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The CIA Goes Back to the Movies

Careful with that diverse work force.

CIA.gov wants to tell you that you should not believe that your CIA spies on U.S. citizens.  It's hard for them to tell you that with a straight face, because they do.  So they dance around it:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has the lead on intelligence matters in the United States, especially those directed against US citizens. However, the CIA and the FBI work together as needed to protect the interests of US national security. The CIA does not collect information concerning the domestic activities of US citizens, but its foreign intelligence collection mission can be conducted anywhere.

Let me parse that for you.  In simple English, "we operate everywhere (that's what that final 'anywhere' means), whenever and wherever we think national security is at stake.  If we find, for example, that foreign enemies are in touch with American citizens (abroad or here), we will collect that information.  We're obliged to turn over information on 'domestic activities of US citizens' to the FBI, which will then carry on.  Mostly."

Indeed, Attorney General Eric Holder recently authorized the government to collect and retain all manner of information on American citizens who are totally clean, about whom no worrisome information exists.

Oh, and a lot of this information comes from NSA, which CIA.gov's latest movie review doesn't even mention.

Then there's this one:  "CIA has no law enforcement  authority."  Well, not exactly, as the residents of Camp Guantanamo will tell you.  CIA certainly arrests people overseas (or, in friendly countries, causes them to be arrested) and then interrogates them (or causes interrogation to be conducted), and also has them arrested in the course of  their many joint operations with the military (notably Special Forces).

Don't forget that more than a dozen CIA officers are facing arrest warrants in Italy for organizing the snatching of alleged terrorists there.

As the James Bond theme plays, CIA.org closes with a deception:

Myth: The CIA makes foreign policy.

Reality: The CIA informs foreign policy. It works with other members of the Intelligence Community to produce objective analysis on intelligence issues. The president and policymakers make all U.S. policy decisions, not the CIA.

I guess it all depends on what "objective" and "makes" mean.  But it's, uh, misleading to suggest that the intel folks don't actively try to influence policy.  You might want to run that quaint claim of sweet innocence past Dick Cheney.

As for "objective analysis," well, just give me your opinion and I'll try to sort it out.  So long as you also give me a full picture of the facts.

And stop with the movie reviews already.  We're at war, remember?