April 19, 2010

Obama and the CIA

The more I think about it, the more likely it seems to me that Barack Obama had a little bit of help along the way from the CIA. Yet, the more I think about it, the less important that seems.
If you conceive of the CIA not as an omnipotent puppet-master, but as a player in an international version of the municipal Favor Bank familiar from The Wire and The Bonfire of the Vanities in which various players scratch each others' backs, then the idea that Obama might have had a little help along the way (e.g., perhaps a recommendation that helped him transfer from Occidental to Columbia's International Relations program despite spending most of his time at Oxy getting high), the more likely and less significant it seems. 

The CIA chiefly recruited two kinds of people. First, the good blood, good bone, old-line WASP Skull and Bones types on the grounds that they were less likely to betray America because they pretty much owned it. For example, there is more than a little circumstantial evidence that George H.W. Bush, who, when he was appointed CIA Director in the mid-1970s was described as being an "outsider," had previously helped the CIA with the Bay of Pigs and other anti-Castro operations in the 1960s, using his offshore oil drilling rigs in Mexican waters not terribly far from Cuba. There's nothing too shocking about this idea. In fact, GHW Bush may even have sacrificed a good deal of wealth to stay in an offshore business helpful to the CIA. He split with his partners, who kept the domestic onshore oil business, which they turned into the huge firm Pennzoil.

The other type of people the CIA liked to do favors for were cosmopolitan leftists, such as Obama's parents. 

Obama is not a particularly cosmopolitan person, at least not compared to his parents. But the three foreign countries where he has had the strongest ties -- Indonesia, Kenya, and Pakistan -- were particularly of interest to the CIA.

Barack Obama Sr. was a protege of Tom Mboya, the Kenyan Luo politician who was famously Washington's man in a three way struggle for power within Kenya between the pro-Soviet Luo Oginga Odinga and the pro-British Kikuyu Jomo Kenyatta. Obama Sr. claimed to have been the chief witness to the 1969 assassination of Mboya, a landmark event in Kenyan history equivalent to the JFK assassination in the U.S. Obama Jr. left this out of his autobiography, but that Obama Sr. claimed this are now well-documented.

Obama's mother worked in the late 1960s at the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia, which was Ground Zero for the CIA after the 1965 Communist putsch and subsequent military massacre of leftists. Indeed, Dreams from My Father refers to her conversations on the job with CIA men. David Remnick's biography of Obama, The Bridge, explains that his mother went on to a career in microlending social reform in Indonesia and Pakistan funded by the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and a Saudi bank. 

At Occidental, Obama's best friends were rich Pakistanis leftists. In 1981, he visited Pakistan and stayed at a friend's estate, whose politician father became the caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2008. Pakistan in 1981, of course, was crucial to the CIA's attempts to rally an armed resistance to the Soviets over the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan. These are the kind of social connections that would be of interest to the CIA.

After he got out of Columbia, Obama got a job at an international business newsletter firm, Business International, where, he says, he felt like "a spy behind enemy lines." That reflects his leftist ideology, but I suspect he's amusing himself as well by referring to the fact that Business International had served to provide cover to at least four CIA agents over the years.

How did Obama wind up working at a CIA front? Coincidence? Perhaps, but maybe he had some advice. Maybe somebody made a phone call for him.

None of this is to say that Obama was a CIA agent. He seems more like the kind of promising young leftist American Third Worlder whom an old friend of his mother's or father's in American intelligence might have pulled a string or two to help out over the years.

As I've said, the more I've thought about it, the less fundamentally important it seems. But it sure is interesting.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

rich Pakistanis leftists


Strange how often the words "rich" and "leftist" can fit into a sentence.

Federale said...

Sort of like Billy Jeff's sojourn behind the Iron Curtain?

Justthisguy said...

I likes me a different and better Half-Luo, who would be Baldilocks, AKA Sergeant (Ret.) Juliette Ochieng, USAF.

Her Dad came to this country in the same airplane with the Won's Dad, but their offspring followed different paths.

Sergeant Ochieng did not cross her fingers behind her back when swearing the Oath to defend the Constitution, as I suspect Mr. Obama did.

sj071 said...

