Reforming The American Intelligence System

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A big, new restructuring at the CIA. We’ll look at the future of the US intelligence agency.

In this Dec. 11, 2014 file photo, CIA Director John Brennan speaks during a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.  (AP)
In this Dec. 11, 2014 file photo, CIA Director John Brennan speaks during a news conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. (AP)

The Central Intelligence Agency – the CIA – was officially launched in 1947 to ensure, it was said at the time, that the United States would never face another Pearl Harbor.  In the decades that followed, its activities – and reputation – were all over the place.  But there was no new Pearl Harbor.  Until 9/11 came, and that comparison was all over.  And the Iraq War case, with its flawed intelligence.  And American torture, with the CIA at its center.  Last week, the CIA announced its biggest overhaul in decades.  This hour On Point: reorganizing the CIA.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for the New York Times. AUthor of "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, A Secret Army And a War at the Ends of the Earth." (@markmazzettinyt)

Jane Harman, director, president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center. Former nine-term Democratic Congresswoman from California.

John McLaughlin, former CIA analyst, deputy CIA director and acting CIA director. Senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: C.I.A. to Be Overhauled to Fight Modern Threats — "Drawing from disparate sources — from the Pentagon to corporate America — Mr. Brennan’s plan would partly abandon the agency’s current structure that keeps spies and analysts separate as they target specific regions or countries. Instead, C.I.A. officers will be assigned to 10 new mission centers focused on terrorism, weapons proliferation, the Middle East and other areas with responsibility for espionage operations, intelligence analysis and covert actions."

Foreign Affairs: Disrupting the Intelligence Community — "Ten years from now, the CIA’s primary mission will be covert action, an arena in which the agency can make a uniquely valuable contribution to national security. The NSA, for its part, will move away from collecting personal data, since private-sector firms have the resources to do the same task. And traditional espionage—the use of spies to gather human intelligence—will become less valuable than open-source intelligence, especially information gleaned from social media."

Reuters: CIA to make sweeping changes, focus more on cyber ops -- "The Central Intelligence Agency will make one of the biggest overhauls in its nearly 70-year history, aimed in part at sharpening its focus on cyber operations and incorporating digital innovations, CIA director John Brennan said. Brennan said he is creating new units within the CIA, called 'mission centers,' intended to concentrate the agency's focus on specific challenges or geographic areas, such as weapons proliferation or Africa."

This program aired on March 11, 2015.


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