In recent years I’ve criticized the National Security Agency, my former employer, for mismanagement and repeated failures. I’ve taken NSA to task for flawed leadership leading to low morale, and above all a habitual ignoring of counterintelligence that has led to numerous high-profile scandals since the agency IT contractor Edward Snowden defected to Moscow in mid-2013 with a trove of a million-plus classified documents.
Now that the mainstream media has finally noticed that NSA is in crisis, Admiral Mike Rogers, agency director since 2014, has announced he’s retiring soon. However, it should be noted that what ails NSA exists across our Intelligence Community to varying degrees, and its persistent shortcomings in counterintelligence are not unique.
Things don’t look much better at Langley, and CIA’s mistakes in the counterspy game have gotten quite a few people killed over the last decade. At the end of December 2009, at Forward Operating Base Chapman in eastern Afghanistan, a suicide bomber blew up himself and nine others: seven CIA personnel (five agency officers and two contractors) and a partner each from Jordan and Afghanistan. This was Langley’s bloodiest day in decades as well as a needless debacle. American spies were fooled by a “golden source” whom they were meeting for the first time in person: a top Al-Qa’ida operative who really was setting them up for death. This was a basic failure of counterintelligence vetting bolstered by wishful thinking.
Read the rest at The Observer …