Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The CIA's Secret Plan

Let me see if I understand the CIA's secret plan to target the leadership of al-Quaeda.

The President, in 2001, ordered the CIA to develop a plan "to capture or kill al-Quaeda operatives," according to a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal today (July 13, 2009). Leon Panetta, the current Director of Central Intelligence, terminated the plan on June 23, 2009. At that time, "...the [i]nitiative hadn't become fully operational...." (WJS, 7/13, p. 1).

Naturally, there's a lot of concern about the more-than-seven-year failure of the CIA to brief the Congressional intelligence committees about this effort.

But what strikes me is a different story, one I'm not seeing really being discussed. The CIA spent seven + years trying to develop a plan to target the leadership of al-Quaeda, and didn't come up with anything worth trying to put into effect. How is this possible? What failure of leadership or incentive caused the CIA to fumble this for more than seven years?

Regardless of whether developing such a plan was a good idea, the fact that, after more than seven years, there was no plan suggests to me that the CIA is, institutionally, broken.


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