2005 January 03 Monday
Former CIA Agent Howard Hart On The Agency
Howard Hart, former CIA clandestine service officer, said on C-SPAN 2 that there are far far fewer clandestine service officers serving abroad than there are faculty members at the University of Virginia. He also said there are fewer than there are FBI agents serving at the FBI NYC office. He was speaking at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at University of Virginia on Dec. 3, 2004 for a seminar entitled Futre of CIA Espionage Operations.
Hart expects many more countries to develop nuclear weapons in the future.
Hart says it is extremely difficult to recruit people into the clandestine service of the CIA. It is hard to reach them to recruit them in the first place. The universities with the highest concentrations of talent are hostile toward the CIA.
CIA's intake of junior officers every year is low. 1995: 25 junior trainee case officers for the year. More died that year. Same happened during the Carter Administration. He said Stansfield Turner, DCI under Carter, was a disaster. He said it wasn't until the Iranian embassy seizure that Carter realized the world is full of bad people and that the CIA needed the capability to defend against those bad people.
The most interesting point Hart made: Because so few are taken in as clandestine agents lousy ones are retained. I didn't get the whole quote but in explaining the effects of this he said "And someone like Aldrich Ames which we already figured out was not an acceptable officer....". So if the clandestine service had recruited more people each year then a guy like Aldrich Ames would have been fired before he became a traitor who betrayed the United States to the Soviet Union.
The point he made about clandestine service staffing struck me as his most important point. The problem with the level of competence of CIA clandestine agents is two fold. First off, not enough talented people try to apply for jobs as agents. Also, there are so few openings that anyone who gets hired is unlikely to get fired. So the clandestine service has severe quality problems. How to address that problem?
Hart is not exactly optimistic: "Can CIA meet the on-going threat? and my answer is No".
He says to train someone to the point of being a journeyman case officer takes 6 to 7 years. So the CIA lacks the ability to scale up rapidly in response to a sudden crisis. If we need a bigger clandestine spy capability (and I think we do) then we must commit to a longer term project to make the CIA more capable. We need more people out there who are trying to recruit people in key positions in other governments and other kinds of organizations to provide information.
Hart thinks former CIA Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) John Deutch was an idiot as a CIA chief. You may remember that Deutch was discovered to be very careless with protecting a laptop that had secrets on it.
Hart has contempt for "the new crowd" that came in when Porter Goss recently replaced George Tenet as DCI. He says graduate business schools should study Porter Goss and his associates for a case study in how not to take over an organization. He says Goss's crowd is unnecessarily arrogant toward and insulting toward the people in the CIA. From my own reading of what is being said by people who are leaving the CIA and others in positions to know this sounds about right.
Hart says the 9/11 Commission gave a pass to the FBI and criticised the CIA more heavily even though the FBI was more culpable for letting 9/11 happen (and I agree). He does not understand why the FBI did not come in for more criticism. I don't either. Maybe it is because plenty of liberals and conservatives are loathe to admit that the FBI needs to have a stronger domestic surveillance capability. So no one is going to criticise the FBI for not doing enough spying on groups on the home front that are more likely to have hostiles in them.
Hart thinks the recent decision to turn the CIA's paramilitary operation over to the military is a mistake. The ability to avoid engaging American military personnel avoids the commission of an act of war. It avoids the level of legal and political flap that can come from the use and discovery of the use of soldiers. The spies are more expendable and deniable. His opinion on this seems wise. Since George W. Bush has demonstrated a tendency to make monumentally wrong decisions based on a gut instinct that ignores pertinent facts this particular decision is not particularly surprising.
Hart talked about how back in the 1960s the Ivy Leagues (and he is a Cornell grad from the mid 1960s) supplied a disproportionate number of CIA officers. Now recruits from the Ivies are rare. He sees this as a problem that is a result of the hostility of the liberal professors at those universities. People are being recruited from the Midwest, South and Southwest. But the CIA can't find enough good people. Lack of patriotism hinders recruitment. I agree. The Ivies have become too much the enemies of the rest of America. It is time the elite educational institutions were either restructured or their standings lowered by boosting up other universities with a big shift in money flows.
Nowadays a lot of applicants to the CIA clandestine service are rejected due to the drug issue. Also more are lost over theft, fraud, deceit. The CIA uses polygraphs (and I'm guessing some of the more effective methods) to question applicants.
