The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.Long ago, in Esquire, Malcolm Muggeridge wrote about beng offered a job in British intelligence during World War II. He said he turned it down because intelligence never attracts really first-rate people. That isn't always true. Alan Turing was as good as you get, and R.V. Jones probably nearly as good.
(These happen to be English examples. Despite Britain's much more stringent spy laws, we know more about Britain's intelligence work than we do about America's, thanks [I think] to Britain's clubby and gossipy old-boy network.)
The evidence, as far as we know it, does not suggest that U.S. intelligence agencies are, by and large, run by competent people. It is impossible to say whether on balance it would have been better not to have had them at all or not, but they have unquestionably done enormous damage to us.