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Thread: Panetta as CIA Director

  1. #41
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    Default OK, now we have a duo ...

    DI is under DNI - wm's proposal for it.

    And "DO" is another agency from what I glean from Entropy:

    ... should just be the HUMINT collection and covert action agency
    as to which, Entropy, does this include all four of the "blacker" functions:

    1. Espionage

    2. Disinformation

    3. Special Operations

    4. Counter-intelligence

    See, we nearly have the re-orgnization solved - ain't we smart.

    forgot to ask - Is this agency under DNI as in wm's proposal for DI ?

    ------------------
    PS: Rex, I like "small shops" - the possibility of a meritocracy with functioning horizontal and vertical lines of communication. Can work for a few hundred people.
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-06-2009 at 08:43 PM. Reason: add question

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    And where does the analytic function go? While it is uneven, from what I've seen there's no one who does it better in the USG (well, INR, but that works in part because it is a rather small shop).
    That's a big question. Big parts of it have been stripped off - most notably the counter-terrorism analysis and management of NIE's which were consolidated under the DNI. Technically (if I'm reading the law right, which I might not be doing) CIA gets to retain an analysis capability as long as it relates to its HUMINT mission. Makes sense since NSA and NGA both have analysis functions as well. But CIA specialized in a lot of "all-source" analytical areas, particularly strategic-level analysis, and it's not clear to me what's going to happen there beyond the NIE change. I do remember reading somewhere that CIA has increased the number of analysts it employs, so that should tell us something.

  3. #43
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    JMM,

    1. Espionage - yes definitely, this falls under CIA's HUMINT mandate. (google "national clandestine service" for more).
    2. Disinformation - not sure what you mean here. Psyops? If so, I thinks that's spread around a bit. Not really sure.
    3. CIA still does covert action stuff. It nests nicely with clandestine HUMINT.
    4. CI is still distributed among the various agencies. There isn't yet a centralized CI organization.

    You may find this CRS report of value:

  4. #44
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    Default Two down, some to go

    OK, now we have:

    1. DI (directorate of intelligence - analysis) under DNI

    2. DH (directorate of HUMINT - espionage) under DNI ?

    And following wm's statement

    Except espionage, which is another name for HUMINT to most folks I think, this list comprises "scope creep" missions that should not be part of an intel organization anyway.
    that leaves three functions out to lunch:

    1. Disinformation - generally non-violent stuff involving subversion, infiltration, planting stories & docs, political action dirty tricks - all in foreign counties.

    2. Special Operations - violent stuff, small and big - again in foreign counties[*]

    3. Counter-intelligence - penetration of or screwing up foreign intel agencies & protecting own against same (James Angelton stuff) - counter espionage is J. Edgar Hoover stuff.

    Where do these go ?
    [*]

    from Entropy
    CIA still does covert action stuff. It nests nicely with clandestine HUMINT.
    Not sure that this OSS action stuff "nests nicely" with espionage. Comments from others - since we have had roughly 60 years of history here.

    PS: have to go home now - will check in later. Good discussion.
    Last edited by jmm99; 01-06-2009 at 09:41 PM.

  5. #45
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    Default Jmm

    As Entropy says, espionage is a function of HUMINT which is CIA (but also some DIA) The National Clandestine Service is still managed by CIA. Entropy (and JMM) disinformation is NOT PSYOP - as an old Psyoper. Disinformation is a subset of deception which is run as an intel op by the military (Fortitude in WWII) or by CIA. Special ops is primarily military -USSOCOM - but covert action both political and paramilitary falls under CIA from the National Security Act of 1947 where it talks about "such other activities as the President shall from time to time direct." CI is primarly an FBI function but DOD and others have a share - CIA also owns a piece overseas.

    Rex, generally, I agree with you about CIA's analytical capability and INR's as well. there have been times, however, when DIA actually did better analytical work than CIA and times when sevice analytical elements were better than any of them. DI was not moved to DNI. It's still there and no analysis shop is limited to one intel discipline. they all do all source analysis an are limited only by what is not shared among the various elements of the community. When I was in the business, we got all of NSA's take, all of DIA's reports, all DOS cables and INR analysis, nothing from FBI, and supposedly everything from CIA. CIA always held back in those days and if something broke, you'd always get a flood of CIA traffic from the last several months.... My impression is that now there is far more sharing w/in the community than in my day and that it is largely elecronic. I had heard as well that the dreaded caveat, ORCON, is no longer seen - hope that is true.

    Cheers

    JohnT

  6. #46
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Honestly I thought then and still do that Army intelligence in the DFI did better military and pol-mil analysis in the 1990s. I also feel that ITAC and AIA when they existed were far better than either CIA or DIA when it came to ground focused operational to tactical intelligence. Case in point for both those arguments was Army DFI's role in pushing a clear picture of the Iraqi threat and reactions to an reconquest of Kuwait versus an intent to conquer Iraq and ITAC analysis of the Iraqi ground deployments in the KTO. CIA, State (not INR), and DIA were into group think that the world would end if we took Kuwait back.

