Friday, May 24, 2013
CIA to Refocus on Intelligence Instead of Covert Combat
The CIA is reportedly poised to emphasize spying over secret warfare, intelligence gathering and analysis instead of paramilitary activities.
A return to roots? Not really. As Tim Weiner makes clear in Legacy of Ashes, the agency's original, Cold War mission, know the world, rapidly evolved into change the world. Rolling back the Iron Curtain by clandestine means and stopping the Soviets and the Communist Chinese from expanding their influence was stressed over learning their real intentions, plans and methods.
Along with counterintelligence, which is defensive in nature, knowing an adversary's aims--what it's actually up to--and capabilities should be the highest priority for any secret service. An accurate understanding of Hitler's real intentions (motives are interesting but practically irrelevant in international politics), for example, would most likely have led the leaders of Great Britain and France to abandon their policy of appeasement in the years leading up to World War II; and the conflict might have been prevented, or, at the very least, not fought on Germany's terms.
So much for history. In related, news, the deadly Islamist attack on the agency's Benghazi base (notice the military term) continues to make news. Click here for the story.
BONUS VINTAGE VIDEO: André Pachter's Classic Cold War Spytainment, from the days of the Berlin battleground, when the CIA secretly fought the KGB. The city was walled off. But boundaries were clear. And the enemy that nowadays threatens all civilized societies--radical Islam--wasn't even a nuisance. André says: "Those were the days, my friend."