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Why do they make such monumentally short-sighted, clearly bad decisions? Is it weak technical leadership (weak political or just old fashioned weak)? What is the internal logic these people use to justify pure folly that's probably done more harm than good even to their own interests and goals? Baffling.

Nobody makes "decisions" like this in an organization with the level of complexity and bureaucracy that the CIA has. A lot of these decisions can be seen more as emergent behavior, subject to politics, short-term immediate incentives, and the pragmatic observation that any attempt to make significant changes (i.e. "change the laws around classification of documents") has such a high time horizon that it's better to bypass the law than try to fix it.

All of this makes more sense when I imagine smaller groups within the bureaucracy with narrow objectives and severe myopia trying to "solve" immediate problems to achieve short-term objectives. It makes my skin crawl to contemplate but the truth is that human beings do this sort of thing all the time.

I think you're right as if you look at behaviors as the result of a rational decision-making process, it seems the sort of "decision" only an insanely self-destructive person or organization would make

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