Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

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Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Yet Another Expose!

It doesn’t look like they will ever end. The Bush Administration has given us too much material.

So, Larry Johnson has reviewed On the Brink. Here it is:

On the Brink

Larry C Johnson

Tyler Drumheller, the recently retired CIA Chief for the European Division during the build up for the war in Iraq is out with a great new book, On the Brink. Tyler's account takes you inside the CIA during the month before 9-11 and through the start of the war in Iraq. He was in charge of all U.S. clandestine operations in Europe, including Turkey. But beyond a look back at what went wrong with Iraq from an intelligence perspective, Tyler offers a devastating critique of how the Bush Administration has engaged in an unprecedented politicization of the CIA. In corrupting the intelligence community the Bush Administration has put the nation at greater risk and hobbled an important government resource.

Tyler's book is unique because it offers the first insider's account about the events surrounding the build up to the war in Iraq, including the backstory on Curveball (the Iraqi fabricator) and the interactions with our British and Turkish allies. (Although CIA censors prevented Tyler from naming specific countries, a careful reader can easily pick out who is who.) On the Brink is a perfect companion to the other books published this year recounting the fabrication and failure that is Iraq--Fiasco (by Tom Ricks), Hubris (by David Corn and Michael Isikoss), Cobra II (by Bernard Trainor and Michael Gordon), Imperial Life in the Emerald City (by Rajiv Chandrasekaran), The One Percent Doctrine (by Ron Suskind), and State of Denial (by Bob "late to the party" Woodward). Taken as a whole, these volumes tell a disturbing and horrifying story of how our nation's security has been hijacked and squandered by the very people sworn to protect it. Tyler fleshes out the intelligence portion of the story.

Tyler fought an uphill battle in trying to get this book out. CIA editors did their best to quash the story and keep it off the shelves before the November elections. Notwithstanding the bureaucratic and procedural obstacles erected to thwart the book, Tyler still manages to tell a compelling story.

On the Brink is not another bash Bush book. Drumheller makes it very clear that George W. Bush alone is not the cause of the fiasco unfolding along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. Within the CIA, Tyler points an unwavering finger at George Tenet and his deputy, John McLaughlin. They were warned by Tyler that Curveball, the source claiming firsthand knowledge of mobile biological weapons labs in Iraq, was a fraud. And they did nothing. When the full story of the debacle surrounding Iraq is finally told, Tenet and McLaughlin will deserve the scorn of their countrymen rather than medals of freedom. They failed to stand strong when it counted and enabled a flawed President to take our country to war in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This was not an easy book for Tyler to write. He genuinely liked Tenet and was not about to tell tales out of school. He also was old-school; committed to protecting sources and methods. He writes with a measure of humility that is a virtue not commonly found in Washington, DC. But he has performed a public service. He traces the dismantling of the intelligence community by political operatives and sounds an important alarm, reminding all who will listen that we need a professional intelligence service staffed by talented men and women if we are to safely navigate the troubled waters of the 21st Century.

I hope that you check in regularly with Mr. Johnson at No Quarter and I also hope that you check in regularly with Pat Lang at Sic Semper Tyrannis. These guys are experts and they pull no punches. Lord knows that is what the public discourse needs.


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