'How did Obama wind up working at a CIA front? Coincidence?'

I replied to this methaphysical conundrum of yours a couple of months earlier but you seem...blah, blah...:)))

Ze mother, ze mother...

Anonymous said...

The take-away idea from this post is that the political elite is highly incestuous and that there is no foot hold you can get into it unless you know someone who likes the cut of your jib. It makes the Tea Party movement all the more remarkable and threatening -- not just to Obama, but to the GOP establishment, as well.

For the first time in a long time, the rabble are calling the shots and demanding a say in selecting the candidates for the inner sanctums of power. It blows up the whole arrangement where a closed circle, much like the Hollywood elite, are either in power, or profiting from access to power.

You gotta ask yourself how could Tom Coburn speak well of Nancy Pelosi after the events of the past year -- well, she's IN, but you, the presumptuous Teabagger are OUT of the magic circle.

Anonymous said...

David Remnick's biography of Obama, The Bridge, explains that his mother went on to a career in microlending social reform in Indonesia and Pakistan funded by the Ford Foundation, the World Bank, and a Saudi bank.

Financed by Peter Geithner, an old friend of Stanley Ann Dunham [& the juvenile Barack Hussein Obama Jr], and father of Timothy Geithner.

Timothy Geithner, who, as Governor of the NY Fed, covered up AIG's monumental pay-offs to Goldman-Sachs.

Goldman-Sachs, which bundled tens [hundreds?] of billions in worthless credit default swaps to their retail customers at the same time that they were secretly shorting those same financial devices, thereby accelerating the collapse of the world financial system.

Goldman-Sachs, which, through the Paulson Treasury Department, simultaneously coordinated the 2008 Obama campaign, sabotaged the 2008 McCain campaign, and lied to George Bush the entire time they were doing it.

Goldman-Sachs, which dispatched Nell Minow in an attempt to destroy investigative journalist Matt Taibbi when he exposed their shenanigans.

Nell Minow, daughter of Newton Minow, and sister of potential Obama Supreme Court nominee Martha Minow.

Newton Minow, mentor to the young Michelle LaVaughn Robinson and [the not-quite-so-young] Bernardine "Dohrn" Ohrnstein, at Sidley-Austin.

Bernardine "Dohrn" Ohrnstein, wife of William Ayers, ghostwriter of Dreams from My Father.

William Ayers, son of influential Chicago industrialist, Thomas Ayers.

Thomas Ayers, crypto-communist, and associate of Barbara Bowman, Chicago communist.

Barbara Bowman, mother of Obama confidante, Valerie Bowman Jarrett.

Valerie Bowman Jarrett, daughter-in-law of Chicago communist, Vernon Jarrett.

Vernon Jarrett, Chicago associate of Hawaiian communist, pornographer, and pedophile, Frank Marshall Davis.

Frank Marshall Davis, ghostwriter of Pop, and associate of Hawaiian communist & drunk, Stanley Armour Dunham.

And round and round and round it goes...

Jeff said...

I haven't heard any noise from Obama about cutting the CIA budget.

If I were president, there would be nothing left of the CIA. I would contract out the spy work to Google Earth.

Anonymous said...

Up close the President appears as a youth to have lacked some of the common attributes of leadership--task commitment, self discipline, full-throttle competitiveness, dominance, etc. He may be the most dependent upon "advisors" or
"handlers" of any President since Warren Harding?

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I think you are just desperate for ad revenue by peddling in all these rumors so that you can get lots of hits. Apart from that, I just don't see the point of all these wild speculations.

Eternal learner said...

You are absolutely right on this one. Few people in the US or outside are cognizant of this important issue.

Protozope said...

Steve, there's a guy who woke up to the reality of the CIA's role in America. His name is Jesse Ventura.

This is on the public record:

After Ventura's stunning election to the governors office in MN he was called to the basement(!) of the state house and - lo and behold - there was a roomful of CIA agents waiting to "debrief" him, or maybe themselves, or both.

The CIA folks told Ventura that he had "taken them by surprise" with his victory and now they had to get up to speed.

