Legacy of Ashes, The History of the CIA and Enemies, A History of the FBI, both written by Tim Weiner. Think of the two agencies of our government this way. The CIA spies outside the borders of the US, the FBI spies inside the US and the NSA spies everywhere. Oversimplified, but that is the essence.

The CIA began life during the Truman administration over the initial objections of President Truman. The CIA took its present mission during the Eisenhower administration under CIA Director Allen Dulles. The CIA’s purpose originally was to provide intelligence on what was happening or going to happen abroad. Instead, during the Cold War, the CIA began to practice regime change to fight communism. Some of those regime changes came back to bite us, such as 1953 in Iran and more recently in Ukraine and Crimea.

The FBI was set up to fight Federal crimes. Under Director J. Edgar Hoover, the Bureau routinely broke the law to enforce the law. Domestic spying was added to the duties of the FBI later and has always been treated as a stepchild.

Neither the CIA nor the FBI has a proven track record of accomplishment in providing the President with accurate information about the intentions of enemies of the country. Therefore, it is my recommendation that we abolish both the CIA entirely and the domestic spying division of the FBI and start over again from scratch. We should start small and get it right before expanding the new agency. A small amount of correct intelligence would be much better than a large quantity of nonsense. I don’t know how effective the NSA is at providing accurate intelligence to the President. If the NSA is effective, the new agency could be a part of it. If not, it should be a separate agency reporting to the President directly or through the Attorney General.

A great nation needs intelligence on what its possible enemies are planning. We lack that capability now, in part, because the CIA and the FBI do not cooperate. Think of the US as a blind elephant trying to stomp on it enemies in the jungle, most quite small. If we happen to be successful, it is mostly pure luck. We must do better than that.

In Enemies, A History of the FBI, founding father James Madison has the last word:

“We will forgo our freedom in the future if we fail to read our history. ‘A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both,’ James Madison wrote at the beginning of our nation’s continuing struggle to create a free republic. ‘Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.'”


4 thoughts on “CIA and FBI

  1. Agree with all but the part about the NSA, which is even more secretive, corrupt and uncontrollable than the CIA and FBI combined. Dismantle ’em all!

  2. I like the Madison quote very much. Do you think the Republicans are so opposed to public education because they fear a people with knowledge?

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