Hart says that Bush wants to boost the clandestine service intake by 50% but that this can not be done without lowering quality. He says that as recently as 5 years ago the clandestine service was recruiting only 25 people per year. So the clandiestine service really is small. On top of that it suffers quality problems.
Also, I just saw Newt Gingrich on C-SPAN 2 Book TV being interviewed by Norm Ornstein about Gingrich's new book Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract with America. Gingrich commented that the intelligence budget needs to be about 3 times bigger than it currently is. My guess is that Gingrich is correct and that the balance of money flowing to improve military capability versus intelligence capability is out of whack. We have more military capability than we have intelligence to direct it or to stave off a threat at an earlier stage so it never becomes a military threat.
Update: Here is some background information on Hart's years of CIA service.
Howard Hart spent 25 years in the CIA’s Clandestine Service. He was the operations officer in both Calcutta and New Delhi, India; chief of station in Bahrain in the Arabian Gulf; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Bonn, Germany, among other assignments. He also served as chief of the Paramilitary Division at the CIA’s headquarters. He was awarded one of the CIA’s 50 “Trailblazer” Awards and has received numerous intelligence medals from the Agency.
Hart correctly called the fall of the Shah of Iran and he was ignored.
Some of Hart's reports in the spring of 1978 were so pessimistic that the CIA's chief of station refused to send them on to Washington, where he knew they would arouse fury in the White House. For more than three months during the summer of 1978 the CIA labored to write up a special National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of the strength of the Shah's government. But the estimators could never agree on what was increasingly obvious: the Ayatollah had won control of the streets and the royal palace was next. Eventually the CIA's director, Admiral Stansfield Turner, shelved the NIE because it was politically too divisive. The result: official shock when the Shah's government collapsed, and bitter enmity for the United States from the Islamic activists who seized power in Iran.
It is no wonder he speaks poorly of Stansfield Turner.
Back in 2002 he was forecasting the eventual overthrow of the Arab oil regimes in the Persian Gulf.
Having seen the fall of one regime built on sand, Hart is convinced that bin Laden, following a strategy similar to Khomeini's in the 1970s, can do it again. Whatever happens in the current American effort to hunt him down, he says, bin Laden has now been transformed into a hero of the Arab world. If he lives his charisma will shine all the brighter; if he is imprisoned or killed, others in the al-Queda network will carry on in his name. "The governments of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are also built on sand," he says.
Does Hart still believe this analysis?
Update: The Miller Center has a viewable video of Hart's presentation in Real Player format. I will update this post with more dialog from Hart. The presentation is 1 hour and 6 minutes.
"You may all remember the CIA experienced a terrible spy case internally, a guy named Aldrich Ames turned out to be a spy working for the Russians. Aldrich Ames who we should have sorted out because he had all manner of personal deficiencies that we did pick up. For some reason the system let him get thru and all of a sudden he had access to our most sensitive Soviet operations. I was chief of station in Germany based in Bonn at that time and all of a sudden because we were running 3 of these most sensitive operations those operations started going bad. How can this happen? No one in my station knew about the operations, knew the identity of this man except two of us. Anyway, we did not know this. We went to every kind of precaution, we said is this our fault? Have we done something here to compromise this man? It turned out it was Aldrich back in Washington passing stuff along in empty beer cans to a guy in the Soviet residentura downtown in Washginton Soviet embassy. That man, one of those cases, the man who was compromised, had been working for us for almost 14 years. He was Russian employed in the Mikhoyan Design Bureau. Mig 21, Mig 27, that's Mikhoyan Design Bureau. He handed us every one of those 11 years the Soviet's complete test results of all their fancy new airplanes, the status of all of their research, on and on and on and this information enabled us, us US government, to not have the Air Force discover fleets that are in the skies are black with Soviet bombers went there weren't any bombers, etc etc. Saved us umpteen billions of dollars. I mean more, and gave us a very serious sense of confidence because we knew precisely what they could do."
"And I want to make this clear. I didn't join the CIA after getting out of college. I joined the clandestine service. There are all those other folks who are in the CIA. But the service was my business.
