Monday, November 15, 2004

Skunks cleaning the house at the CIA

Newly-installed DCI Porter Goss is conducting a thorough purge at the C.I.A. Given the catastrophic intelligence failures of the last few years, it's hard to argue that this needs to be done. Whether this purge results in a more effective intelligence apparatus depends, however, on who the replacements are. And this is where things get worrisome, given Goss's beholdenness to the Bush regime. Here's Josh Marshall on why we should be worried:
On every significant point of conflict between the Bush administration and the country's cadre of intelligence professionals, the Bush political appointees turned out to be wrong. Often very wrong, and with disastrous consequences. Sometimes the intel folks were wrong too; but when that was so, the appointees were always more wrong.

This is not argumentative or hyperbole or even up for much serious dispute.

And the upshot of all that we've seen, the result of all those struggles over the last three years is that the 'appointees' are purging the 'professionals'. Another way to put it is that the folks who were always wrong and often catastrophically wrong are rooting out the folks who were often right and sometimes somewhat wrong. The answer to politicized intelligence, it turns out, is a more thorough politicization of intelligence and the elimination of those who resisted political pressure.

If you think this is just a Washington squabble or political debating point you'd be mistaken. Because your lives, and those of your families and friends, may very well be on the line.

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