Friday, January 9, 2009

Prying open the CIA’s X-Files



Leon Panetta in his upcoming position as Director of Central Intelligence is expected to be more than just a dependable ally for President-Elect Obama in the tough world of national intelligence. As the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1993-1994) and Chief of Staff to President Clinton (1994-1997), Panetta brings much executive office experience and mental toughness. He will need all that and more to force the CIA to disclose its X-Files on UFOs and extraterrestrial life.
The last time a democratic administration recruited an outsider to head the CIA and pry open its secrets resulted in dismal failure. James Woolsey lacked the experience and mental toughness to get the CIA to release its X-Files. Woolsey admitted privately that he had approached the CIA to reveal its secret files on UFOs but was denied access. Woolsey said: "You know, they are treating me like a bag-man, that goes up to Capitol Hill, gets their 30 billion dollars for the intelligence community, and brings it back. You know I really don’t know anything that’s going on that’s sensitive."Woolsey’s CIA subordinates refused to give him access to UFO information and used many forms of subterfuge to frustrate his efforts. According to one senior national security official, Woolsey “was too trusting, and that made him easy prey. He wasn’t ready for people lying to him when he was loyal to them." Woolsey ultimately failed in getting the CIA to reveal anything more than a sanitized report of public sightings of UFOs released in 1996 that was titled: the "CIA’s Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-1990."
Panetta’s stint as Clinton’s Chief of Staff indicates that he has the mental toughness to take on a vast intelligence bureaucracy that is skilled in deception, and denying ‘intelligence outsiders’ access to the CIA’s X-Files. Panetta will need to identify key subordinates in the CIA who have the keys to the CIA’s X-Files. Career officers like Stephen Kappes a 27 year agency veteran who became Deputy Director for Operations in 2004, and is currently Deputy Director of the CIA, will undoubtedly have access. Kappes will need to be pressured by Panetta to turn over the keys and disclose what he knows.
A major challenge for Panetta and Obama will be the support for Kappes from Senator Diane Feinstein, the incoming Chair for the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence. Feinstein’s initial support for Kappes promotion to CIA Director suggests that she will be a major Congressional backer of intelligence insiders.

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