“We Obviously Learned Nothing from The Loss in Vietnam Forty Years Ago”
Mohsen Abdelmoumen: In your must-read book “Whistleblower at the CIA: An Insider’s Account of the Politics of Intelligence”, you make a historical testimony about the internal functioning of the American intelligence community. What was the impact of your report on the world of intelligence? Since the publication of your book, do you think there have been positive changes in the intelligence services or, on the contrary, do the same practices that you denounce continue?
Dr. Melvin Goodman: Since my congressional testimony in 1991, there has been a greater recognition of the problem of politicization of intelligence. But my books in 2008 and 2017 on the CIA have not received sufficient attention in my opinion. Moreover, the so-called intelligence “reform” after 9/11 only made matters worse by expanding the militarization of intelligence. Also, the appointments of such CIA directors as Gina Haspel, Mike Pompeo, Gen. Petraeus, and Leon Panetta indicate that we need a president who understands the need for an independent and tough-minded CIA director. Under these leaders, the CIA has become too much of a para-military organization.
Recent News and Latest Book
Breaking the Addiction to Secrets and Secrecy
There is no question that the government must protect its sources and methods in the collection of intelligence. Regarding substance, however, I believe that, with the exception of details on weapons systems as well as on sensitive negotiations, there are few legitimate secrets and almost none that must remain classified for more than ten years at most. The secrecy that surrounded the Iran-Contra affair probably saved the Reagan presidency over the short term, but greater transparency would have prevented Iran-Contra from ever getting off the ground in the first place.
Harvard’s Kennedy School: Key Part Of The Military-Industrial Complex
Harvard’s Kennedy School’s denial of a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch, because of his criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza is only the latest example of the corporate role played by Harvard’s most prestigious think tank on public policy. Roth, who has spent the last three decades at HRW defending human rights around the world, was offered a senior fellowship at the School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. It was quickly withdrawn.