Is mismanagement driving away some of the CIA’s best talent?
July 31, 2013 11 Comments
By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Poor management practices and a culture that tolerates blunders by senior officials are generating cynicism and disillusionment among employees at the United States Central Intelligence Agency, according to an internal study. Completed in 2010 by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General, the study was released in heavily redacted form last week, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The Los Angeles Times, which filed the request in 2011, said the report identifies mismanagement and unaccountability among senior leadership as major factors contributing to the CIA’s “retention challenges”. It cites a 2009 Agency-wide anonymous survey, which found that around 12% of the CIA’s workforce was considering resigning. Over half of those said they wanted to leave because of “poor management and a lack of accountability for poor management” among senior-level staff. This feeling is stronger among younger recruits, “who have exhibited high resignation rates in current years”, according to the report. Operations officers at the National Clandestine Service —the CIA’s covert-action arm— are also more disturbed than other Agency employees by perceived mismanagement. The report also notes that the CIA has failed to introduce mechanisms for encouraging accountability, in response to growing concerns by lower-level staff. The Times said it spoke to “more than 20 former [CIA] officers”, who said the 2010 report echoed “longstanding concerns about the CIA’s culture”. Indeed, the report appears to criticize the Agency’s leadership for its unwillingness to address similar concerns about disillusionment and retention, which were raised in a similar report authored in 2005 by the Office of the Inspector General. That report, which remains classified, warned that “complaints about bad management” by CIA staff were on the increase, but they were not being addressed. One former Agency employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the paper that disillusionment over poor management practices tends to affect some of the CIA’s brightest young minds, who joined the Agency after the tragic events of 9/11. “The more adventurous people, the risk takers, tend to throw up their hands and leave”, he said.