FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
While the U.S. publicly criticizes corruption in the Afghan government... privately the CIA is making secret payments to "multiple members" of President Karzai's administration.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/08/30/art.karzai.jpg caption="Afghan Pres. Hamid Karzai speaks after meeting with U.S. Sen. John Kerry at the Presidential Palace in Kabul on August 20."]
The Washington Post has an explosive report on these payments, which in some cases have been going on for a long time. They're meant to help the agency keep many allies within the presidential palace... and to provide a flow of information, since Karzai doesn't always know what members of his own government are doing.
These revelations surface at a time when one of Karzai's top national security advisers - also allegedly on the CIA's payroll - is under investigation for corruption, as first reported by the New York Times. Yet, some defend the payments, even if they're going to corrupt officials, saying they help achieve U.S. goals there. As one American official says, "If you want intelligence in a war zone, you're not going to get it from Mother Teresa or Mary Poppins."
The CIA disputes that there are several Afghan officials on the payroll, calling speculation about who can help the U.S. in Afghanistan "dangerous and counterproductive."
President Karzai calls these U.S. media reports "irresponsible allegations" saying they are part of an effort to divert attention away from the fight against terrorism.
Meanwhile - as public support here at home for the war in Afghanistan weakens, the U.S. is trying to show progress there before December - when the White House will re-evaluate its mission. Corruption is one of the biggest problems U.S. officials cite with the Afghan government; but it's tough to be critical if some Afghan officials are being bought by the CIA.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if the CIA is making secret payments to members of the Karzai government in Afghanistan?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Dee in New Paris, Ohio writes:
It means business as usual! Isn't that how we manipulate and control those 'governments' we help to put in power, in order to maintain our 'interests'?
Kevin in San Diego writes:
Where did all the money from the vaults in Iraq go? Does anyone in government intelligence have an IQ over 60? Unless this country learns that ethics are the first thing needed to create order and a stable society we are done for.
So, why are we condemning WikiLeaks, but don't condemn the Washington Post? They're doing the exact same thing, but if the Washington Post does it, somehow it's okay.
The CIA gets its money from the taxpayers - right? Let's take a vote. How many taxpayers want to see their dollars go to crooked Afghan government officials?
Richard in San Clemente, California writes:
Jack, it means that we need to pull our people out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible. Karzi and his cronies (and whichever goofball U.S. decision makers have allowed this to go on) are not worth a single additional death in that country. Is there anyone left in America who thinks this stupid adventure can have a good ending?
The CIA pays off politicians overseas and the special interest groups and lobbyists do it here. What's your point?
Claudia in Houston writes:
It wouldn't cost the CIA a cent for me to secretly tell them they're not too intelligent if they don't remember their mistake in trusting their paid informant about WMDs in Iraq that got us in this mess in the first place.