The failure to win the Olympic Games is the result of a combination of sex, lies, and an intelligence failure. So I oiled up the ouija board and, after three failed efforts, contacted my old friend, the late James Jesus Angleton, the legendary former chief of CIA counterintelligence. I mean, who better to analyze the fascinating events leading to the Copenhagen fiasco?
JJA: Sorry, I was sleeping. Didn’t hear your earlier calls.
ML: It’s hard for me to figure out what time it is where you are…
JJA: Hard for me, too, frankly. How do you measure the passage of time in eternity? We don’t have very organized schedules.
ML: Either do I.
JJA: Hah! But that’s different. You’ll see. So what’s up?
ML: The big news around here is that “Chicago” was dissed by the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen. Most people assumed that President Obama wouldn’t have gone there unless he believed we were going to win . Then, after Chicago was thrown out in the first round, a lot of people started to say that he knew it was going to be tough, and only went because he thought his personal charm would turn it around.
JJA: Before the results were in, it sure sounded as if the folks in the White House thought it was in the bag for Chicago, didn’t it?
ML: It did, but then they might have been trying to put the best face on a tough situation.
JJA: To be sure, to be sure. However, if you were a counterintelligence person you’d look at it differently.
ML: No doubt I would. But then, I’d look at the handsome guy in the mirror differently, too.
JJA: Very droll. But let’s look at how these bids are won, shall we? There’s a very big committee, more than a hundred strong, and a smaller executive committee. These are the players, they make the decisions. They’re like a government or a big corporation, let’s say. If you want such an organization to award you a contract, how do you go about it?
ML: I lobby.
JJA: Yes, you lobby. And you corrupt, too. You do favors, you promise even more favors if you win, and in short you do the same things that an intelligence service’s case officer does when he recruits agents. This process is well known in Chicago.
ML: No kidding!
JJA: I don’t kid. This is serious stuff. So let’s assume that, one way or another, the Chicago committee (call it CC for short) was on good terms with many of the decision-makers on the IOC.
ML: No doubt.
JJA: OK. I can easily imagine one of these gentlemen (there are very few women on the IOC) telling one of the CC people, “we need to sweeten the pot, if you’ll put up another bit of money, it’ll be in the bag.” And I can imagine the CC sweetening the pot, and the gentleman in question assuring them it was now in the bag.
ML: And on that basis, the president would fly to Copenhagen to get the credit.
JJA: Even as any of us would. Except someone who knew enough to understand the temptations to which the IOC guys were being subjected.
ML: Such as?
JJA: Well, they actually visit the proposed sites. When they went to Brazil, they would have seen one of the most glorious spectacles on earth: beautiful women on fabulous beaches. And it’s not hard to imagine that they even had the opportunity to, uh, experience the delights that Rio can offer a man of some importance.
ML: Not the same as Chicago.
JJA: Well, the weather’s more attractive in Rio, let’s say.
ML: Doesn’t everyone know these things?
JJA: In the abstract, yes. But if the CC knew them, it doesn’t seem to have fully appreciated their significance.
ML: So you’re saying they were poorly informed, that there was an intelligence failure.
JJA: Yes. They may have been betrayed, in fact. Whoever told them it was in the bag (if my hunch is right) may well have told the other bidders what the price was…So while the CC thought he was our agent on the inside, in reality he was working for others. And he did his job well, didn’t he? He seemed to convince us that the fix was in.
ML: That might explain other things, as well, such as the poorly prepared presentation, the lack of sensitivity to the decision-makers’ feelings…
JJA: Sure. If you thought it was a done deal, why bother to work hard? But there’s an aspect of this that worries me a lot, namely the failure of the CC–friends of Obama, mind you–to realize the importance of catering to the decision-makers’ strong sense of honor.
ML: Well if it’s mainly a competition between favor-givers, it’s hard to think of the recipients in those terms, isn’t it?
JJA: Maybe it is in some blessed corner of the United States, but it certainly is not hard in most of the rest of the world. And that’s what worries me. We’re now trying to make a deal with Iran…
ML: Which is far more devious than the IOC.
JJA: Indeed. And it’s even worse than that; if the reports are correct (and the Iranians are denying them), we’re entrusting Iranian enriched uranium to the Russians…
ML: Who are at the heart of the Iranian nuclear program to begin with.
JJA: And who, according to the London “Times,” have sent nuclear physicists to Tehran to help the Iranians make bombs.
ML: So the bottom line seems to be…
At which point, of course, the accursed ouija board started to spark and generate more static than comprehensible words, of which only a few made it through the ether
JJA: …masters of deception…can’t tell friends from enemies…lousy intelligence…hope over experience…
And he was gone.
I think he’s right.