Hail the Self-Licking Ice Cream Cone

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad:

The increased politicization of the CIA is hindering the effectiveness of the agency, as evident by the misinformation that led to the Iraq war, said Tyler Drumheller, former chief of the CIA European Division . . .

Drumheller worked in the CIA for 25 years under four different presidential administrations before his retirement in 2004. Drumheller’s book was released last week, titled “On the Brink: An Insider’s Account of How the White House Compromised American Intelligence.” The book expands on his experiences with the CIA, namely his last few years when the Bush administration used what turned out to be an untrustworthy informant known as “Curveball” as the central justification to send troops into Iraq.

Read the whole thing and savor the flavor. I don’t know about you, but I think the money quote is:

“The best intelligence came from the UN inspectors,” Drumheller said. “They did a terrific job, but nobody wanted to believe it.”

This is (one of) the problems with the old guard; this insistence that intelligence is some kind of self-licking ice cream cone that exists as this stand-alone entity designed to make itself happy.

Intelligence is meant to serve politicians (you can insert policy- or decision-maker here if it makes you feel better) and the CIA in particular serves THE politician. They’re proud of it, they brag about it, and to suddenly decry that politicians are actually engaged in the use of intelligence for national security decision-making is the political equivalent of wearing lingerie into a biker bar and then complaining about the lewd looks and slaps on the rear.

Furthermore, intelligence is but ONE source of information politicians use to make decisions. If Iraq has taught us anything it is that (secret) intelligence can be the most questionable information used in the decision-making process, particularly when all your resources can produce is one guy.

If you want to see Drumheller dissected further hit Tom Joscelyn’s piece of earlier this year.

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