November 18, 2004


Goss Isn't Done With Housecleaning at CIA
: Sources close to the spy agency say the new director will address the analytic branch, where assessments on Iraq weapons were flawed. (Greg Miller, November 18, 2004, LA Times)

In the wake of high-level departures in the CIA's clandestine service, intelligence officials are bracing for an even more aggressive overhaul of the agency's analytic ranks by Director Porter J. Goss.

Current and former intelligence officials said Goss planned to replace the head of the CIA's analytic branch, Jami A. Miscik, with a veteran analyst who already runs one of the agency's major offices.

Miscik heads the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, the division that drew much of the blame for erroneous assessments of weapons programs in prewar Iraq.

Goss also is said to be planning to replace other senior officers in the analytic branch and to push through changes designed to encourage analysts to be more aggressive in their assessments of developments on terrorism, weapons proliferation and other priority topics. [...]

"They haven't gotten to the D.I. yet, but when they do, there will be more people screaming bloody murder," the official said, referring to the outcry this week in Washington over the resignations of the two top officials in the CIA's clandestine service. "There's going to be a new deputy director for intelligence, and there's going to be many senior-level positions that are going to be reassigned."

The time to worry is when the screaming stops.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 18, 2004 2:04 PM

Intelligence analysis, like mathematics and theoretical physics, must be a young man's game. The best of the best are the ones who are able to understand the established rules without being so set in their ways that they miss the fatal flaws in the conventional wisdom. The vast majority of people are able to grasp the accepted framework but can't make the necessary leaps for paradigm busting. It would take an exceptionally fluid mind for a single person to be able to be a useful intelligence analyst in the world of 1980, 1990, and 2000. Throw in the conservative CYA mentality of bureaucracies, and it's no wonder the CIA is incompetent.

Posted by: brian at November 18, 2004 2:33 PM

You would think the CIA would want to be better at what it is supposed to do. After all, a foreigner killed some of its employees at the front gate a few years ago.

Faster, please.

Posted by: ratbert at November 18, 2004 3:18 PM

Howard Dean is a CIA agent?

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 18, 2004 3:36 PM