Furor has arisen over President-elect
Spare us the outrage. For decades, directors of intelligence agencies have often quite inappropriately massaged their assessments to fit administration agendas.
Careerists at these agencies naturally want to continue working from one administration to the next in "the king is dead; long live the king!" style. So they make the necessary political adjustments, which are sometimes quite at odds with their own agency's findings and to the detriment of national security. The result is often confusion -- and misinformation passed off as authoritative intelligence.
Under Obama, Brennan loudly criticized the use of enhanced interrogation techniques under the Bush administration. Brennan praised his new boss for his superior approach to combating terrorism.
Brennan, who had served a year as the director of the National Counterterrorism Center under Bush, later assured the nation that enhanced interrogation techniques had helped "save lives" and were an important tool in combating terrorism.
In 2010, Brennan inexplicably declared that jihad was "a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community," rather than the use of force against non-Muslims to promote the spread of Islam, as it is commonly defined in the
Brennan assured the nation that the Obama administration's drone assassination program had not resulted in "a single collateral death" -- a claim widely disbelieved even by administration supporters.
Compare the similar odyssey of
During his Bush tenure, Clapper had declared that weapons of mass destruction in
Clapper also stayed on in the intelligence community under President Obama and eventually was promoted to director of national intelligence -- and soon made the necessary transformations to adapt to an entirely new approach to radical Islamic terrorism.
Clapper asserted in congressional testimony that the
Few were convinced when Clapper insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood in
Clapper was also faulted by military intelligence officers at CENTCOM for purportedly pressuring Pentagon officials to issue rosy reports about the supposed decline of the
Former CIA Director
Tenet assured the president that WMD in
Few believed early intelligence talking points that the American deaths in
But that implausible intelligence narrative dovetailed with the Obama re-election themes of an
Such politicized assessments are not uncommon. The 2007
The media should spare its current outrage at any suggestion that politics affects the administration of some 16 major intelligence agencies. Journalists should instead listen to Democratic Sen.
Careerism and ideology at the top sometimes undermine the work of patriotic and gifted case officers in the rank and file. The integrity of intelligence depends on the probity of individual intelligence chiefs -- and the degree to which administration operatives are kept away from intelligence directors.
Reform requires honesty rather than the present self-righteous hypocrisy.
There are far too many separate intelligence agencies and thus too many agendas. Directors should have term limits. They should not reinvent themselves to bounce between various directorships from administration to administration.
Issuing absurd politically driven hypotheses should be grounds for dismissal -- and giving false testimony to