The case for abolishing the CIA

John B. Judis in The New Republic:

Cia_01In his memoir, Present at the Creation, former Secretary of State Dean Acheson expressed his misgivings about the creation of the CIA in 1947. “I had the gravest forebodings about this organization and warned the President that as set up neither he, the National Security Council, nor anyone else would be in a position to know what it was doing or to control it.” In 1991 and again in 1995, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan introduced bills to abolish the CIA and assign its functions to the State Department, which is what Acheson and his predecessor, George Marshall, had advocated. But Moynihan’s proposal was treated as evidence of his eccentricity rather than of his wisdom and never came to a vote.

It’s time to reconsider Moynihan’s proposal, or least the reasoning behind it. Al Libi’s case, combining gross incompetence with the violation of international law, shows that the problems Moynihan and others cited have, if anything, gotten worse under George W. Bush. The intelligence reform act passed last year didn’t address them; and the current director Porter Goss appears oblivious to them. These problems have for years plagued the two main functions of the agency: intelligence gathering and covert action.

More here.