Egypt Crisis -- Don’t Blame the Intelligence Community For Failing to Predict Unrest

With the continued crisis in Egypt and today’s rumors of Mubarak stepping down from office as early as this evening, many U.S. policy makers are questioning the capabilities of the intelligence community.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein has taken the lead in questioning our country’s intelligence. She is not alone; in fact, earlier this week we have observed similar government leaders who question the U.S. intelligence community reject an extension on the U.S. Patriot Act, -- the one piece of legislation which could arguably be construed as the key in preventing additional terrorist attacks inside the United States since 9/11.

The questions and failures to support the U.S. intelligence community is a mirror image of that which occurred in the 1970’s.

In the 1970’s, President Carter along with Walter Mondale, Frank Church, and Otis Pike obliterated the United States most critical intelligence discipline; HUMINT. Recently on Fox News, Lt. COL (Ret.) Ollie North alluded to the true issue facing the United States and the current calamity throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Firmly stated, the United States lacks human intelligence to forecast such uprisings.

William Donovan, the key in WWII OSS covert and clandestine activities, laid the framework for the U.S. intelligence community. His successes in WWII opened the eyes of U.S. policy makers which inevitably established the Central Intelligence Agency. It was this organization that was later determined to serve as the key unconventional human intelligence apparatus securing our great nation.

A major part of the CIA’s operation was to serve abroad collecting political, military, economic, and social data amongst local indigenous persons. Collecting this data identified and forecasted possibilities of civil unrest mitigating the United States from reactionary measures in key geographic areas of interest, something technical intelligence cannot do. The Agency’s activities allowed opportunities of preparedness through successful planning of strategic initiatives if such unrest were to occur.

Today, serious backlash has been presented towards the CIA for supposed failures pertaining the civil unrest taken place in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and elsewhere in the region. Our own senators are questioning the CIA’s inefficiencies and failures. This is a mirror body of government which destroyed the CIA’s HUMINT function in the 1970’s supported by another extreme liberal President similar to that of President Jimmy Carter.

The American people continuously contemplate why the war in Afghanistan continues. They wonder why the nation has fallen into a devastating economic conundrum. They question bailout activities that never truly served in the best interest of “We the People.” They question our domestic and foreign policies.

Answers to the aforementioned questions are easy: The current administration refuses to hold itself accountable. They have taken the easy road by simply pointing fingers at everyone but themselves. The American people should now see the light. We are being ruled today by an ideology of destruction virtually identical to that founded in the 1970s.

There is a lesson to be learned from all of this. The CIA and its intelligence counterparts were established to secure this nation. New Executive Orders must be established cutting the ropes which tied their hands behind their backs all these years.

Kerry Patton has served in the U.S. Defense and Justice departments, and as a contractor within the Homeland Security and State departments. He has worked in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, focusing on intelligence and security interviewing current and former terrorists, including members of the Taliban. He is the author of “Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies.”