The Republican antics in the hearings of the Benghazi Committee in the House or Representatives are a good example illustrating how broken American politics have become. The clear aim is narrowly political: to embarrass Hillary Clinton (and President Obama) for partisan reasons, while avoiding the roots of the larger Libyan debacle that flowed from the US led intervention. Accounting for the deeper causes of the Libyan debacle is off limits, because just about everyone’s hands are dirty: Our bombing campaign was supported by the Republican neo-cons and their humanitarian interventionist allies in the Obama White House, as well as a majority of the Republican congressional leadership* and most Democrats in Congress. So, the Democrats have tried to present the hearings as yet another anti-Clinton witch hunt for the parallel reason of partisan domestic politics.
28 Pages, 40 Questions
ROBERT STEELE: CIA was clearly a full participant in the drafting of these answers, many of which are utter nonsense (being effective at clandestine intelligence, all-source analysis, and open source intelligence, to take three fairly pertinent examples). The questions are the best I have ever seen over 30 years of watching this theater of the absurd. Brennan’s answers are a mix of world-class dissembling, avoidance of substance, and specious assurances. Harry Truman would be aghast at what the CIA has become. Below I offer honest answers to 6 of the 40 questions. I am always available for staff or Member testimony.
1A. How well do you think the CIA has performed recently in each of its primary missions:
CIA is broken beyond repair, and pathologically harmful in its present state. Drones and extrajudicial killings dominate its clerk-leaders’ time, its budget, and its culture. 90% of what CIA claims as clandestinely acquired information is actually a mix of hand-outs from foreign liaison services and domestically-acquired information. CIA does not do all-source analysis, its inexperienced analysts do cosmetics on very thin streams of technical collection on a handful of hard-targets, and know nothing at all about Global Coverage (e.g. Mali at the tribal level). CIA counterterrorism is non-existent, outside of prisoner interrogation in partnership with JSOG at secret prisons that still do exist (e.g. Somalia), and direct support to Mossad false flag operations intended to keep the public distracted from domestic issues. There is no CIA counterintelligence function to speak of, that remains the final career stop for those who cannot be found work anywhere else. Covert action continues to consist of contractors running drugs into the US via US military bases and rural strips in Texas and elsewhere, and a tiny handful of truly extraordinary very small operations that defy imagination and merit fulsome praise–those who do the latter are the real heroes at CIA. CIA is not central — it does NOT have access to most of the information that the National Security Agency and National Geospatial Agency collect, nor does it do more than 10% of what is possible in either clandestine collection or multilingual analog and human open source acquisition. CIA is not intelligent, its back office and desktop processing are still closer to the Soviet gulag (John Perry Barlow said this first) than Silicon Valley, and CIA is not an “agency,” there are at least seven different CIAs, only three of them legitimate.
2. What do you consider to be the appropriate role for the CIA in the collection of human intelligence, given that human intelligence also is collected by the Department of Defense and others parts of the Intelligence Community?
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
Baluchistan Hearing, February 8, 2012
Testimony of Ralph Peters, military analyst and author
“PAKISTAN AS A FAILING EMPIRE”
Introductory remarks: This testimony arises from three premises.
First, we cannot analyze global events through reassuring ideological lenses, be they left or right, or we will continue to be mistaken, surprised and bewildered by foreign developments. The rest of the world will neither conform to our prejudices nor behave for our convenience.
Second, focusing obsessively on short-term problems blinds us to the root causes and frequent intractability of today’s conflicts. Because we do not know history, we wave history away. Yet, the only way to understand the new world disorder is to place current developments in the context of generations and even centuries. Otherwise, we will continue to blunder through situations in which we deploy to Afghanistan to end Taliban rule, only to find ourselves, a decade later, impatient to negotiate the Taliban’s return to power.
Third, we must not be afraid to “color outside of the lines.” When it comes to foreign affairs, Washington’s political spectrum is monochromatic: timid, conformist and wrong with breathtaking consistency. We have a Department of State that refuses to think beyond borders codified at Versailles nine decades ago; a Department of Defense that, faced with messianic and ethnic insurgencies, concocted its doctrine from irrelevant case studies of yesteryear’s Marxist guerrillas; and a think-tank community almost Stalinist in its rigid allegiance to twentieth-century models of how the world should work.
If we do not think innovatively, we will continue to fail ignobly.
For the latest on the effectiveness of oversight on private military and security contractors (PMSC) people should take a moment to peruse the hearing of the National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. On December 7 it held a hearing titled “Oversight in Iraq and Afghanistan: Challenges and Solutions,” chaired by Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).
