The damage may involve persistent bad habits among members of Congress in looking at such matters more in partisan terms than in national security terms. And it may involve public cynicism and distrust that leads to real threats being dismissed while ones manufactured for partisan reasons get attention instead.
Paul Pillar retired in 2005 from a twenty-eight-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, in which his last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Earlier he served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. Professor Pillar also served in the National Intelligence Council as one of the original members of its Analytic Group. He is also a Contributing Editor for this publication.