The CIA is fundamentally broken by almost any measure:

Picture a large and very important federal agency. It happens to conduct highly specialized work that requires close and attentive management. One of its basic assignments, for example, is to collect intelligence. Toward that end, it relies on twelve major stations from which it gathers data. The information thus assembled has to be reliable, meaning that those who collect it, and those who organize the collection process, must be both trustworthy and highly trained. And once the intelligence is gathered, it has to be analyzed. This process, too, requires a high degree of organization, and the men and women who engage in it must be top experts in their field. Their final product, hugely influential, and released to the outside world only at specified intervals, is by necessity wrapped in secrecy. Indeed, unauthorized disclosure is punishable by law.

The organization he’s talking about?  The Federal Reserve.  Read the whole thing.  Imagine an almost limitless technological budget, but in many ways less informative than the Internet.  Imagine a bureaucracy so byzantine no one knows what’s happening.  Imagine a culture where state top secret information is now commonly leaked to the press.  Imagine a spy agency with less than 30% of their agents in the field.  Imagine that the CIA says it will take at least 10 years to put it house in order to counter the ‘terrorist’ threat.

Related reading: When Mohammed Atta landed in the US, CIA’s Tenet was celebrating gay pride

Congress long ago sowed the seeds of the CIA’s destruction as an institution; not having clear goals is its foundational issue.  But this is a common mistake made by governments and its journalistic reporters; talking and legislating how things are done rather than debating and reviewing the Objectives (What you want) in the first place.  Businesses that take this approach live a short life, and people that live their personal lives in this way remain vaguely unhappy and unfulfilled.  Congress’s role should be to give them goals and the tools to let them win, along with only general lines they are not able to cross.  Micro-managing beyond these boundaries is inappropriate and inefficient.  Perhaps most importantly, they are almost singularly unqualified and ill suited as politicians (public servants with an established elective agenda, and huge incentives to sensationalize and publicize) to do so.

Once last thought: since bureaucracy in any institution, whether government or large business, or charity, inevitably slows its endeavors down, thwarts innovation, and rewards the status quo in its Associates, why would further bureaucracy as suggested by the 9/11 commission and implemented by Bush and Congress, have any chance of ‘fixing’ anything?

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