Thursday, May 05, 2011

the ISI is a big loser in this

i think this is far more embarrassing to the ISI, pakistan's intelligence agency, than the pakistani army. sure, bin laden ended up being in a compound right next to the army's military academy ("pakistan's west point"). but intelligence agencies, not the military, build their credibility almost entirely on their ability to know things.

i've long suspected that intelligence agencies are a lot less competent and more fallable than their reputation makes them out to be. many of the CIA and mossad's most spectacular successes only exist in conspiracy theorists' imagination, but that buzz is part of what makes them effective. every intelligence agency tries to cultivate its own hype. the only reason that intelligence agencies are respected is because they are believed to be effective. it's what keeps the funding flowing.

but when the most wanted man in the world, someone who the ISI claims it was looking for almost ten years, turns out to be hiding in the non-lawless part of pakistan, it really just leaves two possible conclusions: either the ISI was protecting bin laden, or the ISI isn't really as good as it makes itself out to be.