CIA Director Petraeus, Image via Wikipedia
From Denny: At this point, now one month into his job, the word is that the new director is horrified at the lack of acquiring and keeping good people. He is shocked that even the children of CIA officers do not - and will not - apply to the agency. In contrast, in the military tradition it is commonplace for generations to serve.
The intelligence community has long known that the children of CIA officers absorb the mindset and understanding of the intelligence world from growing up in it, creating an easier transition to get an employee ready for the environment.
What they did not calculate is how the tension and dangers of the intelligence environment takes its toll upon the family of CIA officers too. Who wants to spend your childhood as a soft target for assassins only to choose that same career as an adult and then turn around and do it to your children? Many have discovered what a bad idea that was and counsel their children against joining the agency.
The dangerous political atmosphere of the CIA where your own colleagues are setting you up to take the fall for more than just a career move for them has soured many on the CIA. There is little team integrity and team loyalty. Few can trust each other.
The children of CIA officers view this up close, choosing another path away from such intense emotional burnout. It's safer to live in a poor neighborhood with drive-by shootings, gangs and drug cartels. At least you can identify who is your enemy. In the CIA, anyone can be your enemy, even fellow Americans here or abroad.
Now that Gen. Petraeus has retired from the military and taken up the post as CIA Director, "his eyes are uncovered." And he thought he knew it all. Uh huh. Welcome to my world.
He is now aware that the traditional CIA model of getting people while they are young and keeping them for 30 years is not producing any good results. In fact, it breeds ego games that waste taxpayer money in the millions. Petraeus is now faced with developing a new breed and profile of who they hire for the CIA - and for how long.
Two CIA Directors: Panetta and Petraeus
Director Petraeus is a man known for his integrity and lack of hotdog attitude. He doesn't highlight upon the accomplishments of others. He, and newly minted Defense Sec. Leon Panetta, long associated with civil rights and foreign policy, share a friendship that is based upon integrity and good character. Panetta recommended Petraeus to take his job as he left for the Pentagon.
While Panetta was at the CIA he began the hard and arduous task of cleaning out the vermin that have long dirtied the name of the intelligence agency. They are hard entrenched on every level and have been for decades. Leon did not stay long enough to scrub out and remove all the weasels and snakes to the subatomic level.
Petraeus has worried many analysts that he would revert to the military mindset to run the CIA and also run to his military "brain trust" for advice and help. The country - and the world - are deeply concerned about the increasing militarization of the CIA.
Petraeus also thought he could tap his military friends - and people they could recruit for him - to come work for him. To a person they shocked him and said, "Hell, no!" No one trusts the CIA.
Why the CIA must change its employment model
As someone who grew up in the CIA let me share a few thoughts with you as to why this agency is so incredibly - downright indelibly - screwed up beyond measure. OK, Fucked Up. Let's call it for what it is.
Let's start at the very beginning when the agency was the OSS before and during WWII. After three directors, none of whom wanted the job when President Truman came calling, it was Gen. Bedell Smith that was chosen to run the unproductive intelligence outfit that just couldn't seem to get good results.
Smith was a man of integrity and he chose his people well. The majority were known for being of good character, trustworthy, sacrificing and dependable. He was the first CIA Director to succeed by redefining its structure and carefully modelling its mission.
He brought many separate intelligence-gathering agencies under the umbrella of the CIA. At that time he wanted to create an agency for career service. Up until then, these were temporary assignments and generally only during war time. Read that as dead end jobs with no futures so it was difficult to attract talented people.
About this time the administration changes from Democrat Truman to Republican Eisenhower and the president-elect appoints Smith as Under Secretary. Smith was known for his diplomatic experience and knowledge of the Russians, proving useful for negotiations.
Along comes Republican Sec. of State John Dulles who directly charges his brother, Allen Dulles, who is the new CIA Director after Smith, to aggressively chase communism and increase Cold War tensions. He's the same one that created the Cuba mess too. That's when the agency went off the rails.
The intelligence community went from smart to stupid in an instant and absorbed the Dulles' lack of emotional intelligence in the form of a mean-spirited, exacting, petty, hard-hearted, jealous personality. Remember, Sec. Dulles is the same guy that tried to discredit Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations when she was gaining ground with the delegates and popularity with the public. He was jealous of her. The agency has attracted and recruited this Dulles personality ever since.
