for a major overhaul
Melvin A. Goodman
is little doubt that President Clinton's nomination of George Tenet
to be Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) will be confirmed by
the Senate Intelligence Committee this month. Tenet is widely known
in the Senate, where he was a committee staffer for a dozen years,
and he was confirmed by the intelligence committee several years ago
for his current position as deputy director of central intelligence.
It is less certain, however, that Tenet has either the political stature
or the reform agenda necessary for really changing this country's
huge intelligence apparatus.
spy empire--the so-called intel-ligence community--is
a creation of the Cold War that now includes thirteen secret agencies.
It employs too many people (over 150,000) and spends too much money
(over $30 billion a year). The Central Intelligence Agency is the
most notorious of these agencies and the director of the CIA is also
DCI, thus the titular leader of the entire empire. The CIA's major
companion agencies are in fact part of the Defense Department. They
National Security Agency, which is responsible for codebreaking
and electronic eavesdropping.
National Reconnaissance Office, which coordinates the development
and management of surveillance satellites.
National Imagery and Mapping Agency, which is responsible for analysis
of all satellite photography.
Defense Intelligence Agency, which conducts military intelligence
agencies are responsible for most of the spending of the intelligence
community and are ill-suited for the post-Cold War era.
military intelligence and combat
units of the military services
Preparing For the Twenty-First Century: An Appraisal of U.S. Intelligence,
Report of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United
States Intelligence Community [Brown Commission](Washington: U.S.
Government Printing Office, March 1, 1996), p. 132 and passim.
Interpolation of data by the Federation of American Scientists= website
(http//:www.fas.org/irp). See note 1 below.
at the CIA include spy scandals, the failure to warn of the disintegration
of the former Soviet Union, the distribution of tainted intelligence
to three presidents, and the cover-up of terrorist activities in Central
America. The CIA's most recent failure-not warning the Pentagon before
Desert Storm that Iraq had stored sarin nerve gas at a depot known
as Khamisiyah-was reminiscent of the intelligence failure at Pearl
Harbor, which led directly to the creation of the CIA. In the case
of Pearl Harbor, the United States had sufficient intelligence to
protect American soldiers but information never reached troops in
the field. In the case of Khamisiyah, the CIA had this information
for more than five years but still produced, according to Sen. Jay
Rockefeller, sloppy, unreliable and sometimes contradictory intelligence.
for CIA's covert action, the clandestine intervention into the affairs
of other states, grew out of the worst days of the Cold War, and it
is time to end that authority. These actions rarely work. Even short-term
successes-such as Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s and Afghanistan
in the 1980s-have become long-term failures. The intense unpopularity
of the Shah after the CIA helped him to power in 1953 led to the Islamic
revolution of 1979. Guatemala became the home of the most brutal military
regime in Central America, and CIA officers failed to report terrorist
activities by their Guatemalan assets. Afghanistan has become a land
of death and misery, and weapons supplied to the mujahideen are fueling
conflicts in Bosnia and Sudan. Mobutu Sese Seko was a CIA asset when
he took over Zaire in 1965 and began three decades of robbing and
debasing his country. The United States and the CIA have made similar
mistakes in Liberia (Samuel Doe) and Somalia (Mohammed Siad Barre),
where U.S. military forces have had to bail out our interests.
time to jettison the myth that only clandestine collection of information
can ascertain foreign leaders' intentions. Intelligence community
sources failed to decipher Leonid Brezhnev's intentions toward Czechoslovakia
in 1968, Anwar Sadat's toward Israel in 1973, and Saddam Hussein's
in 1990. State Department officials provide more useful information
on foreign leaders than the CIA, which recently purged more than a
thousand foreign assets and informants because of their criminal histories
and irrelevant information. But there has been no detailed public
accounting of this so-called "scrub" of agents and, unless
the congressional intelligence committees review this exercise, there
is no way to determine if the CIA has genuinely abandoned some of
its bad habits from the cold war.
repeated failures by the CIA's directorate of operations and the directorate
of intelligence, former director of central intelligence R. James
Woolsey actually merged these two troubled but very different entities.
