Journal: Dana Priest Strikes Again…

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On Deadline (
July 16, 2010

By Michael Winter

The nation's spy world is anxiously — certainly not eagerly — anticipating a Washington Post series looking at CIA and Pentagon contractors, according to insider reports. And the intelligence community has been preparing for an expected offensive by plotting its defense.

Politico says in “Jitters over WaPo intel series – Explosions rock Iranian mosque – What's Petraeus thinking? – McChrystal's retirement – ‘Monkey Terrorist' update,” that the series, by Dana Priest, is scheduled to appear “in the next few days and that public affairs officers have been preparing how to handle the resulting media onslaught.

The Atlantic has posted a memorandum, “Internal Memo: Intelligence Community Frets About Washington Post Series,” sent by Art House, the media manager for the Director of National Intelligence. He outlines what he thinks the series will say about the “IC” (intelligence community) and offers talking points for press aides.

Here are some of the highlights of the memo:


While we can't predict specific content, we anticipate the following themes:

*The intelligence enterprise has undergone exponential growth and has become unmanageable with overlapping authorities and a heavily outsourced contractor workforce.

*The IC and the DoD have wasted significant time and resources, especially in the areas of counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

*The intelligence enterprise has taken its eyes off its post-9/11 mission and is spending its energy on competitive and redundant programs.

Management of Responses

We do not know which agencies will receive attention, and each agency will need to manage its own responses. …

It might be helpful as you prepare for publication to draw up a list of accomplishments and examples of success to offer in response to inquiries to balance the coverage and add points that deserve to be mentioned. In media discussions, we will seek to garner support for the Intelligence Community and its members by offering examples of agile, integrated activity that has enhanced performance. We will want to minimize damage caused by unauthorized disclosure of sensitive and classified information. …

House's conclusion: “This series has been a long time in preparation and looks designed to cast the IC and the DoD in an unfavorable light. We need to anticipate and prepare so that the good work of our respective organizations is effectively reflected in communications with employees, secondary coverage in the media and in response to questions.”

Keep your eyes peeled for this blockbuster.

Phi Beta Iota: Panetta had a chance to get it right and blew it.  Clapper will finish the job of destroying whatever integrity is left in the US Intelligence Community.  This is not news, but the Washington Post has finally caught up with the rest of us.

See Also:

2000 ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA, OSS, EIN)

2002 THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political (OSS, EIN)

2003 PEACEKEEPING INTELLIGENCE: Emerging Concepts for the Future (OSS, EIN)

2006 INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time (OSS, EIN)

2006 THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest (OSS, EIN)

2008 COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace (OSS, EIN)

2009 Intelligence for Peace (PKI Book Two) Finalizing (OSS,EIN)


And Reviews of Books by Others:

Congress (Failure, Reform) (108)

Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback (160)

Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform) (156)

Intelligence (Government/Secret) (292)

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