Reflections: Open Letter to the President — We Lack Intelligence with Integrity — Please Fire Clapper, Vickers, & Brennan

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Roberto David Steele Vivas
Robert David Steele Vivas

We Lack Intelligence with Integrity

Mr. President: Please Fire Clapper, Vickers, & Brennan

Mr. President,

I hold Jim Clapper, today the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and previously the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI) accountable for failing to serve the public interest all these years. I believe you should fire him, Mike Vickers the current USDI, and John Brennan, Director of the CIA, immediately.

Let’s start with the reality that the secret world is not in the business of producing intelligence (decision-support) with integrity. As William Binney has no famously observed, they are in the business of keeping problems alive so as to keep the money moving – secretly and without accountability. Torture is not the only secret program that has failed to produce intelligence with integrity – this failure is true of every part of the secret world from the CIA, which relies on foreign liaison hand-outs for the bulk of its “clandestine” intelligence to the NSA, which processes less than 1% of what it collects, to the NRO and NGA that are inept at “Big Data” and incapable of providing all-source fused data to the end-user at a desk in Washington or in a foxhole abroad.

For a quarter-century I have been politely and persistently pointing out the severe flaws in the US secret intelligence world. While I have not been the only one to do so – over 300 books I have reviewed at Amazon on this topic provide compelling documentation of the broad pathologies of the secret world – I am the most published intelligence reformer writing in the English language, and the only one to actually put forward explicit recommendations for comprehensive reform. My first two books enjoy bi-partisan Forewords from past and then serving Chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Reform (SSCI) – Senator David Boren (D-OK) for my first book, ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World, and Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) for my second of nine books, THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political. Beyond my extensive public articles, briefings, and testimony – including a most memorable public and private session with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY) I wrote to you personally on 4 February 2011, and also to the Vice President on 1 May 2014. With this public letter, it is my hope that we can get some choices on the table.

Twenty-five years ago I ghost wrote the first modern intelligence reform article for Commandant of the Marine Corps Al Gray, “Global Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s.” I followed that immediately with my own article, published in 1990, “Intelligence in the 1990’s: Recasting National Security in a Changing World.” The graphic below summarizes both the six fatal flaws or challenges I identified, and the money we have wasted — $1.25 trillion dollars – in failing to address those challenges.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

You need a DNI, right now, who is committed to restoring the integrity of the intelligence process, and producing intelligence not only for you, but for all of our stakeholders in the future of the USA, including Congressional jurisdictions not now receiving decision-support (most of them), the media, academia, and of course the public. I summarized these possibilities in an earlier article, “Intelligence for the President – AND Everyone Else.” This individual should also be charged by you with eliminating the Office of the DNI entirely, prior to your departure from office, and would, upon their departure, step into a new role as Director of a new national Open Source Agency (OSA) that has been twice approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the first time by Sean O’Keefe, but always contingent on you or a Cabinet Secretary asking for it. As with my letters to you and to the Vice President, my letter to Secretary of State John Kerry of 15 February 2013 and my letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel of 9 July 2014 appear to have been intercepted. This new agency would satisfy roughly 80% of all decision-support requirements across the executive and legislative branches (providing both with a common public estimate of best available truths), at a cost of less than $3 billion a year, while allowing you to cut the secret intelligence budget in half over time (protecting jobs district by district, but cutting the failed technical collection programs that do not provide a return on investment).

You need a USDI, right now, who is committed to showing Ash Carter how to comply with your most reasonable demand for a 30% cut across the Department of Defense (DoD) budget – where waste is documented from 45% in weapons acquisition to 75% in Afghanistan. However, you also need a USDI with the competence and capacity to show the new Secretary of Defense and the Service Chiefs, in partnership with the theater commanders, how to rapidly create a 450-ship Navy, a long-haul Air Force, and an air-mobile Army at the same time that we draw down on our expensive overseas presence that impedes our agility and all attempts to achieve defense reform. I summarized the short-falls in defense intelligence, for which I hold Clapper and Vickers accountable, in my article “On Defense Intelligence – Seven Strikes.”

You need a D/CIA, right now, who has the capacity to oversee jointly with the out-going DNI, the dismantling of NSA and the NRO, each becoming an Office within the new Classified Intelligence Agency. The NGA should be merged with USGS as recommended by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). This new Director of Classified Intelligence or DCI must have the broad understanding necessary to recast Human Intelligence (HUMINT) so as to properly manage all 15 slices, only four of which are classified; to recast analytics to address the eight severe flaws from sourcing to processing to analysis to dissemination that persist today; and to recast how we approach science and technology innovation today; what we have now is a national embarrassment.

Below is my broad brush concept for evaluating what we have now and where we need to go.

Click on Image to Enlarge
Click on Image to Enlarge

What Is To Be Done?

You could start by paying attention – and recognizing that the intellectual and moral pathologies of the secret world are what the rest of the world sees as representative of your Administration and our Republic.

I am a natural-born citizen, a “top gun” for intelligence with integrity, and Hispanic. I am immediately available to help you with a conversation that will illuminate choices. In my view, in the two years remaining in your second term, you have ample opportunity to achieve intelligence with integrity within your Administration and in the public interest.

Within your immediate Executive powers, you have the capacity – I would say the obligation – to fire Jim Clapper, Mike Vickers, and John Brennan. This is about far more than torture – this is about the complicity of military and civilian intelligence in assassinating thousands (with a documented 98% innocents along the way) while spending over a trillion dollars in a manner that is not helpful to Whole of Government strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations.

In partnership with Congress, you have the potential of embracing the Smart Nation Act that Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT-02) and I devised, in order to achieve a bi-partisan baseline for going forward with shared truths – achieving intelligence with integrity in the public interest.

I know how to do that. I know who else knows how to do that. May we help you serve the public interest?

Very respectfully,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
Oakton, Virginia

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UPDATED 21 March 2015 for the alert readers of Foreign Affairs:

2014 Robert Steele Applied Collective Intelligence

2014 Steele on Intelligence in Ecuador (English)

2014 Intelligence Reform (Robert Steele)

See Also:

UN Paper: Beyond Data Monitoring – Achieving the Sustainability Development Goals Through Intelligence (Decision-Support) Integrating Holistic Analytics, True Cost Economics, and Open Source Everything

Robert Steele: Rebuilding National Intelligence – A 12-Step Plan

ROBERT STEELE: I am seeking invitations to speak about the future of US intelligence as well as the potential for electoral reform (a pre-requisite to all other reforms). My email is robert.david.steele.vivas AT gmail DOT com. My personal web page is

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