ROLF MOWATT-LARSSEN, former top CIA counterterrorism expert on weapons of mass destruction, now a lecturer at Harvard University
Idea: A CIA for the world
Weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, organized crime, people smuggling, cyberattacks, climate change. These conflicts girdle the globe and cannot be solved by one nation. They must be addressed collectively. What's needed, says Mr. Mowatt-Larssen, is a sort of global CIA or Russian FSB but without the clandestine shenanigans – something to analyze and understand what's happening at a deeper level. He calls for the formation of a "global intelligence institution, conceived and built to the specifications of today's and tomorrow's problems."
The idea isn't to usurp the CIA, but to build a modest-sized international organization that will share its findings on contemporary and common threats. He says, for instance, major "gaps" in understanding remain over the 18 known cases of the smuggling of nuclear materials. A new global agency could focus on the criminal or other networks involved. Such a unit, he suggests, might be located under the auspices of the United Nations or perhaps the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Rapid information sharing; far less secrecy; a devaluation of the role of espionage in favor of confidential sources who see themselves helping the world, not working against individual countries, is what we need," he says. "There has to be recognition that if you give this organization information, it will go to the US, but then you're also going to give it to Iran or the Libyans or whoever you don't like, too."