March 14, 2005
In part one < http://rawstory.com/news/2005/index.php?p=170 > of Raw Story’s exclusive interview with former UNSCOM weapons inspector Scott Ritter, the discussion focused on Iraq, Iran, and touched briefly on the probability of Russia’s unsecured nuclear materials.
Ritter also clarified his much misquoted statements with regard to a U.S. planned attack on Iran scheduled for June; elaborated on his suspicions that the Iraqi election was "cooked;" and shared his feelings on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.
In part two of Raw Story’s interview, Ritter elaborates his views on the neoconservative role in governing bodies and domestic issues and a delivers a scathing assessment of the CIA as "terminally ill." Ritter spent a good part of the 1990s working closely with the CIA on Iraq related issues and continues to have contact with some former and current CIA staff.
Prior to this segment, Ritter sought to explain his feelings on the rationale behind the U.S. apparent alienation of much of the Muslim world, which he partially attributes to a domestic political gambit by the neoconservative movement.
'The brown shirts’
Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter: Well, let’s change the environment that you are operating in… your thinking from a national security perspective. Rethink this from a domestic political consideration … here in America, from the perspective of a radical minority called the neocons.
Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna: So you think a radical minority is running things?
Ritter: I have had senior politicians privately call [the neo-cons] Brown Shirts. I have asked why don’t [the senior politicians] say this in public and there is response is that it would be political suicide.
Raw Story: If you look at how the neo-cons went after Senator Byrd for providing a historical context to shutting down political dissent, it does seem if not political suicide, then at the very least a serious smear campaign could emerge. How does a political career make sense if the country falls into a single ruling class? In other words, how can any political leader imagine a political career if there is no political process through which they can govern on behalf of the people?
Ritter: If you look at what is going on with Iraq, Iran, and the global war on terror; the only way it makes sense is from a domestic prospective, In other words, when you ask yourself 'how does this minority retain its hold on power’ the vehicle it uses is the post-9/11 environment that it exploited so well?
Raw Story: It seems that the 9/11 vehicle, as it were, no longer has the effect it had prior to the Iraq war. There are more and more questions about sincerity and using 9/11 during the election as a tool has left a bad taste in peoples’ mouths.
Ritter: They don’t have to use 9/11 anymore.
Raw Story: What can/will they use?
Ritter: Iraq… [questions about] how will we get out of Iraq, what about Iran… they built the perfect trap.
Raw Story: War equals terror equals fear equals submission? Really though, I am hearing from people worries about food, health, jobs and issues that affect them directly and closer to home.
Ritter: I am not saying that the Neo-cons’ plans will succeed in the long-run. I am saying these are people who will use global instability as an empowering vehicle, politically, here at home.
Raw Story: Do you feel the latest flurry of warnings with regard to biochemical and/or nuclear attacks are part of this strategy–fear–or is something coming down the pike?
Ritter: No, they are using fear. [FBI director] Robert Mueller said he is a 100 percent certain that the US will be attacked by chemical and biological weapons. That’s a stunning statement if you think about it. I am a firefighter here in New York state, if we are going to be attacked by chemical/biological weapons; then why am I and other first responders not being mobilized to be trained in responding to that environment… in an emergency fashion? I mean this is a national security imperative.
Fear as terror
Raw Story: So is border safety, food safety, water safety, and so forth are seemingly not being prepared or secured.
Ritter: Exactly my point. You can say that about any number of things. It is a political statement to try to induce fear. The FBI came out with its own report about Al Qaeda that [states] while they may want to attack us, they don’t have the means, and there is no intelligence showing that they are capable of doing it.
Raw Story: Do you think this is playing "dare-a-terrorist" with someone, if not Al Qaeda, in that part of the world?
Ritter: I am not say that the neo-cons are sitting there hoping for an attack, but an attack would not be the worst thing to happen for them politically.
Raw Story: If there is no country left to play politics in then would it not defeat the purpose?
Ritter: First of all there is no terrorist attack out there that will fundamentally harm the infrastructure of this country.
Raw Story: I think we were pretty harmed on 9/11.
Ritter: Yes, I lost my firefighter brothers that day, but the results of that attack were political. The twin towers falling did not stop farmers in mid-west America from harvesting their crops.
Raw Story: The results of 9/11 have, however, stopped farmers via budget cuts and so forth.
Ritter: Right, but that is still politics… politics that puts the neocons in control.
Raw Story: Some have suggested that the neocons are simply incompetent.
Ritter: Actually, I think they are very competent because they are succeeding. I would say logically, are they really this criminally disposed to fundamental evil? That is what they are really, evil.
Raw Story: The entire government and law enforcement arms cannot all be evil. You are talking about a small group of people, aren’t you?
Ritter: There is not that many of them, so yes, of the neocons, they can all in fact be evil. They have exploited a situation politically to the point where no one can challenge them. They just appointed John Bolton. No one will stand up and challenge that appointment.
Raw Story: Because they will be seen as anti-American.
CIA 'terminally ill
Raw Story: So you allege all of this corruption by a small group of people. Where is the rest of the country’s leadership and law enforcement then? For example, where is the rest of the CIA?
Ritter: …Let’s talk about the disintegration of the CIA as an organization capable of operating with any form of integrity. I am someone who believes that the world is a dirty place and for a great nation like the United States who wants to do right by the rule of law, etc., you cannot come in on a white horse with a white hat all the time if you want to take on the bad guys. You have to do "some stuff." The CIA happens to be the organization tasked with doing "the stuff" and I am not against the "the stuff," as long as the people doing it are honorable people operating in accordance with the rule of law and are being honest and forthright about it.
The CIA post-1990 became a corrupt politicized organization. They had already been on the track to that after, I would say right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it lost its big enemy, its focus. It became a very politicized entity. The CIA as an organization has no real integrity today.
Raw Story: Again, the entire CIA body cannot be lacking integrity. I mean you have agents risking their lives who do believe they are doing something honorable and acting in an honorable way.
Ritter: I am formerly a big defendant of the CIA, formerly someone who was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I was very closely involved with the agency during the 1990s with regard to Iraq. I am not speculating on any aspect when it comes to the CIA and Iraq. As an organization, it is a terminally ill organization. The CIA as an organization is not structured anymore to carry out operations with the integrity necessary to exist in a democracy. The CIA is so much about lies that it can no longer function interpedently, so politicized that it cannot function as an independent assessor of fact.
Raw Story: Is there no one left who can or would come forward. They risk their lives for their country abroad, but they won’t come forward to protect their country at home?
Ritter: Of course there are good people in the CIA. They have not come forward because when they do and have come forward, they are destroyed. For example, I think we had a window of opportunity post Iraq for the CIA to clean house… it was clear that George Tenet lied. Instead of Congress coming forward and saying we have a problem: our oversight mechanisms are defective; we need to take a look at ourselves, the way the CIA intelligence community works, the way the House intelligence committee works; the way the CIA reports; the way that the CIA is directed by the President. Instead, we install Porter Goss who comes in and purges any potential voice of dissent, and then we get John Negroponte put above him… a man who has already lied to Congress about CIA covert activities. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what John Negroponte is going to be whispering to George W. Bush.
Raw Story: What about the FBI?
Ritter: The FBI has some issues, but I would not say that the FBI is compromised to the extent of the CIA, because the FBI does not work for the President. When you talk about the chain of command between the FBI and the President, there is a [whole bureaucratic system] system separating them. The FBI is much more accountable to the rule of law.
Raw Story: Okay, then I pose this same question: where is the FBI?
Ritter: The system is broken. America is going through one of these closed loops.
The third and final installment of this interview will run on Thursday, March 17th.