Monday, July 02, 2007

A new MI-6 for the US?

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has analyzed the FBI culture, prerogatives, techniques and mission and believes that the United States needs an equivalent to MI-5 -- the British Secret Service that performs domestic intelligence operations, counterespionage and counterterrorism but that has no authority to arrest or detain suspects. Posner's reasoning is direct: the FBI is an investigative culture that works from a crime-solving perspective, not an intelligence organization that seeks to prevent US enemies from acting against US interests on US soil.

MI-6 is the British Secret Intelligence Service (aka, "S.I.S."). The former haunt of such British traitors like Donald MacLean and Kim Philby, the actual purpose of MI-6 is to gather intelligence outside the British Isles -- like our CIA.

Professor Angelo Codevilla, a former intelligence officer and senior staffer on the Senate Intelligence Committee from 1978-85, discusses the recent release of the CIA's internal report from 1973 that detailed many of the Agency's "sins." From his discussion of the Agency, it seems the US needs a new MI-6 as much as it needs to establish an MI-5. Some excerpts:

Beginning in 1975, counterintelligence - which was principally quality control of operations - became the responsibility of those conducting the operations. Freed from independent scrutiny, CIA officers gullibly accepted more information than ever from "walk-in" sources and from foreign governments' intelligence services.

Since then, whenever we have had a intelligence windfall (e.g., access to the East German Stasi files after 1989) we have learned that all or nearly all CIA sources had been controlled by hostile services. In Iraq, in 2003, CIA sources reported watching as Saddam Hussein and sons entered a house with bunker; U.S. aircraft immediately demolished it. But there had never been any bunker, never mind Saddam. As usual, the CIA's agents were doubles.

Worse than operational incompetence, the CIA has long been an advocate of hamstringing US intelligence-gathering ability. Not only has the Agency been actively anti-Bush, it has fought against its own reason for being since the Church Committee's inquisition in 1975.

. . . after 1975, the CIA would never again make a serious effort radically to change a foreign situation in America's favor, as in 1953 Iran. Indeed, in the 1980s the CIA fought against congressional and White House attempts to help the Afghan resistance to the Soviet invasion and against enabling Nicaragua's Contras to depose the Communist Sandinistas.

* * *
But the most consequential change of all was in personnel and attitude: In all fields and functions, the CIA became the leftmost influence on foreign policy within the executive branch.

The Stansfield Turner influence continues to this day.

To the detriment of the security of the United States.

[Posted to OTB].

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