The Right Coast

November 13, 2004
CIA hubris
By Tom Smith

The CIA seems to be a problem. It does have a history of being anti-GOP, but why it would invest so heavily in defeating Bush is unclear to me. They certainly have a tradition of being WASP, Yalie, and perhaps even just ever so slightly anti-Hebraic. If you want a snootful of CIA Yalie snobbery, you can read this book until you heave. It begins with a long and dead serious discussion of exactly where a professor at Yale ranks on the social ladder. But that is history. This book is a much more contemporary look at the CIA, and quite accurate seeming, based on my tangential dealings with the Firm. Not to be too subtle about it, it seems to me the CIA isn't that different from Arab Studies departments at universities. It hard to study and understand something and loathe it at the same time. Few experts on the Soviet Union saw it as an evil empire. My guess is the CIA sorts essentially agree with the European critique of US policy in the Middle East. We're too pro-Israel, and we do too many things to offend the Arabs and their various sensitivities, which oddly enough, do not extend to blowing children into little hunks of meat. Yes, intelligence reform seems an opportunity to get the CIA on board in the war against terror. But how do you do that without crippling our intelligence capabilities, such as they are, during the transition? I don't know.