Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Rudy Giuliani is the latest Republican to announce that it's outrageous to accuse the CIA of lying; before that we had Michael Steele, John Boehner, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee (in verse, no less) ... and that's just off the top of my head. But back in 2003, accusing the CIA of lying was apparently just fine -- when the accusers were an ex-Bush speechwriter (David Frum) and a then-current member of Bush's Defense Policy Board (Richard Perle), and their critique was neoconservative.

Back in December '03, Frum and Perle published a book titled An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. Some of their sharpest words were reserved for the CIA, which they accused of having (this is not a joke) "liberal instincts" and "ideologically liberal assumptions" that led, in their opinion, to a number of "failures" (some of which were real, like the failure to anticipate the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, others of which were fantasies, primarily the failure to see deep connections between Iraq and Al Qaeda). On page 209 of the book, Frum and Perle wrote:

... because the CIA, like all intelligence organizations, deals in lies, it all too easily crosses the line between lying abroad to protect the nation and lying at home to protect itself -- by, for example, blaming the Department of Defense or the Iraqi opposition for its own failures in Iraq.

If anyone criticized them, or questioned their patriotism, for accusing the CIA of lying, I'm not aware of it.

Perle, as I say, was still in the U.S. government at the time; he resigned as a member of the Defense Policy Board two months after this book was published. There's no evidence that saying the CIA lies was in any way responsible for his resignation.

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