There Is No CIA

A. Scott Piraino

We don’t have a central intelligence agency. Instead we have a National Security Agency (NSA), a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), a National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), the State Department has its own Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and we have a National Security Council. Then, there is the CIA.

Despite this alphabet soup of agencies, terrorists were able to infiltrate this country and kill thousands of Americans on September 11th, 2001. The logical solution to this colossal intelligence failure would have been to centralize these separate, competing bureaucracies into one agency. Instead the Bush Administration compounded the error by forming a new organization, the “Office of Special Plans”.

This secret office was created in October of 2001 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and answered only to the White House. Ironically, the Office of Special Plans was not created to hunt down Osama Bin Laden or the Al Qaeda network. For some inane reason, The Bush administration was determined to invade and occupy Iraq after September 11th.

Since there was no real evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or connections to the Al Qaeda network, that evidence had to be manufactured. That was the sole purpose of the Office of Special Plans. The OSP publicized the few bits of information that showed Iraq was a threat to the US, and ignored all the intelligence that said otherwise, thus creating propaganda to support the march towards war.

In the buildup to Bush’s ill fated invasion, the Office of Special Plans leaked bogus information about Iraq’s weapons programs to the press. That leaked information was then sited as proof of Iraq’s military capability by the Bush administration. This included the forged document alleging that Iraq attempted to purchase Uranium from Niger.

The document was “discovered” at an opportune time for the Bush administration, and the allegations were mentioned in the President’s State of the Union address. When the Bush administration was caught in a lie, they blamed the CIA. The Director of the CIA, George Tenet, took responsibility for the misinformation even though the intelligence community knew that the information was false.

This has put George Tenet in a difficult position. The CIA cannot publicly condemn the President‘s propaganda campaign, because he is their boss. And in addition to being double crossed by the Bush administration, the CIA had to answer to Congress and the American people after September 11th.

Congressional investigators revealed that five federal Agencies had information about Al Qaeda activities before the attacks. The Immigration and Naturalization Service, the FBI, the Federal Aviation Administration, the State Department, and the CIA all had different pieces of the terrorists plans. If instead there had been one agency, or if those competing agencies had shared that information, the attacks might have been prevented.

Technically, the CIA director is head of US intelligence, but in truth no one is in charge of all our spy agencies. The CIA was created in 1947, as part of the National Security Act that prepared our country to fight the Cold War with the Soviets. At that time the CIA was responsible for all foreign intelligence gathering, the NSA monitored world communications, and satellites did not exist.

In the fifty years since these intelligence agencies were formed, telecommunications technologies have revolutionized the art gathering information, (or spying). In addition, constellations of satellites provide worldwide coverage of troop movements, and allow US intelligence to eavesdrop anywhere. The NSA is responsible for monitoring global communications, and satellites are under various defense commands or the NRO.

The CIA does not control these assets, and therefore they do not gather most of the intelligence data collected by the United states. The CIA’s real missions are analysis, vetting foreign agents who spy for the US, and most importantly, supporting paramilitary groups that fight proxy wars for the United States. In this last mission the CIA has failed.

During the Cold War the only requirement for US support was a willingness to fight regimes allied with the Soviet Union. In the name of fighting communism, the CIA has supported brutal dictatorships worldwide, and even helped overthrow Democracies. This includes training right wing militants in Central America, overthrowing the elected government in Peru, (while George Bush the First was CIA director), and supplying both Iraq and Iran with weapons.

The CIA also supported Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban while they were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Without the CIA, these groups would not have the training, equipment, and organization to wage a war on terror against us. The truth is, the CIA is responsible for the terrorists who attacked this country on September 11th, 2001.

This policy of supporting sociopaths and ruthless regimes has backfired on us time and time again, yet the same strategy continues today in Iraq. The CIA is rebuilding the Iraqi intelligence apparatus, by recruiting agents from Saddam’s Secret Service. As the enforcers for Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime, you can imagine what upstanding citizens they are. There is no way this new security apparatus will bring peace to Iraq, let alone Democracy. Nor is there an excuse for putting these murderous thugs on the US payroll.

The budget for US intelligence totals 27 billion dollars, plus an estimated ten billion dollars hidden in the “black budget“ that funds secret programs. The CIA, NSA, NRO, and other agencies are not required to share information, and there is no chain of command to force them to do so. These agencies have no incentive to cooperate with each other, and every incentive to view each other as competitors for federal funds.

The US intelligence community should be united to fight the War on Terror. Instead we have several entrenched bureaucracies that do not share information or cooperate in the field. The question is, can these disparate agencies defend our country against terrorists.

Over the New Year’s holiday the National Command Authority raised the threat level to orange, meaning an attack was likely. The United states took this threat seriously enough to cancel incoming flights from overseas, and deployed special teams in US cities to detect the presence of a “dirty bomb”. An Al Qaeda operative has already been prosecuted in an attempt to acquire and detonate a dirty bomb, and worse is yet to come.

We need a central intelligence agency. One agency that can correlate intelligence from all sources, then act on that intelligence to prevent or pre-empt a terrorist attack. The CIA cannot fail again.

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Published on February 1, 2006 at 12:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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