National Security Council

Required text:

Read Rodriguez: pp. XIII-157

Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. (2012). Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives. Threshold Editions.
• ISBN-10: 1451663471
• ISBN-13: 978-1451663471

(1) Recall what Rodriguez wrote early on in the book:
“I attended my first major Interagency meetings with National Security Council, Department of Defense, and State Department officials and was stunned not only at how hard it was to get a decision made on anything, but also by how quickly anything would leak to the press” (p. 24).
Later, Rodriguez reflected that: “During my three decades at the Agency we fought against totalitarian dictators, weapons proliferators, drug kingpins, and terrorists. But there were many times when it felt that we were spending more time battling so-called human rights organizations, congressional overseers, fame-seeking disgruntled former CIA employees, and our own inspector general’s staff” (p. 155).
He continued: “You don’t join the CIA if you have an overwhelming urge to be universally loved. But it is hard to explain how debilitating it can be to be constantly undermined and second-guessed” (p. 155).
So, take a moment to put yourself in the position of an Agency employee, whose dedication and work toward keeping the nation safe and secure is constantly under challenge (or, undermined…) by “others.”
(a) How does any of this further the interests of the people of the United States?
(b) How are “we the people” made safer by the machinations (i.e., scheming; conniving) of some in Washington, D.C.?

(2) Once the Agency’s interrogation program was publicly exposed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) claimed she knew nothing about the extraordinary rendition program run by the CIA in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks. Jose Rodriguez came out and said she was present when he personally spoke about the program to select members of Congress. She again denied she knew about the program, and then said that the CIA lies to us all the time anyway. Given this stance, how would you answer the following:
(a) Does Rodriguez appear to have any overt biases in his reporting? How about covert biases? In short, can we believe what’s written between the pages in Hard Measures? Why, or why not?
(b) What criteria or standard did you use to reach this conclusion?
NOTE: For help in answering this question, see the streaming video interviews included in the Hard Measures PowerPoint Lecture (See, esp., Slide No. 6) as well as the interview posted in the External Materials section of this Module.

(3) Rodriguez notes how policy, at times, is influenced by the emotionalism of events, e.g., a drowned Syrian refugee child washed up on a beach.
(a) Is such symbolism a sound basis for policy? Please explain.
(b) What factors would provide a sound basis for policy–i.e., think about what you would do if you were charged with keeping the American population and homeland safe after 9/11. Please list some of the criteria you would use to develop a response to the 9/11 attacks.

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