Mini-Me: Putting TS/SCI In Perspective – Need to Lose the Cement Overcoat of Excessive Classification and Excessive Corruption

Who? Mini-Me?

Battlefield Context

“If it is 85% accurate, on time, and I can share it, this is a lot more useful to me than a compendium of Top Secret Codeword materials that are too much, too late, and require a safe and three security officers to move around the battlefield.”  Navy Wing Commander who led the lead flight over Baghdad in Gulf I

Consequences of Excessive Secrecy & Corruption

“The danger is, you’ll become something like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they may have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours.”  Daniel Ellsberg

“(There is a need) to recognize that just as the essence of knowledge is not as split up into academic disciplines as it is in our academic universe, so can intelligence not be set apart from statecraft and society, or subdivided into elements…such as analysis and estimates, counterintelligence, clandestine collection, covert action, and so forth. Rather, and as suggested earlier in this essay, intelligence is a scheme of things entire. And since it permeates thought and life throughout society, Western scholars must understand all aspects of a state’s culture before they can assess statecraft and intelligence.”  Adda Bozeman

“Is what we are doing in accepting false numbers beyond the bounds of reasonable dishonesty?”  Sherman Kent

“Intelligence without communications is noise.”  Al Gray  “If you cannot communicate your intelligence to the person who needs it because it is over-classified and they do not have  the US rigamarole clearances, it is useless.”  DefDog

“Everybody who’s a real practiioner, and I’m sure you’re not all naive in this regard, realizes that there are two uses to which security classification is put: the legitimate desire to protect secrets, and the protection of bureaucratic turf. As a practitioner of the real world, it’s about 90 bureaucratic turf, 10 legitimate protection of secrets as far as I am concerned.”  Rodley B. McDaniel, then Executive Secretary of the National Security Council

Phi Beta Iota:  In 1993 Robert Steele testified to the Presidential Commission on Secrecy and identified the “cement overcoat” of excessive secrecy.  Nothing has changed–indeed, it has gotten much worse.  To be effective, intelligence must be multinational and default to the secret level when dealing with plans and intentions, and to the unclassified level when dealing with context.  It takes balls as well as brains to come out from behind the green door of zero accountability and zero utility through excessive secrecy.

See Also:

1996 Hill Testimony on Secrecy

1996 Testimony to Moynihan Commisson

1993 TESTIMONY on National Security Information

Adda Bozeman, Strategic Intelligence and Statecraft: Selected Essays (Brassey’s, 1998)

Kevin Drum, “Daniel Ellsberg on the Limits of Knowledge,”  Mother Jones, 27 February 2010

Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (Penguin, 2003)

Michael Hiam, Who the Hell Are We Fighting?: The Story of Sam Adams and the Vietnam Intelligence Wars (Steerforth, 2006)

Thomas Coakley, C3i: Issues of Command and Control (National University Press, 1991)

Robert Steele, Open Source Intelligence: Private Sector Capabilities to Support DoD Policy, Acquisitions, and Operations (Federation of American Scientists, 5 May 1998)