    On CIA regional analysis uneven is an accurate word. All depends on who is sitting in the chair. INR had an edge because they tended to stay. CIA-DI were younger and more transient. DIA suffered from the same plus then DIA decided to analyze along "functional" lines so you had transport analysts and military analysts etc etc. none of whom understood that a tank or a train or a plane in the Sudan or Congo was not the same as a tank or a train or a plane in South Africa (in the previous regime).

    Longevity, training, and rewards are the keys to building an analytical base, regardless of agency.

    Tom

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Longevity, training, and rewards are the keys to building an analytical base, regardless of agency.
    I couldn't agree more.

  8. #48
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    Default Returning to the original issue of this thread.

    Does anyone else see a problem for the incoming DNI? For all his experience, Admiral Blair, the nominal and sometimes very real superior of Mr Panetta does not have the personal relationship with the new President that his nominal and sometimes very real subordinate has. Makes me think that the consequences (intended or unintended) of these appointments may well be to denigrate the role of the DNI without attempting to change the legislation. If I were Admiral Blair, I would withdraw my name unless I had written assurances that the DCIA answered to me. (And I'd be fully prepared to use those assurances publicly.)

    Cheers

    JohnT

  9. #49
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Unhappy Denigrating the DNI

    All I can say is that if they choose to rollback that role and the successes that have come with it

    They get to live with the result Literally)
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

    Cogitationis poenam nemo patitur

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    Just out of curiosity, what is the forum's opinion on General Hayden? My only impression of him comes from the few public appearances that I have seen him make - particularly when he was on Meet the Press with Russert. Aside from looking like a nerd - not a bad quality for an intel guy, imo - he came off as a guy who has brains down to his ankles.

    Does he have a future in intelligence whatnot after this administration? Should he?

  11. #51
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    Things are a bit more clear now. The President-elect said today, speaking about his intelligence nominations:

    I think what you'll also see is a team that is committed to breaking with the past practices and concerns that have tarnished the image of the agencies, both intelligence agencies as well as US foreign policy
    Tom,

    I agree with most your comment, especially the last line that Rex highlighted, but I don't think CIA's role has ever been focused on tactical intelligence and DIA only marginally so. On Kuwait, I think it's fair to point out that the CIA and DIA warning community accurately forecast the Iraqi invasion in and were largely ignored by the policy and most of the rest of the intelligence community. The sad reality of the intelligence business is that no one has a perfect track record.

    John,

    You're quite right that everyone does "all source" analysis, but the collection agencies like NSA and NGA have their institutional biases. For example, one would rarely (if ever - I can't recall every reading one) see NSA do any analysis that did not have a SIGINT component and most bread-and-butter products were heavily SIGINT based. Same with NGA (the agency with the every-changing name) and imagery.

    Agree about ORCON. I hated that. I spent a lot of time in one job trying to get ORCON products to the people that needed them. It was a complete PITA.

    The Panetta nomination reminded of another outsider CIA director - John McCone under President Kennedy - who played a key role in the Cuban missile crisis.

  12. #52
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    Default Entropy

    You're right on the institutional base thing and even more so about NSA. When I was reading them, their "Finished Product" looked more like condensed raw data than analysis of any kind. That said, CIA, DIA, and my shop (Army Current Intel by whatever name) all did real all source analysis with varying degrees of effectiveness. In my 2 years active there the order of quality was CIA, us, and DIA. In 7 years of returning as a Reservisteach agency was in the lead at one time or another. Later, in Strat MID(S), our regional analysis for GIPD and CIPD was better than anything CIA or DIA ever did.

    Regarding Hayden: He seems like a competent professional. My only qualm is that he came out of NSA and had no background in HUMINT or real analysis.

    Finally, saw Gary Berntsen plugging his new book on intel on TV last night. His pitch/take on Panetta was exactly what one would expect from a guy who came out of the CIA paramilitary ops and clandestine collection parts of DO. Represents some of the best and some of the worst aspects of CIA. See Jawbreaker for the best.

    One last item, can't I get any bites on my last post about the apparent denigration of DNI?

    Cheers

    JohnT

  13. #53
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    Here's Fred Kaplan's take from Slate. IMO, the one really interesting part of the article is his resurrection of the Flynt Leverett proposal:
    One good proposal was laid out in a 2004 New York Times op-ed by Flynt Leverett, a former CIA analyst now at the New America Foundation. Leverett described the bricklike wall that has long divided the agency's analytical branch and its clandestine branch, making it nearly impossible for either to share information with the other, much less with competing departments such as the FBI.

