Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

CIA and the language problem

This WaPo article in some ways is shocking, but it’s still only the tip of the iceberg. Another story on the theme.

Discussions - 6 Comments

"I repeatedly asked for a speaker of Dari or debrief the flood of refugees...They were a goldmine of information. We could have recruited some and sent them back across the border to report on Afghanistan. I was told there were no Dari or Pashtun speakers anywhere. I was told the CIA no longer collected on Afghanistan, so those languages weren't needed.

Headquarters instead offered to send out a four-person sexual-harrasment briefing team."--former CIA Agent Robert Baer, 'See No Evil'

And that was 20 years ago. The CIA has been too busy running Black Ops against Bush and translating Feminist Theory into English to learn the language of our enemies.

Why, its enough to make a proud Latina ashamed!

Black Ops against Bush? The former director or his son? Or do you mean the guy in the copy room that get briefed by Hoover after the JFK murder? The best solution is just smash the CIA and get rid of it. It was built to fight the cold war and did not even work out there. The CIA is a glorified gang and drug cartel who's only sucsess has come in glorified philibustering incidents.

I mean Valerie and Joe Plame, who were measuring the drapes in the SecState's office. And rogue intelligence officers like Tamm. Not to tar the many patriots who also serve in intelligence.

Baer's book was amazing. I read it several years ago and had forgotten about it - thanks for bringing it up. Yes, Brutus, the CIA is absolutely broken, but what is your solution? Not collect intelligence? We don't hear about what doesn't happen when they successfully accomplish a mission.

Then how do we know it happended? In reality, we got along fine without the CIA till the cold war. If we cut out all the philibustering then is their really that much that the FBI or military can't handle? The CIA is recruiting right now to ramp up the domestic aspect....stunning....

An interesting article. Enlightening, yes.

Communication is and always has been the key to everything in this world. The business of war is no different. And by communication, I mean not simply talking to someone, but understanding a culture. This acknowledgment by the CIA shows that they are not doing their job fully or as well as possible. Their job is to understand. Without the language, there can be no understanding.

"The new initiative, announced by CIA Director Leon Panetta, was an acknowledgment of the agency's slow progress in adding employees fluent in languages such as Arabic, Farsi and Urdu." Amazing, learning has occurred. The next step is to implement changes to affect that end.

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