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Starving for Intelligence

December 10, 2001

Bruce Lee--the author, not the karate guy--says that September 11 happened because "we starved our intelligence agencies." We have been hearing this ever since. Get ready for a huge increase in "intelligence" spending, as well as "taking the handcuffs off."

But let's see if we can kill this handsome theory with some ugly facts.

Here is a list of our intelligence agencies we know about:

  • Central Intelligence Agency

    • The Directorate of Operations
    • The Directorate of Intelligence
    • The Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T)
    • The National Intelligence Council (NIC)
  • Department of Defense

    • National Security Agency (NSA)
    • Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)
    • Central Measurements and Signature Intelligence Office (CMO)
    • Tactical Intelligence And Related Activities (TIARA)
    • The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
    • The Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO)
    • Central Imagery Office (CIO)
    • Army--National Ground Intelligence Center
    • Navy--National Maritime Intelligence Center
    • Air Force--National Air Intelligence Center
    • Marine Corps Intelligence Activity
    • Joint Intelligence Centers
      • United States Atlantic Command(ACOM)
      • United States Central Command(CENTCOM)
      • United States European Command(EUCOM)
      • United States Pacific Command(PACOM)
      • United States Southern Command(SOUTHCOM)
      • United States Space Command(SPACECOM)
      • United States Special OperationsCommand (SOCOM)
      • United States Strategic Command(STRATCOM)
      • United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM)
  • The Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)

  • The Department of Energy: DOE's Office of Intelligence

  • The Department of Treasury: Treasury's Office of Intelligence Support

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation--National Security Division

  • The National Foreign Intelligence Board (NFIB)

  • The Intelligence Community Executive Committee (IC/EXCOM)

  • National HUMINT Requirements Tasking Center

  • Central Imagery Office (CIO)

  • President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB)

  • President's Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB)

  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI)

  • House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI)

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the combined budget of these agencies is at least $30 billion annually. Officially and unofficially, the U.S. and its allies probably have more than 75,000 intelligence personnel.This army, larger than the Army of Northern Virginia, and spending twice as much as the entire Chinese defense budget, was unable to foresee or prevent the attacks. Does anyone think we got our money's worth from these bureaucrats prior to September 11?

The problem with bureaucracies can be seen in their genesis.They exist, we are told, because private society and the market are deficient and need to be regulated by bureaucracies with the power to control us.They control us; we do not control them, and this is necessarily so because, we are told, private individuals are bad or stupid or irresponsible and the market is defective.Because bureaucracies have power over us, they are neither responsive nor responsible to us.Therefore, they tend to act in their own interests, not ours.They tend to grow in staff, budget, and power, regardless of their poor performance.

It does not take $30 billion to determine that one hundred years of trying to rule the world was bound to result in retaliation at some point, or that $300 billion will not stop determined fanatics. All the CIA had to do to find out that a major terrorist attack was coming was to have had one clerk read LewRockwell.com, Mises.org, and AntiWar.com for the last few years. Cost: $30,000 per year.We have not starved our intelligence agencies; our agencies are starved of intelligence.


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