Saturday, July 12, 2008

Intelligence: The CIA In Chains

Liberals never learn. They are the most self-centered jerks that the world has ever had inflicted upon humanity. They wish they were the nobility and they think and act like it. They only care about themselves and they do not care about the country as a whole.

What harms the CIA harms the country as has been proven in the past! Sure, limiting the CIA to overseas work made sense, but putting walls so that they can not share what they discover with the other intelligence groups is insane. Only a Liberal could think about creating a weaker country while crying about needing more government benefits.

Intelligence: The CIA In Chains: "The CIA In Chains

July 11, 2008: The U.S. Congress is again, as it did in the 1970s, trying to "rein in" the CIA. Congress wants to outlaw many real, or imagined, techniques that the CIA has employed since September 11, 2001. Much of this effort is political, to placate the many people, and politicians, who now take it as fact (or on faith) that the Islamic terrorist threat was overblown, or that the U.S. response was not commensurate (and itself a form of terrorism) with the threat.

It's already been forgotten what the CIA has gone through these past five years. There was the massive recruiting program (of analysts and field operators), and the introduction of lots of new technology (especially for the analysts) and techniques. All this was largely the result of the CIA being put into a sort of semi-hibernation in the late 1970s. This was an aftereffect of the Church Committee, an investigative operation sponsored by Congress, that sought to reform the CIA. The reforms were mainly about eliminating CIA spying inside the United States, and doing stuff for the president that Congress did not approve of. There was also a desire to avoid any CIA connection with foreign unpleasantness (like using unsavory people as spies or informants). This led to a growing list of restrictions on what the CIA could do overseas, and at home. Congress was out to make sure no future president (the CIA works for the president) could use the CIA as had been done during the Vietnam war, and before. The CIA interpreted this as "no more James Bond stuff," just use your spy satellites and write up your reports. The Church Committee insured that the CIA became a much less interesting place to work. A lot of the most capable people got out over the next two decades. Recruiting became difficult.

But after September 11, 2001, the CIA was tossed a huge pile of money and told to staff up and get going. The Church Committee restrictions were largely, if not completely, discarded. Recruiting efforts were greatly expanded, and since September 11, 2001, several hundred thousand applications were received. The agency has had a hard time keeping up with that.

This created some interesting personnel problems, especially in the operations division (the people who go to foreign countries and, well, sometimes do James Bond stuff.) There were few people left in the agency that remembered how to do field ops the old school way. By late 2001, many of recently retired field ops guys were being lured back to active duty. You now had a situation where the field ops population is like a cross between a college fraternity and retirement community. There are few people in the middle, age and experience wise. It's almost as bad in the analysis division (where the data is studied and reports prepared.)

The area of the CIA that has flourished in the last three decades has been the geek side of things. These folks were always flush, thanks to a Congress that felt safer with spy satellites, than with spies on the ground. But those days are over. Much of the new technology is going to the analysts (better computerized tools to dig quickly through information) and the field operatives (like Predator UAVs, at four million bucks each.) A lot of money is going into training (learning Arabic, Pushto, Farsi and Dari are encouraged, and sometimes demanded) and the use of consultants (often former CIA operatives who would not come back full time.)

The new restrictions would outlaw things like the use of contractors for interrogations (even if there were no other source of manpower to do the job in time), the use of "vigorous interrogation", the detention of foreigners without giving them access to the U.S. criminal justice system, and many more items that most CIA officials know, from their own experience, will only get Americans killed. They know that because they paid attention to what the Church Committee restrictions did to degrade U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities. However, it looks like history is going to repeat itself. Not the first time that has happened.

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