- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2006

Invest in nuclear power

The United States, at this moment, finally has a real opportunity to create a leap in its independence in energy (“Nuclear power’s ‘renaissance’?” Page 1, Sunday). We can accomplish this important goal by rapidly leveraging off the 40 years of global technological advances in nuclear power that included improvements, efficiencies and increased safety mechanisms that were developed on limited scale in the United States but mostly pioneered abroad. We also can benefit enormously from today’s new, more advanced higher caliber maintenance, inspection and training programs for nuclear power plant systems.

The financial markets, in the wake of the Enron debacle, have learned that big energy is vital but highly dangerous if left in the wrong hands. Financial markets, hedge funds and private equity firms have learned that liquidity in energy trading and new power plant construction are both urgent. To be successful, however, as a nation and a part of the world community, we now need a comprehensive new energy policy in which nuclear power is one of the vital building blocks.


Stern School of Business

New York University

New York

Defending the World Bank

In “Utopian planners are always wrong,” Ernest Lefever reviews William Easterly’s book titled “The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done so Much Ill and so Little Good” (Books, Sunday). Mr. Lefever finds himself in agreement with Mr. Easterly that the World Bank and other international bodies have been pursuing development in the wrong way for the past 60 years.

The review presumably reflects Mr. Easterly’s tendency to concentrate on the failures of the West to solve the AIDS problem and to help people in the brutal dictatorships of sub-Saharan Africa. But this is a very narrow view of the past performance of the World Bank and other international banks.

The bank was set up in 1947 to help rebuild infrastructure in the countries shattered by World War II, such as Holland, France, and Japan. For many years, the World Bank was the only source of financing available on reasonable terms for the roads, ports, irrigation, and public utilities desperately needed by the developing countries to modernize their economies.

The early growth of economic and social success stories — such as Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia and Thailand — was financed by World Bank loans which, incidentally, have all been repaid. India, Pakistan, China and Bangladesh have also gained a great deal from World Bank financing not only for public works but for health and education.

Brazil’s massive hydropower resources that are still at the heart of the country’s power system were financed by World Bank loans. And it was the World Bank that stepped in to raise the funds for the enormous Indus Basin Project to redress the water crisis caused by the creation of India and Pakistan. One could recite many more examples of the contribution of the World Bank and other international banks to economic and social advancement in the developing countries.

Now that private financing is more widely available for roads and power plants, the World Bank, like all of the international banks and bilateral development agencies, has shifted it emphasis to the soft sectors in the more difficult countries of Africa. The fact that it sometimes stubs its toe is no reason to accuse it of 60 years of failure.

Finally, the term “White Man’s Burden” in the book’s title is an injustice to the dedicated men and women in the developing world who built and managed many successful World Bank projects that have escaped the public’s attention.



Intelligence gathering and dissemination

John Doe writes that with Porter Goss gone from the CIA and Gen. Michael Hayden taking over, there is a monumental opportunity for change for the better (“Restructure the CIA,” Op-Ed, Thursday). He proposes that all of the old titles and many of the structures within the intelligence community be eliminated and an improved structure be established. (It should be noted for reference purposes that the CIA is only a part of, not the entire, intelligence community.)

Mr. Doe opines that the new Office of National Intelligence is not an improvement, just an additional layer of bureaucracy. I agree that it is another layer of bureaucracy but so was the Office of the Director of Central Intelligence, an office held by the same person who simultaneously served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Time has shown that the dual role required of the incumbent was unworkable.

Mr. Doe proposes a new structure but, before it is implemented, corrective actions must be taken. One, he proposes, is getting rid of the senior clandestine operators who have not been in the field for 10 or more years. The public may not know that these people may be forced to remain in the United States because of threats, health problems or family issues, not personal preference. They are also very experienced and knowledgeable and can serve as able teachers and analysts. They fill valid intelligence requirements.

I agree with him that we need more risk takers in the CIA, but the cold reality is that the key to advancement in any organization, public or private, is successfully avoiding mistakes, or even the appearance of making a mistake.

I am perplexed by Mr. Doe’s comment that Congress must be made to understand that infiltrating terrorist organizations is a bad idea because government employees might then be forced to commit crimes. The FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration have used government employees very successfully for many years to infiltrate organized crime organizations without significant problems. In any case, CIA would not normally use an infiltrator who is a government employee. The person recruited to infiltrate a terrorist organization would likely be a disillusioned member or a well-placed individual. That person would be recruited as an “agent” but would not be a government employee

I disagree with Mr. Doe’s suggestion that his new Humint service be comprised of the CIA’s directorates of Operations, Intelligence and Science and Technology plus the intelligence components of the Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency, FBI, State and the specialty centers. That is virtually all of the present day intelligence community. This is an improved structure? Not at all. This is the head of CIA’s Operations Directorate becoming the director of National Intelligence.

The CIA is evidently having a difficult time adjusting to the existence of an Office of National Intelligence. There may also be a perceived loss of prestige but, as experience showed, the director of the CIA was never able to serve also as an effective director of Central Intelligence. The new director of National Intelligence, however, has the legislative and political clout to do his job.

In recent years, the CIA has undergone too much change and upheaval, and our nation has suffered as a result. Attention should now be focused on improving all types of collection systems and programs as well as the analysis of intelligence information. At the same time, we must ensure that all pertinent information is properly made available within the intelligence community and to other authorized consumers in the federal and state governments.



Senior Intelligence Service (Retired)


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