Mon, 12 January 2009
The 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq sprang in no small part from massive intelligence failures, that much is well understood. How the CIA got to a point where it could fail so catastrophically is not. John Diamond begins by looking at US intelligence during the dozen years from the end of the Cold War to the invasion of Iraq in early 2003 as a defining period in CIA history. Diamond argues that while the CIA had a role in the successful outcome of the Cold War, it also became a source of ridicule for missing the collapse of the Soviet Union. And so with its main mission at an end, the Agency faced staff and budget reductions and a decline in morale as it struggled to prove its relevance and redefine its role. It was during this period, when the CIA was at its weakest, that the Agency made critical misjudgments about Iraq and missed the emergence of its gravest challenge: al Qaeda. Join the Council for an analysis of the CIA past activities and to take a look at where the CIA will be heading under Barack Obama new CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta.