Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
It's pretty much universally accepted that Karen Hughes was a disaster as America's face to the Islamic world. But wow... this is much, much worse. ABC News reports that a 41-year old CIA station chief in Algeria (his name has not been released) was brought home last October after accusations that he had drugged and raped at least two Muslim women. As if that's not bad enough, our man in Algeria, himself a convert to Islam, videotaped his crimes. Federal investigators are aware of at least a dozen sex tapes. They've now broadened the scope of their inquiry to include Egypt, where the station chief was posted prior to his Algeria assignment.
Abu Ghraib, anyone? Guantanamo? Just when the Obama administration is trying to repair America's image, particularly in the Muslim world (Obama only this week gave an interview to Al Arabiya), we have what could be a fresh dose of gasoline on the fire of anti-Americanism. As Isobel Coleman told ABC, "It has the potential to be quite explosive if it's not handled well by the United States government. This isn't the type of thing that's going to be easily pushed under the carpet."
Indeed, and it could become an early test of Obama's crisis-management skills.