Monday, October 07, 2013

Accountability and its impersonators

An interesting piece by David Ignatius:

A case study in accountability

For a case study in accountability (and the lack of it), contrast the Marine Corps’ decision this week to fire two generals for inadequately protecting a base in Helmand Province with the CIA’s lack of any similar disciplinary measures after a comparable disaster in December 2009 when a suicide bomber invaded a base in Khost, Afghanistan.
The column stands out as an example of the decadence and corruption of the MSM.

Ostensibly, Ignatius is writing about the handling of two successful Taliban attacks on US forces in Afghanistan. Yet he shorts the discussion of this crucial matter in order to bash conservatives over the government shutdown. Ignatius truncates his analysis of real and faux accountability and offers us a strained analogy to attack the Tea Party. He could have highlighted a serious problem with our national security apparatus; instead, he chose to join the Obama “Shut Down” Hallelujah Chorus.

Of course, if Ignatius had continued his critique of non-accountability, he ran the risk of antagonizing his sources.

Two items show just how rare Marine-style accountability is in Washington.

First, we have the back-story to the attack on FOB Chapman at Khost. As Joby Warrick revealed in The Triple Agent, the CIA officer in charge of the operation had been criticized for her actions (or inaction) in the months prior to 9/11.

Helgerson's report named individual managers who it said bore the greatest responsibility for failing to ensure that vital information was passed to the FBI. The report, never released in full, also recommended that some of the managers be reviewed for possible disciplinary action.

Jennifer Matthews was on that list.

The report ignited a furor at CIA headquarters as top agency officials pushed back sharply against Helgerson's call for individual accountability. It was unfair, Helgerson's critics argued, to tarnish a few managers for what had been a collective failure. The agency's director at the time, Porter Goss, decided the matter by formally rejecting disciplinary reviews. He then ordered that Helgerson's list of name remain classified.
The Khost disaster, therefore, is not an isolated failure but is symptomatic of deeper problems at CIA.

Second, there is no better example of accountability avoidance than the report of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board.

Administration's Benghazi Review Board Discredits Itself in Congressional Hearing

For nine months, top Obama administration officials have used the ARB report as something of a shield, portraying the probe as exhaustive and independent in order to deflect the many unanswered questions about Benghazi that remain. And because the new, discrediting information about the ARB comes from the ARB leaders themselvesin their own words, not those of their criticsdefenders of the administration will have a hard time dismissing it as partisan.

The hearings and transcribed interviews made clear that the ARB probe was neither exhaustive nor independent.

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