Former National Intelligence Head Calls for Intel Agency Reform

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America’s intelligence agencies urgently need reform after embedded political partisans infiltrated them, according to former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe in an interview with The Heritage Foundation released Wednesday. In recent years, both the FBI and the CIA have engaged in unwarranted surveillance of American citizens, particularly those who hold conservative viewpoints.

Ratcliffe talked about the recent revelations of two CIA whistleblowers who alleged the CIA pressured and paid six CIA analysts to change their opinions concluding that the coronavirus outbreak most likely originated from a lab leak in China. “The CIA folks within mid-level management to high-level management didn’t want to make assessments on China that they thought would be helpful to President Trump and his policies,” Ratcliffe told Heritage President Kevin Roberts on the “Kevin Roberts Show” podcast.

The CIA says it’s “looking into” the whistleblowers’ accusations, and it does “not pay analysts to reach specific conclusions,” CIA spokesperson Tammy Kupperman Thorp told ABC News.

According to Ratcliffe, the CIA started embedding partisans during the Obama administration, a practice which, over time, started influencing the agency. “It is becoming a bigger problem, and we need to take it on,” said the former director of national intelligence. He said it’s no longer “just a few bad apples.” 

Even when Ratcliffe was on the House Intelligence Committee as a member of Congress, he said he couldn’t access information and the truth about things like COVID-19 and so-called Trump-Russia collusion. “As an elected official for the American people with oversight, I wasn’t getting the truth. I literally had to become the director of national intelligence to get the truth.” 

“When you collect intelligence—human intelligence, signals intelligence, all types of intelligence—there’s a process where that intelligence gets analyzed into conclusions or assessments that then go to policymakers. And that’s where sometimes politics comes into play,” he said.

Ratcliffe said he believes some of the information the Intelligence Committee discovers during the oversight process should stay behind closed doors, “but there is a level of transparency the American people deserve.” He said he hopes that he’s been transparent by speaking out even though “some people won’t be happy” with what he’s doing. 

He said that when he was the director of national intelligence, the CIA’s assessments were sometimes at odds with what the intelligence was actually telling him. The CIA is like the “800-pound gorilla in the room, so all the other agencies are reluctant to take a different position. So, as long as the CIA sits on the sideline, it is often hard to get to the truth.” 

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Nevertheless, Ratcliffe said he still believes the U.S. has the best intelligence collection enterprise in the world and doesn’t agree with the calls to “defund the FBI” and other similar demands. But he does believe in reform and said, “We need to turn it inside out and dump it upside down.” 

The former director said he hopes that when we have a “principled person” in the White House, that president will put the FBI and Department of Justice back in order. “People have to believe that when we are prosecuting people, we’re doing it because they truly violated the law.” But he said that “is simply not happening” now.

However, “we’re still the world’s superpower, we’re still the place that everyone is trying to leave [somewhere else] to get to,” he said. “America is the shining city on the hill, and we still are. The problem is we have these episodes and moments where there are people that try and take it down. We can’t take it for granted.”

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The post Former National Intelligence Head Calls for Intel Agency Reform appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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