Frank Gaffney is on Fox right now making his argument that Obama needs to appoint a ‘Team B’ to come in and analyze the threat of Islamic fundamentalism to make sure that Obama — as Gaffney thinks — isn’t radically underestimating the threat. The Fox spot goes on to draw the analogy to the first ‘Team B’ — which emerging neoconservatives got appointed to double-check what they then deemed to be the CIA’s grave underestimate of Soviet power. Really? You’ve got to be kidding, I thought. All the above is reasonable history up till that point. What they somehow failed to mention was that we later got a chance to do what amounted to a post-mortem of the Soviet Union — something seldom wholly possible in intelligence work. And it turned out that the neocons and the fabled ‘B team’ hadn’t the slightest idea what they were talking about. Not only were the neocons off base, even the CIA had greatly overstated Soviet military and especially economic power in the 1970s.
The CIA’s failure to correctly diagnose Soviet economic decrepitude of course later became a tool for the neocons to further attack the US Intelligence Community. In other words, you couldn’t trust the CIA because the CIA had to a small degree partaken of the crazy miscalculation that the neoconservatives had used to make their name.
The second incarnation of the ‘B Team’ was of course during the build up to the Iraq War. And we all know how well that worked out.
So by the most conservative measure this is like the third time the same folks have rolled out the ‘B Team’ concept, with the other times both being failures of almost unimaginable proportions.
Now, I know Gaffney’s having to hawk the idea on Fox on day time. It’s not exactly ripe. But how many crazy failures are required before this club is put permanently out to policy pasture?
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.