Don’t Trust your safety – or anything else, for that matter – to a large bureaucracy.
That tenet* is brought to you courtesy of George Tenet, head of the CIA as 9/11 was brewing. I don’t blame Tenet personally for 9/11, any more than I blame Freeh, Clinton, Bush, Rice, Mitchell, etc etc.
I blame the stupidity and incompetence of virtually every large bureaucracy on the planet. Everywhere they are tested (schools, Katrina, DMV) they either fail in cost per unit of output, or they fail spectacularly.
Don’t believe me?
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, CIA Director George Tenet had breakfast with former Sen. David Boren (D.-Oklahoma) at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington. According to Bob Woodward’s account in “Bush at War,” Boren asked Tenet, “What are you worried about these days?”
Tenet had a two-word answer: Bin Laden.
Tenet told Boren that he feared Bin Laden was about to try something big, and that people underestimated “the capabilities and the reach” of what al-Qaida was “putting together.” What Tenet didn’t tell Boren, Woodward said, is that the CIA had intercepted a flurry of communications over the summer of 2001 suggesting that something “spectacular” was imminent.
As the two men talked, Tenet’s security guards approached their table and told Tenet that there was a “serious problem” — the World Trade Center had been attacked. Tenet called CIA headquarters. According to Woodward, he then turned to Boren and said: “This has bin Laden all over it.”
But before Tenet left the table, Woodward said he made one more comment — a reference to Zacarias Moussaoui — that suggested that the CIA Director’s prescience may have fallen short when it came to preventing the attacks. “I wonder,” Tenet said, “if it has anything to do with this guy taking pilot training.”
It isn’t that these are bad people, it’s that the world is beyond their grasp. Abolish the CIA, NSA, and place all the results (intelligence, pictures, phone conversations, etc.) from their “assets” into the public domain. We’ll figure it out much faster than any of them.
n. An opinion, doctrine, or principle held as being true by a person or especially by an organization. See Synonyms at doctrine.