On too many occasions in U.S. history, the use of force has been justified with either corrupt intelligence or just plain lies. Such was the case in the Mexican-American War; the Spanish-American War; the Vietnam War; and the 2003 Iraq War. The checks and balances that were needed to prevent the misuse of intelligence were not operative, and Presidents Polk, McKinley, Johnson, and Bush deceived the American people, the U.S. Congress, and the press. In 1967, Israeli officials at the highest level lied to the White House about the start of the Six-Day War.
As a junior analyst at the CIA, I helped to draft the report that described Israel’s attack against Egypt on the morning of June 5, 1967. There were sensitive communications intercepts that documented Israeli preparations for an attack, and no evidence of an Egyptian battle plan. The Israelis had been clamoring about indications of Egyptian preparations for an invasion, but we had no sign of Egyptian readiness in terms of its air or armored power. The assumption was that the Israelis were engaging in disinformation in order to gain U.S. support.
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CIA Creates a Mission Center to Counter China
You have to wonder what in the world Burns’ mediocre predecessors (John Brennan and Mike Pompeo) were thinking in creating mission centers regarding Iran and North Korea which represented little threat to the United States. But my second reaction is less facetious and more serious: why is the United States—its president, its politicians, its pundits—hell-bent on creating a Cold War environment and arms race with China? Burns told his work force last week that China is “our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry.”