You know at the end of the day the only thing you have is trust and honor in this world. That’s all you have. All you have is your reputation built on trust and your personal honor. When you don’t have that anymore well you know there you go. Trust was broken.
As a nation we have over the past seven years been rebuilding our intelligence with powerful capabilities that many thought we would no longer need after the Cold War. We have been rebuilding our clandestine service our satellite and other technical collection our analytical depth and expertise.
By definition intelligence deals with the unclear the unknown the deliberately hidden. What the enemies of the United States hope to deny we work to reveal.
Here’s the teaching point if you’re teaching kids about intelligence and policy: Intelligence does not absolve policymakers of responsibility to ask tough questions and it doesn’t absolve them of having curiosity about the consequences of their actions.
The only people that ever stand up and tell the truth are who? Intelligence officers. Because our culture is never break faith with the truth. We’ll tell you you don’t have to drag it out of us.
To understand a difficult topic like Iraq takes patience and care. Unfortunately you rarely hear a patient careful or thoughtful discussion of intelligence these days.
When I came to the CIA in the mid-’90s our graduating class of case officers was unbelievably low. Now after years of rebuilding our training programs and putting our best efforts to recruit the most talented men and women we are graduating more clandestine officers than at any time in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency.