Knowing that both the CIA and the FBI were infiltrated by Russian spies, why on earth would President Bill Clinton name someone like Anthony Lake to be the new director of Central Intelligence?
The problem with Tony Lake, says Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, is that he "has shown a certain insouciance, to put it mildly, about the Kremlin's efforts to infiltrate and suborn American intelligence agencies." Anthony Lake is the cabinet nominee who, in an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press last fall, expressed uncertainty as to the guilt or innocence of the Soviet Union's most notorious American agent, convicted perjurer Alger Hiss.
Gaffney argues that such dainty diffidence "about the abiding counterintelligence threat from Moscow is clearly not what is needed in the next director of Central Intelligence. Moreover, as national security adviser, Tony Lake has evinced little appreciation of the necessity for an aggressive, proactive U.S. counterintelligence program." Gaffney charges that "the job of thwarting KGB penetrations before they occur has been made significantly more difficult by an initiative promoted by Mr. Lake in his capacity as the president's top political appointee responsible for formulating and executing security policy." The Clinton administration has given Moscow "unprecedented access to America's most sensitive agencies and fostered a climate that is antithetical to rigorous counterintelligence practices."
Gaffney is also troubled by Lake's association "with radical Left organizations such as the Institute for Policy Studies and Center for National Security Studies during the 1970s and early 1980s." That association "put him in league with people who sought assiduously to curb the tools available to the FBI for domestic counterintelligence and to stymie or disrupt the CIA's clandestine operations. The insidious long-term effects of those efforts," Gaffney contends, "are still being felt in today's intelligence community."
Gaffney considers the recent revelations about Russian spies "a helpful reminder that, whatever else may have changed following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Kremlin's acute interest in collecting intelligence against the United States has not." Knowing that Russian spies have infiltrated our intelligence agencies, can we not assume that Chinese spies have done the same? We can, and must, says Gaffney, for it is simply not plausible that the Chinese would ignore "the same opportunities that Moscow has so skillfully exploited over the past decade or so."
Anthony Lake's record with regard to China is even less reassuring. Gaffney reminds us that Lake "has overseen the Clinton administration's relentless campaign to improve relations with Beijing. He has presided over presidential decisions that have had the effect of making American military installations, laboratories, technology, universities, and government entities more accessible to China. In particular, he had to have been aware of the 'strategic access' to the Clinton White House enjoyed by China." Under the circumstances, Gaffney concludes, "Tony Lake is clearly the wrong man for the CIA job."