Defense Dept. Hopes for CIA Reform

We’ve been applauding President Bush’s effort to clean house at the CIA. This morning’s Wahington Times includs an article by Rowan Scarborough titled “Pentagon Cheers CIA Shake-up”:

The ongoing shake-up at the CIA is a welcome development for senior Pentagon officials that promises to end the agency’s below-the-radar opposition to some aspects of President Bush’s war on terrorism.
Defense Department sources privately complained that parts of the CIA’s entrenched bureaucracy of analysts opposed the military’s large role in a war against al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
A former senior Pentagon policy-maker said that in discussions with the CIA some analysts left the impression they still did not realize al Qaeda’s growing threat. “The feeling in the Pentagon was we had been saying for some time that these guys were dangerous and we didn’t get any backing from the CIA,” said the former official, who asked not to be named because he still does business with the Bush administration. “They had neglected the operational decision that they needed to go after these terrorists. If they saw terrorism as a threat, they … sure didn’t act as if they had to respond to it.”
[Defense officials] say analysts expressed opposition to going to war with Iraq and filed overly pessimistic reports that seemed to always leak to the liberal press. One senior official told The Washington Times last year of an Iraq station chief’s dire predictions on Iraq. The station chief’s report leaked to the press within days of its arrival in Washington. What seemed odd to this Pentagon official was that the dispatch contained a long list of “CCs” all the way down to Navy battle group commanders at sea, meaning tens of thousands saw the report.
“This report was designed to leak,” the official charged.

Liberals will try to gain political capital from the squawking that will continue to come from the CIA, but it won’t be easy in view of their own criticism of intelligence failures in recent years.

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