Sometimes reality and fantasy collide in extraordinary ways. Below are four headlines and teaser editorial comments, click on the headlines to read the details, but the details do not really matter, here is the lunacy all together in one pot.
Tip of the Hat to Bruce Schneier
August 11, 2009
An Ethical Code for Intelligence Officers
August’s Communications of the ACM has an interesting article: “An Ethics Code for U.S. Intelligence Officers,” by former NSAers Brian Snow and Clint Brooks. The article is behind a paywall, but here’s the code:
Draft Statement of Ethics for the Intelligence Community
Preamble: Intelligence work may present exceptional or unusual ethical dilemmas beyond those of ordinary life. Ethical thinking and review should be a part of our day to day efforts; it can protect our nation’s and our agency’s integrity, improve the chances of mission success, protect us from the consequences of bad choices, and preserve our alliances. Therefore, we adhere to the following standards of professional ethics and behavior:
Our failure to plan for the return of our soldiers wounded in our Global War on Terrorism has made it necessary to examine our unprepared and overwhelmed military/veterans health care system. Much is at stake. We are engaged in de facto perpetual war that depends on volunteers for victory. On July 31, after five months of analysis and deliberation, the President’s Commission on Care for America’s Returning Wounded Warriors will present its recommendations. Co-Chairs Senator Bob Dole and former Secretary of Health Donna Shalala, both experienced and deeply committed to the task, will propose changes. The most significant effects of their recommendations upon the Nation and our maimed, cognitively impaired and traumatized service members and their families will accrue over a generation or more.
On that not yet foreseeable day when oil flows out of Iraq and international oil interests trumpet the event, wounded veterans will be reminded anew of their enduring courage and self-sacrifice, a gift to the Nation that made it possible for the rest of us to avoid conscription. Fraught with combat memories, flashbacks, and disabilities, that reminder could never be sweet, but it will not be bitter if they find themselves as welcome in rehabilitation as they were in recruitment.
When the Commission presents its recommendations, some 3,200 of our volunteer soldiers will have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and about 900 will have died of “non-hostile” accidents, heat exhaustion and illness. Officially, about 28,075 have already been wounded: unofficial but authoritative analysis nearly doubles that number. But the signature wound of this war is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting from the blast forces of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Blast-TBI (bTBI) is invisible to the naked eye as is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Military doctors tell us that the official count underestimates the number of our soldiers who will return to their families, communities and employers with TBI’s slowed thinking, deficits in attention and concentration, headaches, memory loss, sleep disturbance, and irritability and with PTSD’s flashbacks and crippling emotional conditions. The number of invisibly wounded soldiers now exceeds the number of visibly wounded. We must not feign blindness to the epidemic we have brought home from this war.
The Intelligence Community’s Neglect of Strategic Intelligence
Commonly misunderstood, we neglect it at our peril. The architects of the National Security Act of 1947 would be greatly surprised by today’s neglect of strategic intelligence in the Intelligence Community.
by John G. Heidenrich
Studies in Intelligence, March 2007
First shot at 21st Century Budget:
$200 billion for military
$200 billion for peace
$100 billion for cyber-all
Letter Delivered to McCain as Defense Bill Conferees Prepare to Meet
Gets Right to the Point: Cheating Destroys the Commonwealth,
I recommend that this book be read together with John Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and William Greider’s, The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy. As a pre-amble, I would note that a Nobel Prize was given in the late 1990’s to a man that demonstrates that trust lowers the cost of doing business. Morality matters–immorality imposes a pervasive sustained, insidious, long-term, and ultimately fatal cost on any community, any Republic, and that is the core message of this book that most reviewers seem to be missing.
Any student of national security can tell you that one of the most important sources of national power is the population, followed by the economy, natural resources, and then the more traditional sources of national power: diplomacy, military, law enforcement, and government policies generally.
