Journal: Anon 02 on The Craft of Intelligence

Blog Wisdom, Director of National Intelligence et al (IC)

Second Pass

The “tribes” metaphor does little for me.  I humbly suggest you lose it; it is neither explanatory nor usefully evocative (IMHO).

As to who does intelligence for Whole of Government, I submit that the WOG is not a monolith so, to answer your question, there are many forces and factions who provide intelligence to their favorite parts of government: there are industry associations, trade groups, lobbyists, media, academics, and pontificators as well as various organs of the departments and agencies, themselves.  Are many of them “ideologues?” Probably. Some more, some less, some admittedly so.  So what?  None are franchised to break U.S. law to get their information (including CIA et al) but they can pay for it or obtain it thought cunning and deceit (but not impersonating LEO’s, etc.).  CIA et al can keep sources and methods officially secret, but others can rely on confidential informants, shielded sources, lawyer/doctor privilege, and other various privacy categories.  CIA et al can keep products officially secret but others can restrict their intellectual property in various ways.

Our government can use information to inform its own decisions and influence foreign powers and their citizenry, but we are loath to permit our government to use its resources to develop information and “lobby” the U.S. public with that information …although it can use its resources to “educate” the populace …but the line often blurs, one man’s education is another’s unwanted interference: consider information on abortion and contraception, for example.  We can use USG resources to “educate” the Chinese vis a vis contraception, but not to “educate” certain religious institution’s membership.

First Pass

For the sake of purity, let’s presume that “the secret world” has no “preferences”…only a chartered mission and resources for that mission.  As in all things U.S.-government, nothing is exclusive and elements outside the secretworld may have charters that overlap; it’s simply proven too hard to make it all disjunctive.

So, it’s over to you: do you want to expand the secret world charter? And provide additional resources? Or, have them take it out of hide,  Your argument(s) might be that:

we face no immediate existential national security threat; we do face diverse threats to our well-being; the forces to combat those diverse threats comprise more than just the national security apparatus; these whole-of-government folks need intelligence, too, but cannot be expected to keep secrets; the need for intelligence goes beyond WOG and extends to public-private partnerships and, perhaps the citizenry at large; it must fall to the government to provide that intelligence if it is not otherwise forthcoming; and,

For reasons of extant expertise, economy of scale, and fungible resources, you, Robert, would charge the secretworld with this expanded mission…or, not.  And the secretworld, not currently locked in mortal combat, might be amenable to executing this expanded mission. …and, you might trust—but verify—them to do so.

The travelogue above takes you to your chosen destination but bashes no one, no?