    To maneuver around this wall, Leverett suggested setting up joint intelligence commands for specific "targets." There might be specific commands to provide intelligence on, say, al-Qaida, nuclear proliferation, Middle Eastern stability, and so forth. The national intelligence director would have the power to draw on personnel and resources from all the intelligence agencies to work together within each of those commands—the heads of which would report directly to him.
    Kaplan is much more optimistic than I about the post G-N COCOMs' competence at handling a conflict successfully. He also has a few things just factually wrong as far as I can tell. Still, a matrixed/JTF-like approach to intel might be an interesting alternative for trying to break down the traditional stovepipes.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
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  14. #54
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    One last item, can't I get any bites on my last post about the apparent denigration of DNI?
    I thought I answered that before you even asked the questionback at post 34. Maybe the idea is to put Blair in the position, give him nothing to do and expect he will resign after seeing that he is a title without authority (isn't that sort of what the reason was for his leaving PACOM?). That gives the new team time to come up with a "better" person for the position--maybe Panetta, maybe a "player to be named later" as they say in the big time pro sports trades. BTW, what about Leon in CIA as a counterweight/buffer/supporter (I'm not sure which) to Hillary at State, running INR ?
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

  15. #55
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    Tom,

    I agree with most your comment, especially the last line that Rex highlighted, but I don't think CIA's role has ever been focused on tactical intelligence and DIA only marginally so. On Kuwait, I think it's fair to point out that the CIA and DIA warning community accurately forecast the Iraqi invasion in and were largely ignored by the policy and most of the rest of the intelligence community. The sad reality of the intelligence business is that no one has a perfect track record.
    Actually the CIA and DIA both tried to do so in DS and Storm. The CIA in its Mil Capablities wing and DIA first via regional SMEs who had no tactical ground whatsoever.

    As for the warning staffs getting it right, yes and no. The warning staffs got it but then the regional wags said no. As I was both warning and regional I said he was going and agreed with myself making me the winner of a self-inflcited argument

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Actually the CIA and DIA both tried to do so in DS and Storm. The CIA in its Mil Capablities wing and DIA first via regional SMEs who had no tactical ground whatsoever.
    Ah, before my time really. I didn't see much from them on tactical intel during the latter-half of the 1990's. If there was any, it couldn't have been any good since I don't remember it

    John,

    One thing that crossed my mind is that Panetta is probably a lot more politically experienced in dealing with internecine executive fights, so that might give him a big advantage should he choose to butt heads with the DNI.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    As for the warning staffs getting it right, yes and no. The warning staffs got it but then the regional wags said no. As I was both warning and regional I said he was going and agreed with myself making me the winner of a self-inflcited argument
    Tom's post reminds me of a W.C. Fields line from his 1939 movie, "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man."
    Quote Originally Posted by Circus Owner/Impressario Larson E. Whipsnade AKA WC Fields
    I'm taking on the personality of a Mexican jumping bean. First the contortionist gets rheumatism. Then the sword-swallower gets tonsilitis. Hope nothing happens to that fan dancer... not 'til I get rid of this cold, anyway.
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

  18. #58
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    Default Feckless Fred...

    Quote Originally Posted by wm View Post
    ...Kaplan is much more optimistic than I about the post G-N COCOMs' competence at handling a conflict successfully.
    Thee and me; DS/DS was an aberration so we can say experience to date is not encouraging. I feared creation of overlarge bureaucracies with few saving graces.
    He also has a few things just factually wrong as far as I can tell.
    Usually does...
    Still, a matrixed/JTF-like approach to intel might be an interesting alternative for trying to break down the traditional stovepipes.
    Well, it certainly has in the past. Worldwide, in most wars, ad hoc agencies formed just to bypass the stovepipes and bureaucracies and address the current issues with a degree of urgency have generally been quite successful.

  19. #59
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. I got the tip when Ol' Saddam said

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    ...As for the warning staffs getting it right, yes and no. The warning staffs got it but then the regional wags said no. As I was both warning and regional I said he was going and agreed with myself making me the winner of a self-inflcited argument
    "Kuwait belongs to Iraq and you should give it to us." The Persian empires dominated the area prior to Islam and Ta'arof was an acquired trait by all in the area...

    Does that make me a regional wag???

  20. #60
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    To maneuver around this wall, Leverett suggested setting up joint intelligence commands for specific "targets."
    This is essentially already happening. There are committes of experts from all the relevant agencies that meet and coordinate on a regular basis for all kinds of intelligence problems, especially strategic. My wife has served as her organization's representative on a couple of them dealing with nonproliferation topics. I've heard there are others (not sure if they're ad hoc or not) that work on more tactical problems or specific groups and even individuals. Even the UBL unit in the CIA CT center pre 9/11 might be an example, though perhaps not the best one. I don't know if any of these are formalized, however.

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