The CIA Is a Disaster and It Is Time to Start Over

Let me be very clear–we need a clandestine service that collects intelligence from foreign nationals who occupy key positions in their respective governments. It was supposed that this would be the mission for the CIA. However, it is failing. People who believed we would help them are being killed. The CIA must be decommissioned and a new, more effective organization to protect foreign spies should be established.

The New York Times published the news on Tuesday, Oct. 5:

C.I.A. was warned by top American counterintelligence officers People familiar with the situation said that there were concerns about the capture or death of informants from other countries who had been recruited to spy on the United States at every station and base in the world.

The message, in an unusual top secret cable, said that the C.I.A.’s counterintelligence mission center had looked at dozens of cases in the last several years involving foreign informants who had been killed, arrested or most likely compromised. Although brief, the cable laid out the specific number of agents executed by rival intelligence agencies — a closely held detail that counterintelligence officials typically do not share in such cables.

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Central Intelligence Agency has the primary purpose of convincing foreign military, intelligence and government officials to betray their countries and to provide us with their most sensitive intelligence. We are interested in the inner thoughts and motives of human leaders from other countries. They may be trying to kill us.

The CIA considers those who are recruited to supply the secret dope by a CIA Case officer are assets. If they become aware of their relationship to the CIA, their government will treat them as traitors. This means that the spy will be executed.

The CIA does a great job protecting itself from its own failures and concealing them. You can read more about the CIA here. NY TimesThe article highlights many of the failings. This is more evidence than any that the CIA has to protect their supposed secrets.

This cable showed the difficulties the spy agency faces in recruiting spies worldwide, even though it is operating in extremely difficult environments. In recent years, adversarial intelligence services in countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have been hunting down the C.I.A.’s sources and in some cases turning them into double agents. . . .

The memo did not identify the exact number of informants killed or who were arrested. However, it stated that the actual figure was unknown. Sometimes adversarial intelligence service discovers informants and they are not immediately arrested. Instead, double agents are created who disinformation the C.I.A. which can have disastrous effects on intelligence analysis. Ex-officials have said that Pakistanis were particularly successful in this field. . . .

Some intelligence officers in China and Iran believe Americans may have provided information that would have allowed them to expose informants. Monica Elfriede Witt (a former Air Force sergeant, who defected in Iran) was charged with providing information to Tehran. Only after they found her trustworthy, did the Iranians use her knowledge. Jerry Chun Shuing Lee, an ex-C.I.A. agent, was arrested later in the year. Officer was sentenced for providing secrets to China’s government to 19 years imprisonment.

The CIA is suffering from bureaucratic inertia and no accountability. There are also built-in incentives for putting notches on a belt, without having to worry about what happens to them.

There are built-in incentives and the bureaucratic problem. You can get promoted as a Case Officer if there are enough recruits. You have convinced a foreign official that they would betray your country. Once the spy is recruited the relationship enters a new phase–keeping the relationship secret. It is the duty of the Case Officer to establish secure channels for sending and receiving information from and to the source. The methods are not supposed to be made visible by the other intelligence services. Your source cannot be contacted by simply picking up an I-phone. According to The NY Times, the CIA cable reveals a serious failure in the management or mismanagement of secret sources by Case Officers.

Here’s the rub. These are not recent problems. I know a Case Officer, now retired, who fabricated sources in Costa Rica and was promoted because of his “success”. The Case Officer who discovered his fabrications was then told by his successor to find new sources. The other case officer who had lied about his recruitings was not punished. Instead, he was promoted later and retired after 30+ years of service with a good pension.

Robert Ames, now deceased, was the CIA Chief of Middle East Division at the Directorate of Operations. He had recruited Ali Hassan Salameh, aka the “Red Prince”. Salameh, a PLO senior operative who was part of Black September and participated in planning the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes 1972 and other terrorist attacks.

Ames turned the Red Prince over to Case Officer Sam Wyman to “manage” the relationship. Listen to Sam Wyman’s story at 15:45

Wyman admitted that he had a meeting with a highly classified, sensitive source in his apartment. This is a grave violation of CIA tradecraft. He ignores this. In reality, Wyman recounts that his building’s doorman approached him and requested Wyman stop having Salameh meet in the apartment. If that is not a compromise of a sensitive source, I don’t know what is.

Wyman fails to mention the fact that Ames was allegedly smitten by a Lebanese woman who, according to one source, was part of Hezbollah. Hezbollah used her for tracking Ames to gather intelligence. Mossad also was surveilling Wyman and knew about his “unofficial” liaisons with Lebanese persons.

It was almost forty years ago that we were talking about more. And the CIA tradecraft of that time was sloppy. Hezbollah used Ames’ mistress to track his movements. That’s how they knew to hit Ames at the Beirut Embassy on 17 October 1983, which killed 32 Lebanese, 17 Americans, and 14 visitors and passers-by.

This is where the problem lies. Salameh, a PLO operative of high rank, was being used by the CIA to continue terrorist attacks on Israelis. His freedom to work was guaranteed as long the PLO did no attack Americans. On 22 January 1979, his reign of terror was abruptly ended when the Mossad attacked him and killed him.

The CIA takes great pride in its “secret” accomplishments. There have been many. But there are many failures–most are kept hidden from the American public. It isn’t new that CIA agents have been captured and assassinated. It’s an old tale. We were the Russians who did it. Are you familiar with Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames? Due to their treachery many Russian spies resigned from the CIA. Poor tradecraft again and lack of accountability. This has been a problem for the CIA since its inception.