By Peter Bergen,
Washington Post, April 5
Since the 9/11 attacks, a dramatic shift has occurred in the way the United States deploys its military and intelligence forces. In his new book, “The Way of the Knife,” Mark Mazzetti documents the militarization of the CIA and the stepped-up intelligence focus of Special Operations forces. As Mazzetti observes in his deeply reported and crisply written account, over the past decade “the CIA’s top priority was no longer gathering intelligence on foreign governments and their countries, but man hunting.” The bin Laden operation was far from the only deadly mission that Panetta presided over.
Phi Beta Iota: The book is certainly recommended, but it is not a success story, it is a story of government out of control and out of its minds. All CIA claims to the contrary, only 2% of the people they killed by drone were even remotely close to being valid targets, and the CIA extra-judicial drone assassination program may well go down in history — after the inevitable court trials in 10-15 years — as one of the greatest atrocities of our time, right up there with the US secret prisons, Abu Grahib, and the Fallujah mutant babies. CIA sucks at killing — think Khost Kathy on steroids in the other direction. As much as we admire the good people at CIA, we are appalled at the loss of ethics and professionalism across the board. As the book points out, CIA is supposed to be in the intelligence business. Similar, Special Operations lost its own integrity, eagerly accepting the financial bonanza thrust upon it, and lowering its standards to the point that kids right out of boot camp, instead of hardened proven multi-lingual sergeants who had seen combat, became its foundation force. Again, a complete loss of ethics and professionalism across the board. The Bin Laden raid was theater, and as much as the book is certain to be both informative and entertaining, it must be treated as one treats fresh lipstick on a whore — it does not change the underlying facts. Benghazi remains the true measure of both CIA and DoD under Leon Panetta. A cluster. The truth at any cost lowers all other costs. CIA cannot find the truth, and SOF has no idea what the truth looks like. .