Thursday, January 15, 2015

meanwhile, back at the ranch...

---------------------- [excerpt, Charlie Wilson's War, by George Crile] ---------------------- While the Agency stood united, Wilson was operating on the Hill as if he were Gust's mole and the CIA's one-man lobby.  The tall Texan was using every opportunity -- riding the elevators with other members, walking onto the floor during votes to smoke out what questions might be asked in the different committees, calling Gust to pass on suggested answers.

By this time, Wilson had become the great educator of Congress on all matters pertaining to Afghanistan.  In the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, in conference with the Senate, with Tip O'Neill and the Democratic leadership, with Republican friends like Henry Hyde and archliberal allies like Dave Obey, Wilson was constantly entertaining everyone with riveting stories about what was going on in this secret James Bond world.  Gust kept him informed, in part to serve as the Agency's spokesman, and Charlie made it all come alive for everyone.

He would describe the wonder of the CIA's exotic alliances -- with Saudi kings and princes serving as bankers, with earnest Communist Chinese offering their weapons to shoot down Soviet Communists.  He made Mohammed a living character, not just selling arms but personally ordering weapons from his frontline troops to be sent to the holy warriors.  This was the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time, he would say over and over again.  Everyone was secretly a part of it -- the British, French, Canadian, and German intelligence services; even Singapore was doing its part. ...


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