According to SOFREP sources with access to the goings-on inside of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), an investigation by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), which has congressional oversight power over the CIA, has revealed that the agency is in a state of disarray, and in danger of sinking to the level of a “third rate” intelligence organization.
According to some inside the agency, the HPSCI report should be completed in the near term, and the findings will not be good for the agency. While the details are unknown at this time, apparently, the HPSCI investigation will reveal a largely failed effort at “modernizing” the agency, especially in terms of technological innovation.
There is a sense among some inside the CIA, that management of the agency is failing, and a feeling of being on a “sinking ship” is shared by more than a few agency officers. In particular, on the operations side of the CIA — within the National Clandestine Service (NCS) — some feel that the leadership of the outgoing Director of the NCS has been poor, leaving the operations directorate in a state of confusion and low morale.
SOFREP could not independently confirm these reports, and rumblings of “bad leadership” are nothing new coming out of the agency. It is also possible that the HPSCI report is a political tactic to discredit CIA Director John Brennan, President Obama’s appointed leader of the agency, who had been thought to be possibly leaving the agency in the near term.
Brennan made waves recently by testifying in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee that ISIS was in a stronger state than previously acknowledged, at least publicly, by the administration. Brennan also stated in front of the Senate that U.S. efforts against the group had not degraded it as much as was desired. It is possible that if the details of this HPSCI report are true, that Brennan might be forced out before the end of President Obama’s term.
The CIA has been America’s primary tool against Islamic terrorist groups since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The operational tempo of the CIA’s Counter-Terrorism Center (CTC), like that of U.S. special operations forces (SOF), has been intense over the past fifteen years, and significant turnover of leaders and mid-level officers has probably contributed to a feeling of inadequate leadership at times.
Regardless of whether the alleged HPSCI report actually exists, and whether its conclusions are truly as damning as is being claimed, the United States cannot afford a weak, ineffectual CIA at this critical juncture in international affairs. As put forward here on SOFREP, and more recently, in the New York Times on July 26, the international political order is in a state of flux, and in danger of possible collapse in the medium to long term. Multiple challenges to the global order have arisen from events in the Middle East, the faltering of the European Union and Britain’s vote to leave it, the continued questioning of the usefulness of NATO, and the ascendance and muscle-flexing of powers like Russia and China.
There is no doubt that we are living in interesting times, in which the future of international politics appears murky, at best. America needs a focused, determined, well-led, and well-organized CIA if she is to successfully navigate the coming uncharted waters.