1998 (1) Spring

The Need for Improvement: Integrity, Ethics, and the CIA

By Kent Pekel


People who have been here for a while cannot believe it when Isay that being a case officer is just a job for me … for them, it has been a priesthood or something. There is just a big difference in what motivates us. We are committed to different things.

It seems to me that one of the good things to come out of the Aldrich Ames mess is that now it is more possible to speak out around here when you see something that could mean trouble down the road.

I think we often misdefine failure. If you ran the program correctly and it failed, it is a learning experience, not mismanagement.

The best I have had have been managers the ones who stop to ask, “Is this the right thing to do?” They were willing to be questioned and sought to avoid the arrogance of certainty.

—Four Agency employees

While these diverse voices from across the CIA are addressing different issues from at times divergent perspectives, they are linked by a common concern for the integrity of the organization.