May 8, 2006

Can the CIA be saved?

And is it worth saving? Both NRO and the Weekly Standard have editorials today calling for the appointment of another reformer to replace Porter Goss at the CIA.

But Goss's named successor Gen. Michael Hayden is the deputy of national intelligence director John Negroponte. And, as the Standard, points out, Negroponte is generally seen as an ally of the same intelligence establishment that's been fighting the Bush administration since W took office.

Shortly after Porter Goss took office, the administration implemented the "bipartisan" plan to merge all the nation's intelligence agencies and named Negroponte to direct the new entity. If rumors about Goss being steamrollered by Negroponte are true then it looks like Goss never really had a chance to clean house. And neither will his successor.
The CIA is supposed to work for the president. It was created in 1948 to be the president’s civilian, non-partisan, non-policy intelligence arm. Its job is to provide an accurate picture of facts and trends so that decision makers can formulate good policy. Too often the agency has performed that job miserably, the greatest example being its gargantuan miscalculations about the Soviet Union. In retrospect, this is perhaps unsurprising. The CIA has always had a leftist bent, well represented in its upper echelons even under directors of staunchly anti-Communist and pro-national-security orientation.

During the Bush presidency, however, the agency has not been content with subtly pushing its own agenda while underperforming its nominal mission. It has run amok. In fact, it worked assiduously—though unsuccessfully—to depose the administration in the 2004 election, and since then has continued brazenly undermining Bush’s foreign policy.

What do we need the CIA for if it exists only to subvert the administration's goals?

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