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Former NSA Chief Called CIA ‘Out of Control’


William Odom, former director of the National Security Agency, was known as an outspoken advocate for intelligence reform

The CIA is “out of control” and often refuses to cooperate with other parts of the national security community, even undermining their efforts, said former National Security Agency head William Odom, according to a recently released record of a 9/11 Commission interview.

By Sharon Weinberger

“The CIA currently doesn’t work for anyone. It thinks it works for the president, but it doesn’t and it’s out of control,” says a report summarizing remarks made by Odom, a retired three-star general who served as director of the NSA from 1985 to 1988.

Odom, who also served on the National Security Council staff during the Carter administration, was known as an outspoken advocate for intelligence reform. He died in 2008.

The 2003 interview, among others conducted by the 9/11 Commission, was posted on the website Cryptome, which is often compared to the secret-spilling WikiLeaks website. The report was not a leak, however, but one of many records relating to the 9/11 Commission that have been released and made available on the National Archives website.

“Quite a few remain ‘access restricted’ for classification review,” John Young, who runs Cryptome, told AOL News in an e-mail about the records, some of which he has reposted. “We expect to make an FOIA [Freedom of information Act] request for their release once we have a full listing of those restricted.”

In the commission interview, Odom portrayed CIA officers as individualistic, saying they were interested in writing “exposes.” He also accused the CIA of not sharing “humint,” meaning intelligence collected through contact with people, and of trying to sabotage the Pentagon’s own work in this area.

“The director of the CIA has as much reason to brief the president as the man on the moon,” Odom told the staff of the commission investigating the failure to prevent the terror attacks.

Odom also believed that intelligence officials weren’t held sufficiently accountable for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He said he believed that the heads of the NSA and the CIA should both have been fired by the president after 9/11 for “symbolic purposes.”

Many of Odom’s views had already been laid out in his book, “Fixing Intelligence,” which presented his ideas for overhauling the U.S. intelligence process. Some of the reforms Odom advocated to the commission, such as separation of the director of national intelligence from the head of the CIA, were eventually implemented.

While deeply critical of the CIA, Odom also had harsh words for other NSA directors, including Adm. Bobby Inman, whom he accused of “playing games” in Washington. He also said that Gen. Michael Hayden, then the director of the NSA, was “destroying” the agency and didn’t know his “intellectual limits.”

Hayden went on to become head of the CIA in 2006.

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7 Responses to "Former NSA Chief Called CIA ‘Out of Control’"

  1. PAUL LEO FASO  January 16, 2011 at 11:57 am

    C.I.A. out of control?

    Lets ask an expert, former Air Force General Clapper, who now heads up all 16 Intelligence agencies. General Clapper headed the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency during the 9/11 attacks on his own headquarters, the Pentagon.

    If anybody knows about control, or lack thereof, it would be the General. After all, the General would know who controlled the video documentation on surveillance cameras around the Pentagon and knows who released a blurred, photoshopped, edited, distortion of nothingness as evidence a commercial airplane supposedly hit the Pentagon. Lets get the the bottom of control, or lack there of and further ask the General who in his command that day was at the dashboard of Geospatial Intelligence Agency that failed to see that incoming threat to our national security, that struck most surveilled and defended building on the planet. Lets further ask the General why nobody in the Senate asked him that question at his confirmation hearings?

    Furthermore, lets ask the General if he can control himself long enough to move away from the maps of Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran to find the rest of the video evidence in his headquarters from the other 84 cameras surrounding the Pentagon that day.

    And finally, we must ask, if the General fails to control himself further, by concealing crucial evidence within his headquarters, why should the General be in control of all 16 of our intelligence agencies?

    That is the definition of “out of control”.

    This would give us some idea of who is in control or who is out of control.
    The General has some explaining to do, not only about claims of one of his rouge agencies, but the entire control of all

  2. Denny Cautrell  January 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    the sound voices of reason continue to be ignored.

    • Penumbra  January 15, 2011 at 9:58 pm

      Sorry, but the NSA or any other US alphabet soup agency calling any other “out of control” is little more than a pot-kettle-black exercise.

      They are all traitors subverting the Constitution, collaborating in false flags to advance the corporatist oligarchic control and sell-out of this nation.

      Where were the “good” general’s admissions about illegal NSA wiretapping or its role in the planning of 911, aside from such a limp-wristed call for firing the agency chief “for symbolic reasons”. I take this sort of agency one-upmanship with a grain of salt.

      Round em all up, lock em up and throw away the key.

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