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CIA Confirmation Hearing of Anthony Lake

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Today is the third day of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s confirmation hearings on President Clinton’s nominee for director of Central Intelligence — Anthony Lake.

Led by Alabama Republican Richard Shelby who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senators have fired questions at Lake about everything from the baseball team he supports to Iranian arms shipments to Bosnia. Notably absent from the discussion, however, has been any mention about the CIA role in international narcotics trafficking or the CIA’s support for anti-democratic and repressive military regimes.

Still, conservative Republicans on the committee have repeatedly attacked Lake about his managerial experience, integrity and political beliefs. Indeed, at times the hearing had the aura of a McCarthyite “loyalty hearing” from the 1950s. Among the issues that came up in yesterday was Lake’s resignation — along with four colleagues — from Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council staff in the early 1970s in protest at the invasion of Cambodia. Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma also fired questions about Lake’s views on communism and the release of the so-called Pentagon Papers in the early 1970s.

In a minute we’ll be joined by Daniel Ellsberg, a former State Department and Pentagon official who worked with Anthony Lake during the Vietnam War era. It was Daniel Ellsberg who released to politicians and the press the Pentagon Papers — 7,000 pages of top secret documents on the history of decision-making during the Vietnam War.

But first let’s hear an excerpt from yesterday’s hearings between Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and nominee Anthony Lake. Here Sen. Inhofe asks Anthony Lake about his resignation in the early 1970s from Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council staff in protest at the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

TAPE: CIA HEARING FROM MARCH 12, 1997. SEN. JAMES M. INHOFE OF OKLAHOMA AND ANTHONY LAKE.

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