Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Mother Jones reports that the CIA Medea programme, a climate research effort which involved providing civilian experts with access to classified information, is to be shut down.
According to Mother Jones;
The program was originally launched in 1992 during the George H.W. Bush administration and was later shut down during President George W. Bush’s term. It was re-launched under the Obama administration in 2010, with the aim of providing security clearances to roughly 60 climate scientists. Those scientists were given access to classified information that could be useful for researching global warming and tracking environmental changes that could have national security implications.
Some experts have expressed surprise the Medea programme is being shut down. But the programme is not without its critics.
Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a 23-year veteran of the CIA who had first-hand knowledge of the program before leaving the agency in 2009. He said he was not surprised to see Medea close down.
“In my judgment, the CIA is not the best lead agency for the issue; the agency’s ‘in-box’ is already overflowing with today’s threats and challenges,” he said via email. “CIA has little strategic planning reserves, relatively speaking, and its overseas presence is heavily action-oriented.”
The programme also attracted criticism from members of the US government:
… when CIA Director Leon Panetta stood up the climate change center in 2009, conservative lawmakers attempted to block its funding.
“The CIA’s resources should be focused on monitoring terrorists in caves, not polar bears on icebergs,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said at the time.