Do We Still Need the C.I.A.?; The State Dept. Can Do the Job

"Do We Still Need the C.I.A.?; The State Dept. Can Do the Job," The New York Times, May 19, 1991.

Excerpt: The nomination of Robert M. Gates a career officer and sometime head of the Directorate of Intelligence of the C.I.A. — to be head of the agency comes at a moment when it is possible, for the first time since the onset of the cold war, to ask whether we need the agency as it now is.

I, for one, think not, and have a bill in to put the Secretary of State in charge of our intelligence activities.

Mind, a broad reassessment probably won’t happen. But even so, there is a problem. For a quarter century, the C.I.A. has been repeatedly wrong about the major political and economic questions entrusted to its analysis. This is not to take anything from the rarely devoted and capable men and women of the intelligence community. It is just that that term has become oxymoronic. Increasingly, excepting for technical military matters, our intelligence system has become learning disabled. The analysts aren’t. But the system is.

The New York Times