There is a scene in Irwin’s Shaw’s book, “The Young Lions” in which a character informs a friend he has figured out the perfect way to guarantee no unemployment in America–declare war on the Pacific Ocean and just dump everything into it. The Washington Post created a team of reporters for a project called, “Top Secret America” which was designed to investigate the extent of secret agents in our government. The project identified 1,271 government bodies and 1,931 private contractors who work on counter-terrorism. After the 9/11 attacks, President Bush declared a “war on terrorism” which has become transformed into a giant welfare program to assist business enterprises to make money for doing virtually nothing. The official US intelligence budget is now $75 billion which is three times its size in 9/11 and in the process of growth it has spawned 263 new bodies. In one respect this growth has been enormously successful– in creating jobs in which people shuffle paper, not ideas.
An estimated 50,000 intelligence reports are filed each year, but only a small group have access to all documents. But, that is not the real problem, the issue is even though thousands secured access to these documents, would it make any difference? The CIA failed in Vietnam, it failed to anticipate the collapse of the Soviet Union, it lacked any insight into the growth of Muslim fundamentalism which it was financed, it lacks any ability to infiltrate Muslim groups, and who would trust any American “intelligence agency” with predicting the future of anything?
Compare the success of the current CIA with the OSS in World War II and the result is night and day.