Why So Glum At The CIA
By Alan Nathan

Published January 19, 2005

There’s a wing of the Central Intelligence Agency that has proven itself quite adroit when chronicling facts, but has demonstrated all the reasoning skills of a banana split. The National Intelligence Council of the CIA now reports that Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the new haven for al-Qaida terrorists. It further asserts that US opposition to these terrorists has actually helped them by making Iraq not only a training ground for terror, but also a tool for recruitment and“ technical skill enhancement” that will eventually culminate into a disbursement mechanism whereby its survivors can then return to their respective homelands to spread newly cultivated killing skills. The NIC is essentially contending that we’ve created more terrorists by fighting terrorists. Are we to believe that if left unchallenged, they would be crushed by the relentless blows of our acquiescence? Apparently the new recommended policy is: in response to an attack we should not attack because we might be attacked.

It’s sensible for our intelligent community to assess worse case scenarios. But it’s irresponsible not to include in those scenarios the formidable realities that confront our enemies. Failure to factor in US continued opposition along with its own “technical skill enhancement” renders a projection that is not so much a ‘worse-case’ as it is an exaggerated case causing more harm than good.

A pivotal example of our own technical advancement is the Passive Millimeter Wave Technology, which allows us to detect suicide bombers from 15 to 150 feet away even when these individuals are amongst hundreds. There are few weapons available to the terrorists that have proven as vexing as the lone bomber with a belt who can surreptitiously blend in with a crowd before blowing himself up. This very portable technology is now beyond the prototype stage and has been provided additional money by Congress to the Pentagon. Once into production and implementation, it could effectively neutralize what has for too long been their main advantage.

How does it help the accuracy of ‘worse-case’ scenarios to stress the terrorists’ evolution at the exclusion of America’s? Incomplete pictures provide less to see – not more.



Alan Nathan, combative centrist, columnist, speaker and the nationally syndicated host of "Battle Line With Alan Nathan" on the Radio America Network.

.