This Monday, NRO Contributing Editor Michael Ledeen wrote a very good article about intelligence and self-deception
(Hat Tip: reader M. Simon). It's not so much that America's intelligence agencies did not see Sept. 11 coming - it's that they didn't want to see it coming. Indeed, they were actively trained
by the Legislative Branch not
to see it coming.
America's Democratic Party has been strangely silent about this aspect of 9/11 during their investigations, despite their ongoing hobby-horse of political intervention in the intelligence process. One wonders why this might be so.
Ledeen's article outlines those failings - then explains why those same issues still matter today.
Ledeen traces the consequences of these policies and the habits they've spawned through America's intelligence apparatus, and then on to policy. While I would tend to characterize the Department of State as instigators of this syndrome rather than victims of it, the key point is that this kind of willful blindness and its consequences are still very much with us. Though some of it has been removed, it's still going on in important places, and on important issues.
This isn't just a recent phenomenon, but it is a serious one that demands ongoing attention. When political interference works to silence threat warnings, it will magnify the natural tendencies of "mirror imaging" and false assumption that exist in all intelligence agencies
. These tendencies can be very dangerous in a world where certainty about threats is a rare commodity, but the threats themselves are real.
The cost of this refusal to see is measured in money, blood, prestige... and the national security of the United States. Political correctness kills. It is still killing.