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It appears there’s some confusion about yesterday’s story, so let me clear things up: I don’t think that the CIA is bribing Iraqi parliamentarians to vote the U.S. out of Iraq. The scenario seems thoroughly implausible. The only thing notable about the rumor – which, based on one email I received, may have originated in a casual joke that was transformed into theory and spread via the traditional Washington echo chamber–is that it suggests just how dire the situation is on the ground.
Meanwhile, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield wrote me to take issue with the comments of a former intelligence official quoted in my story. That official said said the agency is “pretty much out to lunch in Baghdad.” Mansfield said the source doesn’t know what he’s talking about and that “CIA officers throughout Iraq take risks each day to collect intelligence that makes a critical difference to our country. Some of the information they gather is tactical, helping save the lives of American and Iraqi soldiers, and some is strategic, helping our government understand trends in the region.”
While that’s the CIA’s official position, many people familiar with the situation in Iraq say the agency, like the rest of the bureaucracy supporting the American occupation, is bogged down in the Green Zone.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Chances that a deep breath inhaled today will contain a molecule from Julius Caesar’s dying breath:
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, by John Allen Paulos, Hill and Wang (N.Y.C.)
The earth once had three moons; the two lost moons may have crashed into the surviving moon, or been sucked into the sun, or flung out of the solar system to drift through deep space.
In Florida, an 87-year-old World War II veteran flying touch-and-go drills in a Cessna collided with an airborne skydiver. “There was a ‘woof’ sound,” said a witness, “like falling on your face into your pillow.”
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“American politics has often been an arena for angry minds.”