. . . . . .
Boiled down to a single question, the issue is whether taxpayers are getting their money’s worth when the government uses PMSC. In this hearing the inspectors general community shared its perspective together on one panel. Ironically, the Defense Department, State Department, USAID and SIGAR will not have IGs in January and President Obama has yet to nominate any replacements.
Phi Beta Iota: The taxpayers are not getting their money’s worth from the Department of Defense or any other Cabinet Department–contractors are imply an order of magnitude worse.
Our veterans in particular, but all citizens generally, are beginning to realize that the US Government as well as State and local governments, are in violation of their constitutional charters more often than might be imagined. Today we begin a new Rolling Update focused on the Constitution of the United States of America, and also start a new Twitter tag. It is our view that respect for the Constitution, and the demand for Electoral Reform, go together.
9 Dec 2011
Below the Line Past Entries & Websites
Invite your attention to pages 5 thru 7 of attached which outlines in very clear terms the likely FY 2013 and longer term impacts on the Department of Defense and the Joint Force of the impending sequester brought about by this week’s dereliction of duty on the part of the Senators and Representatives making up the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.
Phi Beta Iota: Panetta-McCain may be the toxic replacment to Cheney-Warner. The letter is without merit. The acquisition system is so broken now the Navy and Army cannot build anything coherently–the Navy still lacks Naval Gun Fire and the Army still lacks an infantry weapon able to out-gun the Taliban, while the Air Force continues to stink at close air support and lack both an intra-theater adequacy of lift and a long-haul heavy lift capability (or the ability to be effective above 6,000 ft). DoD, in short, is a mis-managed mess and Panetta has no idea how to go about fixing that, nor does he want to. Lockheed Martin and others are quite happy with the way things are, where 50% of every dollar is waste but that waste is profit for them because it includes their overhead. It is true that the current laws mandated by Congress make it difficult for any Cabinet Secretary to cut waste–this is the same Congress that mandated we pay 100% asking price for Medicare drugs instead of the more common global standard of 2% for generic wholesale. As long as Congress remains corrupt, and the SecDef remains corrupt, there is no fixing this problem. The FACT is that we have to cut one trillion a year (what we are borrowing), not one trillion over ten years. The FACT is that DoD would be much stronger if it could combine both intelligence and integrity and actually create the four forces after next, at a much reduced cost, that those with intelligence and integrity have been discussing for decades, and with greater intensity, since the mid-1990’s.
Worth a close reading. The revealed conflicts of interest and probably high crimes and misdemeanors and nothing less than expected, but astonishing all the same.
By Sen. Bernie Sanders
Huffington Post, November 4, 2011
As a result of the greed, recklessness, and illegal behavior on Wall Street, the American people have experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs, homes, life savings, and ability to send their kids to college. Small businesses have been unable to get the credit they need to expand their businesses, and credit is still extremely tight. Wages as a share of national income are now at the lowest level since the Great Depression, and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high.
Cynthia McKinney, 10 October 2011.
Third of Four Installments on Libya: Israel and Libya
Once again, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya peels away the veneer of legitimacy and deception enveloping the U.S./NATO genocide currently taking place in Libya. In his first article, Nazemroaya exposed the mechanism by which the world came to “know” of the need for a humanitarian intervention in the Libyan Arab Jamahirya and U.S./NATO admissions of targeted assassination attempts against the Leader of the 1969 Libyan Revolution, Muammar Qaddafi. In his first of these four installments since his return from Libya, Nazemraoya makes it clear that there never was any evidence given to the United Nations or the International Criminal Court to warrant or justify United Nations Resolutions 1970 and 1973 or current U.S./NATO operations inside Libya.
One of our contributors passed this to me and asked me to comment in relation to the alarm that Winn Schwartau, Bill Caeli, Jim Anderson, and I sounded in 1994, in writing, to Marty Harris, then head of the National Information Infrastructure (NII).
First, the item.
Christian Science Monitor, 22 September 2011
Stuxnet, the cyberweapon that attacked and damaged an Iranian nuclear facility, has opened a Pandora’s box of cyberwar, says the man who uncovered it. A Q&A about the potential threats.
CSM: How would you characterize the year since Stuxnet – the response by nations, industry and government?
LANGNER: Last year, after Stuxnet was identified as a weapon, we recommended to every asset owner in America – owners of power plants, chemical plants, refineries and others – to make it a top priority to protect their systems…. That wakeup call lasted only about a week. Thereafter, everybody fell back into coma. The most bizarre thing is that even the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Siemens [maker of the industrial control system targeted by Stuxnet] talked about Stuxnet being a wakeup call, but never got into the specifics of what needed to be done.
