Off Camera Q & A Below the Fold
If you were national security adviser to the president, and wanted to get a grip on ground truth in relation to Syria, what would you so?
There is a wonderful book by John Caputo entitled Truth: Philosophy in Transit. It’s core point is that the truth must emerge from conversation in context. What is lacking in US national intelligence today, apart from an adequacy of unilateral sources and methods, is the multinational conversation. I would start by asking, in this order, for a full briefing from Denmark, The Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, and Syria directly, and I would go personally, taking an eight person team with me.
No conversation on Syria can begin without recognizing that Saudi Arabia created ISIS and the US has helped train and equip ISIS. The hypocrisy and ignorance on the US policy side cannot be under-stated. We need to get the Syrian version of the truth, the Russian version of the truth, other versions of the truth on the table, and only then can we fully appreciate the desperate gaps in the US version of the truth. That is the starting point.
If you were the director of national intelligence and wanted to heal that system, how would you start?
For a quarter century now I have been proposing an Open Source Agency to serve as the baseline for what can be known with open source and methods. The Office of Management and Budget has twice approved this new agency, at a final annual budget of $2 billion a year, but the secret bosses fear this agency because it would expose the twin reality that they know very little about the real world with their $100 billion a year wasted on technical surveillance that is not processed, and that 95% of what we need to know is available inexpensively from open sources.
What is new for me, in the last five years, is the realization that the FBI must be elevated and empowered. Counterintelligence against ideological, religious, and financial traitors is the other half of the solution. We must empower the FBI so that it can ruthlessly identify and bring to justice the many traitors in the US Government who have betrayed the public trust and who misdirect US strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations for the benefit of the 1% instead of the benefit of the 99%.