Sigh. I was not going to comment on David Patraeus gross dereliction of duty but several colleagues are totally pissed off and they are correct to be angry. Here are a mix of supposition and fact along with my conclusions on this sorry disgrace to the Republic. HOWEVER, I conclude this is not about Patraeus — many others should be indicted along with him and many others have committed high crimes and misdemeanors that exhonerate him in relative terms.
UPDATED to integrate specific observations from IDENS A-C.
UPDATED to add key paragraphs from Marcy Wheeler at SALON and Ray McGovern.
The flaws in this intelligence-reform mentality are four-fold—and each plays a role in how proposals like Brennan’s reported reforms are generated and discussed, as well as past reforms such as creating the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. First, many intelligence-reform proponents conflate the very different disciplines of what we normally think of as intelligence and security intelligence, which includes activities like counterterrorism. Second, the problems with the CIA and the U.S. Intelligence Community are organizational. Third, security stovepipes no longer reflect modern intelligence concerns. Finally, they assume U.S. intelligence agencies are basically the same, making centralization and reducing duplication effective means of improving intelligence performance.
CIA director John Brennan, having failed to block the release of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on torture and abuse, is now abetting the efforts of former CIA directors and deputy directors to rebut the report’s conclusions that the interrogation techniques amounted to sadism and that senior CIA officials lied to the White House, the Congress, and the Department of Justice about the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation program. Former CIA directors George Tenet and Michael Hayden and deputy directors John McLaughlin and Steve Kappes, who were guilty of past deceit on sensitive issues, have threatened to make documents available to undermine the findings of the Senate committee. The senior operations officer who ran the CIA’s torture and abuse program, Jose Rodriquez, has been permitted to write a book and a long essay in the Washington Post that argue the interrogation techniques were legal and effective. Their charges are completely spurious and their credibility is non-existent. Read more.
The release of the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program is, among other things, an epic act of record preservation. Numerous CIA records that might not have been disclosed for decades, or ever, were rescued from oblivion by the Senate report and are now indelibly cited and quoted, even if many of them are not yet released in full. That’s not a small thing, since the history of the CIA interrogation program was not a story that the Agency was motivated or equipped to tell. Read more.
Phi Beta Iota: We are reaching out to a handful of retired and still in service US intelligence professionals, seeking their brief (one line to one paragraph) comments on where the US IC stands in relation to each of these challenges identified in 1990. Anyone at all wishing to comment, insider status is not required, is invited to send an email to robert.david.steele.vivas [at] gmail [dot] com.
“While taxpayer dollars flowed into your coffers, no one considered it a problem that the country lacked 17 overlapping outfits bent on preventing approximately 400,000 deaths by firearms in the same years; nor 17 interlocked agencies dedicated to safety on our roads, where more than 450,000 Americans have died since 9/11”
What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters. You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities. Your employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos of them just for… well, the salacious hell of it. Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of “spycraft” gains its own name: LOVEINT.
UPDATE 7 OCT 14 to add vaccines and vitamin c, infection and mutation rate, additional references from Berto Jongman, Marcus Aurelius, and Owl.
From where I sit, there are four threads to be explored in relation to Ebola; I will be discussing these with Alex Jones at 1 pm EST tomorrow.
01 CDC incompetence and outright treason — malicious deception and misinformation
02 Saudi importation of Ebola via diplomatic pouch and the infection of 20 Saudi students hidden among the 100,000 or so that are already in the US, entrenched, and invisible to US counterintelligence and what passes for homeland security
03 False flag treason by rogue elements of the US Government perhaps funded covertly by rogue private sector elements, NOT approved by the White House or the Cabinet level — possibly the same people that could have unleashed Ebola in Africa as a test of the new weaponized variations for which vaccines exist in short supply for the favored few. The Nazi hydra could be buried in here someplace.
STRIKE ONE: Refuses counterintelligence on domestic enemies.
STRIKE TWO: Refuses Whole of Government.
STRIKE THREE: Refuses Acquisition.
The six sucking chest wounds identified in 1990 continue. HUMINT/CI are dead in the water, followed by OSINT and mature holistic analytics integrating true cost economics. We continue to process 1% of what we collect by technical means, while being so far removed from human-centric ground truth about everything as to cause one to wonder, just who is the US IC supposed to be helping?
Isis cannot be beaten as long as there is civil war in Syria
BY PATRICK COCKBURN
CounterPunch • SEPTEMBER 11, 2014
A letter printed at the bottom of this article was emailed by a friend soon after her neighbourhood in Mosul was hit by Iraqi airforce bombers. This was some hours before President Barack Obama explained his plan to weaken and ultimately destroy Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, by a series of measures including air attacks. The letter illustrates graphically one of the most important reasons why American air power may be less effective than many imagine.
On March 4, 2014, the Administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, including a base funding request of $45.6 billion for the National Intelligence Program (NIP), and a base funding request of $13.3 billion for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). On June 30, the DNI submitted an updated FY2015 budget request of $49.4 billion for the NIP including funding for overseas contingency operations. An updated budget request figure for the MIP has not yet been disclosed.
Phi Beta Iota: We consider these figures to be severely deceptive and roughly 70% of the actual combined total budget for green and black intelligence capabilities that are secret, toxic, and a mix of benignly worthless (standing armies of ignorant analysts, collection that is not processed) and pathologically dangerous (drones, renditions, covert operations, subsidies to foreign intelligence services). Our best guess of the actual total US secret intelligence budget remains US$100 billion per year, inclusive of thousands of private sector “intelligence” capabilities (many of them “open source” and extremely mediocre) that are embedded within acquisition and other contracts, all out of control and of dubious value.
“It’s like the boiling frog,” Snowden tells me. “You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking, a little bit of dishonesty, a little bit of deceptiveness, a little bit of disservice to the public interest, and you can brush it off, you can come to justify it. But if you do that, it creates a slippery slope that just increases over time, and by the time you’ve been in 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, you’ve seen it all and it doesn’t shock you. And so you see it as normal. And that’s the problem, that’s what the Clapper event was all about. He saw deceiving the American people as what he does, as his job, as something completely ordinary. And he was right that he wouldn’t be punished for it, because he was revealed as having lied under oath and he didn’t even get a slap on the wrist for it. It says a lot about the system and a lot about our leaders.”
I consider defense intelligence today to be incoherent and ineffective. It has no grasp of the totality of the threat; it is largely worthless in providing SecDef with evidence-based decision support relevant to strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations; and it does not help DoD within the Cabinet when decision-support is needed to keep the Department of State honest (on the Afghan run-off election, for example), or to make the case for Whole of Government (USG) alternatives to military employment, particularly in the critical peaceful preventive measures and post-war stabilization & reconstructions domains.