Former CIA Operative Charles Sam Faddis on Disastrous Politicization of the Intelligence Community, How China's 'Eating Our Lunch' in Intel and NatSec, The Grave (Ignored) Narco-Hezbollah-Failed State Threat on America's Southern Border
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Charles Sam Faddis (@RealSamFaddis) is a retired CIA operative, where he spent decades serving abroad in the Middle East, South Asia and Europe, culminating in his heading CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center’s Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMD) unit, which was charged with pursuing terrorist WMD programs worldwide. It was Faddis who was responsible for leading the first CIA team into Iraq, in advance of the 2003 invasion.
Faddis left the CIA when he had the chance to continue advancing up its senior ranks because he saw a bureaucracy that like much of our administrative state had grown sclerotic, heavily politicized, politically correct and thus subversive of its main objectives.
He wrote about his experience in a simply breathtaking 2009 book titled Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, in which Faddis called for recasting CIA in the mold of the more dynamic, risk-oriented, and arguably effective Office of Strategic Services (OSS), CIA’s predecessor.
That book has only become more relevant in a time now when vital areas from law enforcement to the intelligence community and the national security apparatus more broadly are daily being exposed at their highest levels as nakedly political.
Faddis has been one of the few longtime CIA officials to condemn those such as former CIA Director John Brennan for their words and actions, citing a massive disconnect between rank-and-file analysts and operatives in the field, versus intelligence leaders in Washington D.C.
In light of the outcry over the revocation of former Director Brennan’s security clearance and Faddis’ contrarian position, his deep knowledge of and solutions to the rot in our national security apparatus – which has real-world consequences for our safety – and his keen, clear-eyed vision as to the threats facing us, I had Faddis on the Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast to touch on all of these areas, and many more.What We Discussed
- Why Faddis supports revoking John Brennan's security clearance -- and the bureaucratization and politicization of the leadership of the intelligence community versus the rank-and-file analysts and operatives in the field
- Whether politics dominates over merit in the ranks of intelligence and the national security apparatus more broadly
- What members of the national security establishment really mean when they talk about "protecting the institutions"
- Why President Trump has been deemed a threat to the power of the political leaders within the national security establishment in a qualitatively different way than any of his predecessors -- and that's a positive thing
- What Faddis would do to reform intelligence
- The poor state of America's counterintelligence capabilities
- The lessons of Iraq regarding U.S. intervention and the national interest
- Whether America has the capability to use intelligence to engage in ideological warfare and bring down Iran's Khomeinist regime
- How China's liquidation of our spy network reflects the problems plaguing America's intelligence apparatus
- The long-term ramifications of China's OPM hack
- The implications of China's attempt to infiltrate Senator Dianne Feinstein's office
- The threat to the U.S. homeland of a collapsing Venezuela and Mexico, combined with drug cartels, organized crime groups and Hezbollah in our hemisphere
- Faddis' optimistic assessment of the Trump administration's North Korea policy
- Why China poses the greatest long-term threat to America of all, and our willful blindness towards it
Thanks for Listening!
Check out other episodes, show notes and transcripts at benweingarten.com/bigideas.
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