28 March 2007

What’s In A Word?

U.S. CIA Chief Michael Hayden, on an “unannounced” visit to Seoul, said Washington does not consider North Korea a nuclear power because North Korea’s October 2006 nuclear test was a failure. This is a silly bit of semantics, something the CIA is famous for. Every word counts, as a way to justify sometime in the future some action in the past. In this case, by saying the test was a failure (likely), and saying that the failure means North Korea is not a nuclear power (despite the fact that the CIA has been saying for years that North Korea “likely” possesses two or three nuclear devices), Hayden can justify to the hawks at home the decision to negotiate with North Korea was not capitulation to a nuclear North Korea, but the continued attempts at prevention of north Korea’s nuclear capabilities. Silly words that distract from the core responsibility of the intelligence agencies – finding the information rather than creating ream after ream of CYA documents.

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