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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Civilians Don't Trust CIA Data, Study Says

WASHINGTON -- The needs of the military are dominating U.S. intelligence activities and, as a result, the civilian parts of government have largely lost faith in the analyses they receive from the CIA, a private study said Thursday.


"Policymakers too often consider intelligence analysis to be unreliable, unhelpful or irrelevant,'' said the report by a task force sponsored by the Twentieth Century Fund, a private research foundation.


Titled "In From the Cold,'' it is the latest in a series of separate studies calling for reorganization of the intelligence community.


The House and Senate Intelligence Committees have drafted legislation to implement their separate recommendations for changing the way the Central Intelligence Agency and related agencies do business. Other recommendations have come from the Council on Foreign Relations and a presidential commission.


The latest report said the other studies fell short.


"Informed opinion overwhelmingly holds that many of the important questions about the intelligence agencies have yet to be addressed,'' wrote Richard Leone, president of the Twentieth Century Fund, in a forward to his group's report.


The main part of the report said the other studies "have not paid enough attention to the most important structural feature of America's intelligence community now that the Cold War is over: the increasing dominance of military needs.''


It went on to say that "while much lip service is paid to meeting the needs of civilian policymakers who focus on international political, economic and social questions, few steps have been taken to address their needs better.''


Citing the failures of the clandestine branch of the CIA, the task force said, "The nation needs a first-class clandestine capability. But we do not now have one.''


The study made these recommendations:


?Change the current mindset favoring collection over analysis and at least double the budget for analysis.


?Narrow the scope of the clandestine service to cover threats to deployed U.S. troops, the activities of rogue nations and terrorist groups, and countries with nuclear capabilities.


?Reverse "the long decline of the State Department's foreign service capabilities.'' Congress and the administration should rekindle the foreign service's reporting and analysis functions.


?Encourage analysts to "become real experts'' and to have greater interaction with authorities outside government and the intelligence community.


?Encourage greater sharing of analysis with foreign intelligence services.