"Admittedly, the CIA has suffered greatly in recent years primarily because of policy shortfalls and leadership issues. But no one should underestimate the quality of its staff, its foreign ties and its unique capabilities, which are the cornerstone of the intelligence community. These strengths remain the base for building a robust intelligence agency.
Because Congress was instrumental in setting up the DNI, there may be an inclination there to avoid the issue and the embarrassment that its poor performance could cause to those who supported its creation and who still mistakenly point to it as the reason there has not been another terrorist attack in the United States. But our ability to tackle the national security challenges of this decade is central to our survival and should trump any hesitation to confront this issue head-on, even if it means scrapping the ill-conceived notion of the DNI and its super-bureaucracy.
If Congress is reluctant to initiate the review, a broad-based private-sector initiative should be undertaken to jump-start public debate about the state of U.S. intelligence — a debate that never took place in 2004. The key issues that unfold from this debate should be high on the new president’s agenda for change." Jack Devine
I don’t believe I have ever met Devine. My CIA friends all know him, and think well of him. They should. In this oped he is making a brave attempt to resuscitate a dead past, to return the CIA to its previous status as the overlord of the intelligence community.
The reforms he is unhappy with reduced the CIA to the status of primary responsibility for overseas espionage (HUMINT) on behalf of the US government.
Before the reforms, the CIA had that reponsibility and also controlled the actions and in large part the budgets of most of the other agencies of the intelligence community.
They had that control because the head of the CIA then also "wore" another "hat" as head of the community. Unfortunately, THAT CIA used the community head role of its director to ruthlessly obstruct and hamstring the function and development of the other agencies whenever it could or wished. THAT CIA also had primacy in the peacetime covert actions for which they were well known. THAT CIA also controlled the National Intelligence Council where National Estimates are written. If you don’t think that was important, think of the Iraq NIE of October, 2002.
The CIA has lost all those functions to the Director of National Intelligence or to the armed forces. So sad. I like it this way and think the country is better served.
How do I know all this? I will post a photo of my scars. When Devine says "intelligence professionals" he means CIA people. pl