George Bush has appointed John Negroponte as the nation's first National Intelligence Director. From AP:
President Bush on Thursday named John Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and currently the administration's top representative in Iraq, to be America's first national intelligence director.From Iraq to National Intelligence Director. Wow, the guy must have a great resume to be entrusted with our nation's intelligence gathering.
Announcing the move, Bush said that Negroponte understands global intelligence needs because he's had a long career in the foreign service. Bush said he wants Negroponte to be his clearinghouse for intelligence and make decisions on the intelligence budgets for 15 government agencies.
"John will make sure that those whose duty it is to defend America have the information we need to make the right decisions," the president said.
Uh, yeah. If you think that this is okay. From the Baltimore Sun in 1995, when journalists actually did their jobs:
A dangerous truth confronted John Dimitri Negroponte as he prepared to take over as U.S. ambassador to Honduras late in 1981.There is so much more. Read the whole story.
The military in Honduras -- the country from which the Reagan administration had decided to run the battle for democracy in Central America -- was kidnapping and murdering its own citizens.
"GOH [Government of Honduras] security forces have begun to resort to extralegal tactics -- disappearances and, apparently, physical eliminations ` to control a perceived subversive threat," Negroponte was told in a secret briefing book prepared by the embassy staff.
The assertion was true, and there was worse to come.
Time and again during his tour of duty in Honduras from 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was confronted with evidence that a Honduran army intelligence unit, trained by the CIA, was stalking, kidnapping, torturing and killing suspected subversives.
A 14-month investigation by The Sun, which included interviews with U.S. and Honduran officials who could not have spoken freely at the time, shows that Negroponte learned from numerous sources about the crimes of the unit called Battalion 316.
The Honduran press was full of reports about military abuses, including hundreds of newspaper stories in 1982 alone. There were also direct pleas from Honduran officials to U.S. officials, including Negroponte.
A disgruntled former Honduran intelligence chief publicly denounced Battalion 316. Relatives of the battalion's victims demonstrated in the streets and appealed to U.S. officials for intervention, including once in an open letter to President Reagan's presidential envoy to Central America.
Rick Chidester, then a junior political officer in the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, told The Sun that he compiled substantial evidence of abuses by the Honduran military in 1982, but was ordered to delete most of it from the annual human rights report prepared for the State Department to deliver to Congress.
Those reports consistently misled Congress and the public.
I think that it's time that we start digging into Mr. Negroponte before we have the same kind of "intelligence gathering" that Negroponte seemed not to care about in Honduras:
According to Florencio Caballero, a former sergeant in Battalion 316, Alvarez demanded torture as "the quickest way to get information."It's time to divide and conquer folks. The Gannon story is now up and running, and I think that it's time that we start into Negroponte. The National Intelligence Director is an incredibly important job. As we saw with Iraq, intelligence needs to be trusted. Would you trust intelligence under Negroponte?
In one highly publicized case of torture and intimidation, human rights attorney Rene Velasquez (no relation to Manfredo) was arrested on June 1, 1982, in front of his law office in Tegucigalpa and taken to a secret jail where he was kept for four days.
"They undressed me, they tied my hands and they put a rubber mask over my face," he said. "They put something on me to attract flies, because those were my companions for four days.
"I was beaten a lot," Rene Velasquez said. "They hit me in the ribs and stomach. ... I could barely endure the pain."
Start digging, and start talking to your Member of Congress and Senator.