National Security

More Questions and Details on the Blown CIA Network

An important communications system was compromised, endangering human intel sources.

Harold Hutchison · Nov. 12, 2018

The intelligence disaster that began to unfold years ago, when China compromised a CIA communications program, has taken some more turns. For instance, according to The Federalist’s Tony Daniel, the number of sources lost has risen to around 70, as opposed to a dozen as originally reported. And the scope has widened to include not only Communist China but also the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The timeframe expands as well, going back to 2006. Daniel noted that a CIA employee and later contractor raised concerns that agents were at risk of being compromised via this communications system. Those warnings were ignored, and, worse, the contractor found himself the target of bureaucratic retaliation.

The contractor’s warnings proved prescient when Iranian intelligence initially broke into the system. The Iranians later put out a press release celebrating the feat, claiming that a number of sources for American intelligence had been identified (BBC puts the number at 42). Worse, though, are the questions surrounding this catastrophe.

Part of this, according to Yahoo News, was the fact that the system, which was successful in its initial application for use against terrorists and insurgents, was expanded to other adversaries. This included China and Iran, which are difficult places for the CIA to operate due to the repressive nature of the regimes and because a typical American will tend to stand out more there. Whatever the reason for its use, the system, while adequate in its initial role, was as outclassed against Iran and China as a Little League team facing the Boston Red Sox.

Accountability within the agency will be hampered due to civil-service protections, but it must happen, and it must include those on whose watch this happened. The CIA wasn’t a favorite agency of the Obama administration, during which time a legal enhanced interrogation program was vilified despite the fact that it clearly did work and saved lives. Later, the agency had its hands tied by Democrats, with the help of the late Sen. John McCain. Even when President Donald Trump took office, the Left smeared his choice for director, Gina Haspel, who was involved in running the black sites that kept dangerous terrorists on ice. In short, it’s no surprise that the Obama years were a disastrous period for these vital assets.

Under Trump, there’s a chance to fix this, if the distrust from the obvious misuse of intelligence agencies in the 2016 campaign can be overcome. Sadly, this may be more difficult now, as a new Democrat-controlled House will likely use the agency as political bodyguards for the Deep State bureaucrats who have misused their positions for partisan purposes.

Obama may now be beyond the accountability of voters, but perhaps some intrepid journalist could ask him about this. And perhaps the Senate and House Intelligence Committees could hold serious hearings on this matter instead of launching political witch-hunts.

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