DATE: 12/06/2004 10:57:00 PM
NYTimes vs. Democracy - The editors of the New York Times obviously miss the Augusta National story. Since President Bush took office, the Times has been consistently negative about the use of force by a Republican president. They were the first paper to use the word 'quagmire' about the military action in Afghanistan. They almost used the word again about Iraq, and have spent many column inches detailing every bit of bad news they can find about the war.
This story is no exception. Seems a CIA agent in Iraq didn't think the war was going well late last month, so he sent a cable to his superiors in Washington. Somehow, in the midst of the cleanup of the CIA by its new director, Porter Goss, this cable was leaked to the NY Times and is now splashed across the front pages. Coincidence?
The CIA is one of the most incompetent government organizations in Washington. They missed the whole end of the Cold War and fall of Russia. They didn't see September 11 coming. Their information caused the military to bomb both an aspirin factory and the Chinese embassy. The former director called the case for WMDs a "slam dunk." The CIA is overrated, overly political and completely ineffective. This is hard for me to say, since I have always had a positive view of the organization. Of course, that perception was shaped by Tom Clancy novels and old Cold War movies.
The actual CIA has shown just how fictional Jack Ryan really is. The CIA is terrible at actually collecting intelligence, but excels at giving NY Times reporters really juicy anti-Bush stories. CIA officials are not the selfless public servants of popular fiction, but angry bureaucrats willing to damage the war effort to make the president look bad and preserve their own jobs. If Porter Goss cannot reform the CIA, the president and Congress should seriously consider eliminating the organization and forming a new intelligence-gathering apparatus.
The United States needs good intelligence to carry out its military and foreign policy goals. It's not getting that information and the CIA is to blame. The intelligence 'reform' bill and an 'intelligence czar' are not the answer, no matter what the increasingly obnoxious 'Jersey Girls' say. Being the widow of a 9/11 victim may get you media sympathy, but it gets you no credibilty on matters of national security. The CIA needs reform, not another layer of bureaucracy. To put it simply, they need to get as good at gathering intelligence as they are at leaking it.