Pollard, Si! CIA, No!
Jude Wanniski
October 26, 1998


Memo To:House Speaker Newt Gingrich
From: Jude Wanniski
Re:   Middle East Deal

Your vociferous criticism of Jonathan Pollard being freed as part of the Middle East deal just concluded should be reconsidered. Pollard should be treated like bargaining material if thatís what it takes to shore up Netanhayuís support for the deal with his right wing. If Pollard had just been convicted Iíd probably agree with you, but he has spent a decade in federal prison. Iíd almost prefer that he be released to the Israelis on the condition that once he leaves our shores, he not be allowed to return to the United States under any circumstances. Otherwise, he soon becomes eligible for parole and gets to run of the country he betrayed once again.

If I were you, Iíd put my foot down on that part of the deal which really worries me -- the agreement to give our Central Intelligence Agency an entirely new job of work, investigating acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens. With this kind of local policing by our government, we might as well invite Israel to become the 51st state -- except the people of Israel would not wish to live under our Constitution. It baffles me how conservatives who have been so worried about the United States becoming the policeman for the world will stand still for the notion of the CIA becoming responsible for the security of foreign nationals. I can imagine a New World Federalism evolving over the next several centuries, but this use of our principle foreign intelligence agency for garrison duty in the Middle East does not make any sense in the world we live in today.

I congratulate President Clinton for his diligence in getting the Israelis and Palestinians, but Iím afraid his natural inclination to be a mommy to the world led him to offer our intelligence agents as classroom monitors. To tell you the truth, Iíve tended to agree with Senator Moynihan, who thinks the CIA should be wound down, not wound up. From my dealings with it over the years, Iíve concluded it has less than zero competence in its understanding of economics. In a world with one superpower, practically every conflict in the world will arise out of regional economic contraction. If the International Monetary Fund is incompetent, and actually foments regional economic contractions with its brain dead policies, the CIA is totally incompetent. When I went to Moscow in 1983, it took only two weeks for me to conclude the USSR was experiencing an economic depression from which it could never emerge as a communist state -- and the CIA continued for years thereafter to project a virile economy that constituted a threat to the West.

There may be something useful for the CIA to do in the era ahead, but I wish someone would tell me what that would be. In the Cold War, yes we needed the CIA to help destabilize governments we did not like, those we knew or suspected were aligned with the Soviets in some way. But all I see now is a CIA presence in Iraq, fomenting unrest among the Iraqi Kurds in hopes of irritating Saddam Hussein in some way, and botching that job. To insert the CIA into Israel to spook around among the Palestinians is not a good idea, Newt. Tell the President it ainít gonna happen. Instead, let him send Pollard to Tel Aviv to spook around.