The Central Intelligence Agency has become another branch of the military, and it's not improving America's security. So says a leading author about U.S. intelligence agencies, on The New York Times discussion site "Room For Debate".
"Before 9/11 the C.I.A.'s clandestine service never assassinated anybody itself (though at times it tried, as in the case of Fidel Castro). Since then drone airstrikes against suspected foreign terrorists have killed some 2,500 people, including civilians, without public discussion in Congress," writes Tim Weiner, a former New York Times reporter, and the author of "Legacy of Ashes: the History of the C.I.A.,'' and "Enemies: a History of the F.B.I.''
Other NYT contributors suggest Patraeus's replacement should come from the political world, not the military. "President Obama should take a hard look at former senators like Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, Bob Kerrey, Democrat of Nebraska, or Bill Bradley, a New Jersey Democrat, for the position or such career State Department officers as Thomas Pickering or William Burns, who understand the role of strategic intelligence," writes Melvin A. Goodman, a former CIA analyst, and author of the forthcoming "National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism."