Monday, May 08, 2006

The impressive stupidity of politicians

Following the announcement of CIA Director Porter Goss's resignation Friday there was an almost immediate outcry against the supposed successor General Michael Hayden. This opposition centers around two areas, his involvement in the "illegal domestic wiretapping program", and the fact that "a military man shouldn't be running a traditionally civilian agency". I am not going to address the wiretapping issue as I have done that to death.

The CIA grew out of the Office of Strategic Services which was founded in WWII to coordinate intelligence activity required by the military to make strategic decisions. After the OSS was abolished President Truman established the Central Intelligence Agency to be the Central clearing house for intelligence and the Director of Central Intelligence to be the coordinator of the US intelligence effort. In a fine example of reinventing the Wheel this is what was recommended in the wake of 9/11 yet another office was created and the DCI became DCIA and the National Intelligence Director was put in charge of coordinating intelligence. Since it's creation there have been 19 Directors of Central Intelligence. 6 have been Flag Officers, 4 of those Active at the time they were DCI. An additional 5 have had military service. This is hardly a tradition of strict civilian control at the CIA, but to listen to the politicians you would think that the sky is falling and dogs and cats are living together in sin because someone suggested a General with an intelligence background be nominated.

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