I fail to see why anyone is even remotely surprised that the US intelligence apparatus missed the biggest international developments of the year:
United States intelligence agencies were caught by surprise when fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) seized two major Iraqi cities this week and sent Iraqi defense forces fleeing, current and former U.S. officials said Thursday. With U.S. troops long gone from the country, Washington didn’t have the spies on the ground or the surveillance gear in the skies necessary to predict when and where the jihadist group would strike.
The speed and ease with which well-armed and highly trained ISIS fighters took over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and Tikrit, the birthplace of former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein, have raised significant doubts about the ability of American intelligence agencies to know when ISIS might strike next, a troubling sign as the Islamist group advances steadily closer to Baghdad. And it harkened back to another recent intelligence miscue, in February, when U.S. spy agencies failed to predict the Russian invasion of Crimea. Both events are likely to raise questions about whether the tens of billions of dollars spent every year on monitoring the world’s hot spots is paying off — and what else the spies might be missing.
U.S. intelligence isn’t focused on external events or the activities of foreigners, it is focused on American citizens. They’re much more concerned about what people like you and me are writing on this blog than they are with whatever the jihadists and Russians are doing. Given that the well-armed and highly trained ISIS fighters were probably armed and trained by the U.S. military, the fact that U.S. intelligence had no idea what they were doing can only indicate a complete lack of interest.
After all, there are millions of Christians and gun owners and military veterans who need to be spied upon and federal intelligence resources are not unlimited. And it’s not like U.S. intelligence saw the fall of the Soviet Union coming either.