The C.I.A. Con-Trick

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones explains the historical roots of the arguments surrounding the CIA following their failure to anticipate the attacks of September 11th.

The sorry state of American intelligence leading to the disaster of September 11th invites a look at history. US intelligence deficiencies have in no small measure arisen from the fact that the CIA operates in the shadow of the confidence man. In his various guises, the CIA conman has conjured up one scare after another to line his pockets with dollars.

With the end of the Cold War, there were visions of greater openness and sanity, and even of a ‘peace dividend’ to the benefit of America and mankind. Developments since 1990 seem to have dashed those visions, and America today spends five times as much on intelligence as the whole of Europe combined, and more on intelligence than Russia spends on its entire military. Yet, there is a desperate need for greater international intelligence co-operation, preferably through the medium of the United Nations.

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