Monday, May 08, 2006

The coming end of the CIA

In case you've been following American political news lately, you know that the former director of the CIA, Peter Goss, was fired last week. He stayed at the CIA only one year, a year that was characterized by a massive drain of many of the CIA's top managers as well as fights with Rumsfield's Department of Defense and National Intelligence Director Negroponte.

But Goss' firing has a lot less to do with his performance, and almost everything to do with Washington ideological and turf wars.

The first candidate to replace Goss is a military man. Now this is a very bad thing for a couple of reasons. First is that, in all honesty, it is important that government institutions, even those that deal with intelligence, be run by civilians. Maybe it's a bit of a fig leaf, but there are just some walls between civilians and the military that should be strong. I think this is one of them. This was a pretty basic founding principle of our government, and the more it is erroded the more the door opens on greater militarization of our public life.

The other is that Hayden is going to be a patsy at the CIA, and continue to wipe the place clean of people who disagree with the neo-cons. He will not have the strength to resist the dismantling of the agency that told Rumsfield, Bush and Rove that there was no proof of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that in 2004 the Iraqi insurgency was a serious homegrown movement, not just the work of "jihadists and deadenders", and that now says Iran is probably 5-10 years from developing a nuclear weapon and therefore not an imminent threat.

I wouldn't be surpised in a few years to see the CIA completely shut down. The right-wing considers the CIA to be filled with a bunch of left-wing aparatchiks afraid of the conservative's Brave New World. Now the CIA has problems, no doubt about it. But the constant shuffling is not meant to reform the agency, it is meant to destroy it.

So Hayden will likely be confirmed, and he will fail, as the others before him have, because he is meant to fail. In a few more years conservatives will say the agency is beyond reform and redundant because of all the other new intelligence departments and agencies that popping up in Washington.

1 Comments:

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2:42 PM  

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