Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hersh on Cheney, Kissinger and Black Ops for Profit

Seymour Hersh has a career full of breaking major stories, from the My Lai massacre in the 1960's in Vietnam to the recent Abu Ghraib scandal.

Simon Kuper interviewed Hersh for FT. FT headlined the interview: The Last Great American Reporter.

Kuper asked Hersh, who is the worst person in U.S. government over the last 40 years?

Who, in Hersh’s opinion, has been the worst person in the US government these past 40 years? Which official really harmed the world? From Hersh’s point of view, knee-deep in American wrongdoing since Vietnam, it might be a tough question. Was it Richard Nixon, whom Hersh helped to impeach through his part in exposing the Watergate scandal? Or Henry Kissinger, whom Hersh calls a war criminal? How about the popular choice, George W. Bush? None of the three, it turns out. Rather, he answers: “Cheney. Easy.”... “I swear, as much as I couldn’t stand Kissinger, if Kissinger were in the [current Bush] government, I’d be easier – because I know this madness that’s played out in front of us every day would be tied to whatever Kissinger’s game would be, probably to some contract or oil deal. Somebody would know what the reality is.”

How does Hersh get insiders to reveal secrets?

Still, how does he persuade his “guys” to tell him secrets about the US? “What you have to do is: tell them something they don’t know. If you’re a bright guy and you’re working in the intelligence community, you could be making three times as much outside. And here you are, inside, and the only reason you’re there is you get to know these secrets, and here comes this punk reporter who knows a really good secret. What the hell is this? You’re going to show him what a secret is.”...[Hersh also]builds his network of sources partly by watching who retires: “I like it when a three-star general retires. That means he didn’t make four. And everybody’s mad about that,” he chuckles.

Where's Osama?

”I had an old, tough CIA guy say to me before the baseball playoffs, ‘Sy, for all we know, bin Laden could be selling hot dogs outside Yankee Stadium today.’
What's next for Hersh?

... he’s thinking of writing a book that explains how eight or nine neocons could take over the US government. Later he e-mails me with more detail: “My guess is that it’s much more than blind patriotism and payback that enabled the neocons to change the structure of american government. I think (and I know this sounds a little whacko) that there was big money to be made by joining in in the black world of covert ops and special access programs. Mind you, I’m only talking about the secret worlds of black ops, etc., which is now a huge huge enterprise – making careers and millionaires every day.
Read the entire fascinating interview here.

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