Ventura has retold this story many times. He emphasizes how "normal" this room full of CIA agents looked and also always emphasizes how many of them were there.

Can we see what's going here? Can we extrapolate? The logical conclusion is that America is a very sophisticated, and very much secured, police state.

They, the CIA, studied all of the totalitarian ineptitude on display in places like the USSR, the East German GDR, and even Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and they improved on those systems.

TGGP said...

Protozope may sound goofy, but apparently our recent interrogators were literally trained with manuals on communist torture.

Business International also had links to the SDS. The Weatherman faction was opposed to involvement with them, but interesting nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

They, the CIA, studied all of the totalitarian ineptitude on display in places like the USSR, the East German GDR, and even Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and they improved on those systems.

Yeah, they improved on them by learning that appearance = reality for just about everyone. Why have an expensive surveillance state if you can just pack a bunch of Mormons in a basement and do a show for a pro wrestler who will then retail this story for you?

Anonymous said...

So America DOES have a "deep state!"

The Anti-Gnostic said...

Jeff -

If I were president, there would be nothing left of the CIA. I would contract out the spy work to Google Earth

There may yet be enough of the old elitist WASP culture left in the CIA to salvage it as opposed, apparently, to the NSA.

My target would be the bumbling, fumbling, heavy-handed FBI. But maybe I'm missing your point; could you expand on your comment?

Peter A said...

It makes the Tea Party movement all the more remarkable and threatening

Hardly. It just points out the extent to which the Tea Party movement is a fraud, and is, in fact, controlled and directed by the GOP elite. There are voices in the Tea Party movement trying to be truly independent, but as long as Tea Partiers are in bed with GOP propaganda outlets like Fox News there's no hope that movement ever takes on the GOP.

Templar said...

Steve, have you ever read Inside the LC?

http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr93.html

J said...

As Steve said, the cosmopolitan NGO environment Obama grew up is interesting but left little influence on him. Fortunately, he is not advocating that village smith shops replace Ford and General Motors. What this cosmopolitan environment gave him is an internal detachment. He spent 20 years as community organizer in Chicago slums, yet he has not picked up Reverend Baconesque attitudes or mannierisms.

Anonymous said...

A guy's leadership deficits that would render him especially dependent upon handlers or vulnerable to becoming a puppet of such handlers, would be evident enough by the time he was in high school. Being elected to class office, being selected for formal tasks, etc. etc, are all quite evident indicators within any American high school during that time . Take at look at what is known thus far re this.

airtommy said...

He may be the most dependent upon "advisors" or
"handlers" of any President since Warren Harding?


Ummm, was this a joke or did you omit Dubya because he doesn't even count a President?

If I were president, there would be nothing left of the CIA. I would contract out the spy work to Google Earth.

You guys are on a roll today. Keep the laughs coming!

Anonymous said...

Okay, if I shorten it to a bare minimum, and just point out that it was PETER GEITHNER [father of NY Fed Governor & Obama Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner] who was floating Stanley Ann Dunham's micro-finance project, then will that observation make it through Komment Kontrol?

Or was it the CIA who intercepted [and deleted] the long version of this post?

Marc B said...

Perhaps the CIA, in concert with the Ford Foundation, were aiding and abetting Obama's folks. Both of his parents, particularly his mother, were prototype Foundation leftists. My suspicion is that his mother's lineage connects Obama to the Anglo-American establishment(cousin Dick Cheney), and a group of brazen internationalists prepped Barack Obama for high office even prior to his entry into Columbia university.

His college records may disclose this connection (among othes), and that is a good enough reason not to provide them for scrutiny. Obama's first job out of Columbia was with suspected CIA front group, Business International Corporation.

Anonymous said...

Steve,

I think you are just desperate for ad revenue by peddling in all these rumors so that you can get lots of hits. Apart from that, I just don't see the point of all these wild speculation.


Are you serious? The "Can-a-Fat-Guy-Be-President?" post generated many more comments than this one. What a sad commentary that even ISteve readers care more about appearances than the truth.

mikes2653 said...

CIA contacts with left-wing intelligentsia types are old news. Beginning in 1953, the CIA funded the British magazine "Encounter," which served substantially as a forum for the Gaitskell faction of the Labour party. No purpose would have been served by subsidizing the right - the idea was always to hive off a faction of the left, thus denying their support to the Russians.