Back in 1969, the agency turned darker - if you can imagine that happening. They started recruiting ex-military thugs and bullies in addition to the Dulles mindset, moving away from the easy to intimidate engineer model that did not read people well, therefore not producing good intelligence. So, the agency turned to intimidation for results.
The spy agency took on a far more aggressive and virulent form. They worked at intimidating the world as much as they intimidated the children of CIA officers in stupid thuggish attempts to recruit them into the spy agency. Who in their right mind would accept an "invitation" like that?
Perhaps Director Petraeus should check out the latest CIA thug at the agency that has been researching and cyberstalking honest brokers - people who have integrity, speak the truth and don't put up with thugs. He has been a very busy boy with the intent to destroy a lot of people on the agency dime. Why? He's one of those Dulles personalities that wastes time and resources because he is petty. That man should be given a quick retirement as clearly he is not trustworthy with power or authority - or the taxpayer's money.
Time for a CIA house cleaning
Which is the perfect time to bring up the obvious for this new CIA Director. It's time you put together a crack team of Honey Badgers (see this link to understand the reference) to ferret out and remove all the vermin at the CIA that have rotted it from the inside out. Sure, you have already sent out one team to look for the obvious house cleaning but you need to take it deeper into the bowels of the agency.
Why is it so important that Director Petraeus do this vermin removal now? Let me count the obvious ways. First of all, absolutely no one in the world or in America now trusts the CIA for even a small amount after the Bush years of practicing torture.
Hiring the younger generation is virtually impossible as no one wants to be associated with a work place of which they cannot be proud, especially if they are ex-military or new college graduates. The only people applying are exactly the wrong kind of people to be trusted with power and authority.
If you want to recruit people of good character and integrity to help you with peace negotiations then a lot has to change from within the agency. (At best they may only be willing to be recruited as consultants and never work inside the agency.) People in other countries need to know they can count on the CIA intelligence to be accurate and not subject to some ego game of a petty jealous agency thug who is mucking up the negotiations.
People's lives depend upon trustworthiness. So much of real diplomatic work is dependent upon accurate intelligence to ensure real safety and security for both sides. Everyone needs the security of knowing the person they are dealing with has integrity. Without that - and having to deal with the same cast of thug characters they always have from administration to administration - are our counterparts in other countries to ever trust the CIA and America? Answer: they can't.
Clean house, Director Petraeus, clean house down to the smallest level. And hey, this Honey Badger is available for free, no charge at all, to help finish the cleaning should you miss a few that flew under your radar. :)
As Director here are some of the ideas to consider:
* hire broad spectrum instead of experts of narrow fields and narrow minds: get a pack of generalists to add to the mix.
* hire at least 50 - 75 percent of your work force as much older, downright middle-aged, people to help balance the youthful enthusiasm in the ways of longer life experience, better at handling political atmospheres and gained wisdom
* hire all different fields instead of only what you think directly pertains to the intelligence community
* do not hire for long careers, instead hire for a 5 to 10 year term, longer if they do well and wish to stay
* search for those of integrity, grit and good character
* hire a lot of critical thinkers as opposed to only science type analytical thinking
* hire those who are not cowards - the kind to risk their own egos instead of someone else's
* change how your teams work: put together 700 teams consisting of reps from each group - CIA, NSA, military intelligence, Secret Service, FBI agents just for starters. When you have the ground crew comfortable sharing information with a team they know and can trust the information will not get stove-piped and guarded like jealous fiefdoms by ruthless unwise people. A lot of lives can be saved by doing so and the one percent will no longer run roughshod over the 99 percent. This model can also come in handy should there be a catastrophic national or global emergency. Some of these teams can survive to reorganize government and establish security.
* remember, thug personalities are generally only concrete thinkers and end up as predators
* pass over for management anyone who is a type who forces "square pegs into round holes" no matter how little sense it makes. See Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, George Bush 43, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove. You get the picture. Now combine all those profiles and you really get the big picture of why the CIA fails so often.
Good luck, Director Petraeus. I know you are up to the task of straightening out this mess. Hit the ground hard-charging for this Honey Badger crack team to do its work. Why?
Tick tock. Within the next year a lot of serious issues will surface that will require the assistance of the CIA. The diplomats and world leaders will need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt your agency is finally recruiting trustworthy individuals.
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14 October 2011
Gen. Petraeus: Why No One Wants To Work For Your CIA
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