In virtually all previous confirmation hearings, there were no probing questions on CIA transgressions or the purpose, role, and even necessity of the CIA in the post-Cold War world. It is essential that the committee and the American public get some idea of Burns’ impressions on these important matters, particularly in view of his distinguished career and his thoughtful writings. What can be done to improve the production of strategic intelligence? What is the proper role for covert action in the 21st century? What can be done to improve oversight at the CIA and to ensure cooperation with congressional oversight?
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CIA Creates a Mission Center to Counter China
You have to wonder what in the world Burns’ mediocre predecessors (John Brennan and Mike Pompeo) were thinking in creating mission centers regarding Iran and North Korea which represented little threat to the United States. But my second reaction is less facetious and more serious: why is the United States—its president, its politicians, its pundits—hell-bent on creating a Cold War environment and arms race with China? Burns told his work force last week that China is “our toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry.”