August 6, 2020

Retired CIA to Trump: Good Opportunity to Rehire Many Who Left Due to Obama

A unique opportunity for the Trump Transition Team.

The last eight years were a time of uncertainty and frustration for many in the intelligence community.  In the beginning, no one knew exactly what to expect from the incoming Obama Administration.  I can’t say I was terribly surprised with the now famous “apology tour”, because during the 2008 campaign, Obama did not disguise his contempt for previous U.S. policy in support of pro-US dictators.  Obama also spoke out regarding attempts by US intelligence agencies to clandestinely impact foreign events, including elections and revolutions.  But 2008 was a far cry from 1965, and the CIA and NSA of the twenty-first century are built to collect intelligence in two directions: in support of national security, and in furtherance of current Administration policy.  The intelligence community expected the incoming Obama Administration to continue efforts to collect against terrorist targets, but to also have a list of new targets, in support of Obama’s diplomatic initiatives.  Almost from the start, it was difficult to determine the direction of Obama’s foreign policy, although the Obama Administration did not takes steps to diplomatically re-align US foreign policy, at least not overnight.

Although the Obama Administration on occasion allowed US Army Special Forces into battle zones in support of our allies, most foreign policy initiatives were introduced through the end of a pen.  Obama was determined to avoid utilizing US military power at every opportunity, although he did not shy away from imposing sanctions.  Over time, the Obama foreign policy became more and more difficult to define.  The intelligence agencies started to suffer a higher rate of officer turnover than usual.  I can’t say for certain that the Directorate of Operations received more resignations and early-retirements that expected because of Obama’s policies, but I believe they had a definite impact.  I have yet to meet a CIA employee who is not a true patriot.  One of the main reasons people apply to join the Agency is the opportunity to support US foreign policy from the front lines.  Regardless of personal politics, many officers became frustrated by their inability to decipher our long-term foreign policy goals.  I know numerous officers from different directorates who left the Agency during the Obama Administration, and in most instances it was because of job dissatisfaction.  Don’t misunderstand; I didn’t hear complaints about management, working conditions, benefits, or inter-office issues.  Frequently I was told that the mission had lost its clarity.  The rapid withdrawal from Iraq impacted many Agency officers personally, and later during the Obama presidency, the nuclear agreement with Iran was opposed by many in the intel community. . . read remainder of story>>

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