How can new CIA director David Petraeus get his analysts to stop reporting that the “surge” and “COIN” policies he implemented over the last two years in Afghanistan, first as head of CENTCOM and then presiding over the war itself, are abject failures?
It looks like the Associated Press has found the answer:
“The CIA is giving the military a greater say in the debate over how the war in Afghanistan is going by allowing battlefield commanders to weigh into the analysis at early stages. …
“The last U.S. intelligence assessment offered a dim view of progress in Afghanistan despite the counterinsurgency campaign Petraeus oversaw there and painted a stark contrast to the generally upbeat predictions of progress from Petraeus and other military leaders. Petraeus has made no secret of his frustration with recent negative assessments coming primarily from the CIA, and said during his confirmation hearing that he planned to change the way the civilian analysts grade wars. …
“The change affects how CIA analysts conduct their semi-annual review of every Afghan district to determine several factors, including who is in control the Afghan government or the Taliban. The analysts used to brief their findings to the senior military commander in Kabul, who would then share them with his subordinates, to ask their opinion.”
Preventing the military from “grading its own work,” as Petraeus referred to his new job during his confirmation hearing this summer, was a major purpose of the creation of the civilian CIA back in 1947, since the generals can always be expected to promise the world with just another 50,000 troops and a few more years blowing things up. The CIA analysts, as they did in their Afghanistan report in July, are supposed to be able to add a critical eye and voice to the generals’ salesmanship.
With Gen Petraeus running things in Langley, their new priority will apparently be making their new boss look good in his last job. Read the AP piece here.
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