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Wednesday: January 2, 2008

Surprising Lack of Disambiguation

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:48 PM UTC

On my drive from Raleigh to Baltimore on Christmas Eve, I took the slightly longer scenic route past the Pentagon and up the George Washington Parkway on the Virginia side. As I passed the exit for C.I.A. Headquarters, I was surprised to see that the sign reads “George Bush Center for Intelligence”. Given the loathing for the other President Bush that seems to be rampant there, I would have thought they would have insisted on renaming it the “George H. W. Bush Center for Intelligence”. They would have had a plausible pretext: the need for disambiguation. In fact, it’s surprising that it wasn’t named that in the first place: the C.I.A. website says that it was named after H. W. in October 1998, when W. was about to be reelected governor of Texas and was already one of the more likely Republican nominees for the 2000 election.

I also wonder whether the current war would be going better if we had an intelligence agency that didn’t have its own highway exit and website. Then again, perhaps we do and the C.I.A. is just a Potemkin agency designed to avoid awkward questions.