KABUL ( — The CIA today vehemently denied that tens of millions of dollars in cash secretly paid to Afghan leaders was wasted or “simply disappeared,” pointing out that if that were true, Afghan President Hamid Karzai would not now be made of solid gold.

Karzai's gilding has been one of the CIA's few successful endeavors in Afghanistan

“To say we can’t establish exactly where the money went is an insult to our accountability and his ductile, lustrous beauty,” said former CIA Director George Tenet. “Every illicit dime went into making that man the statue of aurelian perfection he is today.”

That response baffled House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, who was outraged to learn the CIA was handing over bags of cash to Karzai for 10 years.

“I don’t see how making Hamid Karzai out of gold promotes U.S. interests or indicates progress in that volatile region,” Rogers said during a closed committee hearing.

“Actually, it’s real progress,” Tenet replied. “The Shah of Iran got millions from us and the best he achieved was a light coat of bronze. In Egypt, Hosni Mubarak got billions and was still 85 percent silver. With Karzai, we’ve gotten a lot more done for a whole lot less.”

Tenet credited field agents with keeping the program on track.

“At the CIA, we don’t just give money away without demanding results,” he said. “Every time we handed over a wad of cash, we would say, ‘Mr. President, what are you doing with the money?’ And he would say, ‘I’m turning myself into gold.’

“So there was total accountability. We knew what he was doing, and he knew we knew what he was doing.”
Porter Goss, Tenet’s CIA predecessor, admitted the agency initially intended to use the cash to buy influence and settle disputes among rival factions, but that idea fell through.

“We quickly realized Afghanistan was so corrupt you couldn’t even buy trust,” said Goss. “But we had all this covert money. What were we going to do with it?”

“You could give it to me so I could turn into gold,” suggested Karzai. “That would be something.”

“Yeah alright,” Goss replied.

Despite the success in creating Karzai’s flaxen sheen, Rogers vowed to launch a House investigation into the CIA, which Tenet called outlandish.

“You know, you accuse us of propping up every tin-horn dictator there is, so when we finally say, ‘Alright, let’s prop up a gold-horn dictator,’ you’re still mad,” he told the committee. “No wonder people hate Congress.”

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