CIA worked against Dukakis campaign in 1988
by Wayne Madsen Report
by Wayne Madsen Report
WMR's recent exposés on the Central Intelligence Agency involving itself in domestic U.S. politics, down to at least the state level, has uncovered yet another abuse by the agency. During the 1988 presidential election campaign that pitted Vice President and former CIA director George H. W. Bush against Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, an internal CIA memo expressed concern about Dukakis's commitment to protect the United States from the unlikely event of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) attack from the Soviet Union.
The involvement of the CIA in what had been a considered a close race between Bush and Dukakis after the nominating conventions represents yet another illegal interference by the CIA in the American constitutional process. The cover sheet for the CIA memo was Secret but the memo itself was classified as Top Secret. The author of the memo is Charles E. Allen, the National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for Warning. The summary note that mentions Dukakis was authored by Fritz W. Ermarth, the chairman of the National Intelligence Council.
Ermarth, who has been director of National Security Programs at the Nixon Center since 2002, wrote that the EMP threat "has been around for a long time but continues because the Soviets maintain their efforts to exploit the EMP phenomenon in strategic planning."
The CIA in 1988 was over-hyping the Soviet threat even as the Warsaw Pact and the USSR were collapsing in all aspects -- economically, politically, and militarily. Yet, CIA director William Webster, his deputy and successor Robert Gates, and Ermath were misusing their positions to hammer Governor Dukakis.
In a cynical use of the intelligence system for blatant political purposes, Ermath wrote, "Because of Governor Dukasis' reported opposition to C3 [Command, Control & Communications] upgrades that could help combat it [EMP], this threat issue could become somewhat more politicized this fall than is usually the case with such an arcane matter."
In essence, the CIA was identifying the EMP issue as "arcane" but suggesting, at the same time, that it could be politicized as an issue by Bush against Dukakis. The CIA memo, rather than appearing as an intelligence estimate, looks more like a Bush-Quayle campaign talking point.
The EMP memo was not the only time the CIA interfered in the 1988 campaign. At the first presidential debate on September 25 between Bush and Dukakis at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Dukakis charged that Bush and other Reagan administration officials had been dealing secretly with a "drug-running Panamanian dictator," a reference to Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega.
A few days prior to the debate, Dukakis and his national security team had received a classified intelligence briefing in Boston from Webster and Gates. In his response to Dukakis's charge, Bush stated that Dukakis had revealed classified information about the CIA and Noriega gleaned from a recent briefing by the CIA. Bush, the sitting vice president, also hilariously claimed that he had received the very same classified briefing from Webster and Gates as had Dukakis.
Dukakis never once mentioned "CIA" in his debate remarks about the Reagan administration, Noriega, and drug-smuggling. Bush, clearly worried about his own role in the CIA's drug operations in Central America and the United States, tried to make it appear that Dukakis had disclosed something classified during the debate. Rather than publicly state that Dukakis was never briefed on Noriega, drugs, and the White House, Webster and Gates remained silent.