February 03, 2004

Clean Up Timing

There's a lot being written now about the US intelligence situation and the need for resignations and reform. Here's a typical offering by Peter Brookes, a former intelligence agent. In fact, its better than most because Mr. Brookes actually leaves open the possibility that our current state of knowledge is not complete, that before the ISG finishes its work, we shouldn't come to final conclusions. But what could be made better in the article, and is utterly lacking in most such articles is any sense of a time line of when it would be appropriate for changes to be launched. That would be after a full investigation of the causes of the failure and a comprehensive plan to make our human intelligence systems as good as our overt military is.

By this point, people at the CIA, NSC, and the rest of the intelligence apparatus are hunkering down like a battered wife and waiting for the kicks and punches to come flying their way. The problem is that there seems to be no sense of the history of how our intelligence services got into their current jam. Without some sort of reasoned planning process that creates a consensus within which our agents can operate fearlessly we are going to continue to be surprised by phantom threats we see too easily and all too real threats that we ignore to our national peril. It would be nice to see such wisdom come from both parties. Some days, it would be nice to see it coming from one party.

Posted by TMLutas at February 3, 2004 11:15 AM