Does the US need more spies? I would argue, undoubtedly yes. In the first place, we do need spies; and in point of fact, we do need even more spies than we have now.
In light of the Russian spies recently captured, it might seem we are doing a bang up job of tracking down spies in our country. But you can figure, its an iceberg picture; whatever we are seeing, is minuscule related to the entire picture. Its an integral part of espionage to have enough resources in play that if a few cells get captured, there are still enough other cells around to maintain your intel gathering.
Back in the 1970's and 80's, the US went through a period of years when Washington (DC) wanted to do things on the cheap. Certainly in the late 80's they felt the cold war was over, so, "lets cut resources we no longer need". Armchair spies, desk jockeys really, made decisions to look good to the higher ups and show how they can maintain surveillance without expensive HumInt (Human Intelligence) resources in the field. Modern electronics were startling in their new capabilities as was the money they could save us.
One could almost say, they were stunning in their affect.
Stunning to the point of shocking the intelligence community into apathy or possibly, delirium. The amount of money, that is, the illusion of the amount of money that could be saved, suddenly took precedence beyond the logic of reality. Or the need for real people in real places. Consider that electronics simply cannot catch innuendo, intent, or deceit. As usually, these people looked at the short term. We saved money; not, we lost huge amounts of money and lives over the next period of years. We will never know how much we have lost in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East in general.
To use electronic signals inteligence, or SygInt, to take the place of actual resources on the ground (HumInt), was seen at first as a wondrous concept. It could save us money, save our citizens' lives even and simply make us look cool to the rest of the world. Whittling down our HumInt "Johnny on the spot" intel was not because it was "hard to achieve" as many like to say, mostly in order to save face; rather it was because it appeared to be too bountifully cheap.
If one thought that we could be covered by using "eye in the sky" technology, well, why not? Also, at that time we were also friends with a bully and murderer named Saddam Hussein. So we decided that we didn't really need assets in the Middle East. After all, Saddam would let us know what was going on. Wouldn't he?
All these things were proved wrong and in the worst ways. People need to try and understand that we will ALWAYS need ground assets and in every country in the world. Although we need more sophisticated assets in many countries of the world, it simply isn't necessary in every country. Time and again this has been proven, yet it is always in cost saving times that we fall under the ponderous influences of cost cutting measures. At times such as these, it is easy to delude ourselves into believing we can scrape by with resources that are less than optimal, or even nominal.
Oddly enough, this has been the same attitude that we have achieved in the US toward supplying our young with the tools and quality of teachers they need as well as in maintaining our system of medical services. What is with that? Really, this has to stop.
We need not to fool ourselves. The US is in a type of cold war right now. Industrial, or corporate espionage is really more accurate, but it all amounts to the same thing and always has. Cost cutting now will only cost us more in the future in both money and lives lost. We may not want to believe it, but it is certainly so true.
As a more base example, just try believing that the gun some street criminal is pushing in your face doesn't exist sometime. See how well that works in the real world.
Last but not least there is this:
Tomorrow: Financial Crisis 101