6 years, 8 months ago
In an interesting twist on intelligence-gathering, the CIA has found a new tool in its arsenal of weapons.
In an effort to win over fickle warlords and chieftains in Afghanistan and get information from them, CIA officials are handing out Viagra pills in exchange for their cooperation, the Washington Post reports.
“Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people – whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra,” an agency operative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Post.
The growing Taliban insurgency has forced the agency to get creative in how they obtain certain information from Afghan warlords and tribal leaders, including Taliban movements and supply routes.
CIA operatives use everything from toys and school equipment to tooth extractions to their advantage and note that if Americans don’t offer incentives, others, including Taliban commanders, will.
Afghan veterans told the Post that the usual bribes of choice – cash and weapons – aren’t always the best options because they can garner unwanted attention and fall into the wrong hands.
“If you give an asset $1,000, he’ll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone,” Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan, told the Post.
So rather than shiny junk, what’s better?
The ageing chieftains of rural villages, many of whom have wives who are much younger than them, have proved keen to accept the anti-impotency drug and in exchange give a mass of information on rebels’ movements and supply routes …
Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan, told a newspaper: “You’re trying to bridge a gap between people living in the 18th century and people coming in from the 21st century. So you look for those common things that motivate people everywhere.”
I was disheartened and disgusted by Joby Warrick’s lighthearted coverage of the CIA’s Viagra bribes [“Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan,” front page, Dec. 26].
Is the U.S. government “wholeheartedly committed to the full participation of women in all aspects of Afghan society,” as first lady Laura Bush stated on April 6, 2005? Or will women in Afghanistan continue to be sexual chattel to fickle aging and ailing warlords who can be bribed by American operatives so they can feel “back in an authoritative position”?
It seems that this operation spits in the face of every effort to advance the position of women in Afghanistan and throughout the world. Alas, maybe the CIA will continue to do “whatever it takes to make friends and influence people,” regardless of how many people have to be hurt in the process.
So this reader believes that sex hurts the woman to the very core of her ontological being, and therefore opposes the deal. Whatever the case, it’s surely true that the CIA has undergone organizational learning from the days of the Clinton administration’s destruction of the HUMINT.