CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Former CIA Director Stansfield Turner stunned a conference of dozens of current and former agency analysts Friday with a blunt critique of the CIA's effectiveness--and his own--during his term in office.
Although not listed on the program, Turner stole the spotlight when he told the audience the agency had shortchanged President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s.
Turner said the CIA "didn't do well" in foreseeing the downfall of the Shah of Iran or the collapse of the Soviet Union and had consistently failed to serve the President in its handling of its primary analytical product, the lengthy documents known as National Intelligence Estimates.
These reports were not inaccurate or misleading, Turner said, but were simply "irrelevant" to the President in making policy. "If anyone is to blame, it is I," he said.