The Airing of Grievances
Monday, November 08, 2004
Courtesy of the New Republic Online: Yesterday, The NY Times reported that Michael Scheuer, the longtime CIA counterterrorism official who headed the agency's Osama Bin Laden Unit from 1996 to 1999, sent a letter to the congressional intelligence oversight committees that discussed, among other things, how the unit has grown weaker in the three years since 9/11. Here is the relevant section of Scheuer's letter:
September 2004: In the CIA's core, U.S.-based Bin Laden operations unit today there are fewer Directorate of Operations officers with substantive expertise on al-Qaeda than there were on 11 September 2001. There has been no systematic effort to groom al-Qaeda expertise among Directorate of Operations officers since 11 September. Today, the unit is greatly understaffed because of a "hiring freeze," and the rotation of large numbers of officers in and out of the unit every 60-to-90 days--a process in which experienced officers do less substantive work and become trainers for officers who leave before they are qualified to support the mission. The excellent management team now running operations against Al Qaeda has made repeated, detailed, and on-paper pleas for more officers to work against the al-Qaeda--and have done so for years, not weeks or months--but have been ignored.
Completely inexplicable. I mean really, how is this possible? The incompetence of this administration is otherworldy mind-boggling. Jesus.

Anyways, Scheuer also had some choice words for certain FBI agents who came to the Bin Laden Unit before the September 11th attacks:

"With the exception of one very good officer, the F.B.I. agents who came to the unit came to have coffee, and to try to get trips to Europe," he said. "The agency carried the bureau on its back."
Ouch. But considering that the breakdown of interagency communications is one of the primary reasons we got into the September 11th mess in the first place, is this after-the-fact divisive public stuff really necessary? Funny? Yes. Necessary? No. Not at all. C'mon now guys. Let's get it together.
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