"There are far far fewer clandestine service personnel serving overseas as I speak now than are on the payroll of the faculty of the University of Virgina. Lets get it in perspective. Far far fewer. The New York field station of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is bigger than our entire overseas world wide presence."
Here's a question: who, among Western countries, has a good spy operation, and can we learn anything from them? My impression has long been that the Soviets and the Israelis were far and away the best at spying. The Soviets made extensive use of Communist parties in free countries; we don't have an equivalent point of entry. The Israelis had the big leg up that their population includes many emigrants and refugees from the countries they most intently spy on (their neighbors) as well as a very strong patriotic ethic and a macho mystique around soldiers and spies. The Brits weren't bad either, but had an unfortunate tendency to spy on themselves.
So who's really good today that we could plausibly emulate?
The problem of Blue-state anti-Americanism is a serious one. Good spies need to be patriots but also very curious about the outside world. Americans in general are not interested in other countries, but our most curious and intelligent youngsters are likely to go to schools where the ideological winds blow very strongly against the idea of working for the CIA. Not to mention that some of the programs we'd most like to recruit from - for example, Near East Studies departments at top universities - actually refuse government money tied to recruitment, and otherwise actively obstruct the CIA and the military from even reaching their students. But I don't know how you solve this. The premier British universities in the 1930s were also pretty anti-patriotic, but Cambridge is still Cambridge.
Question: "Hunt" or "Hart"? or are you quoting two different people??
On the Ivies: they mostly don't need government money, so it will not be possible to do as you suggest, but putting more money into Foreign Affairs programs at Red State Universities is a good idea. By the way, when I was in the Army Security Agency in the 60's there were a lot of Ivy graduates (I am one myself). The faculty then was fairly left leaning, and the occupation of University Hall at Harvard in the late 60's suggests that many of the students were as well. What has probably changed is that back then there were still a large number of conservative students as well - the Goldwater supporters at Harvard and Yale were fairly numerous. I wonder if the change that has taken place is in High School, rather than college??
The argument that the lack of Ivy League recruits due to anti-American sentiments among faculty seems slightly absurd. If it is truea, then it points to a much deeper problem. If the CIA can't overcome the mild indoctrination of Harvard English professors, how are they supposed to penetrate jihadist terror cells?
I do not think the CIA needs to emulate another agency. The problems with the CIA aren't due to a lack of understanding on how to operate an intelligence agency. They are due to political and intellectual opposition to having an effective intelligence capability. If the CIA can't recruit better field people then it lacks the skills to emulate a better agency or to emulate itself in its own historical past. If the agency can't recruit enough people to fire the disappointments then that is another big problem.
Management reorganizations of the sort we are seeing currently do not go go the heart of the problem. So what is the heart of the problem? We have country of almost 300 million and can't find a few hundred excellent quality people to go into the CIA to serve abroad spying.
Oscar, it was a misspelling. This is what happens when I write posts at 3 in the morning.
Mr. Hart should have contacted me 10 years ago. I'm too old for the job now (41 years old).
I was living in Japan, totally depressed about my situation, and yet had absolutely no desire to return to the states (I do not get "home-sick").
I am perfectly comfortable with living in a place where the only time I see "white people" is on an occasional Saturday evening in town. Of course, I was living in Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia; which are about as safe as you can get. Better than America, actually.
Europe is nice, quaint, and boring. Coming from Kaoshiung or Tokyo, Frankfurt, Zurich, or London is like being back in the states. There are even white people there!
If the CIA is serious about finding good case officers, they should prospect at Thunderbird (in Arizona). Thunderbird graduates are generally pro-free enterprise, pro-America, and love to live internationally. In fact, we get "abroad-sick" when we come back (I certainly do). We are real suckers for international adventure!
Better yet, they should look for Thunderbird alumni who are living abroad, like it, and are about 4-5 years out of school. they should especially look for the ones who don't want to come back to the U.S. and, instead, dream about retiring in S.E. Asia.
Being a good spy is like being a good sales and marketing manager. You are always on the lookout for who is developing the new technology, who the major players are, and who is selling what to whom. You are constantly expanding your network of contacts. You must also approach people so that you may "recruit" them to spy for you. This is alot like finding good sales agents to rep your products in the target markets.
