The U.S. owes a great debt of gratitude to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency who, after 10 years of painstaking intelligence work finally led to the location and death of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1. Along with the men and women of our military, the CIA has been the protective, security shield of the USA, the guardian of our national security and preserver of our liberty -- all the while remaining in the shadows.
For years, the CIA has been the punching bag of critics in the media, academia and even Hollywood moguls, who have castigated the agency for some real or very frequently imagined offenses -- offenses, which when real -- had been pursued for our national security.
For example, the charge that the CIA had tested LSD in the New York subway system was ludicrous. And an even more absurd charge was that the CIA had created the AIDS virus for warfare and to carry out genocide of African-Americans. This gruesome charge we now know was KGB disinformation conducted to discredit the CIA and as psychological warfare against the U.S.
During the years of the Cold War, it was the CIA that protected the nation overseas, while the FBI provided internal security within the nation’s borders. Unlike the work of the CIA, the good service the FBI has provided to the nation has been widely publicized, even popularized, from its inception to the present day, particularly under the leadership of legendary FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
The FBI has had favorable publicity in movies and even serialized TV shows. One is hard-pressed to find movies about the CIA portrayed clearly in a favorable light.
A great brouhaha broke out in 2003 when Robert Novak, a Washington Post columnist, revealed the identity of Valerie Plame (aka Valerie Wilson) as a CIA operative in one of his columns. Suddenly, the liberals in the media and government were uncharacteristically up in arms, allegedly outraged that a CIA operative had been exposed, blaming and blasting officials in the George W. Bush administration for being behind the act of “blowing the cover of a CIA covert officer.”
Indeed, there had been a government leak, and serious as the exposure may have been, Wilson had not been in danger of life or limb, but Wilson’s husband, Joseph, was an American diplomat. The outrage was all about politics. A mistake had certainly been made, but the way it was promulgated and repeatedly reported showed that the end game was politics.
It took the CIA 10 years of painstaking, hard work to locate bin Laden. The CIA interrogation practices, including water boarding, played major roles in identifying the trusted courier, who in turn led us to bin Laden’s hideout. U.S. Navy SEALs Team 6 did the rest in an intrepid raid that ended in the death of bin Laden, who was later buried at sea.
As long as we have enemies, we will need the men and women of the CIA. I tip my hat to the unknown heroes of the CIA, not only for the demise of a mass murderer, but also for all they have done to preserve the peace and security of this great nation.
Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D., lives in Macon, GA.
This commentary was published in The Macon Telegraph on May 13, 2011. A longer illustrated version of this article appeared in GOPUSA and it is available from:
Copyright ©2011 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.