The Belmont Club Blog has some fascinating stuff on the CIA, one of the major thrusts of which is that every honest student of the situation acknowledges that the CIA had severe problems during the nineties, primarily from deficiencies in its human intelligence (spying). (And as we know, liberal politicians were primarily responsible for this, though that isn’t addressed in the article.) The article also makes it clear that new director Porter Goss strongly believes that spying deficiencies are what need to be corrected most. Some suggest that the CIA has been making great strides in this department since 9/11 and thus it is ill-advised to engage in a shake-up right now. (Of course that assumes that the shake-up will dismantle the improvements in progress, assuming they truly are).
Also discussed are the inherent limitations (read: impossibilities) of our intelligence services penetrating the inner circles of any totalitarian regime, whether it be Saddam’s or Joseph Stalin’s. I don’t know if that is true, but I do remember blogging along these lines a few months ago (have I been blogging that long, or have I become as delusional as some of these lib voters who think Kerry won?). My point was that we have become such a spoiled society that we demand perfection from our intelligence services and our military, when it is impossible. I think I said, but I’m too lazy to go back and verify, that we are being too hard on ourselves and our intelligence services, acting as though they made egregious mistakes not predicting things that were unpredictable and not being able to penetrate a regime that was impenetrable (OK, I’m probably just imagining I said the latter). Getting back to the article, it is also suggested that while we can’t penetrate the inner circle of totalitarian nation states, we ought to be able to penetrate lesser targets like Al Qaeda, especially since it is hungry for new recruits, and thus more vulnerable to spies.
Anyway, it’s an informative read. Hat tip: Instapundit.