Much of spying, atleast in East and South Asia, will be to determine the techno-industrial as well as military capabilities of our "competitiors" in Asia (read: China). Since much of it is focused on technology, the best way to do this is by having a trading company that deals in technology goods such as analytical instrumentation, process technology, and the like. Whereever you sell is going to be where the action is.
The problem with the intelligence agencies such as the CIA is that they have become "gay" bureaucracies and that they are no longer able to find people who can focus on the above objectives.
Also, the liberal media has had a corrosive effect on our intelligence capabilities since the 1970's.
James Bond died for our sins.
The fundamental problem with the CIA is that it's basically impossible to keep an organization based on secrecy accountable. If parts of the CIA become corrupt (as has happened repeatedly) it's difficult to detect. The most hysterical screwups occur when disinformation and black propaganda from the operations division make their way into the intake pipes of the analysis division. When this happens the entire apparatus detaches from reality.
The CIA's lack of field assets suggests to me that they are heavily reliant on the Israelis for useful human intelligence, particularly in the case of the Middle-east and Russia. Not that the Mossad has many case officers (only about 35 or so) but that the CIA has so few of them that the 35 officers that the Mossad has does make a difference for the CIA.
Also, since Israelis look more like Arabs than your typical American, the Mossad agents are going to be more effective at maintaining cover in the Middle-east than American agents. Ditto for Russia, which has many Jews that grew up in Russia and, therefor, know the country and are culturally adept. Americans are not usually culturally adept at living in other countries.
Aldrich Ames was a real shit who got alot of people killed, our people as well as agents (foreign nationals) that we had recruited.
There was a long standing rumour during the 80's and early 90's that there were moles in both the CIA and FBI, one each. Aldrich Ames was the CIA mole. Robert Hansonn was the FBI mole. Presummably, there are no moles left in either agency.
"Presummably, there are no moles left in either agency."
- Yeah, right. They are still their, they just lost their controls.
Kurt, I like the idea about Thunderbird.
Randall, I assumed a misspelling, but wasn't Howard Hunt in the CIA as well? On your comment, I think that the problems that leftist Senators have with the kinds of people CIA spies have to deal with doesn't help, as you suggest. But keep in mind that the CIA and its predecessor the OSS were riddled with communists from the start. It might be easier now, but who knows.
What the CIA needs is an excellent funding, many dozens of billions of dollars as extra funds every year.
And then a very carefully crafted advertizing campaign, designed by psychologists to find and recruit those
individuals who have extra Y chromosomes (XYY types), namely those who cannot live without danger.
I really think that the USA is the only country which can afford such expensive funding of spies, and it is
not being done. This is because the Americans do not favor learning foreign cultures sufficiently.
What's a person who speaks 3 languages? Trilingual. What do you call a person who speaks 2 languages: bilingual.
And what do you call a person who speaks only one language? An American.
"And what do you call a person who speaks only one language? An American."
Cute joke, but it overlooks Oscar's law:
"The number of languages a person speaks is inversely proportional to the political importance of his native language."
That said, I am an American who speaks four languages; and I am hardly alone in that.
Cute joke, but it overlooks Oscar's law:
"The number of languages a person speaks is inversely proportional to the political importance of his native language."
That said, I am an American who speaks four languages; and I am hardly alone in that.
I am glad you speak 4 languages. But I am an American who speaks 4 1/2 languages (I speak 4 and can
read 1/2 another...)
But seriously, what you said is true: the fact that the political importance of
those who speak many languages is less than those who only speak English, is correct. But this is
relevant for those who are the main actors who will get elected, not the CIA agents
and informants we are going to hire.
Invisible - you misunderstood my point. It is the importance of the LANGUAGE, not the individual. That is why a higher pct of Danes speak English than Americans who speak Danish.
e.g. One of my four languages is Russian, which has allowed me on occaision to translate for two Slavic language speakers who could not understand each other but both of whom could understand me (and I them). Some of this was because I know the broad history of the Slavic languages, which helped me to understand them, but more on the comparitive importance of Russian among the Slavic languages (especially in the 60's and 70's when these events transpired.
The CIA views the University of Virginia as a good place to recruit. Many of students have parents who work for the federal government and are amenable to taking a government position. More than a few students have parents for work the CIA: the school is the best school in Virginia and relatively affordable considering what the CIA pays. Politically, the student body is not left leaning. Its ROTC program is strong.
