Monday, April 23, 2007

Carmichael vs. Carmichael

I have written elsewhere about True Believer, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) investigator Scott Carmichael’s account of the probe of Cuban spy Ana Montes.

There’s a gap emerging between the book itself and Carmichael’s statements on his south Florida book tour.

The book tour is turning out to be a lot more juicy than the book.

Half the reason I bought the book was to learn about how Montes came to be a spy. Carmichael treated that subject in a single sentence, explaining that she was recruited while working as a Freedom of Information officer at the Department of Justice and attending graduate school at night. That’s it.

Now, I hear that Carmichael is saying that Cuban agents guided her career, coaching her from the Department of Justice to her job at DIA. That did not make it into the book.

Another reason to buy the book was to learn about the damage she surely caused to U.S. security, but an affidavit (pdf here) that the FBI submitted in court tells more than Carmichael’s entire book. Carmichael lists cases where Montes could have betrayed military plans and intelligence: the 1990 U.S. intervention in Panama, the wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, a 1987 attack that killed an American soldier in El Salvador, the liberation of Kuwait. But in each case Carmichael writes that he does not know if she did so.

Now Carmichael is turning against his colleagues. He tells the Miami Herald that Cuban intelligence “has the American government thoroughly penetrated,” another claim that didn’t make it into the book. Yet his fellow counterintelligence officers are indifferent, he says, seeing Montes as “an isolated case.” Apparently he hopes that his book and tour will help him win his own argument inside the U.S. government.

Carmichael-on-tour also told the Herald that Montes “participated in every significant policy decision on Cuba for nine years.” Presumably, that means 1992-2001, which is a neat way for Carmichael to smear the Clinton Administration. But Montes, as an intelligence analyst, would have had to elbow her way to the policy table, and if she was a player in policy decisions, one has to wonder why that fact didn’t make it into Carmichael’s book.

Are we to believe that she was part of the secret negotiations of the Clinton-era migration accords – negotiations that were kept secret even from the State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs? Did she advise President Clinton to sign Helms-Burton in 1996?

Carmichael’s book is a good account of his own investigation. Admirably, he is donating his share of book proceeds to the family of the American soldier killed in combat in El Salvador.

Miami is the natural place for him to promote his book. But the more time he spends there, the more Carmichael veers toward politics, using his authority as a U.S. government official to add speculation and, in the case of Montes’ involvement in policy decisions, misinformation to the concrete but limited information in his book.

The narrow focus of True Believer was reason enough to hope for another book – or a declassification of the intelligence community’s study of this case – to tell the full Ana Montes story. Now Carmichael’s book tour adds another, and it grows day by day.

2 comments:

Karamchand said...

Un sistema intrínsecamente democrático, es malo para lidiar contra la inteligencia de sus enemigos. De no ser que el mismo Fidel Castro en un intento de congraciarse con el gobierno de Bill Clinton y como parte del deterioro de su salud mental, facilitara los datos suficientes para poner sobreaviso a las agencias norteamericanas y capturar la red Avispa; jamás hubiesen sido descubiertos. El caso de Ana Montes, es un acierto en medio de tantos fiascos.
Es muy difícil competir contra un pensamiento encaminado a solidarizarse con las capas más bajas del entramado social. Son halagadores y sobre todo, saben cual es el Talón de Aquiles de la sociedad americana, la posibilidad de que personas de esas capas alcancen altos cargos dentro del gobierno. Si alguien cree que es labor de un día, está equivocado, es de años, de trabajo perseverante en la dirección de atraer y adoctrinar desde bien temprano, un estudio detallado de la extracción social de sus futuros agentes, su opiniones, un trabajo compartimentado en el que la información es tratada en la cúpula de la inteligencia y específicamente por un hombre populista, que conoce y maneja muy bien el arte de caer en gracias y ganar adeptos. Es una labor de hormiga, pero le rinde sus frutos conociendo información muy real y cercana al manejo de los gobiernos, específicamente el estadounidense. Le doy la razón al Sr. Carmichel, cuantos agentes no hay congelados, sólo en papeles pasivos y cuantos no habrá activamente, dejando caer piezas de información en el inmenso entramado gubernativo estadounidense y en los círculos de poder a conveniencia de la inteligencia cubana, a tono con lo sucedido en el caso de la Montes. El ser humano es incorforme por naturaleza, y siempre verá la paja en el ojo ajeno,nunca la viga en el propio, esto fue y es usado con maestría por Fidel Castro y la inteligencia cubana, las pasiones más bajas son magistralmente manipuladas en sus despropósitos, al igual que los secretos personales.
La esperanza, o mejor dicho, lo que ha salvado a EEUU, es la extrema libertad en el acceso a la información, lo cual visto por algún ingenuo puede considerarlo una debilidad, y sí, puede ser debilidad a corto plazo, pero una fortaleza si se tiene miras lejanas.

leftside said...

You are far too nice to this paranoid hawk.

Any idea what he was referring to here:

CIA mole-hunting Scott Carmichael told NewsMax that one of the programs Montes compromised was so sensitive that the DIA director "just rolled his eyes" when he learned of it. "I was there," Carmichael said. "That's how serious it was."