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Why I should direct the CIA

By Jake Waxman

Dear Mr. President, In light of recent events, I understand that the position of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is now vacant. Given that no one has stepped forward to be the next Director, I would like to nominate myself for consideration for the position. I believe that my qualities and experiences make me well suited for this important and challenging role. The head of the CIA needs to be honest with themselves and the agency below them. Secrets and lies can bring down anybody, even if the subject matter is petty, by virtue of it being a secret its keeper does not want getting out. I am and will continue to be an honest, open person. I have no dark secrets or skeletons in my closet; I even pay my taxes on time. I am also attuned to what my strengths and weaknesses are, what I can and cannot do. As Director, I would work to ensure that the CIA is honest with itself, and with you. Obviously there are secrets that would have to be protected, but I will make sure that you will not have to worry about any secrets about the CIA or yourself that could be used as blackmail. I am also an idealist and a realist. I understand that we live in a very complicated world, where the boundaries between right and wrong are rarely clear. Too often, I think, have people and organizations supposedly dedicated to our national security short-changed us by getting too comfortable with the wrong crowd. Yes, we will undoubtedly have to work with some unsavory characters, like Hosni Mubarak or Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, to accomplish our short- and medium-term goals. But forsaking our own principles of democracy and rule of law cannot benefit us in the long term. As Director, I will make it a priority of the CIA to strike the right, and constantly shifting, balance of pragmatism and idealism that will make our country safe in the short term, and the world more stable and safer in the long term. Running the CIA is like living in a pressure-cooker. Managing an organization staffed by overachieving type-A personalities while keeping a lookout for foreign and bureaucratic threats, and juggling twelve different projects is difficult. But I am of the digital generation; multitasking is in my DNA. Already I can keep a lid on school projects with deadlines, leadership in several clubs, and the endemic petty squabbling that comes with young people living in a confined space together. Team players can manage people and know the value of group cohesion. Straight shooters play by the rules, even when they might not be popular for doing so. The head of the CIA needs to be both, and I am both. As captain of my school’s crew team, I know what it takes to get people to trust each other and work well together, and I can appreciate the value of everyone pulling together. I also know that you cannot cut corners and still expect to succeed. As Director, I will focus on promoting intra- and inter-agency cohesion, which even eight years after the 9/11 Commission Report, still has a lot of ground to cover. Everyone wants to be “better” than everyone else, but there is no room for rivalry when national security is on the line. The Director of the CIA needs to be someone who recognizes this and will overcome internal opposition to it for the good of the country. Now, I’ve noticed that oftentimes, when a beleaguered government agency needs someone to help get it back on track, you and your predecessors have picked somebody from Minnesota to clean it up. That’s why you tapped B. Todd Jones (also a Macalester alum) to head the ATF, and numerous other Minnesota-schooled public servants to be federal judges. Even though I’m not from here, my time in Minnesota has ingrained in me the famous Minnesota Nice, and its lesser-known but equally important cousin, Minnesota Integrity. The thought of compromising our national security for short-lived personal gain abhors me as much as failure does. In keeping with that, I want to finish up by mentioning that I am single. As we are all aware, many famous figures in politics, media, sports, and religion have been brought low by revelations of infidelity. If you nominate me to be the next Director of the CIA, you won’t have to worry about that with me. A single man cannot cheat on a significant other he does not have. You can now understand why I am qualified to run the CIA. I possess all of the qualities that such a leader needs; I work well with other people, under pressure, and I have honesty and integrity in spades. This is a rare combination to find all in one person, but any one of them the country cannot afford to do without. refresh –>

December 7, 2012

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