Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Bush Administration’s intelligence strategy is deeply flawed.

Why you're right:

1. The Bush Administration lacks long-term vision. The Bush Administration is focused on how to prevent/respond to another 9/11, but is not giving enough attention to the possibility that the attack might be different from 9/11. By ignoring actors who may become terrorists, the Bush Administration is not doing all it can to protect the country. "The current focus on terrorism has done little to address other pressing issues such as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global or organized crime, the tensions between India and Pakistan, a bellicose North Korea, or other national security concerns." (White House, SAIS)

2. The Bush Administration is unable to keep up with the terrorists. Terrorists continue to come up with new, innovative ways to raise, move, and use funds. The CIA has not been able to keep up with the ever-changing, complex landscape of terrorist financing, making it difficult to provide actionable intelligence. Cambone, Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, notes, "Current collection capabilities predominantly reflect a Cold War era reconnaissance paradigm -- one of periodic looks and sampling."(G2 Bulletin, 9/11 Commission Staff Monograph, Senate Armed Services Committee)

3. The Bush Administration is reaping short-term gains at the cost of long-term stability. Drug trafficking, AIDS, money laundering, illegitimate states, and weapons exporting are part of the future of terrorism. But, instead of addressing and targeting these issues, the Bush Administration is fueling the problem through lax oversight and a focus on short-term gains. The U.S. is not adequately monitoring its weapons exports and Homeland Security agents recently discovered plots to divert U.S. night vision lenses to Iran, fighter-jet parts to China, and nuclear triggers to Pakistan. (Denver Post)

Why they're wrong:

Moving boxes is not enough. Although the Bush Administration is proposing to take some type of action on many of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, it needs to look beyond 9/11 and develop a long-term plan for dealing and confronting future terrorists. The Administration is still working with the assumption that "deep down, our adversaries are really just like us [and want to be like us]" and the intelligence community must reconceptualize, not just reorganize. (SAIS)