COLUMNS

Turner’s take on the CIA

  • The Washington Examiner
  • |
  • October 07, 2005

by Karen Feld

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When I asked former CIA Director Stansfield Turner during the party at the Spy Museum the other evening to launch his new book, “Burn Before Reading” – as in highly sensitive information – whether he thought that the Wilson/Plame case reflects badly on the CIA, he responded, “It’s more of an issue for the White House and [Karl] Rove. I don’t think [Valerie Plame] was that deep cover that it hurts the CIA.”The outspoken Turner talked to me about our intelligence system. “Our intelligence structure is dysfunctional today. We need to do something about that. Our intelligence has not been organized adequately to protect us from terrorism,” he said. “To accomplish that, we have to master military and technical intelligence and do away with the name ‘CIA.’ The Pentagon and the CIA ought to be together.” The former director added: “The CIA has had enough bad PR. Start one without that handicap – perhaps the National Analytic Agency.”

Tough to tell on Goss

As for current CIA Director Porter Goss, Admiral Turner said, “He’s getting flak from the CIA people and from the outside. I can’t tell whether he’s doing a good job or not, or changing things as I did. You can’t tell from the outside if the criticism is justified or parochial.”

Who’s got the power?

“President Jimmy Carter had studied the intelligence organization carefully and gave me more authority than any director before or since,” Turner said. He went on to say that President Reagan shifted power back to the defense side; Bush 41, even though he headed the CIA, didn’t do much to strengthen the office; Clinton wasn’t interested; and though the current President Bush created a director of national intelligence, the job is too much for one person. “The flaw is the director of national intelligence [John Negroponte] doesn’t have control of the CIA. There’s no real solid authority over the budget and coordinating the overall intelligence apparatus.”

Cyndi has fun, too

Cyndi Lauper was a hit not only on stage but off stage as well Saturday evening when she performed at the very successful Human Rights Campaign event. When the B-52’s took the stage at the after-party, singing their 1980s’ hits, Lauper came from the back of the room and spent the entire evening grooving at the front of the stage to the B-52’s. She led the entire crowd in a dance to that group’s biggest pop hit, “Love Shack.”

Love smooch for the bride

When the evening finally came to a close, Lauper got off the elevator at the Mayflower as a bride was stepping into the elevator. The woman was clearly perplexed and asked, “Are you who I think you are?” Cyndi said, “Yes,” gave her a kiss on the cheek – leaving behind a lipstick imprint – and handed her flowers that she had received earlier in the evening. The two women chatted for another moment. Then Lauper wished her well and was off again, leaving the bride to head to her honeymoon suite.

Rock & roll and curry, too

The Bombay Club downtown has been a hit with the Rolling Stones this week. Guitarist and artist Ronnie Wood was there with pals for dinner Sunday evening after arriving from Hershey, Pa., and recommended the place to his colleague, Mick Jagger. Jagger dined there with friends on veggie items Wednesday evening, before heading to Charlottesville, Va., yesterday. Now that’s culinary satisfaction. The Stones played at MCI Center Monday evening as part of their 2005 world tour.

Upper East Side angst

No word yet as to whether Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen Schwarzman and his wife, Christine, will accept the invitation from their neighbor at 740 Park Ave. in Manhattan, Georgette Mosbacher, to the book party she’s hosting for Michael Gross on Oct. 19.

The controversial author has penned the talk of the city, “740 Park: The World’s Richest Apartment Building,” and has dished on the boldface names in that co-op. Residents are taking sides, we hear.

Handshakes on hold

We hear that one of Washington’s most popular figures, Clinton pal and attorney Vernon Jordan, has been shaking too many hands. He’s been diagnosed with painful carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand. That won’t slow him down in the greeting department as long as the left hand still works. The golf course, however, is another issue. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

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