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An ill-defined mission … broad dissemination of inaccurate information … lack of oversight -- these are some of ACLU policy counsel Mike German's concerns about the post-9/11 domestic intelligence apparatus. Prior to joining the ACLU, he was an FBI agent for 16 years, working on domestic terrorism and covert operations.

"Yes, absolutely, we are safer now," maintains Hayden, retired Air Force general and the former director of the National Security Agency (1999-2005) and the Central Intelligence Agency (2006-09). From April 2005 to May 2006, he was also the principal deputy director of National Intelligence. Hayden acknowledges some inefficiencies in the rapid post-9/11 scaling up of the intelligence community, but says the effectiveness of its efforts are reflected in the absence of an attack against the homeland. "How can you say we've not been successful?" he asks.

"We have a slow spread of threat -- not strategic threat like we saw on 9/11, more tactical threat, but harder to stop because it's metastasized," argues Philip Mudd, who served in the intelligence community for more than 20 years, including as deputy director of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (2003-05) and as deputy director of the FBI's National Security Branch (2005-10). If an attack succeeds, Mudd warns, our biggest mistake would be overreacting "in a way that allows this global revolutionary movement to believe that they scored." He is now a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation.

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Posted January 18, 2011

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