Taking out Bin Laden two years ago was a good way to top out, sure, but the steady thumping the CIA has taken since then has been simply astounding.
Let's go over a few of the higher visibility mistakes:
John Kiriakou and blown covers: CIA Operative John Kiriakou has recently been convicted for giving out classified information which connected another operative to a covert mission.
The story is long, but one important detail was that Kiriakou was the first person to publicly acknowledge waterboarding.
He received 30 months in prison.
CIA "contractor" Raymond Davis in Pakistan: Somehow, while simply familiarizing himself with a new area of operations, Davis thought it would be a great idea to gun down a couple street thieves rather than say, just giving them money.
The ensuing shootout claimed two lives. Making matters worse, a vehicle sent to rescue Davis struck and killed another Pakistani.
Benghazi: A few concerned and determined former SEAL contractors got the CIA in hot water when they exposed a secret Annex in an effort to save Ambassador Christopher Stevens and other diplomats.
Inconspicuous, that is, until that massive gunfight: the world was definitely not meant to know about the CIA Annex — cover totally blown.
Nevertheless, there were strong indications early on that the on-site CIA agents might not have thought that the best course of action was heading to the diplomatic mission, but rather, to call local security forces.
One can agree or disagree with this course of action, but the Annex itself was classified, as was their mission. The CIA claimed they told the State Department that they were not responsible for additional security for the diplomatic mission — due to the classified nature of their operations.
From a Wall Street Journal report:
Officials say it is unclear whether the militants knew about the CIA presence or stumbled upon the facility by following Americans there after the attack on the consulate. ]
David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell: This goes without saying — David Petraeus should have known better. The following fall out from the affair was a huge black eye on the Agency.
Brennan and the drone program: Like a festering wound that's suddenly busted open, Obama's pick of John "I designed the drone program" Brennan caused a massive outcry among the activist community.
That outcry raised awareness so much so that it looks like the White House has pressured the CIA into surrendering the program to the Department of Defense (what that does exactly, is up for debate).
Waterboarding Waterboarding Waterboarding: Coming full circle, the release of Zero Dark Thirty , a movie chronicling what was supposed to be the peak of CIA clandestine operations, actually brought more attention to an already well-litigated subject.
Jordan debacle: Despite maintaining that the U.S. is not giving material support to the rebels, a recent collaboration between the New York Times and an out-of-work finance guy turned blogger exposed a web-like weapons laundering and delivery system overseen by U.S. intelligence folks.
If not quite concrete, the evidence certainly points a very long, noticeable finger at CIA involvement supplying weapons to shady militant groups in Syria.
Now, arguably, arming obscure rebel groups is, in part, the CIA's bread and butter — it's just that they're not supposed to get caught.
In short, these poor guys just can't catch a break.
But, with the success of Argo at the Oscars, it's possible Ben Affleck is in the market for another script.
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