Friday, August 29, 2014

Former CIA Director on Spending at the American Stock Exchange Investors Conference (1987)

Stansfield M. Turner (born December 1, 1923) is a retired United States Navy admiral and former Director of Central Intelligence and President of the Naval War College. He is currently a senior research scholar at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Policy.

Under Turner's direction, the CIA emphasized technical intelligence (TECHINT) and signal intelligence (SIGINT) more than Human intelligence (HUMINT). In 1979, Turner eliminated over 800 operational positions in what was called the Halloween Massacre.[2] In a biography published in 2005, Turner expressed regret for the dismissals stating, "In retrospect, I probably should not have effected the reductions of 820 positions at all, and certainly not the last 17."[3] Turner gave notable testimony to Congress revealing much of the extent of the MKULTRA program, which the CIA ran from the early 1950s to late 1960s. Reform and simplification of the intelligence community's multilayered secrecy system was one of Turner's significant initiatives, but produced no results by the time he left office.

During Turner's term as head of the CIA, he became outraged when former agent Frank Snepp published a book called Decent Interval which exposed incompetence among senior U.S. government personnel during the fall of Saigon. Turner accused Snepp of breaking the secrecy agreement required of all CIA agents, and then later was forced to admit under cross-examination that he had never read the agreement signed by Snepp.[4] Regardless, the CIA ultimately won its case against Snepp at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court forced Snepp to turn over all his profits from Decent Interval and to seek preclearance of any future writings about intelligence work for the rest of his life. The ultimate irony was that the CIA would later rely on the Snepp legal precedent in forcing Turner to seek preclearance of his own memoirs, which were highly critical of President Ronald Reagan's policies.[5]

During his tenure as Director of Central Intelligence in the early 1980s when asked on an NPR interview program about 'domestic spying', he said, "Americans are not a source of much intelligence."

In the documentary Secrets of the CIA Turner commented on the MK ULTRA project, saying, "it came to my attention early in my tenure as director, and I felt it was a warning sign that if you're not alert, things can go wrong in this organization."

On March 12, 1980, President Jimmy Carter and Turner presented Antonio J. Mendez (also known as Tony Mendez) with the CIA's Intelligence Star for his role in the exfiltration of six U.S. State Department personnel from Iran on 28 January 1980.

Upon leaving the agency, Turner became a lecturer, writer, and TV commentator, and served on the Board of Directors of several American corporations. Turner served as a member of the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island's Marine Advisory Council. Turner has written several books, including Secrecy and Democracy -- The CIA in Transition in 1985, 'Terrorism and Democracy' in 1991, Caging the Nuclear Genie -- An American Challenge for Global Security in 1997 (a revised edition of which was published in 1999), and 2005's Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence, in which he advocates fragmenting the CIA.

Turner has been sharply critical of the Bush administration's handling of the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. In September 2003 he wrote that "most of the assumptions behind our invasion have been proven wrong: The intelligence did not support the imminence of a threat, the Iraqis have not broadly welcomed us as liberators, the idea that we could manage this action almost unilaterally is giving way to pleas for troops and money from other nations, the aversion to giving the U.N. a meaningful role is eroding daily, and the reluctance to get involved in nation building is being supplanted by just that." [2]

In November 2005, after Vice President Dick Cheney had lobbied against a provision to a defence Bill that Republican Senator John McCain had passed in the senate banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of all U.S. detainees, Turner was quoted as saying "I am embarrassed that the USA has a vice president for torture. I think it is just reprehensible. He [Dick Cheney] advocates torture, what else is it? I just don't understand how a man in that position can take such a stance." Cheney countered the bill went well beyond banning torture and could be interpreted by courts to ban most forms of interrogation.

Turner has served on the Military Advisors Committee for the Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, whose mission is to reduce the amount of the discretionary budget going to the military by 15% and reallocate that money to education, healthcare, renewable energies, job training, and humanitarian aid programs.