Monday September 26, 2022
At risk of sounding like a cranky old man complaining about kids playing ball in the street in front of my house, I want to try to help the folks who have never worked as an analyst at the CIA understand why the current organization is virtually useless. It boils down to this very simple fact–CIA analysts now work in Mission Centers alongside with CIA operations officers and intelligence analysis takes a back seat to operational priorities.
How so? Let me take you back in time to 1985. In the old days the Directorate of Intelligence occupied the north wing of the CIA and the Directorate of Operations sat in the south wing. There was a time when there were doors separating the two wings–I understand it was in place until 1978. Prior to 1978, if you strolled out of your office in the Central American Branch, for example, and tried to go to the operations side of the house you were stopped at the halfway point to the other side by a locked door. Intelligence and Operations were kept separate. The Ops folks understandably wanted to protect their sources and feared that an analyst could compromise a sensitive asset.
When I came along in 1985, those doors had been removed and analysts and operations officers could, in theory, interact. But there was still a separation. The stereotypical analyst was a nerd. Not in the bad sense. But the majority of analysts were introverted personalities. The stereotypical operations officer was the exact opposite–outgoing, liked to socialize and bullshit.