The operations wing is deeply involved in policy; it relies on secrecy
and hierarchy, and shares information on a need-to-know basis. The
intelligence wing must have no policy axes to grind, however, and
its credibility rests on that fact. Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, former head
of NSA and deputy director of CIA, has warned against merging collection
and analysis of intelligence in a single agency. Serious failures,
including the lack of warning about the collapse of the Soviet Union,
have occurred when policy advocacy hampers the flow of intelligence
Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA) was the creation of former director
of central intelligence John Deutch who created NIMA as a combat-support
agency in order to centralize all analysis of satellite imagery in
the Pentagon. There are major risks in the military dominating this
important field. Imagery analysis has been used to critique the defense
budget, to gauge the likelihood of military conflict in the Third
World, and to verify arms control agreements.
Colin L. Powell's memoir, An American Journey, reveals the
military's willingness to suppress sensitive imagery intelligence.
During Desert Storm, Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf said at a press conference
that a smart bomb had destroyed four Iraqi Scud missile launchers.
Intelligence imagery demonstrated that it had actually destroyed four
Jordanian fuel tanks.
Schwarzkopf's intelligence officers would not tell him he was wrong.
Nor would Powell, who concluded that preserving Schwarzkopf's equanimity
was more important than the truth. This type of military bias was
one of the primary reasons for creating an independent CIA in 1947.
Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has been a technological marvel but a
financial disaster. In a complete collapse of accountability, neither
the CIA nor the Pentagon were able to monitor more than $4 billion
in unspent satellite construction funds, which should have been returned
to Congress, and Congress had to learn from a local newspaper that
the NRO had spent more than $300 million on a lavish headquarters
building in the Virginia suburbs. Billions of dollars could be saved
over the next ten years by developing smaller satellites and shifting
NRO's classified payloads from Lockheed Martin's heavy-lift Titan
boosters to its smaller and less costly Atlas launchers.
the National Security Agency (NSA) earns consistently high marks for
protecting the nation's security and, at the same time, contributing
to its technology. NSA not only dissented during several international
crises, when the CIA and DIA had it wrong, particularly in the Middle
East and East Europe, but has been on the cutting edge of U.S. technology
for decades. NSA contributed directly to the first transistorized
computers, semiconductors, high-speed circuitry, and microelectronics;
it financed some of the first supercomputers designed by Seymour Cray
and developed technology that may crack the ultimate code-DNA, the
genetic blueprint of life itself. NSA may be the largest and most
expensive intelligence agency in the history of civilization, but
it is a model of innovation and invention.
Is To Be Done?
States must confront the post-Cold War world with a much smaller and
more cost-efficient intelligence community than the gargantuan apparatus
that now exists. It is time to address:
The proper role of espionage and covert action in the post-Cold
The need for rigorous oversight.
Reduced spending on intelligence.
Redundancy in the intelligence community.
The need to protect intelligence from politicization.
CIA director must know the difference between those intelligence programs
that address national security threats and those programs that are
be possible to save billions of dollars in the intelligence community
over the next ten years with smaller satellite intelligence platforms,
major personnel cuts, and an end to the redundancy of administrative
and programmatic support. The size and redundancy of military intelligence
must be addressed by the Defense Department, which spends five of
every six intelligence dollars. The analytic product of the DIA, which
is below the caliber of the rest of the intelligence community, must
be strengthened, and the director of DIA should have the rank and
resources to be the Director of Military Intelligence. Such a director
could integrate all intelligence capabilities of the military services,
which is why DIA was created more than thirty years ago.
covert actions had some successes during the worst days of the Cold
War. But the nation's spy service, which resides almost entirely in
the CIA, has become an anachronism that no longer serves our quest
for international stability and even compromises our principles as
a constitutional democracy. All covert action and all spying against
our friends and allies should be stopped; CIA propaganda and efforts
to influence foreign elections must end. Woolsey's merger of intelligence
and operations must be reversed, and the CIA must guarantee that the
operations directorate does not taint or politicize the intelligence
that is distributed to policymakers and congressmen. Last year's presidential
commission on intelligence reform actually endorsed the merger of
intelligence and operations, although it acknowledged the risk of
also favored the blending of spying and law enforcement, and President
Clinton has endorsed the creation of an interagency committee on global
crime at the National Security Council (whose members would include
the attorney general and the CIA director). This would run counter
to the National Security Act of 1947-which created the CIA-because
it prohibits a CIA role in law enforcement. Any redefinition of the
traditional roles for U.S. spies could have implications for U.S.
citizens' civil rights.
