Sunday, April 10, 2005


Steyn on the CIA

Mark Steyn doesn't think much of the CIA:
Even before the latest budget-bloating ''reforms,'' the U.S. government was spending $30 billion annually on intelligence, and in return its intelligence agencies got everything wrong. British and French intelligence also get a lot of things wrong, but they get them wrong on far smaller budgets. One of the great sub-plots of the post-9/11 world is the uselessness of ''experts,'' the guys who get unlimited budgets to run 24/7 agencies devoted to their areas of expertise. What's startling about the glimpses we get of CIA operations -- that red-hot presidential briefing from August 2001, Joseph C. Wilson IV's non-fact-finding mission to Niger -- is how generalized it all is: Anybody who watches cable news or reads an occasional foreign paper would know as much.
How about if that $30 billion was allocated to, say, a program for subsidized bicycling helmets for grade-schoolers or some other federal boondoggle, and they bulldozed Langley, and gave the CIA director 20,000 bucks to put all his agency's global ''analysis'' up on a blog -- -- and invite comments from readers around the world? It couldn't possibly be less informed than the CIA's decades-long record of incompetence in the Middle East. U.S. intelligence needs a fresh start, and short of buying ol' Sandypants a larger pair of trousers and getting him to smuggle out every single classified document, it's not clear how it's ever going to get it.
I didn't notice when Steyn came back from his hiatus, but I am very glad he's back.

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