America is no stranger to adversity but the current perilous times in which we live call for exemplary intelligence gathering. Anything less than that could reap disastrous results for the United States.
That's why the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report citing flawed intelligence is particularly disturbing. The panel concluded the Central Intelligence Agency provided unfounded assessments of Iraq's threat to the U.S.
Among other highlights of the report, the Washington Post reported the CIA had no undercover agents in Iraq since 1998 to provide prewar intelligence. The report also concluded the agency failed to outline "the uncertainties of both the reliability of some key sources and of intelligence judgments."
The charge now before Congress and President George W. Bush must be to quickly fix and improve U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities. Partisan political finger-pointing which delays finding solutions to this mess is inexcusable. The nation's security demands that Democrats and Republicans work together to frame an environment in which the CIA can improve its ability to acquire and assess intelligence.
A strong individual, one who inspires trust from both sides of the aisle, must be named to succeed former CIA Director George Tenet and that person must be able to hit the ground running.
Intelligence gathering can sometimes be a nasty business, but within the guidelines set by the president and Congress, CIA personnel must be given the resources they need to provide U.S. leaders with the best possible intelligence.
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