the end of the Cold War, the military services have increasingly dominated
the intelligence process and the last DCI, John Deutch, ran the CIA
as if he were on loan from the Defense Department. He marginalized
the role of strategic intelligence, drastically reduced the production
of National Intelligence Estimates, put CIA analysts at the beck and
call of the Pentagon, and placed the control of technical intelligence
collection and the analysis of satellite photography in the Defense
Department. Deutch did nothing to strengthen the analytic capabilities
of the intelligence community, which face new targets and challenges
since the end of the cold war. The strategic landscape has changed
drastically since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, but the
architecture of the intelligence community remains unchanged. The
United States has a roster of experts in industry who are cleared
for work on the construction of satellites and other collection platforms,
but the intelligence community lacks regular access to outside experts
who have the education and experience to interpret international events.
cannot serve as both the director of central intelligence (the intelligence
community) and the director of the CIA and fulfill responsibilities
to the White House, Congress, and the American people. It is time
to create some kind of intelligence czar for the community-a Director
of National Intelligence-and a separate director for intelligence
analysis. The intelligence czar would have access and support from
the president, control over the intelligence budget and collection,
and authority over the non-analytic efforts of the thirteen agencies
of the community. The current DCI controls only around 10 percent
of U.S. intelligence spending, with the rest controlled by the secretary
of defense. A director of national intelligence would oversee the
entire intelligence budget. The authority for the analysis of strategic
intelligence would be in the hands of a statutory director of an analytic
agency which would be separate from all policy agencies, would not
serve on the cabinet, and would coordinate the analytic efforts of
all intelligence agencies.
for Rigorous Oversight
will be no significant intelligence reform without the active participation
of Congress, but the principal legislation that governs the organization
and responsibilities of the intelligence community is nearly fifty
years old; it is inadequate and must be reexamined. The role of congressional
oversight must be strengthened and we must stop the politicization
of the Senate Intelligence Committee that allowed former senator Warren
Rudman to try to intimidate critics of the CIA in 1991 and, more recently,
allowed committee chairman Sen. Richard Shelby to politicize confirmation
hearings for Tony Lake as DCI. The creation of a presidential commission
on intelligence implicitly recognized the inadequacy of congressional
oversight. The Office of Management and Budget and the General Accounting
Office must become major players in oversight of the intelligence
community and the intelligence budget must be declassified. The secret
budget is, of course, a violation of the constitution.
CIA director must stop the recycling of those high-level officials
who contributed to the politicization of intelligence in the first
place. Two senior officials who were responsible for corrupting intelligence
on the Soviet Union later become the national intelligence officer
for Russia and the deputy director for intelligence, respectively.
The project manager of the papal plot assessment is now one of the
agency's highest-ranking officers, the deputy director for operations.
The co-author of the papal assessment is the CIA historian. The analyst
who produced a bogus National Intelligence Estimate on Mexico 1984
and supplied disinformation to Congress on Haitian president Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in 1993 is now director of the CIA's Center for the Study
of Intelligence, which coordinates all agency contacts with the academic
community. Deutch even named Bob Gates, who was responsible for politicizing
intelligence on the former Soviet Union in the 1980s, to head a panel
to determine whether a recent national intelligence estimate on strategic
threats to the United States had been politicized, as its critics
had charged. The rewarding of these officials and the CIA's refusal
to confront past abuses contributes to institutional cynicism and
low morale and prevents systemic reform.
it is time to depoliticize the role of the DCI itself. Former DCIs
George Bush, William Casey, and Robert Gates were bad choices because
they were too close to partisan politics. Director -designate Tenet,
unfortunately, is a political appointment. It is time to look for
a DCI outside the intelligence community, where former senator Bill
Bradley, Admiral William Crowe, or Ambassador Thomas Pickering could
be found. Any of these individuals could overhaul the intelligence
community, attract outside scholars and experts, and restore the concept
of U.S. intelligence as an independent and objective interpreter of
A. Goodman was an analyst with the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence
and Research and with the CIA for twenty-four years. A professor at
the National War College and a senior fellow at the Center for International
Policy, he is the author of The Wars of Eduard Shevardnadze (1997),
Gorbachev's Retreat (1991), and The End of Superpower
Conflict in the Third World (1992). His most recent article, Ending
the CIA's Cold War Legacy, appeared in the spring edition of Foreign
chart is a composite from two sources. The first, an official report
known as the Brown Commission report, omitted the dollar amounts and
personnel complements because they are classified. The second is the
website of the Federation of American Scientists (http://www.fas.org/irp),
which, interpolating from unclassified information in the report text,
added the quantitative legend given above. The information originally
was published in the Washington Post on March 12, 1996.