The revelation that the Obama administration used a covert CIA program to dig up dirt on countries opposed to the Copenhagen climate treaty shows a White House desperate to enforce its orthodoxy on global warming, Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe told The Daily Caller.
Earlier this month, The Guardian newspaper reported that State Department administration officials, acting at the request of the CIA, sent a secret cable on July 31, 2009, asking U.S. diplomats to gather intelligence on other countries’ preparations for the then-pending Copenhagen climate conference. The request also asked diplomats to be on the lookout for indications that countries were not fostering environmental cooperation and for evidence of countries circumventing U.N.-sponsored environmental treaties.
The cables do not make clear whether CIA Director Leon Panetta was directly involved in the request. Panetta has a long, documented history of environmental activism, particularly on climate change, going back several decades.
So far, administration allies are not commenting on the revelation. TheDC approached former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last week during an appearance at the liberal Center for American Progress, but she declined to comment.
The leaked cables show the Obama administration has had particular trouble influencing the so-called BASIC-bloc countries of Brazil, South Africa, India, and China. Administration officials have sought to work with the EU to plot strategy to overcome opposition and find ways to neutralize their opposition to the Copenhagen Climate Accord.
So far, 116 countries have associated themselves with the accord and another 26 have indicated their intention to associate. The treaty would continue the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and established a mechanism for developing nations to establish emissions targets, which they have vehemently opposed.
According to a leaked Feb. 17, 2010 cable, Michael Froman, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for international affairs, held a meeting with the EU’s climate commissioner-designate, Conne Hedegaard, looking for ways to work around “unhelpful countries such as Venezuela or Bolivia” and get the treaty into force.
The cable quotes Froman as saying the U.S. and E.U. “need to neutralize, co-opt or marginalize, co-opt or marginalize these and others such as Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.”
Froman also advocated using divide and conquer tactics to confront the BASIC bloc and other Copenhagen treaty opponents, saying the U.S. and E.U. needed “to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future trainwrecks on climate …”
The Obama administration subsequently cutoff aid to Ecuador and Bolivia last April that would have helped them reach the Copenhagen treaty’s carbon emissions targets, citing their opposition to the agreement.
“I think this goes to show that to the left-wing of the Democratic Party, national security means anything you want it to,” former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton said. “I don’t mind using any instruments of persuasion…but I think it is certainly a misallocation of priorities to be using intelligence capabilities on something like climate change.”