At CIA, deadly mistakes, then promotions

Associated Press report reveals the lack of accountability in the CIA where officers responsible for botched operations end up getting promotions.

In December 2003, security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri. For the next five months, el-Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been whisked to a secret prison for interrogation in Afghanistan.

But he was the wrong guy.

A hard-charging CIA analyst had pushed the agency into one of the biggest diplomatic embarrassments of the U.S. war on terrorism. Yet despite recommendations by an internal review, the analyst was never punished. In fact, she has risen to one of the premier jobs in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, helping lead President Barack Obama’s efforts to disrupt al-Qaida.

In the years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, officers who committed serious mistakes that left people wrongly imprisoned or even dead have received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all, an Associated Press investigation has revealed. The botched el-Masri case is but one example of a CIA accountability process that even some within the agency say is unpredictable and inconsistent.

Though Obama has sought to put the CIA’s interrogation program behind him, the result of a decade of haphazard accountability is that many officers who made significant missteps are now the senior managers fighting the president’s spy wars.

The AP investigation of the CIA’s actions revealed a disciplinary system that takes years to make decisions, hands down reprimands inconsistently and is viewed inside the agency as prone to favoritism and manipulation. When people are disciplined, the punishment seems to roll downhill, sparing senior managers even when they were directly involved in operations that go awry.

Two officers involved in the death of a prisoner in Afghanistan, for instance, received no discipline and have advanced into Middle East leadership positions. Other officers were punished after participating in a mock execution in Poland and playing a role in the death of a prisoner in Iraq. Those officers retired, then rejoined the intelligence community as contractors.

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One thought on “At CIA, deadly mistakes, then promotions

  1. Frigga Karl

    Secret services are the quagmire of power. The secret service culture has gone to new hights since the fall of the Soviet Union. One of the most dangerous secret agencies came with the creation of Israel. The Mossad. Israel new very well that the crimes it committed for its installation in the Middle East will not be accepted by their victims, the Palestinians. And in a broader way by all the arab populations because the arabs have a big sense of brotherhood.
    For this reason Israel developed the Mossad to an extend which is so amplified that its criminal actions cover all continents. Maybe Israel wants to dominate the whole islamic community of the world! We have witnessed the complete disconnection of reality by the israeli leaders. In the same way as Mubarak. They move in their own madness of power. And this is really very dangerous for the world, especially when Israel has 300 nuclear bombs. John F. Kennedy realised it very well, but he was murdered by whom?

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