Tip of the Hat to Public Intelligence.Net at Twitter. In our view this represents the beginning of global push-back against crimes against humanity by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) acting “in our name” and at our expense. Similar push-back against the Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG) can be expected.
Behind Closed Doors
On 31 January 2011 Secrecy News returned to a subject that had been discussed earlier: the federal investigations of former NSA employee Thomas Drake for revealing classified information and of a former congressional intelligence committee staffer, Diane Roark, for assisting him. This latest article essentially quotes former NSA Deputy Director Barbara McNamara as saying Roark fell into the category of staffers that were, “overly intrusive and vindictive” and employed NSA employees as her personal informants. Since I personally know something of this business, I would like to add my own observations on the subject.
November 19 – 21, 2010
Open Letter to Erskine Bowles
By THOMAS CHRISTIE, PIERRE SPREY, FRANKLIN SPINNEY et al.
The Honorable Erskine Bowles
National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
1650 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20504
Dear Mr. Bowles:
We are writing to you and other members of the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform as individuals who have worked in national security affairs for decades for the Department of Defense, in the Armed Forces and for Democrats and Republicans in Congress. Our concern is the defense budget.
Similar to what your “Co-Chairs’ Proposal” said last week regarding Social Security and other issues, we do not believe that defense spending should be reduced to a bargaining chip in budget negotiations at the Deficit Commission. On the other hand, we do believe that the defense budget is dangerously bloated, giving rise to serious decay in our armed forces.
Weaker forces at higher costs (discussed below) are the result of many years of exploitation of defense spending for political purposes, dereliction of oversight duties, and gross mismanagement by the Pentagon, the White House and the Congress. There has been a fundamental absence of accountability, both that required by the Constitution and that which accompanies sound management.
Phi Beta Iota: What our distinguished colleagues have not included in this letter is the fact that the US does not have a coherent reality-based strategy within which to evaluate ALL threats and provide a force structure suitable to ALL threats, nor does the US have an intelligence community able to provide any more than 4% (“at best” according to General Tony Zinni) of what we need in the way of intelligence support to policy, acquisition, and operations. At the same time, the Pentagon is committing a major crime against its own humanity by spending less than 1% of its budget on the 4% of the force that takes 80% of the casualties: the infanty, this from General Robert Scales. With all due respect, both Gates and Clapper have presided over the maintenance of the status quo; they have not changed the game for the better; and they have failed to do what needed to be done.
Phi Beta Iota: With a tip of the hat to Marcus Aurelius, this document is provided for information. On balance it is rich with insights that are not available elsewhere and consequently must be very highly regarded as a baseline for where US intelligence reform (and US intelligence) are today: dead, with a $75 billion a year casket that shows no signs of atrophy. Below are summary extracts both positive and negative.
The Single Best Examination of Secrecy Costs, October 16, 2008
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
I testified to this Commission, both publicly and also in a private session in the office of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (RIP).
This is the single best non-partisan overview of the costs of unnessary secrecy, as well as the imperatives of providing proper definition and protection of necessary secrets.
I note with appreciation that my testimony led him to include the words “open source” in his cover letter of transmittal to the White House.
For a sense of the logical implementation of the findings of this Commission, see THE SMART NATION ACT: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest.
For a sense of how we must radically alter the “closed circle” of national intelligence to embrace the entire Nation and indeed the Whole Earth, see Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.