The Other McCain

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Was the CIA Involved in Egypt’s Coup?

Posted on | July 3, 2013 | 72 Comments

Anyone who knows the Central Intelligence Agency’s history in orchestrating the overthrow of governments must be wondering whether the agency played a role in the collapse of the Morsi regime.

My hunch? Certainly they did, and we should be glad for it. Morsi’s government was a dangerous proto-fascist Islamic thugocracy.

Think about this: President Obama, John Kerry and other top administration officials have spent the past two years watching the “Arab Spring” turn into a bloody and disastrous failure. The Morsi government was unpopular and unstable, and it might have given way to a totalitarian Islamic dictatorship or the kind of chaotic “failed state” anarchy that could turn Egypt into a base for al-Qaeda.

Would that be good for Democrats in the 2014 elections? In 2016?

No, the endless mess in Syria is bad enough, and to have Egypt descend into a nightmare would have been added to Libya in the Republican indictment of Democrat foreign-policy failure.

So it is not difficult to imagine a series of meetings and phone calls in which top U.S. intelligence officials were told, in effect, see what we can do to influence events in Egypt in a “good” direction. Who can doubt that other intelligence agencies, probably the British and French, and of course the Israelis, were also working in the same direction?

Would CIA influence on events in Egypt involve anything illegal or particularly “spooky”? Probably not. It would most likely involve some basic communication and liaison work, to make sure that the generals taking over would be people we could work with, and to help them organize the takeover in an efficient manner.

The CIA used to do this kind of stuff all the time back during the Cold War, under both Democrat and Republican presidents, and the coup in Egypt appears to have been accomplished so quickly and with so little violence as to please any old-time Agency man.

If the secrets of CIA operations in Egypt the past few weeks were leaked to Glenn Greenwald, would he approve? No, of course not.

But f–k Glenn Greenwald. Way to go, CIA.

UPDATE: My conservative friends are skeptical of my theory that the New and Improved Nixon-Like Obama would be so cynical as to deploy the CIA to fix the Egyptian problem the way the Agency fixed the “Iran problem” in 1953 or the “Guatemala problem” in 1954. Ladd Ehlinger Jr. points out this very interesting article:

Army concern about the way President Mohamed Morsi was governing Egypt reached tipping point when the head of state attended a rally packed with hardline fellow Islamists calling for holy war in Syria, military sources have said.
At the June 15th rally, Sunni Muslim clerics used the word “infidels” to denounce both the Shias fighting to protect Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and the non-Islamists that oppose Mr Morsi at home.
Mr Morsi himself called for foreign intervention in Syria against Mr Assad, leading to a veiled rebuke from the army, which issued an apparently bland but sharp-edged statement the next day stressing that its only role was guarding Egypt’s borders.
“The armed forces were very alarmed by the Syrian conference at a time the state was going through a major political crisis,” said one officer, whose comments reflected remarks made privately by other army staff.

This is interesting, as I say, but does not preclude the possibility of CIA influence in Egyptian affairs. Besides which, I’ve staked out the Google bomb on this, so that when any conspiracy theorist or paranoid Islamic radical searches for “Egypt + coup + CIA,” that traffic’s coming straight to me, baby. Pragmatic? You betcha.



72 Responses to “Was the CIA Involved in Egypt’s Coup?”

  1. Boot Birnbaum
    July 3rd, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

    Right, what you said.

  2. JeffS
    July 3rd, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

    I think that’s a likely scenario, especially if some of the smarter cabinet members were involved in any hypothetical end run.

    And please note that I said “smarter”, not “smart”, as in “moronic” versus “merely stupid”.

  3. JeffS
    July 4th, 2013 @ 12:00 am

    Another plausible scenario: old hands in the Agency took direct action on their own initiative. Completely covert, especially from the White House.

  4. JeffS
    July 4th, 2013 @ 12:02 am

    Another plausible scenario, especially considering that the Soviets used to have a lot of influence with Egypt, and supplied them with a lot of weapons, back before the Camp David Accords..

  5. JeffS
    July 4th, 2013 @ 12:07 am

    Yep, but maybe the CIA stayed in the shadows, and used third parties. Like the United States Army. I hope not — if that’s true, and Obama found out, the US military personnel would suffer dearly.

    While the CIA, as a agency, is incompetent, that doesn’t mean there aren’t people in it’s rank who can tell the difference between a hawk and a handsaw.

  6. JeffS
    July 4th, 2013 @ 12:14 am

    Well, Occam’s Razor works well in these circumstances: The Egyptian military did the right thing, for the right reasons, on their own initiative. No outside influence or assistance required, although it may have been welcome, at least in private. It’s not there is no precedent for military coups in the Arab world.

    And while the Obama Administration, the CIA, or the US military could have pushed the Egyptian military, it is simply mind boggling that President Zero would have reversed course on his precious “Arab Spring” so suddenly.

