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October 07, 2009

Barrasso Embarrassing on Climate Change and the CIA
Posted by Adam Blickstein

Apparently, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso has embarked on an idiotic crusade against the CIA conducting serious analysis of the effect climate change will have on our national security. Opened last month, the CIA's Climate Change Center examines the:

...national security impact of phenomena such as desertification, rising sea levels, population shifts, and heightened competition for natural resources. The Center will provide support to American policymakers as they negotiate, implement, and verify international agreements on environmental issues. That is something the CIA has done for years. “Decision makers need information and analysis on the effects climate change can have on security. The CIA is well positioned to deliver that intelligence,” said Director Leon Panetta.

Some of the leading voices advocating the need to stem climate change in order to enhance our national security and prevent the negative effects climate change will have on American security are leading intelligence officials, including former CIA Director James Woolsey ("we are already living in an age of consequences when it comes to climate change and its impact on national security, both broadly and narrowly defined."), former National Intelligence Council Chair Tom Fingar who oversaw the NIC's 2025 Global Trends Report which said climate refugees, resource wars, and an increase in destructive weather events could all undermine American and international security, and current Director of National Intelligence Adm. Dennis Blair who asserted:

The United States depends on a smooth-functioning international system ensuring the flow of trade and market access to critical raw materials such as oil and gas, and security for its allies and partners. Climate change could affect all of these—domestic stability in a number of key states, the opening of new sea lanes and access to raw materials, and the global economy more broadly—with significant geopolitical consequences.

But Sen. Barrasso, who doesn't even sit on the Intelligence Committee, seems to know more about the effects of climate change on our security than these experienced and respected intelligence experts and professionals. Barrasso believes that the CIA and our intelligence apparatus shouldn't even care about the impact climate change will have on our national security:

Barrasso – an opponent of the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gases — is trying to amend a huge defense-related spending bill to prohibit the CIA from using any money to fund its Center on Climate Change and National Security.

Barrasso says the center risks stretching the CIA too thin and that existing federal agencies charged with monitoring climactic changes can supply the CIA with whatever information it needs. “Will someone sitting in a dark room watching satellite video of northern Afghanistan now be sitting in a dark room watching polar ice caps?” Barrasso said in a statement Tuesday. He added that the agency should be combating terrorists, not “spying on sea lions.”

You know what stretches our intelligence apparatus thin? Misusing intelligence and resources to sell the Iraq war, then turning around to use the CIA as the main interrogator for terror suspects when the CIA neither had the history, resources nor experience to do just that.

Despite unanimity from the Intelligence Community that climate change is a direct threat to our security, Sen. Barrasso would rather politicize our national security to score partisan points rather than protect America. It's clear that he nor many of his GOP colleagues actually care to defend and support the analysis coming from the CIA on climate change. And it's also clear he has a very shallow understanding of the issues and people integral to defending and protecting America. 

His ignorance makes me wonder, that if he is so concerned about the CIA monitoring sea lions, is he also outraged by our military's use of Navy seals?

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