Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spies and Bombs Need Control

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Spies and Bombs Need Control

Article excerpt

Maybe President Bill Clinton could stiffen his wobbly foreign policy reputation by making some long-deferred decisions on a couple of issues that are on the edge of more dramatic concerns like Bosnia, Haiti and Rwanda.

He has been deferential to the military-industrial complex in the hope that it would let him alone while he pursues more appealing domestic goals. The result has been that the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff do the talking and sometimes make the leader of the Western world look like an also-ran. Clinton was knowledgeable in his recent CNN session with foreign correspondents, but many questions related to campaign promises not kept.

Two issues beg for resolution: the role of the CIA in a post-Cold War world; and weapons sales abroad, which amounted to $31 billion in 1993.

To be fair, Sen. Daniel Moynihan, D-N.Y., is probably the only public man in Washington who knows exactly what he wants done with the CIA. He wants it to be eliminated. He knew before the case of Aldrich Ames and his wife, who spied at will for eight years before CIA spies caught them at it, was revealed. The scandal has prompted the usual calls for reform and reorganization.

Clinton would seem to be the ideal person to rein in the agency and open it up for examination. Its budget, unbelievably, is still a state secret. And at a time when he is prodding the rest of the world toward democracy, you might think he would nudge the spooks toward it. But when his turn came to do something, Clinton ducked.

Minutes before senators unveiled their plans to avert another Ames case, he submitted a scheme that gives the agency another layer of bureaucracy and consigns it to another depot of delayed decisions, the office of the National Security Council.

National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, who already has too much on his plate, is to be the referee between the CIA and the FBI when they lock horns over the jurisdiction of spies. George Bush, onetime CIA director, could not have done more for them.

You could see how serious members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are about change as they listened for an hour to a former committee chairman, one of the biggest cloak-and-dagger freaks on Capitol Hill, the retiring Sen. David Boren of Oklahoma. …

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