A Foreign Policy essay makes the case that the CIA is, effectively, running American foreign policy. It concedes what seems obvious: Despite a budget of billions ($14.7 billion in 2013, “up from the $4.8 billion in 1994″), the agency “was notoriously wrong about Saddam Hussein’s alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, a cataclysmic mistake that eased the path to the Iraq War,” and it failed “to help detect or prevent the 9/11 plot.”
Some salient points:
* The agency has “a direct line to the White House for open-ended covert programs.”
* It has “explicit permission to use [drones] in larger areas of Pakistan than before.” “‘The CIA gets what it wants,’ Obama has told his aides.”
* “Through … machinations, the spy agency has managed to weaken or eliminate crucial counterweights to its own power.”
* “Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has steadily evolved from an agency devoted to its mission of spying on foreign governments to one whose current priority is tracking and killing individual militants in an increasing number of countries.”
* “… from drone strikes in the Middle East to the network of secret prisons around the world and the torture that occurred within their walls—[all] originated at Langley.”
* “… the agency had waded even more deeply into the dark world of assassinations by hiring outside contractors associated with Blackwater, a firm synonymous with abuses in Iraq, to kill individual militants on the ground.”
* “In Pakistan alone, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates, CIA drones killed as many as 960 civilians between June 2004 and April 2015, including up to 207 children.”
* The CIA’s has just about direct access to the White House. It “answers to no one except the president.”
* “… much of its workforce has been plugged into ‘the Ivy League, Eastern power structure of American politics.’ … its alumni are in key positions throughout the U.S. government.”
* Obama has embraced “the Bush-era CIA abuses,” this, presumably, includes torture, rendition, etc.
Since its creation in 1947, the CIA has steadily evolved from an agency devoted to its mission of spying on foreign governments to one whose current priority is tracking and killing individual militants in an increasing number of countries.