Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Think Tanks vs. CIA

Do think tanks do better work than the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)?

Here is more from the Weekly Standard:
All the big issues surrounding the CIA—about the basic competencies of how it does its work operationally and analytically—are difficult for outsiders to assess, of course, even the more intrepid in the congressional intelligence committees and the executive branch. One operational success—the right "walk-in" or volunteer in just the right place—can paper over the doubts, which, in any case, tend to evanesce quickly behind the protective barrier of classified information. Were the CIA's routine Cold War operations, for the most part, so much busy work? Has the vast majority of Langley's classified analytical products been less insightful than the unclassified work of Washington's better think tanks? It didn't really matter if the agency could provide, now and then, eye-popping information against our number-one threat.

Think Tank Watch should note that think tanks, both in the US and overseas, are full of former people from the intelligence community.

Brookings even started its own mini-CIA a few years ago, and new CIA Director Mike Pompeo just spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Another big question: Do consultancies do better work than think tanks?