Friday, June 16, 2006

Entering The Gates

The Foreign Policy Research Institute has an interesting article by Garrett Jones entitled Welcome to the CIA, written as an open letter to its new director, General Hayden. Jones is a retired Case Officer. The underlying messages are mostly implied. Strongly implied is that Porter Goss was an unwelcome failure. Not far behind in emphasis is the innuendo that while the CIA is "filled with bright, hardworking people" some real improvements are badly needed. Here are some verbatim extracts from the article.


Yes, you have an entourage. Goss let his entourage alienate the entire building before he had settled in. Better to make enemies on your own. You probably brought some military aides with you, so you'll want to remind them that half the Agency does not know the difference between a full colonel and a milkshake; those who do know don't care. There are GS-13 case officers and analysts working for you who have daily, one-on-one relationships with general officers and politically powerful ambassadors. Colonels and lieutenant colonels are not going to impress the natives just by virtue of their shiny uniform. Your aides have to appreciate that they are not in the chain of command.


The current model of putting brand-new officers in the field under intricate cover arrangements and then expecting them to go up against some of the hardest targets the Agency faces is not working. The new officers are being overwhelmed by cover arrangements, living in difficult places and attempting to be effective against very difficult and elusive targets, all at the same time. ... In the short run, there will be many problems and few effective operations following the current model. ... Frankly, the DO is playing catch-up at the moment with several targets, and some shortcuts will need to be considered.


This place is a mess. ... get the analysts out of operations ... If the report is so heavily hedged that it is correct no matter what happens, why is it being sent to a policymaker? It is not going to help them make a decision.


You have some ticking bombs waiting for you here ... In truth, there is probably more a problem of the appearance of incompetence than any real wrongdoing, but the procedures are not defensible. ... A potentially more serious and difficult problem is associated with the contracting for software and electronic components in recent years, done in the name of "efficiency" and "outsourcing." This has led to some potentially disastrous counterintelligence lapses.

As they say, read the whole thing.


Blogger 49erDweet said...

Sounds like, "Welcome aboard, General! Sit down and fasten your seat belt! It's going to be quite a ride!"

Good catch, W.

6/16/2006 02:09:00 AM  
Blogger 2164th said...

And how much does this cost us?

6/16/2006 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger R C Dean said...

Somehow, to me, rampant politically oriented leaking, paired with highly selective retaliatory referrals to Justice, sounds like something a lot worse than more a problem of the appearance of incompetence than any real wrongdoing

6/16/2006 04:32:00 AM  
Blogger John Samford said...

I agree with r c dean.
The CIA is not the end all, be all of Intelligence. America existed before the CIA, it will exist after.
What is needed is a complete restructuring of the American Intelligence community. It seems like Negroponte is doing just that.
I stilll want to know who from the CIA met with Soros and Lewis in Aspen to plot the removal of a sitting American President. For rich old farts like Soros and Lewis, knigmaking, or potential kingmaking is a hobby and part of Demoocracy. When the CIA has a hand it isn't.

6/16/2006 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger hdgreene said...

Here's the problem at the CYA. Back when the Church Committee held hearings on "exploding cigars for Fidel", a lot of 9th graders decided the CIA was a real danger. They said to themselves, "I'm gonna work for the CIA when I grow up and make sure it don't become a real danger." And some of them did.

Now that these kids have partially matured, they don't spy on America's enemies for America, they spy on America for the Washington Post. They collect a pay check from the Tax Payer, but think they work for the Editorial Board of the New York Times. These kids got job security because they blow flutes--I mean whistles.

They don't need a Director (at least not until they start making the movie (and then it should be the guy who directed "ET")), they need a managing editor. And I need a copy editor. Someone who can spell.

6/16/2006 06:19:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Hey, great open letter. Bright guy.

Too bad it only addresses the CIA.

6/16/2006 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Holy mackerel Batman!

6/16/2006 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Davis said...

Goss's only failure is that there are still employees at the CIA.

6/16/2006 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I am confused.

I thought the CIA was a covert intelligence agency with it's employee's sworn to secrecy.

Why am I reading a finger-waging complaint about operations within the CIA by some disgruntled ex-CIA employee?

To the Average Joe on the street this diatribe would seem to be a veiled partisan leak. Sure this was posted in the Foreign Policy Research Institute as an open letter - not in the NYT - but a form of a leak none the less.

I thought the leaks were supposed to be plugged? How can a "covert agency" operate when there is public discussion of some of the most sensitive positions in the agency?

Does every ex-CIA operator in the Agency get to write a book on his personal compliants? What are the policies on this? What are the laws on this?

6/16/2006 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


The CIA cleared the letter.

6/16/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Trish said: The CIA cleared the letter.

Well, Trish would you expound upon that aspect. Who exactly "cleared the letter."

This is exactly the problem the CIA faces.

6/17/2006 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

The Publications Review Board, with standards determined first by law and second by regulation.

The problem the Agency has had is individuals disclosing classified information - as they see fit. The problem has been unauthorized, unlawful leaks.

The author submitted his letter for approval; it was approved. It offers sound advice from someone genuinely interested in the Agency's success, as well as the success of the new Director.

Joe on the Street, who may know little but is not a hyperventilating political paranoid, would be able to discern as much.

6/17/2006 08:21:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

But they approved that book a few years back, that seemed like a very ill-conceived plan, made one wonder WHO said publishing it was OK.
Can't even remember name or author.
Spark any memories?

6/18/2006 09:40:00 PM  

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