When I saw Woolsey speak in 1996 at UVa, he mentioned that the fraternity system provides good training. If one joins a fraternity, one has to meet and interact with a lot of people. One gets good at remembering names and faces.
The problem with Ivy League graduates is that they ar 50K in debt when the graduate.....
"The problem with Ivy League graduates is that they ar 50K in debt when the graduate....."
Only $50K in debt? Possibly a lot more than $100K for a top school veteran. But my point was that
the government needs to triple the CIA budget, and to convince itself and the potential recruits, that
CIA is a vital component of the US government, so that the Ivy League people (as well as
MIT, Caltech, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, etc) get interested in working for the CIA on a permanent
basis, where they will be rewarded both financially, and also academically or intellectually nurtured.
We might as well triple the witchcraft budget. They're not much good: and they're being reorganized with the goal of making them worse.
Lots of times, CIA views and predictions have been released or leaked to the press. Have you ever been impresssed? Heard things that were suprising but true? I haven't. I think it's hard for a big bureacracy to show much insight, and they certainly don't.
I can think of influential people who are even wronger than they are - but the CIA is simply not good enough to take seriously. Moreover, if they were any good - if they had decent insight, were better at humint, had predictive accuracy better than a coin flip - what makes you think it would make any difference at all? You think anyone would listen?
While Gringrich is advocating the tripling of the entire CIA budget I would propose something much more modest: Triple the budget for the clandestine service. They are the ones who go out there and try to turn people into spies for us. The CIA goes especially wrong when they lack human sources. When they lack sources recruited by operatives they are also especially prone to being fooled by walk-ins who are basically false flags. Though even there the CIA has rejected some of the stooges for Iran or the INC that provided false info about Iraq's WMD programs. It was the neocons who wanted to listen to the false flags.
So I say recruit better people and more people into the clandestine service.
I have long wondered about the recruitment methods of the intelligence services in general, not just the CIA. It seems to me that the agencies have focused on the Fleming/LeCarre type as the ideal model for the clandestine agents to the exclusion of the workaday guy that is seen but never noticed. There are any number of Americans that travel abroad who have regular contact with any number of people. They are the tech reps for companys who sell everything from heavy mining equipment to new seed varieties. Why are not these people recruited as stringers, just as news organizations have stringers and free lance photographers that make regular contributions? The news orginazations are certainly intellegence agency mirrors who certainly do an excellent job. After all they make a profit doing it. Is it that perhaps the agencies have too high a bar for service, the "not invented here" syndrome?
Several commentators have spoken on the need for language skills that are seldom found in the American college graduate. International companies, as a matter of course, often send overseas assignees to a 6 - 8 week intensive language course prior to transfer. The agent does not have to be able to pass as a native, in fact it may be a hinderance. Consider that if you were a Russian who was approached by some one who speaks perfect russian to give him secret information. Would you trust him or someone who has a unmistakable American accent.
My ill informed advice to the agencies is to set up a wide stringer organization, encourage, train, and promote the productive ones, cut out the duds and repeat the cycle. Within a few years you would have a wide net penetrating most aspects of the worlds commercial and military organizations. Why not have this in conjunction with the few elite operatives who cannot be every where at once. Someone said, (Stalin maybe) quanity has a quality of its own.
Rich - much of what you suggest has been done. Whether it is ongoing today or not, I cannot say. But in the 60's it actually worked fairly well despite the occaisional high-horse intellectual that took umbrage at being approached.
If the CIA's mission is so important, why doesn't it recruit a certain portion of its potential agents out of high school into NROTC type programs, full ride in exchange for post graduation commitment? Another alternative would be to recruit out of NROTC/ROTC/AFROTC programs prior to commissioning. A final alternative would be to open a service academy.
a) CIA is a centralized bureaucracy. What good can you expect from a centralized bureaucracy?
b) What is the CIA's specific mission? To collect intelligence.
c) To what extent can the military decisions of the US be based on intelligence of allies? The least the CIA should do is compare notes, allowing some credibility to intelligence from allies, for example from Israel and Britain. How much intelligence that Israel provides would the CIA really consider? I don't know, but my gut instinct would tell me that they would ignore that intelligence.
d) Do the upper-level CIA members have certain biases and are the guilty of groupthink? If yes, how can this problem be solved? Probably not with an even more centralized agency incorporating other agencies, especially if the different agencies previously had somewhat different missions/goals, and will now be a jumbled group of groups, none of them having much direction.
