The CIA At War


It's a grim, ugly thing, reports Jeff Stein in Congressional Quarterly:

According to several well informed intelligence sources, hundreds of CIA operatives have become virtual prisoners in the Green Zone, the sprawling American enclave whose high walls and guards separate the U.S. embassy, military command and related civilian agencies from the raging sectarian violence in Baghdad's streets.

The CIA operatives cannot safely roam the city to meet their few agents, much less recruit new ones.

It's just too dangerous. CIA chiefs don't want to risk one getting kidnapped, tortured on camera and beheaded.

That would certainly dampen the allure of a career in the CIA.

So "they spend their days playing cards and watching DVDs," said a former senior CIA operations official who maintains close ties in the agency.

There's a lot more about intelligence fecklessness amidst Iraqi chaos in the long article, and none of it is any more encouraging that we'll eventually figure out what's going on over there, much less how to turn the situation in a direction we'd prefer.