Sunday, December 16, 2007

The CIA's misinformation problem

Joseph Weisberg was in the CIA's Directorate of Operations from 1990 to 1994. He explains why the CIA's information isn't what taxpayer's expect:
The CIA can't recruit top-quality agents because it isn't possible.... Sympathetic Europeans who work at companies involved in the illicit transfer of nuclear components might help us understand how the underground nuclear supply chain works. Scientists who attend highly specialized conferences might glean valuable insights into foreign capabilities.

But the majority of CIA agents do not fall into even these less glamorous categories. Most are worthless as sources of information, mid-level bureaucrats with no access to vital intelligence. They are recruited to give case officers something to do (at least they were when I worked at the CIA) since recruiting truly valuable sources is close to impossible.

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