Sunday, June 3, 2012

CIA vs Petraeus

The CIA Lobby
Will the CIA thrive under Petraeus?

David Ignatius, an old friend of the CIA, provides his assessment of General Petraeus as the new Director.  He advises that, although Petraeus is a good strong soldier, he's a tough taskmaster and the hierarchy really doesn't like his style.  The hierarchy liked Leon Panetta much better, because they could work with him.

Click here for related story   (c) David Ignatius

Folks, I have no idea what I'm doing here  (c) HolleewoodMinute

We agree the CIA hierarchy liked Leon Panetta much better -- because, basically, he was a pleasant fellow, and, because he had absolutely no clue as to what was going on, he was JUST the right Director for the hierarchy. And, the CIA hierarchy could tell him how to run things the way they liked, just like they did with George Tenet -- even less qualified than Panetta.

Let's face it; Panetta was a buffoon [still is], and they fed him lots of compliments and gave him lovely briefs, and he did as he was told.  [Now he's at the Pentagon, where he's being managed in the same way.]

Ignatius would have us believe Panetta was effective -- which he was not, and that Petraeus is definitely out of his league because he doesn't understand the Big Picture.

Petraeus: Professional Smart Guy                (c) Telegraph

In reality, Petraeus has a better grasp on the big picture than Panetta could ever hope to have since Petraeus has been in the trenches, he's worked hand in glove with some of the most powerful people in the world -- and he understands how they think, and how their subordinates think.

More-so, he understands the bad guys, and how THEY think; who they are, where they are, their weaknesses and strengths, and their inter-relationships with other bad guys -- and with "good" guys.

Because he has been in the trenches fighting both wars and insurgencies, and terrorism, he understands fully what information the guys in the trenches need, and what their commanders need. Panetta, the accountant, had no more understanding of the purpose of intelligence or the intelligence requirements of the military or counter-terrorism unit than Joe the Plumber.

Leon Panetta never had a clue; never will.  He's been an accountant, a bean counter, a suck-up all his life, and simply a patsy.  Ignatius warns that there are "rumblings" from mid-level CIA officers.  That could be because the in-mates are no longer running things.  Suddenly, they're being held accountable when they don't produce.

Petraeus wants to install some military style order to things -- to which the mid-level CIA officers object.  That's because they don't like taking orders, and have long presumed that no one understands intelligence like they do.  Could be because most of them think like cops -- because most of the their superiors were cops before they came to the CIA.  

Busted the dealer; don't know who the big guys are though

They came from DEA, ATF, highway patrols, and some, even from the military police.  [The CIA Contra coordinator in Guatemala was an ex-USAF policeman who had never fired even a pistol.]

The problem is that most CIA officers don't understand intelligence; first, because they don't know why it's important or how it will be used.  But, underneath it all, they long for the Big Bust -- an Arrest!  They want a "smoking gun" so they can finish their field tour and become a regional director, or run one of the elite stations.  Once a cop; always a cop.

But, running a comprehensive agent network?   Nah.  They're in too much of  hurry for that.  There are tickets to punch, information to hoard, ladders to climb, power to wield.

Teamwork, Information Sharing, Common Objectives
Petraeus wants to groom CIA officers like the military grooms its career officers.  He wants to instill the concept of teamwork [alien to the CIA culture], information sharing as a joint concept to achieve coordinated results. 

He wanted physically fit officers, but the budget guys turned down the $15 million gym allocation [$15 million is the cost of two satellite passes over Qandahar -- which gives you an idea of where CIA fits in the big scheme of things.]

[Petreaus longs for the POAC [Pentagon Officers Athletic Club] with a superbly equipped gym, basketball courts, and an indoor olympic pool.  Officers must pass a rigorous fitness test twice a year.]

Advanced learning includes mixing with the elite
He also wants rotational assignments so officers get school assignments between field assignments; they might even get a few years off for graduate school as Petraeus did [for a PhD at Princeton]. 

The military has the FAO [Foreign Area Officer] program, which sends officers to language school, graduate school [area studies] and then sends them out for regional acclimation. 

The CIA has nothing like that, and most case officers arrive in their new assignment not knowing the language or anything about the area.  Military officers arrive fully conversant in the foreign language as well as the regional history and culture, and may have even attended school in the country of their assignment.

One former Director, Stansfield Turner, began the Exceptional Intelligence Analyst Program which gave analysts with promise the opportunity to explore new ideas and concepts in a variety of environments.  The products of this program went on to achieve significant successes in analysis, management, and operation. 

One military analyst went on to create the DOD Clandestine Services Program, modeled after the CIA, but much more efficient and productive -- and a magnet for competent CIA case officers.

Time to break the CIA mold.
Ignateus is an admirer of the Old School CIA and has many friends who long for the old way of doing things -- which unfortunately created the problems for which the CIA was pretty much dismantled. 

They are bearers of the Cop mentality, and never quite grasped how to run really good espionage operations, instead, grabbing control of productive military operations because they were, after all, CIA.

General Petraeus, we wish you well, and caution you to watch your back.  The Old Guard doesn't like you and will try to make you fail.