    The CIA, or the US military, are strong candidates for this, but I would assume that the appointed leaders or senior managers would not have the backbone to go against Obama’s explicit wishes, however delusional they might be. Not after the way Obama has been going through flag officers of late.

    This would have been something from the middle ranks, which implies limited resources and influences. Plausible, but difficult to have significant influence.

    Hence, my leaning towards Occam’s Razor.

  7. Josh_Painter
    July 4th, 2013 @ 1:21 am

    RT @rsmccain: Frankly, I’m disappointed by your lack of faith in “the New and Improved Nixon-Like Obama” @FilmLadd @…

  8. M. Thompson
    July 4th, 2013 @ 1:25 am

    Not that likely. The CIA hasn’t been allowed to do “James Bond type Stuff” for a long time.

    I’m thinking the Generals decided a more ‘pragmatic’ (keep the people fed, the tourist money coming in, and the trouble down) approach would be better than Morsi.

  9. TR
    July 4th, 2013 @ 4:50 am

    BHO has been hard at work co-opting the CiA and the American senior military staff (check the list of how many 4 stars have left).

    But the CIA remains unhappy with being the butt of the State Dept and the endless DOJ hectoring. So maybe they just went Rogue and did a little Shake and Bake on their own?

  10. K-Bob
    July 4th, 2013 @ 5:19 am

    Well, I just completed some extensive research on this topic (by which I mean watching the recent “Skyfall” Bond movie). Evidently all spying and agents/provocateurs amounts to these days is whether or not you understand UPC datagrams and backchannels, and have a good, secure chat facility on your jailbroken, custom apped smartphone.

    And you have an old-fashioned gun.

    So that means no CIA, then. Sorry.

    It was probably hackers who did it.

  11. bet0001970
    July 4th, 2013 @ 7:13 am

    Yes. And Jarrett…err, I mean Obama is such a pragmatist.

    Have you been keeping track of the White House press releases on this? Obama has been supporting Morsi and openly rejecting the military intervention. He directed his twat…err, I mean Ambassador to request that the Coptic Christians stay out of the protests in an effort to suppress their potential effect on Morsi’s stronghold. Do you really think that he would direct the CIA to help get rid of “his guy”? A guy who has been killing off Christians like they are house pests. Ask yourself something. Why would Obama have any incentive to support the religious rights of Christians in a foreign country when he openly won’t do it here?

    I also realize there are lot of questions regarding what happened in Benghazi, but make no mistake…the White House has their fingers ALL UP IN IT. There is a reason that Brennan was put in charge of the CIA. They do NOT want stability in the Middle East. Or rather, they do not want moderates controlling Islamic countries.

    Start looking around at who this administration is supporting around the ME and the Magreb. They aren’t hiding their agenda.

  12. bet0001970
    July 4th, 2013 @ 7:15 am

    If only that were true. An alphabet revolution is something this country could sorely use right now.

  13. Rosalie
    July 4th, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    I can see that too because I don’t think O makes any decisions.

  14. Rosalie
    July 4th, 2013 @ 8:56 am

    She’s complaining about being “in prison”. Let’s put her in a real one.

  15. Emilio_Crosby
    July 4th, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    Was the CIA Involved in Egypt’s Coup? The BHO’s CIA? All BHO assets were involved in helping the #Moslemhood radicals

  16. MrPaulRevere
    July 4th, 2013 @ 11:07 am

    And there he is, right on cue: DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi King Abdullah sent a message of congratulations to the head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, on Wednesday for being appointed interim head of state…

  17. Dana
    July 4th, 2013 @ 11:20 am

    Plausible? I don’t know about that. For that to have happened, it would have required a bunch of careerists deciding to put their careers on the line, to gain something that the President and the Director probably didn’t want. And CIA agents certainly know that nothing stays secret these days.

    An unfortunate truth: just like the military is undergoing a political correctness emasculation, so is the CIA.

  18. Egypt and the fall of Mohammed Morsi « THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
    July 4th, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

    […] The Other McCain: Was the CIA Involved in Egypt’s Coup? […]

  19. dscott
    July 4th, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

    I agree, Obama simply doesn’t have the subtleties to pivot like this. His responses so far belie that skill.

    IF the CIA was involved at all, it would be unbeknownst to Obama and acting to mitigate his incompetent community organizer type handling of the situation. The betrayal of the intelligence community at Benghazi points in that direction.

  20. about2giveup
    July 5th, 2013 @ 12:53 am

    Was the CIA Involved in #Egypt Coup? #Morsi

  21. Da Tech Guy On DaRadio Blog » Blog Archive » Egypt’s Military, Saudi Princes without the oil
    July 5th, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    […] course being a mil­i­tary they might be expected to, you know, fight some­day and via Stacy McCain Ladd Ehlinger tweeted some­thing rather…interesting con­cern­ing the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood […]

  22. Smittybendoverforstacy
    July 5th, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

    Israel is happy again.
    US never gets satisfaction just the USS Liberty.