Spending more money on a problem does not necessarily make it go away, if the problems are structural. Americans spend more money per capita on the educational system than most 1st world nations, but the overall results are lagging behind all the other 1st world nations, to some extent the problems with the CIA and the educational system might be similar.
The CIA is very selective. Many apply. Few are chosen. An ROTC approach implies that most of the people in the program would eventually join the CIA. But of course it would be difficult to choose kids at age 16 or 17 for such a program. Also, signing up for the CIA implies a longer term commitment. The CIA training itself takes 6 to 7 years for people in the clandestine service. They don't want to take high school grads to be trained since the kids need more general education on history, languages, etc first. If it takes 7 years of training before they become useful then they need to stay working in the CIA for many years before the training is paid back. So a 22 year old might need to stay in till 36 or 40. You going to identify kids at 16 who will capable of committing to something for such a long period of time?
I am a great fan of the idea of competing intelligence agencies. The DIA ought to be upgraded to do many of the same things the CIA does. Ditto for NSA. Let multiple groups compete by analysing the same data. Also, have multiple clandestine services.
The approach has an addition advantage that any traitor can only damage the one agency he works for. If three agencies are running spies in countries then a traitor in one agency would not lead to losses of networks run by the other agencies.
Another problem I see with intelligence agencies is with brain power and skill sets. My impression is that talented engineers and scientists are rare in the ranks of intelligence analysts and field officers. So how can the CIA and other agencies competently analyze, say, a supposed nuclear weapons development program?
Several commenters seem to have danced around another possible solution to the problem - make the Clandestine Service an independant agency that 'contracts' to the Beaurocrats in the CIA's Analysis Division and in other intelligence agencies. Free them from the petty politics and agendas in Washington and train them up as a focused weapon.
Rich Walden's idea has merit, in fact, the real chronicler of the spy game, Charles McCarry, suggested this idea in his prophetic near future novel, 1979's The Better Angels, Besides predicting the rise of a nihilistic Islamic terrorist network,(the Eye of Gaza)characterized by suicide bombers, this was four years before we saw Hezbollah's handiwork in Beirut) including those detonated by digital watches, sponsored by 'eccentric Gulf potentates; (Hagrebi instead of Saudi) with a penchant for WMD schemes; focused on US cities; it introduced the idea of a Foreign
Intellgence Service, operating from corporate auspices; in this case, a Chase Manhattan type
banking front; with several regional headquarters.Brasilia, Beirut, (well not totally prophetic) and Johannesburg (NOCs were not identified at this time) run by McCarry's own version of a Bundy/
Buckley spymaster clan; the Hubbard/Christophers. It also suggested the idea of electronic election tampering, directed against a MBA executive turned president, who was characterized by the MSM of the day; particularly an early Cockburn/Hitchens manque, allied to a folksy Southern liberal incumbent president. There was an inference that this particualr institution, rose out of
the disgrace of the CIA; over some ill thought out operations & scattered to the winds. I thought someone like Buzzy Krongard, with his particular background, would be valuable for this project,
however in this age of Sarbanes/Oxley and other regulations, it would probably be impossible to
administer; but it's a good idea, anyways
So it sounds as if a variety of recruitment/journeyman programs are needed. Perhaps a CIA scholarship for selected veterans to pay their way to respectable schools, supplemented by a program to recruit among Ivy leagers who need to pay off their debt, perhaps supplemented by a program that recruits among top graduates of non-Ivy leaguers that would pay for a Master's program at selected Ivy league universities.
Perhaps members of the clandestine services overseas should be on the lookout for expatriot Americans already living and functioning overseas who can be recruited into the program and sent back to the states for training.
And while we're at it. What about some type of "Lodge Act" for highly qualified pro-American foreigners who might be willing to sign up in the CIA in exchange for citizenship after a certain number of years. Yes, I suppose that most of these would already be financially enough well off that they would not need the program to enter the U.S.
p.s. I hope the CIA is not subject to the "diversity profile" that effects some other government recruiting.
