This report will discuss the Central Intelligence Agency or collective known as CIA. It is important to consider the organization for assessment because it represents a significant role as a public organization that gathers intelligence that are crucial in ensuring the security of the entire United States against internal and external threats. CIA is the main arm of the federal government in intelligence gathering that are detrimental to policymakers. This paper will explore the role of the agency in creating foreign and national security policies. However, CIA is facing problems of inadequate analytical standards that resulted a major revamp in the organization and the intelligence community in general. The initiative of this research is to provide a more in-depth analysis of the agency's history, mission and role in relation to the issues they are facing and possible solutions.
The CIA is one of the most important arm of the United States national security infrastructure. Dealing with intelligence gathering that would identify any given internal and external threats to the people of the state and its constitution. The information gathered by the agency are fundamental in keeping peace and order in the country, which is the top most priority of the US national defense initiatives.
Elizabeth Bancroft (2007) highlighted the concept of the founding of the US Intelligence Community in her article to commemorate the CIA history. As the second world war came to a close in 1946, the head of the Office of Strategic Services Gen. William Donovan suggested that intelligence gathering should continue even after the war. This idea was said to be the concept in which the plan to put forth an intelligence agency that directly reports to the president came about (Bancroft 1). After which, President Harry S. Truman signed and Executive Order No 22 on Januray 1946 to officially establish the National Intelligence Authority and the Central Intelligence Group (Bancroft 4). A year after, the US Congress enacted the National Security Act of 1947 to formally merge the NIA and CIG as a single agency that is now CIA. President Truman signed the Act on the 26th of July, 1947 while on aboard the first Air Force One called the Sacred Cow (Bancroft 11). The articles have provided comprehensive accounts on the history of CIA based from 800 historical documents that were declassified and released for the public on the 14th of May 2009 though CIA's Information Management Services/Historical Collections Division.
Since its inception, the CIA had evolved from a multiple unit of intelligence office into an independent agency that has unique authoritative and administrative powers. Cristina Bartolomei and Brinkley Faulcon (2012) developed an internship directory manual intended for students that outlines all federal government cabinets and agencies including CIA. It briefly provides a short and concise mission statement of CIA with a short description of the agency's responsibilities. Bartolomei and Faulcon quoted;
“MISSION STATEMENT: The Central Intelligence Agency is an independent agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior US policymakers.”
- (CIA Mission Statement as quoted from Bartolomei and Faulco 26)
Given the mission that the agency embodies, it constitute responsibilities to collect and evaluate intelligence information. To provide direction and coordination of collected intelligence to international agencies of similar function in an objective of protecting the national security (Bartolomei and Faulco 26). The mission statement of the agency as briefly stated in the manual developed by Bartolomei and Faulco (2012), demonstrates that US policy makers are largely influenced by CIA in terms of creating national security policies.
Euan WS Downie (2007) wrote an article that proves the correlation between CIA functions and policy development from a historical perspective. Downie (2007) concluded that CIA has an indirect output into policy making given that CIA intelligence influenced the decisions made in creating international policies (Downie 139-140). The United States Containment Strategy of 1946 to 1950 is a historical example of foreign policy towards the Soviet Union created based on CIA intelligence reports (Downie 140). Kenneth Lieberthal (2009) reported in his research the output performance of intelligence community including CIA in the US affects national policies from the president down to the policy makers. For example, Preseident W. Bush signed the Terrorism Prevention Act and Intelligence Reform in 2005 because of the shortcomings of the intelligence community in analyzing information (Lieberthal 7). Reforms were made in light of the 9/11 because of the lack of analytic standards and intelligence failures, which called for a revamp in the intelligence community (Lieberthal 8).
Lieberthal's (2009) report on the outcomes of intelligence community performance defines the correlation between the intelligence agency's performance output in effectively synthesizing intelligence reports and policy outcomes. The qualitative research performed in Lieberthal's (2009) study revealed several flaws in the prevailing intelligence gathering system. Such flaws created outcomes that put emphasis on dedication and attention in analyzing intelligence reports. The consequences thereof includes elevation of Presidential Daily Briefing, quality of NIE's (National Intelligence Estimates) and analytic risk aversion (Lieberthal 8). Since NIEs are considered the final product of intelligence agencies, several capability improvements were suggested in order to improve analytic standards.
In lieu to the given issue that the intelligence agency (CIA) is facing, its leaders sought for long-term resolutions, which includes the current agenda to change the leadership culture of the organization. George Mason University's School of Public Policy (2012) conducted a symposium to discuss the issues of politics, intelligence and policy along with the representatives from DCI (Director of Central Intelligence, White House and Congress). Among the matters of discussion is the lack of analytical standard in intelligence organizations particularly CIA leading to the delivery of inadequate NIE's. Although the inadequacies were addressed timely by a signed reform policy, the CIA is still struggling internally because of the culture wars happening inside the organization (George Mason University School of Public Policy 18). DCIs are trying to resolve the cultural differences inside the agency especially among its directors. There are directors that are adamant to change and negates the importance of employing standard systems of intelligence scrutinies. On the other hand, directors that are strong willed, hard charging and ambitious in mandating change. Since reform is one of the main agendas of CIA, it is important that the agency firs resolve its internal conflicts.
