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What the CIA Should be Doing
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The NYT’s story about how the CIA has had Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother Ahmed Wali on the payroll for much of the past eight years is intended to shock because Ahmed Wali has frequently been linked to drug trafficking. Well, he is also linked to his brother, which is why he is important. As the intentions and maneuverings of Afghanistan’s ruling kleptocracy more-or-less headed by Hamid must be a major concern for Washington, I would expect the CIA to make every effort to have an informant within the inner circle. Indeed, given the level of corruption within the Afghan government, I would be shocked if they hadn’t been able to pick up a top level source. I would also assume that every room in the presidential palace is wired for sound and even video to keep tabs on those rascals. Let’s face it, Afghanistan is not a nice place and we shouldn’t be there at all but as long as the US has 60,000 troops in country the CIA should be making every effort to learn what is actually going on, if only to protect our soldiers and diplomats.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Afghanistan, CIA 
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  1. Why don’t we surrender to the UN?

    Really. I wonder if the ‘” folks might have this one right?

    Let’s say we can identify some legitimate military goals. Why can’t we hand the problem to the UN, and keep no more troops in-country than the UN can match?

    And below a certain threshold, if there are not enough “world troops” to keep our people safe, we withdraw entirely in protest.

    I vote we put this one on a strict agressive timetable, for just getting out. Use economy as an excuse, whatever.

    Unless George Soros and GE have figured out a way to make money by us staying, why aren’t we out already?

    Basically, Bush won the Iraq war (if you kind of look at it with squinted eyes, and aren’t a hating dishonest lib), so just declare the whole thing a victory, and get out. Because we are going to get the blame for everyone who stubs their toe in the area FOR THE NEXT 10 TO 20 YEARS anyway.

    The US will be fast losing it’s ability to field an army (because of the impending economic meltdown), and we’d better retrench sooner, rather than later.

  2. Philip, does the CIA really have a payroll with pay stubs and all? And even if they did, would they really tell the administration this directly? Plausible deniability and all. Isn’t this just an administration planted story to damage President Karzai in front of the upcoming elections?

  3. NS, the CIA does indeed have a payroll with signed receipts from its agents. These days, they may even do direct deposit. That said, the source of the leak remains murky and there could be a political agenda in surfacing it at this point.

  4. The source of the leak is the administration. There is absolutely a political agenda behind it.

    What about from Ahmed Walid Karzai’s angle? Why would he go on the payroll and hand the Americans an opportunity to blackmail or expose him any time they wanted? It’s not exactly a positive to Pashtuns to be linked to Americans.

    And I’m not saying that there is no communication or cooperation with Karzai, just that it would be far more discreet than direct payments to him.

  5. One hopes that the agency is creating a web of sources and sleeper agents. We will not be in Afghanistan forever, and we do need to keep tabs on the next lot. An effort should also be made to cement influence on those factions who will make up any fragmented successor state(s). This may be a cheap and effective way of preventing the Taliban from consolidating power over the whole country.

    Or we could just mumble something or other about the invincible ignorance and corruption of the Kabul regime and Afghans in general and bug out.

  6. Arthur says:

    Perhaps the spooks are just consolidating – bringing their lackeys And their competition under their wing . While there may be men and women of integrity working at this agency , I’m more than willing to consider that most have job skills more indicative of smug slimy gangsters – like pathological fabrication , extortion , drug dealing and murder .

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