Acilius said...

I must say it's rather strange that you could find this topic uninteresting. I agree that the CIA is less likely to be an "omnipotent puppet-master" than an institution that is of a piece with the long-established powers in the USA. Therefore, if we can show that Mr O did in fact have a cozy relationship with the CIA in his youth, that would be proof positive that his left-leaning fans and right-leaning opponents are equally deluded in their shared belief that he is likely to bring far-reaching changes to the way the USA is governed.

Perhaps I'm being uncharitable to you, but I can't suppress the suspicion that the reason you find this topic less interesting as you learn more about it is that it does not fit into your idea if what a "story of race and inheritance" should be. If Mr O inherited connections to the CIA, that inheritance was not secured by a network of kinsmen, but by the rules of a bureaucracy. If his classification as African American shaped that inheritance, it did so not because of any biological feature innate to that "partly inbred extended family," but because of circumstances peculiar to the functioning of that bureaucracy in the politics of the late Cold War.

alonzo portfolio said...

@first anon:

try this with your friends:
what do the following people have in common?

bill gates
larry ellison
george soros
dianne feinstein
teresa h-kerry
david geffen
jon corzine
barry diller
oprah
carlos slim
mark cuban
john doerr

Anonymous said...

"recommendation that helped him transfer from Occidental to Columbia's International Relations program despite spending most of his time at Oxy getting high"

Unlike Bush, who got by on his own merit.

Whiskey said...

Rich and Leftism are indeed the same. Think about it -- crony state control capitalism.

As for the CIA, it was fundamentally transformed from the old, pre-Church committee CIA to one filled with ... Affirmative Action. Robert Baer (yes, that guy) has written and given interviews about the disaster in Afghanistan where a "double agent" who was in fact a triple agent for Al Qaeda blew up in Khost 8 CIA agents and the station chief. Plus numerous Afghans. It was a complete lack of spycraft, from beginning to end.

Reading between the lines (who wants to critique a dead woman), the CIA station chief was selected because she was a woman, despite no experience running agents in rough foreign countries, or being intel liasons in rough foreign countries. Where running informants (the principal way the CIA gets intel via human sources) is what it is all about. She was plucked out of a cubicle farm as an analyst and with no explosives/counter explosives training, spy craft, promoted to CIA Station Chief to tick off AA boxes. Brave but a lamb to the slaughter.

Meanwhile, the DIA and subordinate defense dept. agencies are creating their own network of spies and covert operators in Afghanistan as they did in Iraq. Because as Baer notes, the CIA has less than 1,000 -- 1,000! covert operators. Almost no one wants to spend three years in Khost, picking up an obscure and difficult language. Or Lagos, or Rawalpindi. Most of the CIA are stateside analysts in cubicles. Subject to extensive AA preferences.

The DIA uses various contractors plus Seal Teams, Green Berets, other spec-ops to create their own informants (who's running guns/rockets for the Taliban, who can be bribed, who is related to whom) which the CIA hates and has leaked to the NYT to stop (the identities of covert operators, names and faces and relatives stateside).

THIS is the state of US intelligence: Defense guys who can tell tactical stuff but have no desire or ability to get into strategic stuff (no penetration of Iran's IRGC and knowledge of long-term plans, or Pakistan's ISI, or such-like). A CIA made up of less than 1,000 folks able to run informants like that, but risk averse. Most of it analysts in cubicles. With, as Baer points out, lots of dependence on other intel agencies, particularly the Israelis, Egyptians, Saudis, and Pakistanis, all who have their own agendas.

Anonymous said...

if we can show that Mr O did in fact have a cozy relationship with the CIA in his youth, that would be proof positive that his left-leaning fans and right-leaning opponents are equally deluded in their shared belief that he is likely to bring far-reaching changes to the way the USA is governed.



That does not follow. Lot's of people the CIA cozies up to are unabashedly hostile to the US.

Acilius said...

"Lot's of people the CIA cozies up to are unabashedly hostile to the US." Sure. But would they change current US policy if put in Mr O's position?

