Interview with David Kay

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #1
    Jim Lehrer interviewed David Kay last night on the NewsHour. It was an excellent and revealing interview, which I think everyone no matter how they may feel about the issues at stake, should listen to or read. Kay came across to me as an outstanding public servant. I'm going reprint just one segment of the interview, where Lehrer asked Kay about why he's called for an outside investigation into the intelligence lapses.

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june04/kay_01-29.html
     
  2. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #2
    from my business, i learned some time ago that responsibility, authority and accountability go hand in hand.

    the bush WH has no accountability.

    (another example of where it breaks down -- No Child Left Behind provides schools responsibility but no authority, but accountability is demanded)
     
  3. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    I appreciated what Kay had to say about accountability. He made the nonpartisan point that accountability rarely comes from within any organization, and in a democracy, the electorate needs to demand it of their representatives, or they'll probably never get it. These are wise words spoken by a seasoned and refreshingly honest public servant. The only question now is whether the government will continue to motor on in virtual autopilot mode, as though nothing is amiss. Kay could hardly be saying it more plainly: if we allow that to happen, we're headed for another disaster.
     
  4. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #4
    What comes across from this and from some cites of Kay's testimony is that he's not into the "blame game".

    Bits and pieces of our intelligence problems have been floating around for years. There were problems engendered back in the Carter era, with the resulting decline in using people and the increase in relying on spy satellites and such. Some problems result from bureaucratic turf wars; some from personal agendas within the various intelligence-gathering agencies.

    It's pretty well known that "somehow" it could have been possible to have prevented 9/11. Trouble is, what entity could have put all the pieces of the puzzle together? It's all well and good to talk about "inter-agency communication", but if something isn't of importance to you, would you necessarily assume it's important to me? (And vice-versa, of course)

    I dunno. It's gonna take somebody who knows more than I about how to find willing and cooperative bosses and sub-bosses who will improve the situation. Heck, we're talking CIA, DIA, FBI, NSA, INS and others. Institutionalized prima-dona-ism.

    Maybe in 2005? After the smoke clears from the upcoming elections?

    Damfino,

    'Rat
     
  5. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #5
    I'm less concerned with the intelligence breakdown leading to 9-11 than I am with the one leading to 'Dubya Dubya II'. That's the one we need to solve to regain credibility with the rest of the world. Very few people actually blame Bush for not stopping 9-11. Only the most radical conspiracy theorists cling to that one. But there are a lot of people that think something went horribly wrong in the run-up to the Iraq war.
     
  6. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Backing up a bit for the wider view, Kay is telling us first that we won't discover the solutions to these problems unless they are investigated from the perspective of an independent party, and second, that reform won't happen without a citizenry that demands it. I'm signed on to both propositions without hesitation. So at this point I'm wondering mainly how others feel about Kay's prescription. Is there an argument against it?
     
  7. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #7
    The argument against an independent investigation comes out of the White House. It seems to me that the reasons are purely political. As in we don't want to talk about the Pentagon's "Office of Special Plans" or why the Vice President was over at the CIA berating intelligence analysts on the type of reports they were producing - at least until after the November elections.

    IJ, I’m all for Kay’s and others calls for an independent investigation. I won’t hold my breath waiting for cooperation from this White House.
     
  8. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    Well all right, but I'm still waiting for the non-political rationale for not doing exactly as David Kay recommends. Any takers?
     
  9. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #9
    "Analysis" might be a better word, but I'm certainly in favor of independence for those involved. Regardless of the findings, implementation will still be the difficult part of achieving changes.

    Anybody remember the Grace Commission? Applause and agreement all over the place--and then Congressfolks hit the equivalent of the "ignore" button.

    'Rat
     
  10. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #10
    Part II of Kay's prescription: the American people need to demand changes.
     
  11. Sayhey macrumors 68000

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    #11
    At the top of that list of changes has to be reforms to insulate the intelligence community from political pressure. There will be intelligence failures in the future, but they shouldn't be from political appointees usurping the jobs of professional intelligence analysts.
     
  12. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

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    #12
    Am I the only one who saw him say that they didn't know they were going to use the planes to crash into buidlings?

    Very few people seem to blame bush starting a war. I am not a consipiracy theorist but I don't know how else to understand his above comment except that he knew "they" were going to hijack planes and did *nothing* to stop it.
     
  13. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    #13
    i've been very impressed with kay's non-political stance...and his reporting of "nothing but the facts". lord knows he must have been mislead going into the the weapons hunt based upon his high hopes and hyperbolical qoutes.

    my gut tells me that the intelligence services must provide the info AND the assessment...otherwise we have a rorshach test that favors the preconceived notions of the administration.
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    3rdpath, why should the world of intelligence gathering be different from anything else? You gather facts--whether about Iraqi activities or world trade numbers or voting patterns.

    What do you do next? You draw conclusions. Is it not true that intelligent people can look at the same, identical set of facts, and then reach polar-opposite conclusions? I believe so, having seen it many times.

    Any administration has to rely on the CIA, et al. What the administration receives is the conclusions made by the people at the CIA. Therefore, you already have a "spin" problem, a personal agenda problem, within those conclusions.

