The Central Intelligence Agency has scoffed at an internal memo that cites a few terrorist acts by some American citizens as possibly causing foreign nations to see the United States as an "exporter of terrorism." The CIA notes that the paper came from its "red cell" analysts who are assigned to "think outside the box" to "provoke thought."
However, what's most striking about the secret three-page memo, dated Feb. 4 and disclosed by WikiLeaks last month, is how it reflects CIA self-censorship regarding the agency's own long history of supporting acts of terror and protecting terrorists.
Cases of terrorism that implicate the CIA or its operatives, such as the blowing up of a Cubana airliner in 1976 or the arming of Nicaraguan contra rebels in the 1980s, are ignored by the "red cell" analysts even though many of the alleged perpetrators and their funders are still harbored in the United States and include current and past U.S. government officials.
Yet, instead of citing these well-documented terrorism cases, the "red cell" memo references a few cases of individual Americans who have gone abroad and committed terrorist acts as well as some distant history of terrorism linked to U.S. immigrants.
The "red cell" memo notes that Irish-Americans have supported the Irish Republican Army back to the 19th Century. The analysis then skips to Zionist terrorist Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 29 Palestinians as they prayed at a mosque in Hebron in 1994.
In sketching this background, the analysts jump over a lot of blood-soaked history of CIA-connected terrorism. Though assigned to "think outside the box," the "red cell" analysts apparently knew better than to open a can of worms that they might have found inside CIA's document vaults.
So, instead of noting the obvious truth that other countries might view the United States as "an exporter of terrorism" because the U.S. government and particularly the CIA have had a long history of exporting terrorism the "red cell" analysts confine their study's frame to some individual Americans with no connection to the U.S. government or the CIA.
Thus, terrorists who have ties to Official Washington are left outside the frame.
For instance, there is no mention of Luis Posada Carriles, the alleged right-wing Cuban mastermind of the bombing of a Cubana airliner that killed 73 people, nor to any of the former Nicaraguan contras who slaughtered civilians as part of a bloody campaign to destabilize the leftist Sandinista government. Yet, Posada and many ex-contras still openly live in or visit Miami.
The CIA files are surely filled with data about Posada and the contras because the CIA worked closely with and provided material support for them.
Not that self-censorship by the "red cells" is all that surprising. It's been practiced by U.S. government officials and the Washington news media for decades now.
Otherwise, the American people would have been confronted with the uncomfortable reality that many esteemed U.S. government officials, including Republican icon Ronald Reagan and both Bush presidents, had their hands dipped in the blood of innocent victims of terrorism.
What if ex-President George W. Bush's dictum that a government that harbors or helps terrorists should be punished as severely as the terrorists themselves were applied to the United States or even to his own family? Maybe the "red cell" should have asked that "out-of-the-box" question.
In other words, the U.S. political/media system including these "red cell" analysts continue to view the world through a cracked lens that focuses outrage on "enemy" regimes and groups while refracting away a comparable fury from similar actions by U.S. officials.
So, for instance, American officials, pundits and journalists rage against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for allegedly assisting Colombian guerrillas, but are getting ready for a year-long celebration of Reagan's centennial birthday in 2011.