What this author makes clear is that our population has become a cheating population, one that cheats in school, cheats their employer, and cheats their clients (lawyers, accountants, doctors, all cheating). Such a population is literally undermining national security by creating false values, and undermining true values. Some simple examples: an estimated $250 Billion a year in individual tax avoidance; an estimated $600 Billion a year in theft from employers; an estimated $250 Billion a year in legalized corporate tax avoidance and investor fraud; and an additional $250 Billion a year in legalized theft form the individual taxpayers through Congressional support for unnecessary and ill-advised “subsidies” for agriculture, fishing, and forestry, as well as waivers of environmental standards that ultimately result in long-term external diseconomies…
At root, the author observes that pervasive cheating ensues from the perception by the majority that “everyone does it” and that the rules are not being enforced–that “the system” lacks legitimacy. In other countries, illegitimacy might lead to revolution, a revolt of the masses. In the USA, still a very rich country, the poor are cheating on the margins while the rich are looting the country, and we are not yet at a “tipping point” such as a new Great Depression might inspire.
This is a thoughtful book, and it does not deserve the negative comments from those whom the book most likely is describing all too well. Cheating diminishes trust and reduces value. America has become corrupt across all the professions, within Congress, within the media, within the political level of government (the civil service remains a bastion of propriety).
What price freedom? What price the Republic? You may or may not choose to agree with this author’s diagnosis and prescription, but in my view, he gets to the heart of the matter. It’s about integrity. We’ve lost it.
See also, with reviews:
The Battle for the Soul of Capitalism: How the Financial System Underminded Social Ideals, Damaged Trust in the Markets, Robbed Investors of Trillions – and What to Do About It
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
The Global Class War: How America’s Bipartisan Elite Lost Our Future – and What It Will Take to Win It Back
War on the Middle Class: How the Government, Big Business, and Special Interest Groups Are Waging War onthe American Dream and How to Fight Back
The Working Poor: Invisible in America
Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor
These briefings were commissioned by the Ministry of Defense in Italy and delivered over two days with independent official briefings from Carol Dumaine, then the active leader of the Global Futures Partnership Initiative (GFP).
2004 The Failure of 20th Century Intelligence (Updated 2006)
Carol Dumaine was for a few years allowed to manage an internal revoslution in intelligence affairs that ultimately failed, but left its mark. She is still standing, and we expect to see her at the finish line when we finally do achieve a revolution in intelligence affairs and create both a Smart Nation and a World Brain.
Above, with a full title of Are You Ready?: Implications of a Changing Global Information Environment for Open Source Intelligence, was published in June 2001. It remains a precious point of reference.
The internal revolution failed, Global Futures Partnership was transferred to the Department of State where it has been stuffed in a closet, and Carol Dumain marches on professionally.
In 1991 the Marine Corps sought to change the National Intelligence Topics (NIT) away from their heavy emphasis on the Soviet Union, China, and North Korea, and toward the emerging threats in the Third World, including non-state actors. The effort died in staffing. This is the sole surviving documentation from that effort.
In DIA OSINT is treated as an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), distributing money to the standard suspects without any form of strategic guidance, operational harmonization, or tactical effect. DIA does not “do” OSINT because neither the DIA leadership nor the so-called leadership of the intelligence directorate at DIA, where the Defense Intelligence Open Source Program Office (DIOSPO) is left in deserved obscurity (five “managers” in three years is worse than a joke, it is reprehensible) have the foggiest notion of OSINT as an integrated discipline in its own right. The newly-selected incumbent is under protest (to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) since DoD and DIA have demonstrated they lack integrity in hiring on process or merit to this specific position), and Congressional investigations at the Appropriations Committee level are being inspired. In USDI OSINT is treated as a data-mining technical function, and document exploitation (which requires distributed human translation in 183 languages) is explicitly excluded at the same time that DoD Human Intelligence (HUMINT) is handicapped by individuals who have no idea what the fifteen slices of HUMINT–much less what comprises effective clandestine, covert, defensive, and offensive counterintelligence–and have absolutely no inclination to manage them as a coherent whole. Defense intelligence has followed “central” intelligence over the cliff.