(July 9) — A former Russian intelligence officer who may have provided information that helped uncover two of the worst spies in U.S. history — Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames — is among the four Russians swapped for 10 sleeper agents in an elaborate Cold War-style spy swap today.
By Karen DeYoung
President Obama’s national security team spent weeks before the arrest of 10 Russian spies preparing for their takedown and assembling a list of prisoners Moscow might be willing to trade for the agents, senior administration officials said Friday.
WOLF BLITZER: But now to a striking gap in America’s homeland security. It’s been over a month since President Obama named his choice to become the new director of National Intelligence, but James Clapper still hasn’t been confirmed for the job and there is no telling when or if he will be. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is working the story for us.
Barbara, what’s going on here?
BARBARA STARR: Well, you know, Wolf, Russian spy swaps, al Qaeda at the door step, and no director of National Intelligence in this country, a lot of concerns about really who is minding the store.
Summer time confirmation hearings for General David Petraeus to run the war in Afghanistan and Elena Kagan to join the Supreme Court quickly planned and carried out. But there’s another critical nomination out there that’s been anything but.
Phi Beta Iota: Kudos to the CIA staff that gave thought to an exchange, making lemonade from lemons harvested by the FBI. As for the CNN headline, they have not figured out that the DNI position is by definition limbo, at the same time that Jim Clapper is in the Senate equivalent of a “time out,” and deservedly so. $75B in fraud, waste, and abuse, producing 4% “at best” of what the President needs and nothing of substance for everyone else, is both a financial farce and a high crime against the public interest. The election coming up in November may well ring the Liberty Bell and dump all those Members who have betrayed the public trust into the toilet of history. An honest Congress would insist on a DNI with financial authority and a commitment to stop torture & rendition as well as unconstitutional wire taps and NSA’s random search & seizure; and redirect (over six to ten years) at least half the $75B toward education and research while also creating an Open Source Agency under diplomatic auspices; a Multinational Multifunctional Information-Sharing and Sense-Making Centre and Network; a diplomatic Office for Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements; and a UN Office of the Assistant Secretary General for Decision Support led by Dutch General Patrick Cammaert, RN NL, with a US Ambassador as deputy. This is not rocket science. Either Congress and the DNI have integrity and intelligence, or they do not. Anything less continues to betray the public trust.
Intelligence for the President–AND Everyone Else, as published in CounterPunch, Weedend Edition, Feburary 27 – 1 March 2009