Former CIA insider Reuel Marc Gerecht dishes on the impact of moving the agency out of the forefront in the war on terror:
American counterterrorism has now enthusiastically shifted from the “gloves coming off” to a post-post-9/11 determination to return American virtue to what it supposedly once was. Unless Langley now piles on cash bonuses—and CIA bonuses usually aren’t compelling—the incentives for agency officers to join the White House’s new plans for a multiagency “professional” cadre of interrogators will go nowhere. Langley will be lucky if it can get the third-rate among its own to sign on. And one has to wonder about the better agents at the FBI, which still hasn’t happily made the transition into a counterterrorist organization. Who would want to join an interrogation outfit that sounds so politically correct and sensitive?
Throughout the 1990s, FBI offices grew rapidly overseas. In some places, the bureau’s men actually took over the offices of CIA station chiefs, pushing the bureaucratic equivalent of four-star generals into much smaller digs. Returning rapidly to a pre-9/11 world, the Obama administration seems poised to give the FBI overwhelming responsibility for counterterrorism at home and abroad. The CIA is no longer the pre-eminent agency in the fight against Islamic militancy. It hardly did a superlative job. But many will not be rejoicing at the rise once again of the FBI in counterterrorism. Being “virtuous” may not look so good looking back.
A lot of folks want to go back to 9/10, back to the way we were in our placid self-absorption. Me?
I’m not so sure. Sure it was a good show while it lasted.
But I really didn’t like the sequel.