Sunday, March 06, 2011

Is our Middle East intellgence as bad as 9/11/2001?

After 9/11 happened, we were told one of the first things to be fixed were the weaknesses in our Mideast intelligence. We were told that lack of information sharing and lack of human intelligence had allowed Osama Bin Laden to operate freely, and large below the radar. Thus was born the "Department of Homeland Security". Ten years later, reasonable people are asking if anything has really changed, since all of the Jasmine Revolutions took us by surprise.

Did we have adequate intelligence of what was about to happen? The obvious answer is "no," across the board. The ensuing debate about why we were caught so flatfooted will undoubtedly reverberate over the next several months. We are not looking for predictions, but for more information for policy makers and less reliance on foreign intelligence services. Our dearth of human sources in the Middle East has been a problem for decades during many administrations. And what we need now are more resources and operations, not fewer.
If it turns out that after 10 years and multiple billions of dollars have been spent that we have no better understanding of the Middle East, then we have been deceived and a special prosecutor may be needed. At the very least, the Bush Administration needs to be called out for not delivering an effective intelligence apparatus to President Obama.

1 comment:

CRCHAIR said...

These kind of widespread revolutions are not always predictable. Even when there have been widespread protests in the past, they rarely succeeded. (See Iran after their last election.) We should have had a contingency plan for if this had started, but we can't be totally surprised that we didn't predict it.