Chuck DeVore- Contributor
DeVore represents 450,000 residents of Orange County
70th Assembly District.. He served as a Reagan White House
appointee in the Pentagon from 1986 to 1988 and was Senior
Assistant to Cong. Chris Cox. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Army
National Guard. Chuck’s novel, CHINA
ATTACKS, sells internationally and has been translated
into Chinese for sales in Taiwan. [go to DeVore index]
An underwhelming record…
[Chuck DeVore] 8/19/04
Intelligence – the
kind used to learn about America’s
enemies – is very difficult to develop. Gathering the raw
information that may be turned into intelligence takes persistence
and skill. Molding that information into intelligence requires
brains and training. Protecting that intelligence necessitates,
above all, discipline.
That Senator John Kerry has been critical of President Bush over
the issue of intelligence, the 9/11 Commission recommendations
and the CIA begs the question – what sort of record does
Mr. Kerry have on the issue? Is his background one that engenders
confidence in his ability to inspire intelligence professionals
and to effectively use intelligence?
The record says, “No!”
According to Mr. Kerry, his first foray into intelligence matters
came in 1968, when, as he said on the floor of the U.S. Senate
in 1986, “I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat
in Cambodia… I have that memory which is seared – seared – in
me..." He later intimated that the beat-up hat he carries
in his briefcase for good luck was from a CIA operative that
he carried into Cambodia on that mission.
The problem with all of this talk is that it is just that, talk.
Mr. Kerry was never in Cambodia in 1968 and he has backed off
his earlier bravado.
Candor is a key attribute of intelligence – telling like
it is per your most current understanding of the facts.
A few years later, on May 8, 1995, Mr. Kerry waxed eloquent in
the Senate in praise of Mr. John Deutch, the man President Bill
Clinton had nominated to be the Director of Central Intelligence.
In praise of Mr. Deutch, Mr. Kerry said, “I described him
publicly, not long ago, as `superb and first rate', and I reiterate
that description today, without hesitation and with renewed respect
and continued confidence in his extraordinary ability.”
Fairly typical boilerplate Senatespeak.
The problem with Mr. Kerry’s high praise of Mr. Deutch
is that it was misplaced. Mr. Deutch was CIA chief for a little
more than a year-and-a-half. On his last day in the Oval Office,
President Clinton pardoned Deutch for mishandling hundreds of
highly classified documents on unsecured home computers linked
to the internet. The day before the pardon, Deutch admitted to
the crime of mishandling classified information.
Closer examination of Mr. Deutch’s time in office shows
he had a spectacular disregard for safeguarding intelligence.
As Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) chairman of the intelligence
committee, said, "Deutch essentially walked away from what
is one of the most egregious cases of mishandling classified
information that I have ever seen short of espionage." Among
other breaches, Mr. Deutch: took diskettes of classified information
home – then lost them; gave his old home computer away
to a school – investigators later discovered its hard drive
full of information from the Pentagon; carried classified information
around in his shirt pocket; and denied a request from security
officers to install security systems at his residence.
Discernment is an important component of effective intelligence – Mr.
Kerry’s high confidence in Mr. Deutch shows a weakness
Compounding this error, Mr. Kerry’s recently resigned foreign-policy
adviser, Samuel (Sandy) Berger, a leading candidate for secretary
of State in a Kerry administration, was found taking classified
documents home from the National Archives – unlike Mr.
Deutch who used his shirt pocket, Mr. Berger stuffed the secret
material in his socks.
There appears to be a developing pattern with Mr. Kerry’s
friends and advisors and their cavalier treatment of America’s
This week we discover that Mr. Kerry’s campaign has repeatedly
cited his service as vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee
on Intelligence as justification for his readiness to remake
our intelligence services to face the threat of terrorism, the
problem is, Kerry never served in that position – his former
Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey (D-NE) did.
In one of Campaign 2004’s best statements to date Republican
National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said, “It's
difficult to take John Kerry's claims about his intelligence
experience seriously when one of his credentials is completely
made up. If he had shown up for Intelligence Committee hearings
he would notice he wasn't vice chairman.” Mr. Kerry missed
three-fourths of the committee's public hearings.
Knowing the chain of command is another requirement for effective
Mr. Kerry’s assertion that he was in charge when he didn’t
even show up for the Intelligence Committee meetings, his trusted
colleagues’ pattern of disregard for protecting classified
information, and his bar talk fable about Christmas in Cambodia
with the CIA all show a complete lack of credibility in the business
of intelligence. tRO
copyright 2004 Chuck DeVore