August 15, 2021

HEADS SHOULD ROLL / CAREERS SHOULD BE ENDED: Don’t Ignore The CIA’s Intelligence Failure On Afghanistan.

Not only did the Central Intelligence Agency and other US intelligence agencies wildly underestimate the speed of the Taliban advance, but they also appear to have been blind to the extent of political dealings the Taliban had made as the withdrawal loomed and the military prepositioning the Taliban achieved to begin a near-simultaneous assault on provincial capitals. They appear to have missed the fact that Taliban shadow governors were already in place, alongside their staff, to take over provincial functions.

The question of what went wrong with US intelligence is not simply Monday morning quarterbacking. Both the Trump administration and then Biden’s team prefaced America’s withdrawal on the notion that US intelligence capabilities would enable the United States to maintain an over-the-horizon strike capability against both insurgents and terrorists. The CIA’s failure, however, shows that as US forces withdrew, they were essentially blind and that the White House built America’s post-withdrawal strategy on a rotten foundation.

Our intelligence community seems mostly good at playing domestic dirty tricks — and to be honest, they’re not especially good at that, either. But it’s not like there are consequences for screwing up.

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