Want further proof that the combination of politically correct pandering to minorities and the appointment of political hacks as chief’s of the US Intelligence Agencies has created a disaster? Simply consider the huge miss on the Ukraine.

On Thursday night, the best assessment from the U.S. intelligence community—and for that matter most experts observing events in Ukraine—was that Vladimir Putin’s military would not invade Ukraine. Less than 24 hours later, however, there are reports from the ground of Russian troops pushing into the Ukrainian province of Crimea; the newly-installed Crimean prime minister has appealed to Putin to help him secure the country; Putin, in turn, is officially asking for parliament’s permission to send Russian forces into Ukraine. It’s not a full-blown invasion—at least, not yet. But it’s not the picture U.S. analysts were painting just a day before, either…

U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence on the fast moving situation in Ukraine tell The Daily Beast that analytic products from the intelligence community this week did not discount the prospect of Russian provocations and even light incursions in the Russian majority province of Crimea, the home of Russia’s fleet in the Black Sea. Nonetheless, until Friday, no one anticipated a Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory.

This kind of miss is inexcusable but quite understandable. Barack Obama, following on the damage done by Bush, has radically transformed and weakened the analytical arm of the intelligence community. I thought it was so obvious that Putin would put troops into Ukraine to protect Russia’s interests that I did not even think it required an article. Man, was I wrong on that count. I did not realize how massive is the incompetence of the intelligence analysts.

We already have seen in the case of Benghazi that the leadership at CIA has become so politicized and so subservient to the White House that politics takes precedence over truth and accuracy. Deputy CIA Director Mike Morrell, for example, eliminated Al Qaeda and muslims from the portion of the talking points that assigned the responsibility for the attack.

Now, we have a simple case of incompetence. A failure to understand Russia’s deep-seated, longstanding interest in protecting its western flank and maintaining a friendly government in place is simply inexcusable.

The CIA is now a place that is promoting people into leadership positions, in many instances, on the basis of sexual orientation or minority status. Competence and substantive expertise have taken a backseat. And now, with the Russians flexing muscle in Ukraine, we are seeing how dangerous such institutional ignorance is.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.