Reforming the CIA

By GotDesign
Every day I receive an update from OpinionJournal.com. In today's update, Gabriel Schoenfeld penned a piece about reforming the CIA from the point of view of President Jimmy Carter's CIA Chief -- Admiral Stansfield Turner. Adm. Turner examines the CIA by looking at the relationships between the sitting President and his Director of Central Intelligence (DCI).

While I understand Turner's point of view on this, his approach only a piecemeal effort. Changing the relationship between the president and DCI is only one piece of the necessary reform of our nation's preeminent intelligence agency. Not only do we need presidents to pick their DCI to serve the foreign policy goals of the president, but they must also effectively use the CIA as a foreign policy tool and not see it as some circumspect, shadow organization.

The Central Intelligence Agency was designed to be an organization that would collect information from a wide variety of sources and provide analytical support of the president's foreign policy objectives. In the absence of a firm presidential foreign policy objective (e.g., the Clinton Administration), the CIA should continue its mission of information collection. As for the conduct of clandestine operations, they should always be in support of policy and subject to the oversight of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee.

My opinion about reforming the CIA is probably in the minority. I think the CIA needs a major reorganization. Currently, the CIA is rife with political struggles -- as is the State Department. The CIA, in order to be effective, must be apolitical. Politics in an information-based organization only leads to bias and distortion of the information collected. This must be avoided at all costs. Also, I would collect all of the various intelligence-related organization back with the umbrella of the CIA. Because, as it stands, the Central Intelligence Agency is not very centralized. I would place organizations such as the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency within the structure of the CIA. I would also reorganize the Defense Intelligence Agency and the various Intelligence Branches of the armed services. Our military should be served by the all of the intelligence assets available to our nation. Therefore, let's create an all-source tasking and distribution department in the CIA to accept the intelligence taskings and distribute the intelligence products back to our armed services.

In short, I feel we must reorganize the CIA from the ground up. This would be a monumental undertaking, but the benefits of doing so would greatly enhance the national security of the United States. Bring together all participants in the Intelligence Community -- from the White House and Congress to the Military and Homeland Security -- and rethink the Intelligence Community of the U.S.
 

1 comment so far.

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