The latest podcast from the National Spy Museum is especially good. Frederick Hitz, the first inspector general for the CIA, covers a number of critical topics, including weaknesses of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), the critical importance of the staff for Congressional oversight committees, and the uphill battle hiring good people into intelligence jobs at painfully sub par salaries. Definitely worth the half hour listening to it.
People may give a brief nod to the weakness of the rational, unified actor model of government behavior in foreign policy and national security. Yeah, yeah, the government is really different formal organizations and distinct personalities that cooperate or clash. There's no philosopher king with complete control over everything. If you really want to understand why governments do what they do, you really have to understand how their constituent parts work together (or not).
Unfortunately, it takes real attention to learn how governments really work. Changes over time, like the upheavals in the CIA over the last couple of decades, only make it that much harder for the average citizen to keep track of it all. Yet another reason why we need fewer lazy journalists who attend press conferences at the Pentagon or the White House and type up the results. To return to the content of the Hitz interview for a moment, it isn't enough to report the passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Act. The real story is what happens next.