Not Your Daddy’s CIA

Blog Post

The eight years of Obama have been corrosive to the entire nation. Nowhere has it been worse than at the Central Intelligence Agency. This piece by John Sipher is instructive and I refer it for your information only.

 The Cipher Brief:

(LINK) Across the Central Intelligence Agency lobby from the iconic stars memorializing officers killed in the line of duty is a less well-known memorial. It is an understated relief in honor of those foreign spies who risked and lost their lives to provide secret information to the United States. It is a reminder that the CIA remains at its core, the nation’s espionage arm. Apparently, however, CIA Director John Brennan doesn’t see it that way. 
In what was otherwise a thoughtful interview with National Public Radio last week, CIA Director John Brennan expressed his personal view that the CIA should be not be viewed as a spy agency. In the 24 February interview he said, “I don’t support government spying… We don’t steal secrets… We uncover, we discover, we reveal, we obtain, we elicit, we solicit. All of that.” What? We don’t steal secrets? Is he joking? Brennan has reportedly also made clear to the officers under his charge that he eschews the term espionage, and does not view the CIA as an espionage service.  
Fortuitously, former CIA Director Michael Hayden’s new book, Playing to the Edge was released on the same day that Brennan made his comments, and he seems more comfortable advocating for CIA’s espionage role. The title of Hayden’s book is sports metaphor meant to highlight how he viewed his responsibility as the Director of the NSA and CIA. That is, in an effort to secure the safety of the American people, US officials should use all of their authorities under the law. They should use the entire playing field, even right up to the boundary. In the book, Hayden refers to a speech in which he comments that “the American people expect CIA to use every inch we are given to protect her fellow citizens,” adding his view that espionage is essential to a democracy. Sadly, Brennan’s remarks on the same day suggest that he does not see his authority in the same way. 
While his comments might not resonate outside of the Intelligence Community, make no mistake, it is a long term danger to our security when the head of the nation’s espionage organization says that he doesn’t support spying. It sends a chill through those who work in the shadows to keep us safe and makes them wonder if their boss has their back. It also confirms the fears of many CIA employees and alumni that Brennan’s recent efforts to restructure and change CIA culture were a furtive means of weakening the clandestine service. 

4 thoughts on “Not Your Daddy’s CIA

  1. Surely there isn't a dangerous 5th Column in the country? Oh yeah, I forgot, it's in the White House.

  2. Barack should stay in Cuba until his term of office runs its course and then he can go to Indonesia or Kenya — or even to Russia, but I don't think that Putin would want him. One thing is certain, to a very great degree, he's de-nutted the clandestine service. It can be rebuilt, of course, but that takes time and I don't know that we have the time.

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