Once again, the Sunday editorial section of the NY Times featured a number of articles about the intelligence community. Since it is a time of transition, much of the commentary is around mistakes made and failures. Art Brown, a 25-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency, and former head of the Asia division of the agency’s article about intelligence failures over the past several years.
One passage from his article certainly caught our attention — about CIA officers not using BlackBerrys or the Internet. With all of the web-based solutions available to the intelligence community, I find this, frankly, hard to believe. Here’s the noteworthy paragraph:
“First, the agency is simply too insular. It does not sufficiently tap into the expertise that exists across the breadth of America. The human spy components of the C.I.A. live in a cocoon of secrecy that breeds distrust of outsiders. This is one reason very few officers have BlackBerrys, and those few who do usually leave them in their cars when they go to work. Despite their reputation as plugged-in experts on other countries, many C.I.A. officers do not even have Internet access at their desks. Worse yet, they don’t think they need it.”