Overt about covert
January 24th, 2012
03:40 PM ET

Overt about covert

By Adam Levine

For Republican candidate Newt Gingrich, covert activity seems to be the strategy of choice when it comes to thorny national security issues. The latest target:  Cuba.

"I'm talking about using every asset available in the United States, including appropriate covert operations, to maximize the distance," Gingrich said on Monday during the NBC debate between Republican candidates. "Bring together every asset we have to minimize the survival of the dictatorship and to maximize the chance for freedom in Cuba."

It's not that covert activities are not happening in different parts of the world, but it is hardly talked about by the government as openly it seems as it is by Republican candidates running to be the next command-in-chief.

Gingrich is not shy about touting covert activities, having already said such strategies should be used against Iran and Syria. On Syria, Gingrich said last year the United States should "replace" President Bashar al-Assad and "do everything we can, indirectly and covertly - but without American forces - to help."On Iran, Gingrich has called for "maximum covert operations to block and disrupt the Iranian program" including killing their scientists and disrupting their systems.

Gingrich's model, as he explains it, for both Iran and Cuba, is how President Ronald Reagan worked with others to bring down the Soviet Union.

"I'm talking about using every asset available to the United States, including appropriate covert operations, to maximize the distance, what Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Margaret Thatcher did to the Soviet empire, bring together every asset we have to minimize the survival of the dictatorship and to maximize the chance for freedom in Cuba," Gingrich said Monday night. He's previously said similar things about Iran.

Gingrich also argues covert activity needs to be a solely American enterprise.

"I will ask the Congress to liberate the intelligence community so we can once again go back to effective covert operations, and to effective intelligence gathering," Gingrich said in December at a Republican Jewish Coalition forum. "And not be forced to rely on pseudo allies such as the Pakistanis who have - who clearly had to be conspiring to hide Bin Laden for eight years since he was hiding in the national military city."

Gingrich's competitors are not shy about invoking the covert option, either.

Romney has called for the "covert and overt activities" to aid dissidents in Iran. At CNN's foreign policy debate he urged covert action against Syria.

"This is the time for us to use not only sanctions, but covert actions within Syria to get regime change there," Romney said.

Santorum said last November that not only should America use secret operations against Iran to stop their nuclear program, but also advertise it.

"We need to say very clearly that we will be conducting covert activity to do everything we can to stop their nuclear program. And that means using covert activity like may have occurred at the missile site," Santorum said.

But what's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander, in Santorum's opinion, especially if that gander is President Barack Obama.

Soon after saying the United States should be open about secret plans against Iran, Santorum criticized Obama for "not being able to keep a secret of anything good that he did for even more than 24 hours," such as the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.

Retired Army intelligence Major Gen. James Marks told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr last fall that its a bad idea to talk openly about secret action.

"We don't have to talk about that, nor should anyone who wants to go into public office, so what we see with current debates and discussions about covert operations, specifically against Iran or other potential nations or entities should be eliminated. That needs to stop," Marks said.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Cuba • Gingrich • Iran • Paul • Romney • Santorum • Syria
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Randal Warney

    Some really good articles on this site, appreciate it for contribution. "Better shun the bait, than struggle in the snare." by John Dryden.


    March 4, 2021 at 10:03 am | Reply
  2. Mel Hebrard


    January 28, 2021 at 9:59 pm | Reply
  3. Vernice Hatt


    January 21, 2021 at 12:00 am | Reply
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  6. Vina Lohwasser

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    December 20, 2020 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  7. Jon

    would someone please tell coach Wade he is rooting for the wrong team?

    January 25, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply
  8. Person

    he is too late!!

    January 25, 2012 at 2:17 am | Reply
  9. Sanchanim

    Dude this guy is an idiot, plain and simple, you don't talk about things like that. Omg can't he keep his mouth shut??

    January 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  10. Puky zionist Crap Read This

    What an idiot!

    We're doing business with the Communist dictators in China everyday but Newt doesn't want to do business with the Communist Cubans. Who has the hard-on for the Communist Cubans? Is it in the national interests of the U.S. to maintain this aggression against the Communists in Cuba? Newt's insane, plain and simple. He is only mouthing off what he is told to say by the people who would dictate and maintain a misguided foreign policy that makes no sense.

    Why is it we can do business with the Communist Chinese and not the Communist Cubans?

    Why is it we have armed South Korea in this endless confrontation with North Korea. What's the point?

    Our real enemy are the dirty evil zionists in racist apartheid israel.

    Wake up America and vote Ron Paul for U.S. President – He'll nip those crazy Newt backers in the butt plain and simple.

    Let's take back our country from these mad and evil zionists – If not . . . then let's get it over with and have WW3 Baby!

    Yippppeeeeeeeee. let's get it on!

    Come on WW3 Baby!

    January 24, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  11. mipolitic

    overt about covert, is it just me is there something i'm not seeing- c with ing , or is it o green= m , or is it just more trash talk . all the tough talk got us in iraq and ten years later many were still talking tough to keep us there. just the facts please. the fact is obama got bin ladin under a four year term and many others while pulling troops out at the same time. i am not an obama lover but please lets reveiw the facts of history mr republican.

    January 24, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Reply
  12. The War Criminal General Sherman

    A walking vat of toxic waste.

    January 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Reply
    • Iranacockuptheirass

      Is this Pillsbury dough-boy captain cup cake from the Dallas Cowboys? yes indeed...now he wants to run the country..may 1000 camels drag him through the dust lands of the monkey people as he tries to hump their wives in an open marriage arrangement.

      January 25, 2012 at 8:50 am | Reply

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