I have long advocated abolishing the Central Intelligence Agency, or as President Kennedy put it after the CIA played an integral role in the Bay of Pigs debacle, smashing it into a thousand pieces and scattering it to the winds. The CIA survives and prospers, of course, because despite its decades-long history of monumental screw-ups, it has friends in high places: President George H.W. Bush was once CIA director, and we know all about his prodigal son. These forces were hard at work in watering down and pushing back against the Senate Intelligence Committee’s just-released report on the agency’s depravities at its system of “black sites,” prisons overseas where terror suspects were routinely tortured and sometimes murdered.
The CIA has had some successes: It accurately predicted the 1967 Six-Day War in the Middle East, waged a successful cyber warfare campaign against a Soviet espionage team in the mid-1980s, and precipitated the exit of the Soviets from Afghanistan, which it then botched by failing to anticipate the rise of the Taliban.
A brief list of the CIA’s nonpareil record in compromising national security, something it is supposed to protect:
- The 1950 Chinese invasion of Korea
- The 1959 takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro
- The 1963 Cuban missile crisis
- The strength of and support for the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong in the 1960s
- The 1979 ouster of the Shah, Iranian revolution and rise of the ayatollahs
- The 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan
- The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union
- Denying in 1990 that Saddam Hussein planned to invade Kuwait
- The coming of Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the global Islamic jihad in the mid-1990s
- The 1998 explosion of a nuclear bomb by India, which remade the balance of power
- The 9/11 attacks
- That the pre-2003 invasion claims of Saddam Hussein that he had WMD were false
Editor’s Note: This essay originally appeared on December 10, 2014, on Kiko’s House, a website featuring commentary by journalist and author, Shaun Mullen. It was reproduced here with the consent of Mr. Mullen.