Our intelligence service’s failure to detect the September 11 terrorist conspiracy and finding that Saddam Hussein did not posses any mass destruction weapons called forth the criticism of our service and led to reorganize the intelligence service. However, there is no need for excesses or endangering our country by making people believe we are doing the right thing.
There are two clichés now in our intelligence service, which have become dogma. The first is that our intelligence service is “damaged”. By increasing the use of this term, one may think that it can be fixed as long as the failure causes are inherent to the nature of the service. Intelligence needs information about different-minded people as well as about secrets, which would be compromised by data exchange. Additionally, the information is always analyzed in the political setting. Since the end of the Cold War, the major enemy changed in order to take a more heterogeneous shape, and the intelligence service is asked to know every little thing, which is impossible. Believing that the information service can be “fixed” to make it a perfect instrument is a dangerous hope.
The second cliché is that the intelligence service could be afraid of taking risks, but this is not about a Stock Market game. One cannot take this risk as error might bring terrible consequences.
In fact, improvements can only be secondary and gradual.

Los Angeles Times (United States)

« Danger in ’Fixing’ CIA », by Richard A. Posner, Los Angeles Times, May 24, 2005.