...been wondering when our boy would make his appearance (vacation?).
The latest "scandals" involving the Central Intelligence Agency are genuinely hard to understand, other than in terms of political payback. Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor to investigate criminal actions by CIA officers involved in the harsh interrogation of al-Qaeda prisoners. But the internal CIA report on which he's said to be basing this decision was referred five years ago to the Justice Department, where attorneys concluded that no prosecution was warranted.
"Will anyone go to jail? Probably not. But you will leave a trail of destroyed officers," predicts one CIA veteran. Meanwhile, I fear, CIA employees will steer away from areas such as counterterrorism, where the political winds may change.
Obama understands that the country needs a better and stronger intelligence agency. He wants more information than he gets in his daily intelligence briefings, and he has discussed with Panetta the challenge of building a tougher, smarter, more aggressive CIA. That's a righteous goal, but it begins with depoliticizing the agency and ending the culture of permanent scandal.
If Obama means what he has said about looking forward rather than backward, then he should stick to his guns -- and hope that the attorney general and House speaker agree that it's time to stop kicking this football.