    IOW, it's not just the administration which has preconceived notions...

    'Rat
     
  15. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    I'll take a swing at that question: Because it's a matter of life and death for thousands if not millions, that's why it should be different.
     
  16. Taft macrumors 65816

    Taft

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    #16
    But information wasn't only flowing from the CIA to the White House. It seems, from many reports, that vice president Cheney met many times with groups in the CIA.

    I don't know if either the CIA or White House had an agenda outside of identifying the truth of Iraq's weapons program. But the fact that the administration gets their information from other agencies doesn't get them off the hook if the administration had a hand in the interpretation, collection or focus of the intel they received.

    Its true that many biases, opinions and agendas are involved in the collection of data. However, it is also true that the office of the president commands a lot of respect and cooperation out of other governmental agencies, especially those directly under the administration's control.

    And in any case, an independent investigation would get to the bottom of who exactly misinterpreted the information and on what basis. If it wasn't the fault of the president's office, then so be it. Or if there were legitimate reasons to believe the information pointed to Iraq having weapons, then so be it. Those determinations should be made by a disinterested party, however.

    There is no excuse not to have an independent commission review this matter. Any person saying so is disinterested in the truth.

    Taft
     
  17. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

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    rat,

    you're missing one HUGE part in the interpretation of our intelligence: we had people on the ground in iraq searching for wmd...and wouldn't a logical person factor the absence of physical evidence into the equation? the inspections were going well...but for some reason the bush administration wouldn't let the inspections continue. this rush to war has always reeked of preconception in my mind. of course, that's just me using the avail information to reach a conclusion.

    fwiw, i thought iraq was being quite cooperative considering they'd already caught us using inspectors for espionage purposes in the '90s.
     
  18. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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  19. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #19
    IJ, I'm sorry I didn't make myself more clear, earlier, in my "...why should things be different?" I was thinking of human behavior, not the importance of the actions. People are always gonna act like people...

    3rdpath, I really don't expect outsiders like the inspectors to get the same information as I would where the "snoop" appears to be part of the society. Locals tell outsiders, generally, either a lie or else what they think the outsider wants to hear.

    'Rat
     
  20. 3rdpath macrumors 68000

    3rdpath

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    you've lost me here...are you really saying our inspectors were getting their locations and directions from the general iraqi populous and not our intell community? i'm sure our guys were following up on all those hi-rez sat. photos that rummy and powell were parading before the media in their daily dog-and-pony show. remember rummy saying "we know EXACTLY where their WMD are"...yet every time our guys went to those locations they found didley squat?

    no matter how you slice it, every chance our inspectors had to prove the intel's data...they came up empty. isn't it ironic that the less proof we had that saddam wasn't complying, the more the bush administration said saddam was running out of time to prove his compliance...and hastened the march to war.

    and what was the rush? we were never in any danger...end of story. so now we find out our intelligence was WRONG...a fact that could have been uncovered before we lost hundreds of soldiers, killed thousands of innocent iraqi's, squandered billions of dollars and alienated much of the world...ntm started a fire that we have no idea how to quell.

    the bottom line is that no matter how faulty our intel was...this administration willfully squandered and ignored the opportunities to authenticate this data.

    war used to be the last option...
     
  21. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #21
    "are you really saying our inspectors were getting their locations and directions from the general iraqi populous and not our intell community?"

    No, just the opposite. The inspectors' info from the intel folks seems to have been based mostly on those satellite photos (Elint) like those (for example) Powell showed at his UN session. I believe they should have been able to get Humint from spies within the Iraqi middle to upper echelons--except we didn't have any.

    We've had plenty of Iraqis here in the U.S. for years. It seems to me the CIA (or others) could have sought out, vetted and hired some to go back and spy for us.

    Remember all the noises, post-9/11, about our lack of Arab-speaking employees in the various intelligence/law enforcement agencies? To me, that's symptomatic of a long-term problem. Being a WASP from Yale/Harvard, or being a straight white guy with a degree in accounting, just isn't that useful in the back alleys of Baghdad--or elsewhere in the middle eastern countries.

    'Rat
     
  22. wwworry macrumors regular

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    #22
    even before the war there were plenty accounts of the shaky nature of the WMD intelligence. However the administration did not publicly acknowledge any of the doubts about WMDs. In fact, it took David Kay's public report for them to change their story at all. I can imagine what their take on the matter would be had Kay not made this report.

    That's the problem with this administration - they are only truthful and open when they are forced into it. It comes down again to "what does one do when no one is looking?". Is it really responsible to tell the american public that there definitly are weapons when many reports stated that the existence of WMDs was not definite.

    They choose to present one side of the intelligence in an effort to sell the war they had planned all along. That is a fact.
     
  23. IJ Reilly thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    No need to imagine -- just listen to Dick Cheney on any given day.

    Incidentally, one of the problems Kay acknowledges is how the CIA was mislead by Iraqi defectors, our primary source of human intelligence in Iraq. How did they come to know what the US wanted to hear, I wonder?
     
  24. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #24
    Link
     
  25. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #25
    i wonder if bush will try another kissinger-type move.
     

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