Feinstein Critical of Middle East Intelligence

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who “chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, harshly criticized the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community for failing to forecast the uprising in the Middle East and warned the White House not to intervene in Libya without international support,” Talking Points Memo reports.

"Our intelligence, and I see it all … was woefully inadequate. [The unrest in] Tunisia was the only intelligence we got right," Feinstein told TPM Tuesday, adding that U.S. intelligence completely missed the instability in Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain.

Feinstein chalked up the black hole on intelligence in the Middle East to the failure to have the right "human assets" gathering information on the ground, as well as a fundamental failure to analyze and evaluate open-source intelligence on social medium platforms. She also derided a briefing on the Middle East she received from intelligence officials last week, saying it contained "nothing that we didn’t see in the newspapers."

"[CIA Director Leon] Panetta is aware of this, and he’s going to take action," Feinstein said, noting she had reached out to him to share her concerns.

On Libya:

"This is a civil war," Feinstein said of the uprising in Libya. "This is a spiraling plume across the Middle East. … If you go in there now we will be faced with similar situations in other countries and we have our hands full in other places right now. We’re expecting a Spring offensive in Afghanistan."

Instead of instituting a no-fly zone or arming rebels, Feinstein said we should wait for consensus from NATO and other international partners.


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