Thursday, November 18, 2004

CIA critic: "Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror"

A CIA analyst who wrote a book that criticized the U.S.
war on terror has resigned from the spy agency after it
effectively banned him from publicly discussing his
views, his publicist said on Thursday.

Michael Scheuer, whose book "Imperial Hubris: Why the
West Is Losing the War on Terror" was signed as
"anonymous" and published this summer, will resign
effective Friday after 22 years at the Central
Intelligence Agency.

In a statement, Scheuer said the CIA had not forced him
to resign, "but I have concluded that there has not been
adequate national debate over the nature of the threat
posed by Osama bin Laden and the forces he leads and
inspires, and the nature and dimensions of intelligence
reform needed to address that threat."

He intends to speak to the media over the next several
weeks, including an appearance on the CBS show "60
Minutes" on Sunday.

Scheuer's statement said senior leadership had allowed
the intelligence officers working against al Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden to be made scapegoats for
pre-Sept. 11 failures.

Scheuer was chief of the CIA Counterterrorist Center's
unit which focused on bin Laden from 1996 to 1999 and
remained a CIA analyst after that.

"The Atlantic Monthly" in its December issue published a
letter sent by Scheuer to U.S. congressional
intelligence committees that said the key pre-Sept. 11
intelligence failures were mainly the result of bad
decisions by senior officials.

"While the 11 September attacks probably were
unstoppable, it was decisions by human beings --
featuring arrogance, bad judgment, disdain for
expertise, and bureaucratic cowardice -- that made sure
the Intelligence Community did not operate optimally to
defend America," Scheuer said in the letter.

In June, just before Scheuer's book was published, he
did a series of media interviews, appearing on TV in
silhouette and was identified in print as "Mike."

In the first week of August, CIA officials told him that
he had to ask for permission in advance for media
interviews and provide summaries of what would be
discussed ahead of time, Scheuer's editor and publicist
Christina Davidson said.

"They rejected every single request," she said. "It was
effectively a ban."

His book said the United States was losing the war
against terrorism and that sticking to current policies
would only make its enemies in the Islamic world grow

The statement released by his publicist about Scheuer's
resignation said that "after a cordial meeting with
senior CIA officials on Tuesday, Scheuer decided that it
would be in the best interests of the intelligence
community and the country for him to resign in order to
continue speaking publicly with regard to Osama Bin
Laden, al Qaeda, and the 9-11 Commission Report." A CIA
spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

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