980s and blamed the communists, in order to rally people’s support for their governments in Europe in their fight against communism.

As one participant in this formerly-secret program stated: “You had to attack civilians, people, women, children, innocent people, unknown people far removed from any political game. The reason was quite simple. They were supposed to force these people, the Italian public, to turn to the state to ask for greater security”so that “a state of emergency could be declared, so people would willingly trade part of their freedom for the security” (and see this) (Italy and other European countries subject to the terror campaign had joined NATO before the bombings occurred). And watch this BBC special. They also allegedly carried out terror attacks in France, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the UK, and other countries.

The CIA also stressed to the head of the Italian program that Italy needed to use the program to control internal uprisings.

(3) A declassified 1973 CIA document reveals a program to train foreign police and troops on how to make booby traps, pretending that they were training them on how to investigate terrorist acts:

The Agency maintains liaison in varying degrees with foreign police/security organizations through its field stations ….

[CIA provides training sessions as follows:]

a. Providing trainees with basic knowledge in the uses of commercial and military demolitions and incendiaries as they may be applied in terrorism and industrial sabotage operations.

b. Introducing the trainees to commercially available materials and home laboratory techniques, likely to he used in the manufacture of explosives and incendiaries by terrorists or saboteurs.

c. Familiarizing the trainees with the concept of target analysis and operational planning that a saboteur or terrorist must employ.

d. Introducing the trainees to booby trapping devices and techniques giving practical experience with both manufactured and improvised devices through actual fabrication.


The program provides the trainees with ample opportunity to develop basic familiarity and use proficiently through handling, preparing and applying the various explosive charges, incendiary agents, terrorist devices and sabotage techniques.

(4) A CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:

At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.

This entry was posted in Politics / World News. Bookmark the permalink.
  • Zaphod Braden

    The CIA should have been eliminated and fumigated decades ago. Just do a search on “CIA corruption”

  • Zaphod Braden

    DADDY Bush — CIA Director.
    Bill Clinton SNITCHED on his anti-war Comrades TO the CIA (as did Hillary)
    BABYBush — well.
    Obama CIA ASSET … seemed to rise out of total obscurity (a hallmark of intelligence assets)
    any questions?

    • Josh Stern

      People don’t have to believe the Obama as CIA asset story, but if they want to investigate the (substantial) circumstantial evidence they could start with Wayne Madsen’s book:

      I haven’t read it, but I believe main points are:
      1) Obama worked for CIA front as Columbia undergrad – after having been seen as a leftist & indifferent student at Occidental
      2) Obama’s Mom worked for CIA front agency
      3) Some alleged connections of both biological and adopted father
      4) CIA had sponsored coup and a lot of development in Indonesia (e.g. first place John “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” Perkins ) gets sent for his initial/testing consulting assignment.
      5) Rapid rise

      Points that can be made more solidly now than in 2012
      6) Extreme policy reversal from anti-CIA anti-War policies in 2008 campagin to extremely pro-CIA, extraordinarily anti-Whistleblower and pro-assassination policies as President, with several alleged coups occurring during his 8 years

      • jadan

        Has Obama ever uttered a disparaging word about his Creator? Not that I now of. Madsen’s book is worth the little time required to read it!

  • desertspeaks

    the question should be, why should be believe proven pathological lying psychopaths? who in their right mind would believe someone that has done nothing but lie to them?? it would be insane to believe these people!

  • cityspeak

    The media needs cover as much as HRC and the DNC does and as if manna from Heaven the CIA mumbles some nonsense with no verifiable proof offered on anything.
    Everything the media said for the last five months prior to the election was proven completely wrong. Can you imagine doing that at your job? Would you still even have a job? In the least everyone you work with would know you for the complete fraud and idiot you are. I wonder if TV news ratings have dipped since the election which is really what corporate owned media cares about, advertising revenue. Providing important information to their viewers falls somewhere behind what’s for lunch and what they have to pickup for dinner.
    What it does serve is the “anti Russian push” that the Agency has been working on since 1946. First to stop the cancer of communism, then to beat the world’s only other nuclear super power and now to eliminate one of the two countries* that can interfere with the Empire’s whims. The audacity of Putin mucking about in Syria, I mean really!!!!
    Oh to be the pawns in a game of sociopaths.

    *Note the other country that has to be “dealt with” is China and we just had a drone ship that wandered into their territorial waters picked up from them recently. Whoops.

  • Josh Stern

    The simple answer to the question is a loud “No!”. IMO, the full credit answer nods to the simple answer, but also insists on pointing out that it’s not even clear what the question actually means. One should consider:

    1)There are several known historical examples of the CIA lying to the current POTUS of the United States about its significant covert and clandestine activities. Beyond that, to take an extreme example – many of the most knowledgable students of the JFK assassination point to elements from the CIA (not necessarily then director McCone) as being the most likely organizers of his assassination and subsequent cover up.

    2) Some of strongest examples of 1) only came about through “legitimate” processes that lag many decades – e.g. Weiner’s book “Legacy of Ashes” reviews instances of this which were found in CIA records from the 1950s and 1960s. Some of those were released/unclassified in 2007. But, in fact, there is no reason to believe that the worst secrets were ever written down or that many written secrets were destroyed – e.g. Richard Helms is known to have directed a HUGE destruction of CIA files in 1974,

    3) Within the govt. there are many, many levels of secret classification. In their book “Top Secret America”, Priest and Arkin describe how at the highest level, files have a short list of names of who is allowed to read them. The POTUS is usually not even on that list. If he was, he would not personally have time, and he would not be allowed to delegate that job to a loyal staff member of his choosing.

    4) Covert ops technically means an operation where the US govt. plans to lie about its involvement. A clandestine op techncially means an operation where the US govt. plans to lie and pretend it never even happened. These things go on all the time without any direct supervision by elected officials. Sometimes the CIA has claimed that the elected officials say they don’t what to know about these ugly activities. In any case, the CIA has no obligation to tell them, and does not care much about perjury etc. unless caught, and when caught, there rarely any penalty in pracice, though Richard Helms did once pay a small fine for Congressional perjury.

    5) Re-emphasizing the above, there are examples of CIA people being penalized for whistleblowing or spying for a foreign power, but I have never heard any examples of them being prosecuted for criminal activity. Certaintly the FBI works closely with the CIA to cover up all CIA crime rather than allow it to be exposed or prosectued by some local authority.

    6) There is such a long, long history of the above, that one has to ask whether or not a majority of the US electorate and their reps in Congress (many of whom may themselves by CIA assets) actually want things that way. In other words, they may wish to blindly trust the CIA, not believing it is telling the truth, but rather believing in a theory that it’s lies, international crime, and domestic crime, somehow benefit their empire and their bottom line. I’ve come around to the view that this is a big factor, and that effective criticism starts with a long historical view and some kind of economic analysis showing that endless, expensive war and trickle down ecomics from Halliburton, Booz Allen, Lockheed, United Fruit, etc. does not benefit the large majority of Americans paying for the over $1 trillion/year budget, the Iraq War, Vietnam War, etc. which were all sold the the public on knowingly false premises. This is a big picture problem, not a minutae of lying problem.