Poli Sci Expert Sees Shortcomings
Date: Oct. 19, 2001
In U.S. Intelligence Efforts
By: Carey Hoffman
Phone: (513) 556-1825
Photo by Lisa Ventre
Archive: General News
Reform in the intelligence community is necessary, but likely won't go far enough to correct all the shortcomings that helped set the stage for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, predicts a University of Cincinnati professor with one of the most extensive backgrounds in the nation in studying terrorism and intelligence.
Abraham H. Miller, a UC professor of political science, has over the past several years looked at efforts to reorganize the intelligence community in response to the end of the Cold War. Last year, he authored an article in the International Journal of Intelligence and Counter-intelligence on what he felt were failed reform efforts among intelligence agencies.
"Coordination between intelligence agencies, while better than it has been historically, is still not as efficient as it should be," says Miller. "The attempt by Congress to repair that through reforms, published as (the report) The Intelligence Community in the Twenty-First Century, resulted in little more than bureaucratic infighting and the addition of another layer of bureaucracy."
Miller says a move away from covert operations created serious gaps in the United States' intelligence capabilities. The CIA, responding to public pressure, has in recent years placed limits on its agents in associating with known criminals and human rights abusers. It also has been subject to severe criticism and investigation when its failures have become public. Those circumstances, Miller feels, have detracted from what the CIA needs to improve on the most - emphasizing covert operations and human intelligence efforts.
"All things considered, the problems arising out of Sept. 11 can only partially be solved through rewiring of the organizational chart," Miller says. "Even in the wake of the events of Sept. 11, it is doubtful that the needed effort on covert activity is going to happen."
Miller has been teaching about terrorism and intelligence for more than 25 years, longer than any other professor in Ohio. He worked on political terrorism and hostage negotiation issues while a visiting fellow the National Institute of Justice and was a three-time chair of the Intelligence Studies section of the International Studies Association. His interests have brought him into contact with a number of national and world leaders of intelligence organizations, as well as operatives from countries all over the world.
Terrorism, he says, is not a law enforcement issue. "It is surrogate warfare and you have to treat it as such," Miller says. "President Bush is doing the right thing by attacking the Taliban. My only concern is that we not repeat the same mistake we made by not destroying Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. And I'm betting that there is going to be a trail from Osama bin Laden to Iraqi intelligence. The Sept. 11 operation had to have the sponsorship and knowledge of a nation state's intelligence service, and Iraq is written all over this one."
Even though the United States has borne the brunt of bin Laden's recent attacks, Miller believes the nations most at risk from the world's most wanted terrorist are the moderate Middle East regimes in Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait and Algeria. "They are all targets of the Islamic fanaticism known as Islamism that represents a specific minority ideology in Islam that grows out of a millenarian view of the world where the final triumph will be a world where Islam is the only religion," Miller says. "Islamism, of course, does not represent Islam and should not be confused with it."