Some Call for Revival of Soviet-Era 'Team B' to Tackle Islamic Terrorist Threat
After the bloody attack on CIA officers in Afghanistan and the near success of the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing, some are calling for the revival of the so-called "Team B" -- an outside group of conservative analysts formed in the Ford era to re-examine all classified data on the Soviet threat.
This time, though, Team B would reassess the threat the U.S. faces from Islamic terrorist networks.
"The Team B concept has been successful in previous administrations when fresh eyes were needed to provide the commander in chief with objective information to make informed policy decisions," Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va. wrote in a letter to President Obama on Tuesday. "I believe it can work now, too."
By June 1976, the middle rounds of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had exceeded the U.S. in several key weapons categories, leading an alarmed CIA director, George H.W. Bush, to create "Team B," which included a number of future aides in the Reagan administration. Among them, a young arms control officer named Paul Wolfowitz and a former Pentagon official named William Van Cleave.
"We were all known as the so-called hawkish element of that time, but we let the conclusions stand on their own," Van Cleave told Fox News.
Team B concluded the intelligence community under President Ford had underestimated the Soviet threat and counseled a surge in defense spending to confront it. To many, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 vindicated Team B's assessments. But some historians, like the authors of "The Forty Years War: The Rise and Fall of Neocons from Nixon to Obama," see Team B as part of an internal GOP struggle over foreign policy.
"How did we get from detente to the Evil Empire in the Republican Party in less than a decade?" said author Len Colodny. "And I believe this was one of the instruments, one of the first instruments, used to reverse the policy that would change so radically in 1980."
"Team B got it right," said Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and a Defense official in the Reagan administration.
On YouTube, Gaffney has also urged that a new Team B be created by the president.
"His homeland security adviser, John Brennan talked about Al Qaeda being determined to kill innocent people," he said. "Well that's actually not true. They're interested in killing people they consider to be infidels."