Certain proclivities can greatly exacerbate this problem. The Bush Administration decided, as evidence of its commitment to reduce the size of government, to cut the White House budget. In order to staff the National Security Council, it was therefore compelled to rely heavily upon detailees from the State Department and CIA, organizations riddled with career civil servants whose left-of-center leanings were greatly exacerbated by hiring and promotion practices during the Clinton years. One such loaned staffer, Rand Beers, recently left the NSC in a blaze of denunciations of the Bush team to become foreign policy advisor to presidential candidate John Kerry.
Matters were made worse when Secretary of State Colin Powell decided to turn the vast majority of the policy-making positions in his department over to Foreign Service officers and civil servants who were recruited and/or promoted to senior posts during the Clinton Administration. Not surprisingly, Foggy Bottom has been a hotbed of covert and occasionally overt opposition to much of President Bush's foreign and defense policy agenda.
This has been particularly true of the Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), an organization staffed by Foreign Service officers and civil servants who do tours of duty in INR between rotations to overseas and other assignments. Not surprisingly, this bureau's intelligence products have tended to reflect the policy predilections of State's permanent bureaucracy, rather than the facts.
Two INR officials, recent retiree Greg Thielmann and his former subordinate Christian Westermann, have been among the few intelligence officials publicly to attack the integrity of the Bush Administration's case for war with Iraq. The former reportedly fared poorly when given an opportunity to support his charges recently before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Senate staffers have described Westermann's charges of politicization of intelligence to be "laughable."
Even the Defense Department -- an organization whose senior ranks have been largely populated by Donald Rumsfeld with individuals who actually support the President's security policies -- has nonetheless found its efforts to help develop and advance those policies under assault from people with "insider" credentials. Patrick Lang, a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst, and Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, a recently retired Air Force officer who served a tour in the Pentagon's policy shop, have leveled of late a number of charges to the effect that classified information was selectively used to justify otherwise unsupportable claims that Saddam posed a threat.
In fact, neither critic appears to have been directly involved in or otherwise to have first- hand knowledge of the alleged activities. Instead, they seem to be passing on scuttlebutt whose provenance, to say nothing of veracity, seems highly questionable. In the case of Ms. Kwiatkowski, a review of numerous screeds she has published on the Internet -- including some evidently written while on active duty -- evince an ideological hostility towards the President, the Secretary of Defense and others in her chain of command that calls into question her objectivity and the accuracy of her charges.
The most successful U.S. administrations draw on talented personnel from both sides of the aisle and pursue policies that enjoy sustained bipartisan support. Where federal employees -- whether civilian or military -- find themselves unable faithfully to execute a President's policies, however, the public interest will be best served if they stop pretending to work for the government. They are welcome to join the public debate from outside but, as they do so, they should make clear the political or ideological leanings that rendered them unable to work for the incumbent and his team.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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