Saturday, February 5, 2011

Obama Said to Fault Spy Agencies’ Mideast Forecasting

President Obama has criticized American spy agencies over their performance in predicting and analyzing the spreading unrest in the Middle East, according to current and former American officials. The president was specifically critical of intelligence agencies for misjudging how quickly the unrest in Tunisia would lead to the downfall of the country’s authoritarian government, the officials said. The officials offered few details about the president’s concerns, but said that Mr. Obama had not ordered any major changes inside the intelligence community, which has a budget of more than $80 billion a year. On Friday, a White House spokesman said spy agencies had given Mr. Obama “relevant, timely and accurate analysis” throughout the crisis in the Middle East.

But questions about the recent performance of spy agencies expose a tension that has played out since the C.I.A.’s founding in 1947: how to balance the task of analyzing events overseas to warn officials in Washington about looming crises with the mission of carrying out covert operations around the globe. Some officials have focused their criticism on intelligence assessments last month that concluded, despite demonstrations in Tunisia, that the security forces of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali would defend his government. Instead, the military and the police did not, and Mr. Ben Ali and his family fled to Saudi Arabia. One American official familiar with classified intelligence assessments defended the spy agencies’ Tunisia analysis. “Everyone recognized the demonstrations in Tunisia as serious,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing classified intelligence reports. “What wasn’t clear even to President Ben Ali was that his security forces would quickly choose not to support him.”



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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