THE SUBTLE APPROACH TO MAKING INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES SHARE INFORMATION | 2004-04-24
I have spent many years knee deep in intelligence work.
On Capitol Hill, my boss was Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee. Under Reagan, one of my areas of responsibility was all civilian clearances in the entire Federal civil service.
Before I got to Capitol Hill, there are many blank spaces in my resume.
So let me address the Deep and Intractable Question everybody brings up when they discuss what happened on September 11, 2001
"How can we get the FBI, the CIA, and other agencies to share information?"
Let me tell you how you do that.
The FBI knew the names of the terrorists who got on the planes to attack the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. They did not tell the Federal Aviation Administration about those people.
That got three thousand people killed.
That is criminal negligence.
Bureaucratic games got three thousand people killed.
The difference between stupidity and criminal negligence is luck. If you drive drunk and don't get caught at it, you did something stupid. But if you smash into another car and kill somebody, you go to prison for criminal negligence.
When the FBI and CIA don't share information, it is bureaucratic games as usual, stupid, childish, unprofessional and unpatriotic.
But when that business as usual, stupidity, childishness and lack of patriotism causes three thousand deaths, it is a criminal matter.
That is the rule every driver must live by. That is the rule intelligence agency bureaucrats must be made to live by.
Rule One: Someone has to go prison for that. The only question is who. The buddy system in intelligence would break down fast as went down the list of possibly responsible people: this is your area, so if you don't go to jail, who will? Believe me, once you declare that, bureaucrats inside the FBI will tell you all about what happened.
Someone goes to prison. From there on, you will get that cooperation everybody says is so complicated because of the "culture" of the agencies.
From the time that person goes to prison, you will be amazed how well all the agencies will be sharing information.
That is the only way to do get intelligence agencies to share information.
There is no other way to get intelligence agencies to share information.