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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
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Texas A&M infielder Trinity Cannon (6) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Texas at the Austin Super Regional at Red and Charline McCombs Field in Austin, Texas, on Friday, May 24, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
Aggies a win away from Women’s College World Series after 6-5 victory over Longhorns
Luke White, Sports Editor • May 24, 2024

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Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) reacts after throwing the final strike out during Texas A&M’s game against Mississippi State on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Olsen Field. (Chris Swann/ The Battalion)
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

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Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Death of the spy?

Jack, Jason and James differ in their covert methods of gathering intelligence.
Jack Bauer electrocutes public officials via lamp chord and severs toes and other extremities for Uncle Sam seasonally during his primetime show 24. Jason Bourne utilizes his razor-sharp intellect and, occasionally, a ratty hand towel. James Bond differs slightly in his approach, discovering information with the help of a posh tuxedo, martini and silenced handgun.
These men are fictional characters, however, they fantasize the occupation of the spy that permeates American culture since the inception of the CIA.
In what might be a post-Guantanamo-era, Congress ordered proceedings toward the CIA as a reactionary method to CIA actions during the diabolical Bush administration.
The New York Times reported the Senate plans to uncover the details of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. The review, the report explains, provides an analysis of which torture techniques agents implement and whether those methods were effective in collecting accurate intelligence. Another investigation will be held in response to the 92 destroyed tapes that contained evidence of torture.
If these investigations yield prosecutions, a “Nuremberg Trial” of American agents who tortured prisoners might take place.
What will Jack, Jason and James and the patriotic stereotype of spy look like? With the CIA’s already shameful reputation of not protecting their own from domestic politics, the consequences of investigation may create undesired results. Unfortunately for these men, a mere slap on the wrist won’t cut it.
The Obama administration took major steps toward restricting the Clandestine Services in the appointment of Leon Panetta as CIA director. Panetta, who was Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, has no substantial intelligence experience, but the appointment will hopefully pioneer something the agency has lacked since his inception: human decency.
Critiques say Panetta is more of a public relations officer than intelligence director. Although Panetta might have been appointed as a favor to Clinton, the director’s rigid anti-torture stance is striking against the ugly background the CIA has painted for itself.
Nevertheless, as agency scandals are erupting around the globe, these events are necessary.
One case involves Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who said he was illegally captured and expedited by CIA agents to Egypt, where he was held and tortured for years without trial. This method is known as “extraordinary rendition,” a policy in which men and women are captured by American agents and are transferred to foreign countries where policies on torture are lenient.
Then there is the prosecution of agent Andrew Warren that, like so many issues, lacks sufficient coverage in the media. Warren is accused of drugging and raping two Muslim women while stationed in Algeria. Warren’s rape case justifies President Barack Obama’s appointment of Panetta.
Obama said in his State of the Union that the “United States does not torture.” However, when examining his first executive order of closing down Guantanamo Bay, an exception to Obama’s ideals is found.
The Wall Street Journal coined this the “Jack Bauer Exception.” Obama’s executive order includes a committee to analyze whether the old Field Manual techniques now in place are ineffective compared with more violent methods. Obama made an escape route; Bush made a decision. Our former president should be given credit for making a choice, even if it was the wrong one.
The laws of the Geneva Convention should be enforced, no matter how extraordinary the circumstances.
All these governmental actions are small steps toward cleaning up the organization’s unbridled activities. Ideally, these actions will put the department in “time out” indefinitely, but ideals and the CIA have not been historically connected.
According to Tim Weiner, journalist and author of “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA,” the CIA. has threatened national security since its inception.
The CIA formed as a response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The founders of the agency consisted of white collar, Ivy-leaguers who were ordered to uncover events occurring in the countries painted Communist red.
Today, John 8:32 is still inscribed on one of the CIA headquarters’ walls in Virginia. It reads, “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
More than six years ago, the CIA informed the world that Iraq obtained weapons of mass destruction, starting the infamous “War on Terror.” The Bay of Pigs is another CIA mishap from Kennedy’s era that has been recorded by history books as a fiasco. Usually, when someone messes up at their job, they are warned. When the CIA messes up on the job, a war or two might start.
“We have squandered thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars, we have projected force without intelligence – and that is folly,” said Weiner during a UCLA lecture. “That is how nations fall and that is how nations lose power.”
Living in an open democratic society that operates with the help of a secret, powerful department is disconcerting, if not a complete paradox. Yet, we wrongly accept it as a necessary evil.
Congress needs to examine the CIA’s “black budget” and immoral behavior. No longer can this anarchical organization consider their power, bank account and actions unbridled, as they have the past eight years.
It also must reexamine its approach to return to its original purpose: espionage. Although the agency has the reputation of a department dedicated to national security, it should scrutinize the internal organs of its own organization to ascertain the truest danger to democracy.
For far too long, fear has reinforced this nation’s belief that if an undemocratic or immoral behavior is taken with the purpose of protecting America, that action is justifiable. Here’s the truth: any threat to democracy is a threat against democracy as a whole. Even if the danger originates within a democratic nation’s departmental actions.
Many may run these thoughts out of College Station on a rail, and label them as na’ve.
But the more we break the American code of justice, equality and freedom under any circumstance, we loosen our hold on those values we covet. Whether the threats we fear appear in a Nazi uniform or a navy blue suit, our core values maintain America’s vitality.
Only a select few know what illegal shenanigans the CIA practices. Debate should circulate around the secretive actions of this exclusive club, but the choice should be obvious: don’t participate, indirectly or directly, in deeds that contradict America’s democratic values.
Because we have desensitized our emotions and demand for the truth the government attempts to play the part of morality for us. Gulp. Moral ground is not solid – it’s more of a tight rope held between dichotomies of societal principles (good vs bad, wrong vs right, moral vs immoral).
The quandary is that each societal value often goes undercover.

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