Political actors play significant roles in the outcome of intelligence agency reform. The fact that the agency has a direct line to major personalities in the politics. The agency is also affected by the country's political environment. The president for example alleviated the need for PDB, constituting a risk that the intelligence provided during PDBs are in fact inadequate. Such circumstances may largely influence the president's decision that could have national security risk implications. The same goes with senior policy makers that could possibly create legislation based on inadequately analyzed intelligence. CIA operatives, executives and other employees are exposed to political environment, the chances of political involvement may affect the outcomes of the agency's performance. According to the US Office of Special Counsel (2005), federal employees are subjects to political restriction such as engaging in political management and partisan campaigns (US Office of Special Counsel 3). Therefore, the agency has to avoid political involvement in order to sustain delivery of reliable intelligence because it is crucial and severe when translated into policy.
Findings and Discussion
The presented literatures provide evidence that CIA is an organization created to aid policy makers in creating policies concerning the national security of the United States given the definition of their mission and responsibilities. CIA's intelligence gathering is paramount in determining internal and external threats, hence the information synthesized by the agency is a crucial parameter for policy making that will blanket the nation from such threats. Foreign policies and Terrorism Prevention Act are a few examples of what intelligence gathering can create. Furthermore, NTE's or the product of intelligence gathering has to be adequately analyzed in order to ensure that the policies it entailed pose effective measures to secure national security. However, the agency is facing challenges regarding the quality of analytic standards and inadequate system of information gathering in addition to a prevailing cultural wars inside the organization. The shortcomings on analytic standard are blamed for the prevention of threats as what the 9/11 incident implies. Inadequacies in the organization led to a major reform in intelligence system, seeking higher quality of NTE's and information gathering methods to ensure that the likes of 9/11 incident will not happen again.
Improving analytic capabilities as proposed by the Intelligence Reform Act defines several strategies divided into three categories. First, is the analyst's capabilities, recruiting higher percentage of analysts ranging from late twenties to early thirties age group should be encouraged (Lieberthal 9). This is because people from such age group are said to have more extensive experience relating to their country of concern (Lieberthal 9). It may present a challenge in security because in order to be adept with information coming from a specific country, the analyst must either spent long years of stay in that particular country or an immigrant. Security issues arise in this change provision in the sense that loyalty to the United States of America is in question. As such, selective intelligence gathering could possibly occur in the process especially if the information obtained from the country of concern constitutes personal attachment. However, the age preference for qualified analysts offers a benefit of maturity, life experience and deeper knowledge of the country of concern.
It was also proposed in the reform that a National Intelligence University should be established to cultivate future CIA personnel with common standards and procedures. Training programs drawn from the agency's historical success and failures need to be incorporated to compound effective academic foundations (Lieberthal 9). Finally, other areas of improvement based on intelligence reform should also cover improving utilities being used to create analytical products before passing it over to policy makers. This also includes improving the policymaker's ability to utilize and elicit high quality analysis before translating into policy (Lieberthal 9).
CIA influence policy in many levels detrimental to United State's national security. Therefore, assessing the historical background of the organization is necessary to draw the most important concept from the defines its purpose. Central Intelligence Agency is the melting pot of information that will help secure the country from internal and external threats. Having said that, the intelligence they gather should carefully analyzed by having a standard system and values that will reflect the organization's mission and fulfill their responsibilities to the public. It is only possible if CIA would be able to adapt change and common culture. Examining CIA's history, mission, issues and reform agenda possess quantitative limitations because of the lack of variable data that represents their relationship. However, further studies may suggest a more in-depth analysis of the issue by conducting statistical evidence that will point out significant relationships between the areas discussed in this paper.
Bancroft, Elizabeth. "The Founding of the Post-WWII US Intelligence Community." The Creation of the Intelligence Community: Founding Documents. McLean, Va. USA: Central Intelligence Agency, 2007. 1-11. Print.
Downie, Euan. "Introduction." The CÍA and United States Containtment Strategy 1946-1950 (2007): 139-140. Print.
Faulcon, Brinkley, and Cristina Bartolomei. "An Introduction to the Beltway." Interns, Washinton D.C. and the Federal Government (2012): 26. Print.
George Mason University's School of Public Policy. "Crafting an Intelligence Community." Papers of the First Four DCI's 0.1 (2012): 18. Print.
Lieberthal, Kenneth. "The U.S. Intelligence Community and Foreign Policy: Getting Analysis Right." John L. Thornton China Center Monograph Series 2.18 (2009): 7-9. Print.
U. S. Office of Special Counsel. "Employees Subject to Additional Restrictions." Political Activity Activity and the Federal Employee (2005): 3. Print.