Whiskey said...

The FBI, fwiw, reading Andrew McCarthy's "Blind Justice" and Laurence Wright's "Looming Tower," is made up of mostly, middle and high-working class White guys, who go to places like Syracuse and UConn, ex-military and police, Law School at night, ethnic blue collar. Guys like John O'Neil.

The FBI has its political folks and incompetents and AA, but it has to find, arrest, and build cases against criminals. Because of this, it has more general competence than the CIA. It also has counter-intelligence authority within the US. This tends to make it more on its toes.

JudgeStone said...

Neither the post nor the comments are doing much to clear up just WHY the CIA would be doing what it is doing (i.e. engaging in the contradictory agendas of derailing communist subversives and propping up Left-Wing presidents and (some allege) the Manson family(?)).

JudgeStone said...

To alonzo portfolio

They all gave to Obama, but that's all I can tell.

Steve F said...

@ Judge Stone

Why?

You missed the part where Steve said to view the CIA as an entangled web of back scratchers and NOT as one giant monolithic organization with a sole purpose.

Why? Because someone owed a favor or needed one down the road.

Anonymous said...

Rather than being a sinister omniscient puppetmaster, the CIA strikes me as a den of incompetence.

These are, after all, the people who bungled the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba; who were taken in time and again by fake defectors from the Soviet Union; who had little or no idea of the importance of the ayatollah Khomeini in Iranian underground politics before the fall of the Shah; etc.

The Church committee, Phil Agee, and other critics and adversaries certainly did the CIA no good, but it was not that effective even before being weakened by their attacks.

AmericanGoy said...

Thank you for the mention of Jesse Ventura and the CIA, Protozope.

Duly noted into my blog.

Fascinating.

And Steve, bang up job on Obama.

If I may ask you, what do you think about the bizarre case of Obama kidnapping reporters during the time that the Bilderberg conference was in full swing in Virginia.

"Obama's operatives duping the press happened June 5 / June 6, at the Dulles International Airport in Virginia.

During the ongoing Bilderberg conference, which was taking place in Chantilly, Virginia.

And looking at the homepage for the Dulles International Airport, we see:
"Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) is located in Chantilly, VA on 12,000 acres of land 26 miles from downtown Washington, DC.""

http://americangoy.blogspot.com/2008/06/bilderberg-2008-aipac-2008-obama-and.html

If you figure I am plugging my blog here, don't publish this post, but I would love to get your take on this, Steve.

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

The unmistakable role of the national security apparatus would be to know Who know's What about the President. Surely the Secret Service ( and CIA? FBI?) interviewed (jointly?) a great many persons. An obvious interest is to detect any such efforts by foreign intelligence gathering agencies. A resonable question arises, I believe, concerning all this: Was such interviewing done in a manner as to inhibit those having interacted with the President in his formative years and in his "higher" education years from speaking openly, even adversely, about him? Given the socially agreeable nature of the President as a youth and the atmosphere in his high school, for example, there must have been a lot more contact and commentary regarding him than the poverty of information that has surfaced. An undue amount of what we think we "know" is, upon scrutiny, shaped by his own writings and also bears some indication of simply getting into print and then being "validated" (like small town gossip ) by mere print repetition.
Stanley Dunham's brother is still alive in his 90's but has been incommunicado (by choice?). HIs maternal grandmother was incommunicado (contrary to her nature ) for the last several years of her life (by choice?).
We might be in closer touch with the peekaboo reality of the situation if we evisioned the President wearing always a ski mask? ( "I know that guy but I can't quite place him" )

Anonymous said...

@ AmericanGoy

This is dynamite stuff. Since this comment thread is almost dead, could you post the link on a more recent thread?

Steve, could you comment on this? I think I understand what is going on now. Do you?

Mark said...

Steve, could you comment on this? I think I understand what is going on now. Do you?

What do you mean? What is going on now?

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton was working for the CIA in London during the Viet Nam war. He made friends with young American guys who came to the UK to avoid the war. One of his favored spot was Trafalgar Square. It was easy to recognize them - they all carried the book "Europe on $5 a day."

Good old days gone.