The CIA Hates Us for Our Freedom

As I’ve noted a couple of times, there’s the suggestion that the CIA likes the NYPD’s CIA-on-the-Hudson because the NYPD, unlike the CIA, is diverse enough to have people with the linguistic and cultural background to infiltrate Muslim communities.

So how stupid is this?

Three weeks ago, The Arab American News published a story written by The Associated Press about the CIA and the NYPD cooperating in a massive spying operation on the entire Muslim community in the New York/New Jersey area.

The following week, we published an article detailing the CIA’s denial of that activity.

As we went to press last week, Thursday, September 8, 2011, we received an email from the advertising agency which handles the CIA’s account. “The government agency for the CIA has just contacted us and wants us to remove the banners from your website for undisclosed reasons,” the agency said in its email. A representative from the advertising agency haunted our advertising director all afternoon, repeatedly asking to immediately remove the four ads that the agency just orderedeight days ago. Another email three hours later from the same agency: “Sorry to keep bothering you but the client is giving me a headache.” The CIA has canceled all advertising in The Arab American News.

Not only was this outlet a place the CIA advertised to the Arab community (presumably including recruitment ads), but the paper, as it describes, served as an entree into the community.

This newspaper was instrumental in inviting the CIA into the community, introducing its employees to community leaders and helping to forge good relations between the force and local organizations. The CIA has sponsored many events in the community and generally been welcomed with open arms.

So now the newspaper is drawing one of the most obvious conclusions: that the CIA hates us–rather, a newspaper serving the Arab American community–for our freedoms.

But the evidence shows that perhaps that was a mistake. We treated the CIA like an American institution that believes in American values, like freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the freedom to peaceably assemble. At least in America.

However, if displeasure with one story the newspaper publishes causes a government agency to pull all its ads in retribution, then we assume everyone should be afraid of the CIA — and maybe the whole government — because it’s obviously “my way or the highway” with them. For us they can pull advertising and satisfy their thirst for revenge.

There is, though, one other (not mutually exclusive) possibility. Presumably the CIA wants Arab-Americans it recruits to imagine that they will be targeting actual terrorists if they go to work for the CIA. But the AP series shows that, in the CIA-assisted NYPD program, Arab-Americans will be spying on the innocent activities of their own community. Arab-Americans who read the AP series in this newspaper, then, might be less pliable recruits for the CIA.

So, instead, they’ll just have to rely even more on the NYPD to infiltrate these communities, I guess, having pissed off key figures in the community it needs to reach out to to do its job.

12 replies
  1. MadDog says:

    I was trying to figure out what type of ads, other than recruitment, the CIA could possibly have been running.

    I couldn’t think of a single one!

    I couldn’t imagine the CIA running a 1-800-Tipster ad in Arab American News nor an ad on the annual reunion of former CIA case officers and their informants.

  2. MadDog says:

    Btw, does anyone else wonder whether or not the NYPD/CIA hookup is the only one operating in the US?

    And whether other similar domestic hookups could be another reason for the CIA IG investigation?

    Think Dearborn Michigan with its large Arab ancestry population. Think Minneapolis Minnesota with one of the larger Somali ancestry population. Think Los Angeles California with its large Middle Eastern ancestry population.

    I know for a fact that the CIA has had an office/bureau here in the Twin Cities now for over 40 years.

    It was supposedly only for the analysis and/or research side of the CIA house (Intelligence Division) due to University of Minnesota programs or consulting funded by the government, and then also in the Seventies, due to the large Russian emigre population that sprung up here.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t more to the CIA’s presence than just researchers and academics passing papers back and forth.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @MadDog: I think we know of MOST of who is infiltrating those areas. I know for a fact that the Dearborn stuff came from INS/ICE–which has its own record of abuses, but at least is Federal. We also know of stupid FBI over pursuit of black Muslims in Detroit (remember that a significant portion of Arabs in MI are Christian).

    Plus, I’ve heard from CT people I trust that this NYPD thing is pretty unique.

    As one of the AP pieces notes, the LAPD tried this, btu balked at it. Instead, we know FBI is profiling there, with help from a Camp Pendleton-based public private profiling program.

  4. Abusto says:

    According to Ali Soufan, to work around the CIA ban on US spying, the CIA uses Saudi Agents for onshore intel purposes and if the Saudi, why not Israeli, whose rep outshines the CIA. Of course, with Petraeus and previously Panetta in charge of CIA, I’m sure this egregious skirting of law will stop.

  5. PeasantParty says:

    I was just going to comment on that. One of the articles that I read about the NYPD hookup said that there would be some sort of hearing to determine the legality of it. I’ve always thought that the CIA was strictly used as intelligence offshore, not on home soil.

  6. PeasantParty says:

    “But the evidence shows that perhaps that was a mistake. We treated the CIA like an American institution that believes in American values, like freedom of speech, freedom of worship and the freedom to peaceably assemble. At least in America.”

    Yes, we did. Many still do. The problems I have is that they have lost the real vision of their purpose. The real enemies of this country’s charter have removed the ability of real intelligence. Now they just point at what they portray as the enemy.

  7. MadDog says:

    @emptywheel: I can’t speak authoritatively for the Twin Cities, but with the CIA hot and heavy after Al-Shabaab in Somalia, and with publicly released documentation that young Somalis from here have traveled back to Somalia to join in jihad, I’d still place a small bet that the CIA would attempt to recruit within the Twin Cities Somali community.

    I have no doubt that the FBI has a heavy counterterrorism presence here focused on the Somali community and attempts to infiltrate it or recruit informants, but whether the FBI/CIA relationship is in such a state that the FBI would be doing the recruiting of Somalis for the CIA’s overseas operations in Somalia is a known unknown.

  8. MadDog says:

    @MadDog: And btw, one of the reasons I know the CIA has had an office/bureau here for the last 40 years or more (other than it having been written about here in the local papers) was the fact that the CIA’s office here was always listed in the local phone book white pages.

  9. DWBartoo says:


    One notes, MadDog, that the Washington Post “JOBS” section currently lists seven CIA jobs in Pittsburgh, Pa. or the surrounding area …

    Operational Psychologist

    Paramilitary Officer/Specialized Skills Officer

    NCS Language Officer

    Undergraduate Internship Program – NCS (2)

    Professional Trainee Program

    Core Collector.

    I have never lived anywhere, in this country, where the CIA did not have an office within a fifty to seventy-five-mile radius.

    I do wonder how many Americans realize that is likely to also be true where ever they might live in this country?


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