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Could The C.I.A. Save America from Terrorism?

by Gad Nahshon

It is too early to point fingers. We are still under the influence of the new World Trade Center / Pentagon traumatic experience. Some argue that the imagination of the terrorist can master over his counter-terrorist machine. Who could predict a case in which enemies of the U.S. turn a commercial plane into missile. How could we foresee the rising of the hi-tech terrorism or the 'Age of Information' terrorism, the sophistication of the Muslim terrorism.

In May 2000, I attended, open to the press, a symposium launched by the council for foreign relations. The 'stars' were four ex-heads of the CIA They came to discuss the CIA's future. The participants were Adm. (Ret.) Turner, William Webster, James Woolsey, and John Duetsch.

I would like to point out that only Duetsch argued that we must think about changing the CIA, perhaps our culture of intelligence as well. He remarked that our priorities had been changed. And he explained: counter-terrorism and the issue of weapons of mass destruction. We need to 'rethink' everything even the relations between the CIA and the Pentagon. Other participants said that they are happy with the CIA of our times. Let me hereby stress those remarks which might help us to understand the new situation. They based this on what was said in the meeting in Manhattan:

1. We need more 'covert actions' but only 1% of the CIA's budget was allocated for this goal;

2. Should America kill 'heads' of state or organizations? We made mistakes such as with Castro;

3. Covert action must not deviate from our democratic values and they must help the U.S.'s foreign policy;

4. Although America did help the Mujahadeen, it never ever helped Bin Laden;

5. The CIA made mistakes in the cold war but its record is very positive;

6. The CIA made mistakes in 1973, the Yom Kippur War, and the fact that India celebrated its first nuclear expulsion.

It is clear that America, in the near future, will reassess its national security policies, its security establishment, its organizational infrastructure and the network of linkages and feedback between the CIA and the Pentagon or between the intelligence community and the National Security Council, as well. There are always issues of coordination, always issues of centralization vs. de-centralization. Indeed, even the great 'Dr. Henry', Kissinger omitted a discussion on international and Muslim terrorism in our global village - Age of Information in his last book, Does America Need a Foreign Policy for the 21st Century? Of course, it is easy today after this new American holocaust to preach to others. It is 'fun' to see, suddenly, that this country has so many so-called experts on terrorism.

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