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The Exodus at the CIA

Re “Two Overseas CIA Officials to Retire,” Nov. 25: Heads are continuing to roll at the agency for the total and complete incompetence exhibited before 9/11 and the fiasco of misjudging weapons of mass destruction that led to the war in Iraq. Now is a great time to send in Porter Goss to wash up the messy remains of abject failure and mismanagement.

Most of these fellows should have been hung out to dry after 9/11; why the Bush administration relied on their advice afterward on the WMD issue is bewildering. Sixty-five years ago, they might have been court-martialed (as members of the OSS). In other less principled countries, they would have quietly disappeared forever.

Now is a good time to ask the question: When will the same process of “cleaning house” begin at the FBI, which is guilty of similar errors? After the next disaster?

And oh, what about the Pentagon?

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Ken C. Arnold

Santa Monica

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Re “Bush Wants to Bolster CIA but Doesn’t Offer Specifics,” Nov. 24: I was baffled over the president’s sudden and seemingly inexplicable desire to boost the ranks of CIA agents and analysts by 50%. Then it struck me: He plans to fire up to half of the existing staff, those who don’t see eye to eye with him politically.

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Jon K. Williams

Santa Barbara

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Why do I get the distinct feeling that this president models his presidency after Tom Clancy’s “Executive Orders”?

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Adi Arieli

Los Angeles

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The headline on Thomas Twetten’s commentary, “Newcomers’ Chokehold on the CIA” (Nov. 23), says it all. A chokehold is exactly what the “newcomers,” who should more properly be called “neocons,” desire and have achieved. One need not resort to elaborate explanations about the cultures of Congress and the CIA to explain the current turmoil.

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The one segment of the foreign policy establishment that has resisted the neocon agenda is the CIA. Hence, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary Douglas Feith, Vice President Dick Cheney and the rest have decided to gain control of it. This they have done. The coup is complete, and our country is in grave danger as a result.

John V. Walsh

Worcester, Mass.


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