“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
Meet Our New “Secretary Of State”…Nancy Pelosi
In any event, Pelosi’s travel to the world’s worst trouble spots creates significant confusion regarding official U.S. policies and politics. In flexing the flabby diplomatic muscles of the U.S. Congress, Pelosi is engaging the international community without any obvious coordination with the White House or the Department of State. The notion that anyone from the House of Representatives could have an impact on U.S. foreign policy or diplomacy is particularly ludicrous. Unfortunately, her trips seemingly amount to a last hurrah.
The Dangerous Civilian-Military Chasm In America
One of the greatest weaknesses of presidential leadership over the past 60 years has been the lack of presidential experience in the military and the inability to control the military. Several weeks before his seminal Farewell Address, President Dwight D. Eisenhower told his senior advisers in the White House, “God help this country when someone sits in this chair who doesn’t know the military as well as I do.” His successors have been deferential to the military and too many of them have used military force to bolster their credentials. This has been a major factor in the expanded power of the military establishment.