I Have Come to
the Conclusion the Country Does Not Need a CIA
By John Kiriakou
January 17, 2017 "Information
- President-elect Donald Trump is accusing CIA Director
John Brennan of being the source of “fake news” about
him, essentially calling our new supreme leader a
Russian stooge and accusing him of taking part in a
sexual kink in full view of Russian intelligence cameras
in a Moscow hotel room several years ago.
I have no idea whether or not Trump, during a visit to
Moscow in 2010, hired prostitutes to urinate on a Four
Seasons Hotel Presidential Suite mattress because the
Obamas had once slept there. I don’t care. I also have
no idea if the Russian government “hacked” the
Democratic National Committee and stole Clinton campaign
manager John Podesta’s emails. I have not seen any CIA,
FBI, or NSA evidence, so I have come to the personal
conclusion that the hacking story is overblown. All
countries spy on each other. It’s a fact of life. The
U.S. spies on just about everybody in the world. So I
have a problem with the righteous indignation that I’m
seeing from so many of my friends and former CIA
colleagues about the Russians.
With that said, the Russia hacking story distracts from
real and important issues surrounding the CIA and its
future in U.S. policy.
One of those real issues is that the CIA has
consistently lied to the American people for many, many
years. Why would Trump conclude that Brennan was
spouting fake news? Well, in the past 15 years, the CIA
said that it was not torturing its prisoners. That was a
lie. The CIA said that it had not created an archipelago
of secret prisons where it was holding hundreds of
people, including innocent civilians. That was a lie.
The CIA said that it had not created and used a dungeon
torture center called the “Salt Pit” in Afghanistan.
That was a lie. The CIA said that it was not sending
prisoners to third world countries to undergo torture
with a wink and a nod from the CIA’s leadership. That
was a lie. The CIA said that it had not hacked into
computers belonging to investigators of the Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence while they were writing
the definitive report on the CIA torture program. That
was a lie.
I won’t even get into CIA protestations that it hasn’t
overthrown governments, influenced elections, committed
assassinations, or otherwise mucked up U.S. foreign
policy since the late 1940s.
I’m no fan of Donald Trump. At all. But he does have a
good and important point when he complains about the
Intelligence Community. When Trump said recently that
the CIA was bloated and inefficient, he was right. When
he said that it needed to be pared down and
restructured, he was right.
First, it’s good for the country that in a few short
days John Brennan will be out of a job. Brennan has been
a disaster for the CIA. His ill-advised “restructuring”
of the organization two years ago, which did away with
geographical “divisions” and created 10 new “fusion
centers” that paired operators and analysts, was
ill-advised and typical of somebody with no operational
experience. It diluted expertise, forced the CIA to rely
more on electronic eavesdropping, and pushed human
source intelligence collection to the side.
Second, try as he might, Brennan was never able to, and
indeed, should not have been able to, deny his role in
the Bush administration’s torture program. He was Bush’s
Deputy Executive Director of the CIA – the
organization’s fourth-ranking officer – from 2001 to
2003 and director of the Terrorist Threat Integration
Center from 2003 to 2004. He was in the center of the
CIA action and up to his neck in counterterrorism in the
Agency’s darkest days. To say that he had no idea there
was a CIA torture program at the time is utterly
Third, I have no idea what kind of CIA director Michael
Pompeo will be. I’m not optimistic. But with that said,
if he does only one thing during his tenure, I hope he
would clean house by forcing out every CIA officer who
ever had anything to do with the torture program, every
officer who had anything to do with the Senate hacking
scandal, and every officer who has ever provided false
information to the oversight committees. As my CIA
recruiter told me in 1989, “The CIA wants honest people,
not perfect people.” Well, even all these years later,
the dishonest people have to go.
Fourth, we can certainly have a discussion about whether
or not the country even needs a CIA. I have come to the
conclusion that it does not. The excellent civil
servants in the State Department’s Bureau of
Intelligence and Research can do the analysis. The
Pentagon’s Defense Humint Services can recruit and run
human sources around the world. A myriad of DoD and
other civilian offices and bureaus can do the science
and technology development.
In the meantime, however, the job of the CIA ought to
remain simple: To recruit spies to steal secrets. When
it can’t do that, when a majority of CIA officers are
sitting fat and happy in Langley, Virginia, there’s a
problem. They are doing the American taxpayer a
disservice. The top leadership has to go. Employees who
don’t respect U.S. and international law have to go. The
purge should start on January 20.
John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer
and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower
indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage
Act – a law designed to punish spies. He served 23
months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose
the Bush administration's torture program.
is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former
senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted
by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act – a
law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in
prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush
administration's torture program.
Reader Supported News
is the Publication of Origin for this work.
before posting -
It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH.
Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.