Part of the problem is that The CIA won't commit less trained agents. If Wild Bill Donovan had take 7 years to get his people into Europe, the war would have been long over. Second, while the CIA has had a penchant for picking people from classy eastern schools, I'd like them to consider some of our patriotic people of Islamic background, even if they have only a high school education. I say give them Burton to read and turn them loose. (In passing, I suspect that Porter Goss may be sympathetic to this line of thought.
I'm embarrassed to say that I posted without reading carefully the previous posts. What I'm struck by is the strong convergence of outlooks here. Complements especially to Parker and Narciso. While I share the notion that the CIA is underfunded (and a suspicion that the Pentagon is not the ideal place to set up a good spy shop), I do believe that what is necessary is a massive on the ground presence in the Middle East. There is no reason why we can't literally monitor the doings in every madrassa, evey coffee shop in these countries. I do believe that we ought to be not only identifying actual terrorists and proto-terrorists, but that we need to be equally concerned with the whole penumbra of West-hostile thinking in that part of the world. We need business men, exchange scholars, students; all sorts of stringers, so to speak. After all, this doesn't involve espionage, in the classic cold-war sense. We are not up against High-powered spy agencies on the other side. And is it not governments that we need -primarily- to infiltrate or learn about. What we are confronting is on one hand nothing more organized than an attitude of bitterness and disgruntlement; along with the occasional individual or group that goes into messiantic over-drive. The task is profoundly different. The CIA needs to move beyond a cold war training model. I mentioned Burton earlier. E. Phillips Oppenheim ain't so out of date either.
What a pathetic forum steeped in sanctimonius quasi-patriotic bullshit. Stop whining about how tough it is to draft "good agents" and think about the enormous damage done to the United States of America and the "blowback" we have suffered to due to the actions of depraved and misguided villains like Howard Hart. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US funded large numbers of jihadists through Pakistan's secret intelligence service, the ISI. Later the US wanted to raise another jihadi corps, again using proxies, to help Bosnian Muslims fight to weaken the Serb government's hold on Yugoslavia. For nearly a decade the US helped Islamist insurgents linked to Chechnya, Iran and Saudi Arabia destabilise the former Yugoslavia. The insurgents were also allowed to move further east to Kosovo. By the end of the fighting in Bosnia there were tens of thousands of Islamist insurgents in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo; many then moved west to Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Howard Hart was the former chief of the CIA's Paramilitary Operations Division under Reagan, with a sweeping brief to enlist the Mujahadin (and radical Islam) to fight Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980's. The rest is history, and pretty sick, sad, and disgusting history at that. We should all be ashamed of ourselves and what we have allowed to occur in the name of "freedom". But you smart guys already know that right? So you end up with a murderous regime of war criminals, thugs, liars, killers, deviants and thieves at the highest levels of power. Serves you right.
Dear Sir or Madam,
First I want to thank you for everything you did it for us and you still do it for the young people like us.
I am Somali girl, I am 21 Years old ,I live in Yemen with my family my father supported a family consist ten includes me I graduated from secondary school in 2002 I couldn’t enter the university because of our situation in Yemen we are refugee and the Yemeni government doesn’t allow us to continue our high learning. I mean that we can just complete the secondary school.
Our situation in Yemen is so bad and we cant return to Somalia because we have no future there. I am so active girl I want always to improve my skills like English language and Computer I can speak English quite well and I can use computer too I study (windows-word-PowerPoint-typing English)and some other skills in computer I mean I am not bad , I want to be something in my life.
I am sorry but whatever I wanted from you is your help I want work ,study and live like the other people as I think this is our right and I need your help to take it.
I am looking forward to answer to me as fast as you can
Naima Hassan Tahir
Why is the FBI and the CIA still using the ploygraph test. They have lost so many qualified applicants. Many American
citizens let alone military personnel have decided not to accept job with thse agencies. If this policy continues we
will be uable to stop a nuclear terrorist attacks, or a lost of allied in the Middle East. It seems quite clear that
the Russians view the CIa FBI ect, as a incompetent governemt agency with little hope. I have a friend who spoke a
rare lanugae, unfortunatly he decided not to continue "because of the polygraphy". Why should anyone apply for the FBI
or the CIA when they can apply to the State Department where the ploygraph is "not used".