Stupidity, both technical and human, looms large in the US Government.
The threat that government surveillance and national-security investigations pose for private citizens has been hotly debated for the past decade. Less understood is the damage done to government officials themselves when they fall into the dragnet. Raphel’s experience is a case study in what can happen when the government launches a toxic investigation without adequate due diligence.
ROBERT STEELE: I lost my security clearances in 2006 — after 30 years with SI/TK lifestyle polygraph — to a set of morons in the Defense Security Service (DSS) and the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) who improperly concluded that my cheerfully declared 7,500 foreign contacts were “too many” and that my failing to list them on my SF-86 somehow constituted deliberate deception. A judge found in my favor on every count and the clearances were restored in 2012 after a new Special Security Background Investigation (SSBI) that found me to be totally trust-worthy with zero impediments to a full restoration of access. Never-the-less, these idiots blew up my business and cost me $6 million in lost income; they even cost me a $275K a year job in Iraq in 2010 where I was asked for “by name” to be the Chief Instructor for Intelligence and Information Operations at COINSOC — they would not give me a “Secret,” all that was required, something we give to just about anyone with an overnight agency check, unless I first got a new SSBI (something they maliciously failed to tell me in 2006). I cannot over-state my disdain for the security clearance process in its present form, with “continuous evaluation” being code for spending more money on worthless monitoring technologies that embed artificial stupidity into the system, and more money on intellectually and morally challenged individuals who are simply not qualified to do counterintelligence because they know nothing about diplomacy, intelligence, or politics. As a clandestine case officer I was trusted to meet one on one with known Soviet and Chinese intelligence officers. The above miscarriage of counterintelligence is the equivalent of my having been arrested by the FBI — without consulting with my chain of command — after I was observed meeting secretly with a Soviet officer — doing my job. The system is not just rigged at the political level, it is insanely out of control at the operational level. The time has come to cut the secret intelligence and counterintelligence budgets by two thirds, focus on open source intelligence for 80% of what we need, and trim down to the 20% of the secret workforce that still has a brain. The rest should be offered free homesteads in the Yukon Territory.
Those with a brain who have followed Phi Beta Iota since its inception, know that I personally believe that we need to have ruthless pervasive secret counterintelligence empowered to go after financial, religious, and ideological traitors, and to investigate, indict, and convict anyone anywhere, including Presidents and presidential candidates. Indeed I have long said that the option of a presidential pardon should be forbidden by law to anyone working directly for a president, since so many senior executive officials clearly feel they can break the law with impunity and have the “get out of jail free” card of a presidential pardon as a backstop.
The system is stupid, expensive, and out of control. It’s time we demand electoral reform, an honest government, and a counterintelligence service worthy of the name, not more clowns in action.