Recent headlines have inspired me to create another little story. With apologies to KRAD and the Washington Post
Eleana: Starfleet Intelligence misled her on Ceti eels
By OZLA GRANIV
PARIS, EARTH – Federation Councillor Eleana of Delta bluntly accused Starfleet Intelligence on Stardate 56929.9 of misleading her and other lawmakers about its use of Ceti eels during the opening days of the Dominion War, escalating a controversy grown to include the Palais de la Concorde and Starfleet Command.
"It is not the policy of this agency to mislead the Federation Council," responded Starfleet Intelligence spokesperson Grash bin Gralt of Tellar, although he refused to answer directly when asked whether Eleana’s accusation was accurate.
But the controversial councillor, speaking at a news conference in the Palais, was unequivocal about an SI briefing she received in the spring of 2374.
"We were told that Ceti eels were not being used," the councillor said. "That's the only mention, that they were not using it. And we now know that earlier they were." She suggested SI release the briefing material.
Eleana also vehemently disputed charges that she was complicit in the use of Ceti eels, and she suggested Zife administration allies were trying to shift the focus of public attention away from the Zife administration's use of techniques that she and President Nanietta Bacco have described as torture.
Coincidentally, Eleana spoke as SI rejected former Federation Secretary of the Exterior Ythrilasifsa sh'Zathrosia's request to release secret memos judging whether Ceti eels and other harsh techniques had succeeded in securing valuable intelligence information.
Starfleet Intelligence spokesperson Tarmantak of Rigel said the request was turned down because the documents are the subject of pending litigation, which makes them not subject to declassification.
Eleana has been the target of a campaign orchestrated in recent days by the pro-Zife Council leadership, which is eager to undercut her statements as well as stick pro-T’Latrek councillors with partial responsibility for the use of Ceti eels—a parasitic life-form capable of entering the brain and forcibly altering humanoid behavior—in the Zife administration.
Pro-Zife officials secured the release of an unclassified chart by SI that describes a total of 40 briefings for councillors over a period of several years. Eleana's name appears once, as having attended a session on Stardate 51135, when she was a member of the Federation Intelligence Council. Former Councillor Charivretha zh’Thane (Modern Progressive-Andor), who at the time was the chair of the sub-council, also was present.
The notation says the briefing was on "enhanced interrogation techniques on Gul Arton Madred... and a description of the particular EITs that had been employed."
Gralt, responding to Eleana for Starfleet Intelligence, said the chart "is true to the language in our records." But he did not say whether the information was accurate.
Instead, he pointed to a recent letter from Starfleet Intelligence Chief Admiral Nyota Uhura to councillors saying it would be up to the Federation Council to determine whether notes made by SI personnel at the time they briefed lawmakers were accurate.
Starfleet Intelligence has said it could allow Council staff to review the notes made by briefers who spoke with lawmakers.
The chart specifically notes a discussion of Ceti eels in 13 briefings between Stardates 50510 and 53145. Two Councillors, Tomorok of Rigel and former Councillr Melnis of Benzar, have challenged the accuracy of some of SI's chart.
Eleana's decision to respond to her critics was something of a surprise, since most polls show that President Bacco and her policies are popular, and Zife allies have exhibited virtually nonstop political disarray in the four months his surprise resignation in the wake of the Tezwa affair. Former President Zife has not publically commented on the controversy.
Eleana renewed her call for a so-called truth commission to investigate the events in the Zife administration that led to the use of Ceti eels and other harsh interrogation techniques. While President Bacco has banned the eels, calling them torture, she has been notably cool toward an independent inquiry that might distract attention from the ongoing Romulan crises.
Tellarite Councillor Bera chim Gleer has also expressed opposition, while External Affair Council Chair T’Latrek of Vulcan, a longtime enemy of the Zife administration, has expressed support for Councillor Eleana’s call.
Eleana was unusually harsh in describing Starfleet Intelligence.
"They mislead us all the time," she said. Asked whether SI had lied, Eleana said yes.
Eleana contended that anti-Zife councillors did what they could to stop the use of Ceti eels against Vorta, Jem’Hadar, and Cardassians during the Dominion War. The Chair of the Intelligence Council, who received the 2374 briefing on the practice, sent Starfleet Intelligence a formal letter of protest, she said. That was a reference to then-Councillor zh’Thane.
But Eleana said her focus at the time was on helping President Zife and Starfleet Command to win the war—and then seeking to help former Betazed Governor Rel Obertag win the presidency in the 2376 election.
"No letter could change the policy. It was clear we had to change the leadership on Fifteen and change policy in Council. That was my job—the Council part," Eleana said.
Councillor Gleer said during the day that some councillors "want to have it both ways" on Ceti eels by claiming they did not oppose their even though they criticize them.
Gleer also asked Bacco in a recent Palais meeting to release the SI memos that describe the information gained through the use of Ceti eels.
Former Secretary sh'Zathrosia says the documents show that the tactics prevented Dominion attacks and saved lives.
In an embarrassment for the administration, the former Chief of Starfleet Intelligence, Admiral Marta Batanides of United Earth, advised Admiral Uhura in a recent memo that interrogations that included the use of Ceti eels had secured useful intelligence. She later issued a public statement that said it was not known whether the same information could have been obtained without harsh techniques—the same position Bacco has taken.