Last semester I took a history course on the CIA in the third world. One of the problems presented by the professor concerning the overall intel apparatus of the United States was that there was not a “grand master” intelligence head. The head of the CIA was originally going to be that spearhead, organizing and collaborating amongst all law enforcement/intel agencies toward the ultimate goal of a “safe(r) society” — but that hasn’t happened. The professor’s rationale was that the blunders of the past could have been averted if it weren’t for the lack of collaboration and central authority in our intelligence community.
Today apparently the intelligence community is a “wicked problem.” Recently Obama ousted Dennis Blair the director of intelligence and now no one is jumping at the opportunity to feel that vacancy — not surprisingly given the recent mishaps and missteps with regards to the failed attempts from the crotch bomber and the Times Square bomber.
But really can we all blame Dennis Blair for all of this? Sure there has to be a sacrificial lamb when it comes to problems in any administration. Look to the past: Every time there has been embarrassment, the guy at the top is gone soon thereafter. The things that go down in the intel community have not changed since the days of J. Edgar Hoover and John Foster Dulles. Every attempt to centralize the intel community have been met with even more problems. Many point to rivalry between FBI and CIA. But it can not be that easy.
Could it be that maybe there are consequences to our foreign policy? Could it be that FBI, CIA, and the rest of the intel community are victims of incompetent leadership in terms of foreign policy? (CIA does go rogue from time to time…ok, that’s a conservative statement) Anyway, could it be that the intelligence community’s entire focus is predicated on the policies made by the administration? Could it be that Faisal Shahzad is just retaliating against the US’s stepped up drone attacks that have killed innocent civilians in Pakistan? Could it be that US security is compromised every time we bomb a village?
Of course this is just mere blasphemy to posit such a claim. It’s as if DC has never heard of the term “blowback” before. But unfortunately more problems mean more money and more power to all the agencies to carry out more problems. Hopefully, this small crisis will indicate to some in government that they need to take a deep breath and actually evaluate what they are doing worldwide. Because that “wicked problem” that is haunting DC just may be derived from the policies the government implements.Published in