Intelligence failures

Our friends at the Claremont Institute and the Claremont Review of Books have once again afforded us the privilege of rolling out a few pieces from the new (Summer) issue, which has just been mailed out to subscribers. The CRB is the flagship publication of the Claremont Institute and is my favorite magazine. The mission of the CRB, consistent with the mission of the Claremont Institute itself, is to lay the intellectual groundwork for the restoration of limited government. The CRB seeks to do so much as the New Republic, founded in 1914 by Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann, laid the intellectual groundwork for its undoing in the Progressive Era and the New Deal. Subscriptions to the CRB are only $19.95 a year; subscribe here.
Angelo Codevilla is the perspicacious teacher of international relations at Boston University and former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer. In “Intelligence failures,” Professor Codevilla reviews the memoir by George Tenet covering his tenure at the CIA. Professor Codevilla observes: “The CIA has always valued fighting battles in Washington more than fighting America’s battles abroad.” Professor Codevilla shows how Tenet fights one particular Washington battle in the book:

The Agency confuses “the intelligence itself” and “what the intelligence says” with its own conclusions, dismissing any facts that lead to contrary conclusions as “cherry picking,” “fragments,” or ” their own set of facts.” The CIA argues strictly by its own authority, and by making up standards to fit its needs in any given circumstance. In 2002, the Agency had concluded that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Tenet certified this by prominently sitting behind then-Secretary of State Colin Powell as he delivered his February 5, 2002 testimonial to the United Nations. In his book, Tenet explains: “It would have been helpful to have clarified that the use of the words


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