What Part of “Covert” Does the White House Not Understand?http://www.frumforum.com/what-
President Obama has recently authorized The Central Intelligence Agency to send clandestine operatives into Libya to gain intelligence information. The problem is that these initial reports came from someone inside the Obama Administration.
Some intelligence experts interviewed by FrumForum could not understand why the information was leaked. They question whether the Obama Administration was putting the President’s political ambitions ahead of America’s national security. A former senior CIA official speculated that “there was not one but a multitude of sources that leaked this information and it was done to prove they were tough.” Another former CIA official went further and stated that, “They should have kept their big flapping mouth shut, and they said exactly the wrong thing. They said the CIA is there to collect information on the opposition to determine who the rebels are which makes the operatives job harder.” A former operative angrily noted that those officers on the ground have been compromised and now have to explain to the rebels that they are not collecting information about them.
Just as with the initial intervention into Afghanistan during the early days of the War on Terror, the CIA is in the forefront in helping determine the major issues of the conflict. Throughout Qaddafi’s forty-one year reign the only legitimate opposition was from the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda. The logical conclusion has to be that at least some of the rebels are Al Qaeda sympathizers. The CIA is currently in Libya to assess motivations, decide who the rebels are aligned with, what they need to win, and then make recommendations.
Many interviewed hope that through covert action America will be able to cultivate someone who is pro-Western, and possibly even a former military officer who has strong tribal connections. This means that the CIA has to be able to assess if America should assist the rebels by training, funding, and arming them. As former CIA Director Michael Hayden told FrumForum “the worst possible outcome is a stalemate because there will be an ungoverned area that would give power to Al Qaeda. The CIA needs to find out who the rebels are and what do they support.”
The lesson learned from this is that the CIA needs more analysts and more collectors to be able to focus on a multitude of issues since as Hayden commented “it becomes infinite because there are so many possible problems.” Besides the importance of counter-terrorism they need to have analysts and operatives that can collect political information to identify who the opposition is and their motives. The CIA’s role is vital to securing America’s national security. The Obama Administration should rely on the CIA to gather information or conduct covert actions but out of the public eye. As a former CIA official sarcastically noted “what part of covert doesn’t the administration understand?”