Monday, July 13, 2009

Affirmative Lying

CIA Director Leon Panetta must be thanking his lucky stars.

Imagine the relief of discussing weighty and surely less stressful affairs of state with Southeast Asian leaders, including an equally pleased Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, instead of having to face the still developing firestorm in the U.S. Capitol over how the Central Intelligence Agency had deliberately lied to American lawmakers about the torture of suspected terrorists in Iraq during the Bush administration.

Mr. Panetta’s worries are, of course, his own and our being 10,000 miles away certainly gives us little proximity to the scandal.

But nosy that I am, I was struck by a phrase in the news account about how 7 American congressmen revealed the CIA’s lying ways:

On June 26, seven Democrats on the committee — Anna Eshoo (Calif.), John Tierney (Mass.), Rush Holt (N.J.), Mike Thompson (Calif.), Alcee Hastings (Fla.) and Jan Schakowsky (Ill.) [Update: I received an early version of the letter. Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.) also signed it] — wrote to Panetta, “Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all Members of Congress, and misled Members for a number of years from 2001 to this week.” The letter — which doesn’t explain what those “significant actions” concerned* — asks that Panetta “publicly correct” his May 15 statement that it isn’t CIA “policy or practice to mislead Congress.” TWI acquired a copy of the letter, which comes after CQ reported that committee chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) also nebulously stated that CIA “affirmatively lied” to the committee.

Affirmative lying!

This is something for language maven William Safire to dissect.

But herE at home Filipino politicians can proudly crow they are past masters in the art of affirmative lying that puts even Goebbels to shame.

Not far behind are presidential and military spokesmen, albeit several rungs lower.

Pinoys have long become street-wise and are already incredulous when they are treated to none-too-convincing presentations and avowals of innocence and glowing news that too-good to be true.

With May 10, 2010 make sure your BS detectors’ batteries are fully charged with spares at the ready. :D

A parting shot: when our security officials were briefing Mr. Panetta at Malacanang yesterday how much, you think, was unvarnished truth of affirmative lying?

1 comment:

manuelbuencamino said...

The secret program has to do with assassination squads. It's wiretaps because that was declassified a long time ago. It can't be torture, that's also been admitted. It can't be secret prisons, the world also knows about that too.

Notice how unidentified sources mushroomed dropping hints like "the program was discontinued before it became fully operational," etc. That's typical CIA damage control. And it reminds of GMA saying she cancelled the ZTE-NBN deal so there's nothing more that needs to be said about it.

This issue goes to the heart of the American system. But it will remain hidden because if justice is allowed to take its course on this one, Cheney, the man said to direct and manage this program, will surely be indicted.