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CIA to focus on Global Warming?
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, May 13, 2007

How stupid is it getting in Congress? Well it appears that our war with Islamic jihadists is not quite enough for our Congressional leaders and they feel the necessity to divert intelligence assets to do something outside their purview:
Here we go again. The 2008 intelligence authorization bill, which the House may vote on this week, diverts CIA and other intelligence resources away from critical terrorism-related missions to study global climate change. If it becomes law, the legislation will force agencies to complete a National Intelligence Estimate with a 30-year assessment on the effects of environmental change within nine months.
Per the CIA's stated mission, that's not something they're charged with doing:
Mission

We are the nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go. We carry out our mission by:

* Collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions and capabilities of our adversaries and provides the basis for decision and action.

* Producing timely analysis that provides insight, warning and opportunity to the President and decisionmakers charged with protecting and advancing America’s interests.

* Conducting covert action at the direction of the President to preempt threats or achieve US policy objectives.
I would also guess it isn't something for which they're staffed or, to make matters worse, have any expertise doing. Interestingly, the same group that claims the agency helped mislead the American people into the war in Iraq intends to have them help in assessing the impact of something in which they have zero expertise, background or competence. But if the CIA's report happens to support their agenda, they'll expect us to take it as gospel.

Is this how Democrats think they'll burnish their "national security" bona fides?
 
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Actually, the present day CIA has lots of economists, social scientists, etc., but not so many spies, which was part of the problem, so they could have a couple of guys look at global warming from a national security prospective.

But I think for the Dems, its just another part of their head-in-the-sands myopic focus on domestic politics. "If we just pull out of Iraq in time for the elections, then we can go back to domestic policy instead of this pesky foreign affairs stuff." This will hopefully backfire on them - campaign ads about this story come to mind. (Note the same sort of ideas about the Guard not being available for domestic relief work while it is in Iraq, as if that’s the primary job.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’d actually rather see the CIA doing anything else besides their stated mission, given their poor performance on important matters...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
World wide states, militaries and intelligence agencies are realizing the need to assess the impact of global warming on national security. The Pentagon considers it a major national security risk.

Particularly for this aspect of the mission:

* Producing timely analysis that provides insight, warning and opportunity to the President and decisionmakers charged with protecting and advancing America’s interests.

Dangers of environmental migration, the impact of climate change (on industry and American cities), and knowledge of the way other states are dealing with these challenges would certainly fit that category. In fact, it would be rather shortsighted for the CIA not to consider this issue!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
In fact, it would be rather shortsighted for the CIA not to consider this issue!
My my, that’s a rawther broad intepretation of that particular clause....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I think an issue of the magnitude of global warming, while it will indeed have a major impact on national defense, is much too large to be properly assessed with only a small portion of the assets of one agency. Let’s face it, the CIA is not going to devote any more than the absolute minimum of their resources to what they consider to be an irrelevant distraction. What we need is a new cabinet level agency, as Congress in its infinite wisdom did for homeland security. Yes, a Department of Environmental Security. Having the CIA in charge would not adequately cover all the economic, commercial, transportation, governmental, and other non-military issues.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"Let’s face it, the CIA is not going to devote any more than the absolute minimum of their resources to what they consider to be an irrelevant distraction."

Actually, I bet they would love it. How many bureaucracies turn down a chance to expand.

Dangers of environmental migration, the impact of climate change (on industry and American cities), and knowledge of the way other states are dealing with these challenges would certainly fit that category. In fact, it would be rather shortsighted for the CIA not to consider this issue!

Why would we want to duplicate the same research being done by other agencies?

Climate change on Industry = Commerce issue.
Climate change on American cities = uhhh, the CIA can’t touch that I think - domestic spying, no? I think the EPA would handle it better anyways.

Now, for certain aspects, the CIA might bring a different slant, but even for information on foreign effects, it seems to me that the State department would be better placed to simply ask their host governments for information, assuming that each country is already working on the issue. Is it going to be a national secret what Bangladesh finds out? I think they’ll be eager to tell us how much help they will need.

Also, if the changes are slow and gradual enough (taking more than 50 years) then I really wonder what’s the pressing need to look into it will affect migration in 50 years, other than a very speculative paper or two. While some aspects of global warming need military/CIA research, I’d suggest it would be a very small focus, and that resources would be better spent

Didn’t the Pentagon also claim AIDS was a national security issue? LOL.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"Collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions and capabilities of our adversaries and provides the basis for decision and action."

The Dem’s adversaries = ordinary Americans who drive SUVs so yeah, it fits.
 
Written By: abwtf
URL: http://abw.mee.nu
Mr Erb is correct on this one. It is CIA’s job (as stated in their mission) to determine possible and probable changes to the ". . . . plans, intentions, and capabilities of our adversaries. . . ." even if those changes are climate-driven.

Nowhere in that mission statement does it say "We don’t do weather."
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Nowhere in that mission statement does it say "We don’t do weather."
Actually you have to be totally oblivious to what their mission statement does say to make a claim like yours.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Really McQ? Why doesn’t it come under this:

Producing timely analysis that provides insight, warning and opportunity to the President and decisionmakers charged with protecting and advancing America’s interests.

Why doesn’t it include issues like analyzing the dangers of environmental migration, the impact of climate change (on industry and American cities), and knowledge of the way other states are dealing with these challenges in ways that might affect American security?

It seems pretty evident global warming issues are a security concern, even the Pentagon has stated so. So please, enlighten us, why doesn’t this fit their mission?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"Actually, I bet they would love it. How many bureaucracies turn down a chance to expand."

I stand corrected.

**********************************

One would think that an organization with the name National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which already does research on weather, would be better suited to this task.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
One would think that an organization with the name National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which already does research on weather, would be better suited to this task.
Not with issues of threats to security from migration patterns, information on how other states are handling or plan to handle the issue, or what changes might for industry, cities, oil refineries and other things related to national security. The CIA shouldn’t study global warming itself, but the consequences as they affect our national security and interests.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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