Monday, February 11, 2008

I just finished Legacy of Ashes by Tim Weiner, an interesting, but depressing, history of the CIA.

Before reading this book, I expected to read about a lot of illegal, and probably immoral, things the CIA had done. What I didn't expect was the incompetence that existed right from the start of the CIA. Right from the start, the CIA ignored it's mandate to deliver quality intelligence for the president to focus on covert operations of little strategic value. On top of that, president after president, both Democrat and Republican, has abused the CIA in order to further their own political ends.

I'd be curious to see how the CIA's string of failures and lapses compares with other intelligence agencies, like the UK's MI6 or the Soviet KGB, to see if some of these problems are endemic to the intelligence community or if they are uniquely American.

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