By Jerome Woehrle
Under Obama, there was a catastrophic intelligence failure that cost the lives of dozens of undercover agents. Rather than preventing the failure, the Obama-era CIA punished the whistleblower who brought the problem to light, resulting in the deaths of additional agents.
From around 2009 to 2013, the U.S. intelligence community experienced crippling intelligence failures related to the secret internet-based communications system, a key means for remote messaging between CIA officers and their sources on the ground worldwide. The previously unreported global problem originated in Iran and spiderwebbed to other countries, and was left unrepaired — despite warnings about what was happening — until more than two dozen sources died in China in 2011 and 2012 as a result, according to 11 former intelligence and national security officials. … Multiple former intelligence officials said that the damage from the potential global compromise was serious — even catastrophic — and will persist for years. ….
More than just a question of a single failure, the fiasco illustrates a breakdown that was never properly addressed. The government’s inability to address the communication system’s insecurities until after sources were rolled up in China was disastrous. “We’re still dealing with the fallout,” said one former national security official. “Dozens of people around the world were killed because of this.”…
Irvin McCullough, a national security analyst with the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit that works with whistleblowers, put the issue in even starker terms. “This is one of the most catastrophic intelligence failures since September 11th,” he said. “And the CIA punished the person who brought the problem to light.”
Obama’s CIA director, Leon Panetta, failed to properly guard against this preventable catastrophe. Later CIA directors under Obama, such as John Brennan, did little to stem or remedy the damage. For example, as The Hill notes today, Brennan lied and broke pledges to protect whistleblowers. The CIA even eavesdropped on Congress, reading its emails about whistleblowers. Brennan repeatedly lied to Congress to cover his posterior, as even liberal newspaper writers conceded. Brennan, a political animal, was more concerned about his own domestic political position than about the lives of U.S. agents overseas.
John Brennan has departed from the non-partisan stance of most former CIA directors by wading into the political process. For example, on Friday, he endorsed Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Senate candidate in Texas. O’Rourke has attracted controversy for repeatedly making false claims about his own background and family. O’Rourke voted to use eminent domain to seize the property of small businesses and residents of a Hispanic neighborhood for a development benefiting his billionaire father-in-law, as the Free Beacon and the New York Times have reported. O’Rourke also falsely claimed that his mother was a “lifelong Republican,” even though she voted in 15 of the last 17 Democratic primaries. O’Rourke has demonized teachers and cops as racist, falsely claiming that America’s school teachers — most of whom are liberal on racial matters — systematically suspend black children “just because” of their “race” (a claim debunked by a 2014 study in the Journal of Criminal Justice that was peer-reviewed and co-authored by several well-known academics).
Brennan’s focus on advancing himself and the Democratic Party’s political agenda may have caused him to take his eyes off of international intelligence gathering. As one overseas analyst put it, “Spying is a competitive business that doesn’t care about domestic social goals. Maybe having some guy in charge who bragged about voting for communist party USA in 1976 and walking around in a rainbow jacket wasn’t so great.”
CNN has reported that Brennan supported the Communist Party candidate for President in 1976. It’s an odd choice for someone who would go on to become CIA director, in charge of intelligence gathering against many Communist countries such as Cuba, North Korea, and Venezuela.