We have written several times, including here and here, about the guerrilla campaign that the CIA has waged for years against the Bush administration. The CIA, which has always been a Democratic organization, has been insubordinate and has actively sought to undermine President Bush’s policies. This morning, David Brooks has an excellent column about the CIA problem:
Over the past several months, as much of official Washington looked on wide-eyed and agog, many in the C.I.A. bureaucracy have waged an unabashed effort to undermine the current administration.
At the height of the campaign, C.I.A. officials, who are supposed to serve the president and stay out of politics and policy, served up leak after leak to discredit the president’s Iraq policy. There were leaks of prewar intelligence estimates, leaks of interagency memos. In mid-September, somebody leaked a C.I.A. report predicting a gloomy or apocalyptic future for the region.
White House officials concluded that they could no longer share important arguments and information with intelligence officials….
…Langley was engaged in slow-motion, brazen insubordination, which violated all standards of honorable public service. It was also incredibly stupid, since C.I.A. officials were betting their agency on a Kerry victory.
As the presidential race heated up, the C.I.A. permitted an analyst – who, we now know, is Michael Scheuer – to publish anonymously a book called “Imperial Hubris,” which criticized the Iraq war. Here was an official on the president’s payroll publicly campaigning against his boss. As Scheuer told The Washington Post this week, “As long as the book was being used to bash the president, they [the C.I.A. honchos] gave me carte blanche to talk to the media.”
The problem is how President Bush can effectively rein in this rogue agency. Most CIA employees are civil servants who can’t, as far as I know, be fired. The best solution I can see is to give up on the CIA, and use the disclosures of the agency’s intelligence failures over the last several years as grounds to put the agency out of business. If the CIA were abolished as part of a broader intelligence shakeup, a new agency could be founded and staffed with entirely new personnel. Short of this, I can’t see how President Bush can stamp out the rebellion in Langley. But the administration has shown no appetite for this kind of major overhaul.