- House and Senate negotiators reach two-year budget deal
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
Inside the Ring
CIA covert action
A new book by journalist Bob Woodward reveals some of the CIA’s holy-of-holies secrets: Details of covert action programs that must be approved personally by the president.
Mr. Woodward, in “Obama’s Wars,” describes a Dec. 9, 2008, meeting between President-elect Obama and then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden and then-Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell. The briefing was on a detailed listing of some of the “14 highly classified covert actions,” Mr. Woodward wrote.
At the top of the list was the Bush administration’s program to “conduct clandestine, lethal counterterrorism operations and other programs to stop terrorists worldwide” in more than 60 nations. One program goal was to stop al Qaeda from using a nuclear weapon or spreading a biological warfare agent.
Other covert actions were directed at stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons; deterring North Korea from building more; conducting anti-arms proliferation activities around the world; and launching lethal CIA operations in Afghanistan, like deadly drone attacks and the 3,000-person CIA unit called Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams.
In Iraq, CIA covert action involves both lethal and political operations, such as payoffs to Iraqi government officials and organizations.
Also, CIA was paying “tens of millions” to several foreign intelligence services, including Jordan’s General Intelligence Department.
Covert actions mentioned in the briefing included a program to stop genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan and a CIA program to provide the Turkish government with intelligence and other support to prevent the northern Iraq-based Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) from setting up an enclave in Turkey.
Disclosure of the programs raised eyebrows among several high-ranking national security officials because covert action — political, military and intelligence operations that are designed to hide the U.S. role in carrying them out — are among the most closely guarded secrets.
According to Mr. Woodward, several covert programs, including counternarcotics and propaganda activities, were not disclosed to avoid endangering the lives of operatives and to avoid hampering U.S. foreign relations.
The book quotes the president, when asked about the covert action briefing, as saying: “I’m not going to comment on my reaction to our deep secrets.”
Asked about the disclosure, a CIA spokesman said, without elaborating: “Separate and apart from any specific instance, when the agency has reason to believe there has been a possible violation of the law, such as the unauthorized disclosure of classified information, it has an obligation to refer the matter to the Department of Justice.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
- Inside the Ring: China targeting U.S. spy flights amid escalating tensions
- Inside the Ring: Tensions high during Joe Biden's Beijing visit
- Inside the Ring: U.S. funds China's nuclear security
- Inside the Ring: Danger of China conflict grows
- Inside the Ring: North Korean missiles deemed a serious threat to U.S.
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Harry Reid's visa pressure cooker
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Galaxy S4 owner claims Samsung tried to silence him after phone caught fire
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow