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24 May 2010


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William R. Cumming

okay taking my shot. I largely agree with PL's comments. The problem is not the DNI but the CIA. It should have been abolished after 9/11/01! Why? First for the reasons given by Truman and Marshall when lobbying by OSS graduates in Congress helped make it part of the National Security Act of 1947 which also created DOD and the NSC. Two strategic bureacratic and technical failures ensured the CIA will always be a remote and sidecar organization as part of the INTEL world. And this is not because it is a civilian agency. It is because they lost communications intercept and message traffic review to the NSA long ago. And then they lost out to the NRO over Satellite info long ago. HUMINT is extremely important but exactly how the CIA develops its HUMINT is not well known. Its shortage of language and culture specialists while focusing on economic, industrial, and agricultural intelligence is significant but the later for example is better handled by the largely unknown effort by the Department of Agriculture and the diplomatic intel by the State Departments INTEL and RESEARCH arm. Hey we really don't need 16 executive branch organizations doing INTEL but the first to go should be the CIA which largely pretends at its competence and covers itself with political connections rather than calling it ("It" being what it knows as opposed to what it thinks it knows") and handing out its STIK clearances only to "friends"! Let's finally muster in public the arguments pro and con for CIA retention as an organization. And how many stars on the wall compared to say the DEA who also is active on a day to day basis? Hoover kept the FBI out of organized crime and drug enforcement for a number of reasons. What does the CIA actually do in those two areas? Or that's right those groups don't hold wine and cheese parties that the CIA can attend. The NIE the CIA used to produce are largely not released publically because they would not withstand much public scrutiney. Time to reduce Executive Branch INTEL orgs by at least one and let's start with the CIA.

Patrick Lang


Sorry, but they ARE NOT competent to deal with military matters. pl

William R. Cumming

Curious as to what in my comments prompted your comment since I also agree they have no role in military INTEL? Or are you referring to INTEL orgs outside of Armed Forces generally?

Patrick Lang


I understood your statement to mean that you did not think that their lack of military sophistication not a major problem. pl

William R. Cumming

No former military not welcome in higher ranks of CIA historically and at present. Clash of not just cultures but understanding of the world.

Phil Giraldi

William - Taking out CIA is not a solution, but rethinking why it exists and what it needs to do is long past due. There are clearly intelligence issues that work better for a civilian organization while other needs are best met by the military. The DNI or whatever replaces that position should be an implementer, making sure that the intelligence collected by the two sides of the house arrive in a usable form where it is most needed for policymakers. The real problem is that the intelligence community has become so big and over resourced that it no longer can communicate with itself let alone with other elements. Time to go back to basics, cut everything down to the bone and figure out what is really needed and what is not. CIA is a bureaucracy like any other and is dedicated to survival, but it is not intrinsically more evil than its counterparts at the Pentagon or anywhere else. That it has abused its privileged position should surprise no one, but the solution is to fix it rather than to throw it out.

Patrick Lang


I did not, of course, advocate abolishing CIA. pl

William R. Cumming

I should have also pointed out that the position of Director CIA and Deputy Director were barred by statute from being held simultaneously by serving military officers. Have not checked to see if this is still the case or applies elsewhere in current INTEL organizations.
But of course I did in fact recommend abolition or a detailed study to justify its retention.


Ray McGovern has an interesting read on the Blair situation:

Dirty Linen Gets Intel Chief Fired

By Ray McGovern

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of how 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab soiled his underpants with a makeshift bomb over Detroit last Christmas hung out so much dirty linen on the crowded clothes line of the U.S. intelligence community that it was an easy call to get rid of Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair.

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