Vol. 4, Issue 7, December 5, 2006
America Ceasing Covert Operations to Perform Skullduggery in Plain Sight
Covert operations are a relic of the past, and the United States would do better to dispense with them altogether, according to a commission charged with investigating allegations of CIA secret prisons.
"It's an old truism that the problem is never the crime, it's the cover-up," said commission chair Felix Leiter in a statement to the press. "Keeping things under wraps is difficult, expensive, and leads to potential abuses and misunderstandings such as we've had with these detention centers. Law enforcement and intelligence in the 21st century demand a more open approach."
The surprise announcement met with a mixture of relief and concern among policymakers and pundits alike.
"It's not like everyone doesn't know what we're doing anyway," said CIA Deputy Director Stephen Kappes. "And this will represent a huge financial savings. Do you know what it costs to keep a cadre of secret agents undercover in world-class casinos year round?"
President Bush enthusiastically endorses the idea, calling it "an honest move that's part of a uniquely American approach." He instantly moved to extend the concept to all branches of law enforcement, starting with the previously clandestine air marshals who quietly circulate among the nation's domestic flights.
"As of tomorrow, our marshals in the sky will be wearin' ten-gallon hats, bright shiny badges and carryin' pump-action shotguns," Bush told reporters. "Let's see anyone take over a plane with one of them sittin' in the back by the lavatory." Sunglasses and stomach prosthetics to achieve the classic overbelt bulge will be optional.
The media seems uncertain how to react to the commission's recommendation, which could well lead to the complete declassification of all government documents.
"That's great, I guess," said New York Times editor Franklin Stubbard, scratching his head. "Makes it kind of pointless to cultivate sources and ferret out important groundbreaking leaks, though."
"Gee, really?" said Kappes. "What a shame."