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The CIA Has Stultified American Consciences – OpEd

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By Jacob G. Hornberger*

One of the worst consequences of converting the federal government to a national security state has been the stultification or warping of the consciences of the American people. With unwavering allegiance to the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency, all too many Americans have sacrificed their sense of right and wrong at the altar of “national security,” the two-word term that has become the most important term in the political lexicon of the American people.

The best example of this phenomenon is the CIA’s power of assassination. Most Americans have come to passively accept this power, with nary a thought as to the victims against whom it is carried out and under what what circumstances it is carried out.

Consider recent revelations that the CIA was planning to assassinate Julian Assange, the head of WikiLeaks, for disclosing dark-side secrets of the US deep state to to the world. 

That’s why US officials have pursued him with a vengeance—not because he lied about the Pentagon’s and the CIA’s dark-side activities but rather because he disclosed the truth about them. 

That’s why they were seeking to murder him—to silence him, to punish him, and to send a message to other potential disclosers of dark-side secrets of the national security establishment. 

But anyone with a conscience that is operating would easily see that assassinating Assange would be just plain murder. And at the risk of belaboring the obvious, the murder of an innocent person is just plain evil. 

Yet the reaction to all this from the mainstream press has been one great big collective yawn. No big deal. It’s just another state-sponsored assassination intended to protect “national security.” If US national security state officials have decided that Assange needs to be taken out, then that’s just the way it is. That’s why we have a CIA, after all. We have to defer to its judgment, even if it means sacrificing our consciences in the process. After all, that’s its job—to protect “national security.”

By the way, there is virtually no doubt that if they could get away with assassinating Edward Snowden for disclosing the truth about NSA dark-side activity, they would murder him too. The probable reason they haven’t assassinated Snowden is because they haven’t figured out a way to get the assassins out of Russia.

When the federal government was converted to a national security state after World War II, the American people made an implicit bargain with the devil. The bargain empowered the national security establishment to engage in dark-side activity, including assassination. But another part of the bargain was that officials would keep their dark-side activity secret from the American people so that people wouldn’t have to deal with their consciences over a governmental entity that was assassinating people. 

Assange’s and Snowden’s great “crime” was in violating that pact. By bringing dark-side activity to the attention of the American people, they ran the risk that people’s consciences might start operating. 

So far, there appears to be no risk of that happening. Consider, for example, the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. That was just plain murder. Iran and the United States are not at war with each other. Sure, we are told that Iran is a “rival,” an “enemy,” an “opponent,” or an “adversary,” but does that morally entitle US officials to murder Iranian officials? It does not, just as it doesn’t entitle Iranian officials to murder US officials. 

Again, however, the reaction among the mainstream press to the assassination of Soleimani was one great, big collective yawn. Revealingly, there was also no moral outrage expressed among church ministers across America. If the Pentagon and the CIA deemed it necessary to assassinate Soleimani, that’s all we need to know. 

To get America back on the right track, what we need is a moral awakening, one that entails the operation of conscience. If that day were to come, there is no doubt that the American people would cast the CIA into the dustbin of history, where all evil agencies belong.

*About the author: Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

Source: This article was published by the MISES Institute

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MISES

The Mises Institute, founded in 1982, teaches the scholarship of Austrian economics, freedom, and peace. The liberal intellectual tradition of Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) and Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) guides us. Accordingly, the Mises Institute seeks a profound and radical shift in the intellectual climate: away from statism and toward a private property order. The Mises Institute encourages critical historical research, and stands against political correctness.

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