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15 June 2007

The difference between intelligence, covert action, and policy

If true, this story illustrates why the machinery of intelligence and covert action should always be kept separate from the other instruments of policy and national power.

It is also one of those times when one looks back at the decision to involve DCI George Tenet directly in negotiations in the Middle East (in his titular capacity, no less) as the height of folly. After all, there are plenty of Arab conspiracies which attribute everything wrong in the world to that particular organization… and bringing them to the table by name did nothing but add fuel to that fire for generations to come.

In the same light, we look at the old Department of Justice efforts to train and equip PA police… we wonder how many of those individuals may have been executed in the streets in the past few days – or who are doing the killing themselves?

Nothing so blunts a nation’s capabilities than the use of those scarce resources for missions that other agencies and organizations should have done, but failed at. One can say the same risks lie in store for the “Department of Everything Else” long advocated by Tom Barnett.

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