Is this the kind of CIA we need -- everyone marching in step, as major parts of the Agency are transformed into a private army at your disposal, with virtually no Congressional oversight? We don't think so.
With the present restructuring plan we see little promise for the kind of agenda-free, substantive intelligence that you and other senior policy makers need. But the train seems to have left the station headed toward Brennan's restructuring plan. The sweeping reorganization scheme is of such importance that it should be the subject of hearings in the intelligence committees of House and Senate, but there is no indication that either committee intends to do so.
Let the analysts inclined toward targeting terrorists and providing other direct operational support to war sign up for these war-on-terror and like Centers. You and your successors will still need an agency devoted to unfettered intelligence analysis able to critique honestly the likely medium- and long-term consequences of the methods used to wage the "war on terror" and other wars.
We can assure you it is far better for those analysts doing this demanding substantive work NOT to be simultaneously "part of the team" implementing that policy.
It is time to revert to what Truman envisaged for the CIA. We are ready to make ourselves available to assist you and your staff in thinking through how this might be done. That it needs to be done is clear to us, and this would seem an opportune time.
In our view, we need to stop wasting time and energy trying to prevent the baby from being thrown out with the bathwater. Let the bathwater run off. Save the baby, even if that means a separate institution in which analysts of the kind that completed that NIE on Iran in 2007 can flourish. This just might help stop a new unnecessary war, as the combat support officers try to bring an end to old ones.
In sum, we are convinced that a separate entity for intelligence analysis -- the kind of agency Truman envisaged for his CIA -- would be an invaluable asset to you and your successors as president.
For the Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
Fulton Armstrong, National Intelligence Officer for Latin America (ret.)
Larry Johnson, CIA analyst & State Department/counterterrorism, (ret.)
John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer
David MacMichael, USMC & National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Ray McGovern, Army Infantry/Intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)
Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
Torin Nelson, former HUMINT Officer, Department of the Army
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