The following letter to the editor appeared in the Washington Post, and it says it all about the obscenely bloated U.S. intelligence community and its expansion to combat Al Qaeda:
"I retired as a senior intelligence officer from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1995 (when, incidentally, Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. was the agency's director). Since then, I have not kept up very much with intelligence community issues or programs. Thus I was truly shocked to read of the out-of-control sprawl described in Dana Priest and William Arkin's series, Top Secret America.
"This was not the intelligence community that I remember, which during my career was focused on the Cold War. While no model of efficiency or coordination, the community seemed to handle Cold War problems without anything like the sprawl and redundancy that the articles described. During my career, the DIA workforce, in particular, varied from 4,000 to 5,000 people. You can imagine my consternation when I read that the agency had ballooned to 16,500 people. That figure is virtually beyond the realm of imagination.
"It is hard to imagine why the struggle against al-Qaeda requires three times as many people in one major intelligence agency as were engaged against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It seems to me that Republicans and Democrats have a shared interest in bringing this monster under control, particularly when the issue of soaring government deficits is on so many people's minds."
William K. Schultz, Silver Spring
My own comments on the Post series appeared in this blog on Monday, under the headline: "Huge Fly Swatter, No Flies."