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Think Again: Intelligence (Blame Politicians, Not Spys, For America's Intelligence Failures
Foreign Policy ^ | JAN/FEB 2012 | PAUL R. PILLAR

Posted on 01/06/2012 12:11:55 PM PST by nickcarraway

I served in the CIA for 28 years and I can tell you: America's screw-ups come from bad leaders, not lousy spies.

Not the big ones. From George W. Bush trumpeting WMD reports about Iraq to this year's Republican presidential candidates vowing to set policy in Afghanistan based on the dictates of the intelligence community, Americans often get the sense that their leaders' hands are guided abroad by their all-knowing spying apparatus. After all, the United States spends about $80 billion on intelligence each year, which provides a flood of important guidance every week on matters ranging from hunting terrorists to countering China's growing military capabilities. This analysis informs policymakers' day-to-day decision-making and sometimes gets them to look more closely at problems, such as the rising threat from al Qaeda in the late 1990s, than they otherwise would.

On major foreign-policy decisions, however, whether going to war or broadly rethinking U.S. strategy in the Arab world (as President Barack Obama is likely doing now), intelligence is not the decisive factor. The influences that really matter are the ones that leaders bring with them into office: their own strategic sense, the lessons they have drawn from history or personal experience, the imperatives of domestic politics, and their own neuroses. A memo or briefing emanating from some unfamiliar corner of the bureaucracy hardly stands a chance.

Besides, one should never underestimate the influence of conventional wisdom. President Lyndon B. Johnson and his inner circle received the intelligence community's gloomy assessments of South Vietnam's ability to stand on its own feet, as well as comparably pessimistic reports from U.S. military leaders on the likely cost and time commitment of a U.S. military effort there. But they lost out to the domino theory

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: espionage; intelligence

1 posted on 01/06/2012 12:12:06 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
No war won since WW2, every one after micro managed defeat.
2 posted on 01/06/2012 12:17:37 PM PST by boomop1 (term limits is the only way to save this country.)
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To: nickcarraway
Yah, sure. Ask him if he's a Democrat.

All I needed to know about the CIA I learned from the "spy who never was," Valerie Plame Wilson, and the incredibly politicized leadership of the agency that showed itself at that time. There's obviously a cadre of, um, traitors there, who think the country would be better run by them than by the people who pay their lunch. They leak secrets to embarrass their enemies and suppress evidence of major dangers when it would embarrass their political allies on the Left.

These professional spooks/amateur politicians dishonor the heroic patriots at the Company who risk their lives for us in anonymity.

I knew the author was tainted when he started trashing the "Domino theory," as if Cambodia and Laos didn't fall immediately after Vietnam, exactly as predicted. And for those who allege Saddam was not a terror sponsor and threat, read the text of the speech he read on Iraq's national radio on Sept. 12, 2001. Kind of puts his cards on the table.

3 posted on 01/06/2012 1:00:01 PM PST by SamuraiScot
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To: nickcarraway

“I served in the CIA for 28 years and I can tell you...”

After that statement, why would I read any further? Disclosing a 28 year background of professionally-trained deceit is not going to give me any confidence that what follows is necessarily truthful in any way.

4 posted on 01/06/2012 2:05:03 PM PST by Boogieman
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To: Boogieman

You’ve spittled forth a clueless assertion/accusation. I doubt even you believe everyone working at Foggy Bottom is a trained spy or deceiver. There are myriad levels of tech support folks who probably lie less than you do. It is not their job to deceive anyone. In fact, they spend their career bringing data to higher ups, and the real facts —read truth in the data— is expected of them or else they are not allowed to function there.

5 posted on 01/06/2012 2:12:58 PM PST by MHGinTN (Some, believing they cannot be deceived, it's impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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Do you really think the author of the article is just some techie plugging away at the CIA databases? If so, then his contention that he worked for the CIA for 28 years is pretty much immaterial as to his authority on the matters he is writing about, and would in itself be deceptive. Of the CIA employees who would know more about the topics than the average citizen, you’ve got analysts, administrators, and operators, all of whom are versed in the arts of deception.

So, how exactly is my assertion clueless?

6 posted on 01/06/2012 3:06:39 PM PST by Boogieman
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