CIA’s Drone Cowboys Complaining about “General Betrayus”

Remember when it was verboten to criticize David Petraeus, particularly in anticipation of his testimony to Congress?

Apparently it’s okay to do so if you run a secret killer drones program. While couched in anonymous sources, this story provides a forum for members of CIA’s counterterrorism center and their congressional backers to insinuate that David Petraeus has betrayed the CIA’s ability to wantonly kill Pakistanis.

The CIA is infamous for challenging outsiders, especially from the Pentagon, and Petraeus has won plaudits for not bringing his former military aides to his new job. Some officials close to the agency praise major espionage operations he has approved but say he has clashed with senior officers at the counter-terrorism center, a powerful fiefdom inside the agency that helps run the covert drone war.

Those officers are frustrated by the drop-off in drone strikes in Pakistan, including an undeclared two-month moratorium that ended Jan. 11, according to several current and former U.S. officials. In interviews, one member of Congress and four senior aides from the House and Senate committees said they were upset as well.

I guess the CIA considers trying to keep our relationship with a nuclear armed Pakistan intact a character flaw.

Now there is actually a complaint in here of concern.

Several aides on the House and Senate committees, however, say Petraeus has not always accommodated lawmakers’ schedules when he plans classified briefings and has limited the briefings’ duration so some questions go unanswered.

The aides, who asked for anonymity while discussing classified briefings, said he also has balked at providing some classified information that members have requested. They declined to provide details.

Mind you, Dianne Feinstein–in the article as well as her statement at the hearing (which you can watch here)–refuted the statement. Which I take to suggest that Petraeus is making ample use of the Gang of Four, briefing DiFi and Saxby Chambliss, but not other members of the committee.

12 replies
  1. PeasantParty says:

    Time to remove the trigger happy agents.

    I looked into Feinstein’s re-election and surprise, there is no Dem running against her. Sessions is another one that needs the boot. Well, hell. I can say that for all of them.

    Anyway, as we have discussed for days now there has to be some type of diplomacy and that does not come through Drones.

  2. jerryy says:


    So the bankers spent that missing money on bombs and such which were supposed to used in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but somehow word got out about the small towns being obliterated and now with the cover story gone bad, the degenerates have to pull back and wait for another opportunity?

  3. PeasantParty says:

    @klynn: Yep. Makes one think that those have spent years working on the ground in intelligence would have a little more to say. I guess Corporatism and profits are also taking over the intell agencies.

  4. PeasantParty says:

    @orionATL: Clapper didn’t even know about the Christmas bomber. How the hell is going to know about this? Iran would not try this at this time. We all know that, but follow up on that intell. I’m sure it came right out of the Pentagon.

  5. Jeff Kaye says:

    My thought when I read this: when the CIA leak is approved, it’s okay, and goes into a major US newspaper. When the CIA leak is not approved (even if it enhances our understanding about the torture program, which was completely illegal and immora), you try and put the person in jail for 30 years.

  6. rugger9 says:

    It goes back to why the chickenhawks want a war in Iran really really badly, and to me it seems that AIPAC really really wants to prop up Bibi. Why? That’s where the answers will be.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Heavens to Nixon, Cheney, Kissinger, Dulles, McCarthy. Who could imagine that an administration would schedule agency briefings in such a way as to control their message, deprive a committee of essential witnesses or testimony, or leave inadequate time to explore questions and inconsistencies.

    The claim that this is exceptional or not routine is laughable. Which makes it a generic hit on the target’s personality, judgment and fitness. That’s as routine as it might be in an Ivy League faculty club lounge. What’s unusual is the target.

    The buried lede would seem to be in whose interest is this hit? The list of potential actors is long, but near the top, apart from disgruntled CIA operatives, would be drone makers (among the largest Pentagon suppliers) and war advocates on the Hill and at the Pentagon.

  8. Jeff Kaye says:

    @earlofhuntingdon: If only George Tenet still worked for the Senate Intelligence Committee, then this wouldn’t happen!

    (For those who didn’t know it, Tenet really was a SSCI staffer before he was DCI.)

    Hey, Sen. Feinstein, quit your belly-achin’. You know as well as I that this kind of behavior goes way back. You really want to help us out, then you can get the public a copy of that investigatory report into the CIA interrogation-cum-torture program asap. Remember? You know, the one about which you recently said:

    As chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, I can say that we are nearing the completion [of] a comprehensive review of the CIA’s former interrogation and detention program, and I can assure the Senate and the Nation that coercive and abusive treatment of detainees in U.S. custody was far more systematic and widespread than we thought.

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