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Are America's intelligence agencies second best or worse?

Posted Monday, November 16, 2009, at 3:43 PM

What are your thoughts on America's intelligence agencies or lack thereof?

You can look all the way back to Pearl Harbor, to the 9-11 attacks or as recently as the tragedy at Fort Hood and, to me at least, something is totally amiss and hopelessly outdated.

I find it disgusting when one agency has information sending up flags all over the place and that agency fails to share that information with other agencies. Does it seem like a greedy child finding a goody and refusing to share it?

I've been around one member of the CIA in my life. That person was crazy and dangerous to everyone. While I'm certain that person was the exception rather than the rule, I have to wonder if our leaders are looking in the wrong direction for people capable of getting he job done for our intelligence agencies.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Bo, It seems to me as if there is some kind of competition between the FBI and the CIA. It is kind of like which one can get a "gotcha" first. I wish they would realize that we are all on the same team. I am afraid that feeling runs through all of our intelligence agencies.

-- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Nov 16, 2009, at 5:36 PM

You are assuming the leaders wanted to avoid Pearl Harbor when most history points to the contrary.

As for the question, I do believe America's intelligence networks aren't as good as they once were. Mainly I see this starting with the Carter administration, who instituted drastic cuts in human intelligence assets (spies), instead trusting machines and other methods.

Fort Hood id the result of unintended consequences of political correctness-nothing more. There were numerous red flags with Hassan but too many were more concerned with committing political suicide by saying something negative about a muslim, nevermind that it was true.

Most of our nation's defense, to include intelligence, has been hamstrung by politicians who believe we should fight nice, polite wars so as not to receive any political fallout.

An excellent book "Lone Survivor" chronicles the worst loss of life in Navy SEAL history, and it can all be traced to having to fight a politically correct war.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Nov 16, 2009, at 5:39 PM

I have to agree with quietmike 1000%. In keeping with the liberal agenda of political correctness, even our top law enforcement agencies are now afraid to call a spade a spade. Strip searching 80 year olds in wheel chairs rather than young Middle Eastern males resulted in the loss of more than 3,000 lives on 09/11/01. We just lost another fourteen Americans at Fort Hood due to the very same politically correct logic. The death toll will likely continue to rise as we become increasingly afraid of offending someone by stating the obvious. I will not now, nor will I ever join this band of idealistic fools in their line of thinking.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Mon, Nov 16, 2009, at 11:42 PM

My guess is that they are the very best - hands down. I just have to wonder if they are expending an inordinate amount of effort with an inward focus, resulting from motivations differing from those we might expect.

I think that simply knowing, or even suspecting, does not always necessitate action from those who do know. It depends heavily on the expected results, and the costs of any particular action taken, both direct and indirect.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Fri, Nov 20, 2009, at 12:23 AM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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