Conquering the CIA


David Ignatius reports on the state of intelligence reform over the past year. His verdict: It’s going “only partly right.” Bureaucracy is multiplying everywhere you look, the new CIA director, Porter Goss, has brought in his political allies and driven out highly-skilled career top officers, and the new Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, despite showing good management skills, seems inclined at times to politicize the intelligence process. Not a good sign.

I guess the alternative, more Bush-friendly way to spin this would be that Goss is finally cleaning up a dysfunctional agency that has constantly been at war with the president. The problem with that view, is that, at least over the last four years, as wrong as the CIA has been, they’ve always been much less wrong than the White House and its hawkish allies in the Pentagon (on Iraq in particular), and those skirmishes were at least partly warranted. Since the days of Team B conservatives have always loathed the agency for producing what they saw as too-watery threat analyses—never mind if they were correct in the end—and the early signs seem to be that Goss is continuing that trend.That’s not quite the same thing as “cleaning up” a dysfunctional agency.

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