What James Clapper, the Director of US National Intelligence (ODNI), told reporters might seem obvious to those who are involved in intelligence-related tasks. Saying like Clapper that there are underground cells of ISIS – not to mention Al Qaeda’s – in the UK, Germany and Italy which could be preparing for the next attacks wasn’t breaking news. The fact that the very top level of the Intelligence Community (IC) seemed to reconsider its stance regarding the terrorist threat in general made the real headline.
Within ICs, in America as in Europe, defiance from analysts, operatives and veterans grew over increasing disagreement between their threat assessment and how elected / appointed officials took it into account – when they didn’t go as far as altering the data in order to fit the narrative and please the executive power.
Former CIA station chief Scott Uehlinger denounced political correctness and elected officials’ cognitive dissonance as a main reason behind latest intelligence failures. Former CIA, DIA senior analyst Fred Fleitz and former Belgian intelligence SGRS CT specialist Bernard Snoeck did too. IISS Chairman François Heisbourg just boarded the long train of discontent.
Russian IC almost expressed compassion on their US and European counterparts’ disillusion. Inside, outside, around the ICs, there is growing number of people who clearly said that things have to change, and the list goes on. Because politics turned their job into a mission impossible, they want elected leaders to learn, listen and act. Clearly, effectively, realistically.