Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Back in the USSR

Writing on the Wall Street Journal opinion page, Republican intelligence players Michael Mukasey and Kevin Carroll are outraged about various things, including that current CIA Director John Brennan once referred to Jerusalem as Al Quds (its Arabic name), but they have a solution for all his transgressions --

But the boss has already said that purported concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are dishonest. Human nature being what it is at Langley as elsewhere, how likely is it that an evaluation suggesting that Iran is up to something would make it beyond operational channels, through reports officers, analysts and CIA managers, up to policy makers? Not very, unless Congress acts promptly to put in place an alternative team of analysts, much as George H.W. Bush did when he was CIA director in 1976 under President Ford. That was an election year, and d├ętente with the Soviet Union was the overriding administration policy. During the campaign, the question of whether our military power was falling behind Moscow’s was a charged issue. Mr. Bush commissioned a team of independent experts known as “Team B” to provide analysis of the Soviets’ capabilities and intentions that competed with the CIA’s own internal evaluation. Team B highlighted dangers posed by the U.S.S.R.’s growing strategic nuclear forces, informing President Reagan’s later determination to counteract those capabilities. 

Here's a good Wikipedia account of Team B. The bottom line is that its analysis was, to use the technical term, shite, and it misread nearly everything about the USSR but especially its potential for aggressive nuclear war and the strength of its economy. But the 1980s saw massively higher defence spending motivated by Team B, jobs for many its members, and its alumni would then play a key role in making the case for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

And now the Eye of Team B is upon ... Iran!

1 comment:

LFC said...

The sort of column the Wall St Journal opinion page would run. I don't think I'm going to bother reading it. I had sort of forgotten about Team B, but this post re-rang the bell, so to speak.