One of the Bush Administration’s great successes has been its destruction of the CIA, which it regarded as insufficiently loyal to the White House mission of reshaping the world. CIA is now part of a ponderous and ineffective intelligence community that wastes billions of dollars annually while failing to capture or kill fifteen men in robes sheltering in a sheepherder’s hut in Waziristan.
The latest move in dismantling the CIA is executive order 12333, which is circulating in draft in the intelligence community. It will be Bush/Cheney’s farewill gift to the Agency. It ends the long time practice of the CIA Station Chief serving as the principal intelligence officer overseas representing US interests. In the future, the President will have the authority to designate an alternative representative, most likely drawn from the military. This will mean that the US Ambassador in the country will no longer be able to speak to one person who will have the authority to speak definitively in intelligence matters and, worse, it will mean that the foreign intelligence services will not know whom to talk to. It will make an already bad situation worse. It will also be another step in the militarization of our nominally civilian government as it is clearly intended to establish the primacy of the armed services in intelligence matters.