Topic: "Term Paper" (5)
Frodo has previously written about recurrent dreams from his days at the College of the Shire. Without explanation, he may still awaken convinced that he is three credits short of graduation. It is rare however that Frodo determines to take pen in hand (or keyboard en lap) in order to communicate something important as if he were an academician-in-training. He has felt that way ever since he finished reading "Charlie Wilson's War" by George Crile, then watched the movie by the same title, starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and the incredibly talented Philip Seymour Hoffman. Add in the Diaspora of Nancy Pelosi, and Frodo feels that he must structure a few syllables in order to put some perspective on the stumbling Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"Charlie Wilson's War" is a book that should indeed be read by everyone. Unfortunately, George W. Bush will be among the most prominent of those unable to find time to assimilate the factual presentation of how the United States came to provide the means for the mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Army and to set the stage for our present unpleasantness following in their footsteps. Throughout his reading, Frodo was struck by the precision shown by the author as he defined the relationship between the elected officials, usually former Rep Charles Wilson (D-TX), and the federal employess (usually from the Clandestine Services of the CIA).
The relationship between the Members of Congress and CIA employees has a sharp surge of relevance due to the cross-hairs fixed on Ms. Pelosi, and her own feeble attempts to put things into context. In the book it is clearly and definitively established that the "briefings" provided to Members of Congress are far afield from what most people seem to think. For the most part, the briefings are "one-on-one" and differ in both tone and content, depending on who does the briefing, and who is being briefed. Charlie Wilson, for example, built a relationship of trust with the CIA employee giving him a briefing, and the CIA employee (Gust Avrakotos, in real life) found himself dealing with a Congressional benefactor who was not only knowledgeable about Afghanistan, but was serious about doing something important. These two guys went toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, on specific points, and the briefings must have been amazing. They, in fact, determined policy together, and they therefore probably broke the law.
Imagine however, if Gust developed "Swine Flu," and was home sick for several days when he was supposed to be briefing Wilson. Whoever would have replaced him would have been much more circumspect, and certainly less "sharing," if you will, about the items on hand. Remember dear reader, this was not a committee hearing, and there is no official record about the briefing, only the "notes" entered into "the file" by the CIA employee. The employee, regardless of responsibility is classified as a government "bureaucrat," evaluated and compensated in exactly the same manner as your local IRS Auditor, Customs Inspector, or Social Security Benefits Analyst. They are employees of the Executive Branch of Government, and their "briefings" of Members of Congress are a courtesy, with the subject matter limited at the direction of the Administration.
It is likely, in Frodo's mind, and pulling from his own experience, that Ms. Pelosi was, by benefit of office, receiving briefings from CIA employees. Despite her rank in the Congress, she probably had a lesser degree of interest in these specific issues, as presented, than would someone, like Charlie Wilson, who was living, breathing, drinking every bit of information he could get. Charlie Wilson would have determined immediately, had the situations changed, that the CIA was doing some really heavy stuff in attempting to elicit information from detainees. Ms. Pelosi, with all due respect, had all sorts of other things on her mind, domestic and foreign, and simply didn't pick up on the severity of the issue. Therein lies the "mea culpa" of Nancy Pelosi.
Frodo doesn't think the CIA lied, in this instance. They just didn't answer the questions that had not been asked. Frodo, as a "bureaucrat" would have done exactly the same thing, unless, of course, he felt it imperative to share classified information outside the limits of the law. Had he done so, Frodo would still be in jail. Had Ms. Pelosi been so alerted, John Kerry may have been elected President in 2004 (and gasp, John Edwards).
Therein lies the lesson. Class dismissed.