DefDog: Whither the CIA & Should David Ignatius Stop Talking?

Ethics, Government

Harry Truman is rolling over in his grave.

Post-Petraeus CIA Should Kill Less and Spy More, Former Chief [Mike Hayden] Says

By Noah Shachtman

WIRED, November 12, 2012

When David Petraeus got the job of CIA chief, he knew what job #1 was: find out everything he could about al-Qaida and its allies — and then assist in their removal from the land of living. Fourteen months and more than 110 drone strikes later, the breaking of al-Qaida’s core that began under Petraeus’ predecessors is almost complete. Yet a major chunk of the nation’s intelligence community remains singularly focused on terrorism.

It’s time to give that a rest, a former leader of the Central Intelligence Agency says — especially with Petraeus gone. There’s a whole world out there that needs to be snooped on.

“We have been tremendously focused on counterterrorism for the last 11 years [since 9/11]. How do you now begin to make sure that you cover other necessary things without making the country less safe?” asks former CIA director and retired Gen. Michael Hayden.

Nearly every major international security concern facing Petraeus’ successors is, in essence, a question of intelligence: What is Iran’s nuclear capability, really? Which way will the Syrian civil war go? Why is China building up its Navy so fast? What the hell is Kim Jong-Un up to? “Those are things that you’re not going to learn through diplomacy or through press reporting. And that takes you to intelligence,” notes John E. McLaughlin, the CIA’s former acting director. He doesn’t believe the counterterrorism necessarily needs to be pared back. There are just all these other jobs that the nation’s spy agencies have to handle. “The biggest challenge may be the sheer volume of problems that require intelligence input.”

Read full article.

Phi Beta Iota:  The CIA was never supposed to be more than a central collating and sense-making service.  David Ignatius. appearing today on CNN, states that its core mission is collecting intelligence.  That is not correct.  The CIA evolved into a clandestine and covert operations agency over time because that was the one area where other US Government stakeholders could not compete with it.  Below is quoted from Robert Steele: Post-Benghazi — Open Season on CIA?

Harry Truman, writing in 1963 in the Washington Post, made it quite clear that he never intended to create a covert or clandestine operations monster, but rather a central intellectual and ethical means of processing information from all sources so as to present to the President what one author has called the “best truth.“  Today CIA is incompetent at analysis, mediocre at science & techology, and downright dangerous, morally disengaged, and flat out stupid in relation to clandestine and covert operations.  Worse, CIA is quite good at lying to Congress and lying to the Executive and lying to the Court, dishonoring at every turn its motto from the Bible, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).  CIA not only cannot discern the truth, it fears the truth.

The next Director of CIA (D/CIA) needs to focus on all-source analysis as well as requirements definition, collection management, and the continuing education of policy, acquisition, and operations officers who have been away from school for too long.  The now massive bureaucracy administered by the Director of National Intelligence is a complete failure.  It should be shut down.  Still unable to do all-source collection, still unable to do all-source processing; still unable to do all-source analysis; still unable to provide decision support for more than 4% of what the President needs and nothing for everyone else, the US secret intelligence community is a complete and very expensive failure.  The next D/CIA should be someone who could reinstate their traditional role as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) while we phase out all of the DNI fluff, and reconstitute all of the agencies, each of which is, at this time, more than 50% fraud, waste, or abuse, and less than 5% useful.

See Also:

Robert Steele: Intelligence for the President Revisited

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