January 11, 2010

THE VERY DEFINITION OF INSANITY:

CIA's Vulnerability Is Congenital (Angelo M. Codevilla, 1.11.10, American Spectator)

CIA's model of operations practically invites all forms of betrayal, because its operatives are by no means clandestine, and because they have always been averse to serious counterintelligence. Ever since 1943, when Allen Dulles set up spy shop on Bern's Herrengasse with full coverage by the local press, nearly all of CIA's case officers have been "covered" only by the useless pretense that they work for another part of the U.S. government. But to the people they try to recruit, CIA officers make no pretense at all about who they are. They could not if they tried, because they are linguistically and culturally incapable of passing for anything other than what they are. As a result, CIA officers end up having far more contact with people who want to use them than with those whom they might wish to use. Perpetually starved for high grade information, CIA accepts sources as valid with only the thinnest pretense of quality control. Even before 1975, when CIA made the operators themselves responsible for their own operations' integrity, counterintelligence had been the Agency's stepchild. Thus, not only did the Soviet KGB routinely control CIA's operations through double agents: so did the East Germans, the Cubans, and the Iraqis, who penetrated the CIA's vaunted ROCKSTARS network from the start.

CIA's performance regarding terrorism is worsened by its increasing reliance on foreign intelligence services. The Chapman case, in which an agent provided by Jordanian intelligence proved to be hostile, is all too typical. Our officers simply had neither alternatives to the Jordanian agent, nor means independently to vet him. All they could do was to note that he had provided facts that proved to be true. How many false ones were mixed in, no one seems to have asked. And so the agent was invited to take part in deciding who America's friends and enemies are. Alas, this is a very old story. The only new part is that he decided to end the charade by killing his hosts. Probably, he would have done more harm by keeping it up.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 11, 2010 1:13 PM
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