This is spell-binding radio. Given what she knows, her interviewer, Gary Null, wonders out-load why she has not yet been assassinated. Here’s why:
Susan Lindauer is a former U.S. Intelligence Asset who covered anti-terrorism at the Iraqi Embassy in New York from 1996 up to the invasion. Independent sources have confirmed that she gave advance warning about the 9/11 attack. She also started talks for the Lockerbie Trial with Libyan diplomats. Shortly after requesting to testify before Congress about successful elements of Pre-War Intelligence, Susan became one of the first non-Arab Americans arrested on the Patriot Act as an “Iraqi Agent.” She was accused of warning her second cousin, White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and Secretary of State Colin Powell that War with Iraq would have catastrophic consequences. Gratis of the Patriot Act, her indictment was loaded with “secret charges” and “secret evidence.” She was subjected to one year in prison on Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas without a trial or hearing, and threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging to shut her up. After five years of indictment without a conviction or guilty plea, the Justice Department dismissed all charges five days before President Obama’s inauguration.
Listen to or download the whole show from this link:
There is more, very recent and stunning news – with evidence presented – about 9-11 here:
Study says US government, business need to kick network security up a notch
Network World, 12 September 2011
There is an urgent need for businesses and our government to develop high-level cyber intelligence as a way to combat the unacceptable levels of online security threats because the current “patch and pray” system won’t cut it in the future.
That was the major thrust of a study by the Intelligence and National Security Alliance’s (INSA) Cyber Council which went on to state that such a cyber-intelligence discipline will demand discussion of the unique training, education and skill sets that will be required to successfully conduct meaningful collection and analysis in the cyber domain.
“While there is a great deal of focus on current cyber security issues, there is little focus on defining and exploring the cyber threat environment at a higher level,” INSA stated. INSA describes itself as a non-profit, non-partisan, public-private organization.
The group says the dilemma that exists in the current cyber intelligence apparatus is that the Department of Homeland Security has the authority but lacks the experience and capabilities to orchestrate a comprehensive approach to cyber intelligence. The Department of Defense has much of the actual cyber intelligence capabilities, and private industry owns most of the infrastructure. “Ultimately, INSA’s Cyber Council would like to see a meaningful partnership among all relevant government agencies and the private sector to ensure seamless sharing of threat information, timely analytical judgments, and reasoned, measured responses to clear threats.”
The group made a number of suggestions to help businesses and government build this intelligence community including:
- Develop strategies (beyond current “patch and pray” processes), policies, doctrines, legal frameworks, and overall global context for cyber intelligence matters
- Increase global business, diplomatic and other forms of engagement, which should discuss potential ways to create more stability and mutual security in the cyber arena in order to reduce the potential for cyber conflict, theft, sabotage, and espionage
- Support development of deterrence, dissuasion, and other high level concepts and measures for maintaining peace and stability at all levels of conflict and crisis
- Define cyber intelligence professions, needed skillsets, training, and education for both industry and government needs.
- Enable the creation of cyber intelligence related polices, approaches, and pilot efforts across industry, academia/non-profits, and government that provide unclassified situational awareness and indications and warning data, analytics and 24/7 unclassified and classified (as appropriate) reporting to government agencies, trusted industry, and global partners.
- Corporately define specific activities, plans, and intentions of adversaries; continuously identify current and emerging threat vectors, and support our plans and intentions
- Identify the specific technical means utilized or planned for cyber attack operations in deep technical detail to include supply chain issues, paths to be exploited, nature and character of deployed infections, systems/product weakness, effects, and anticipated planned or ongoing adjacent activities
- Maintain detailed cyber situational awareness writ large
- Participate in the rapid control and release of cyber means in order to ensure a viable intelligence gain and loss awareness
- Identify what criminal activities are ongoing or have already happened in cyber networks, do formal damage assessments in these areas, and support development of improved defenses
- Partner on research and development in the challenging areas of attack attribution, warning, damage assessment, and space related threat collection and analysis
- Organize and support counter-intelligence and counter-espionage (CI/CE) activities, with special focus on identifying/using auditing tools and processes to deal with the insider threats
- Create a consistent and meaningful approach for the cyber equivalent of Battle Damage Assessment (BDA)/Combat Effectiveness Assessment
- Establish public-private partnership cyber outreach forums that address these areas in a comprehensive, practical, and executable fashion. These forums can take the form of commissions that study the demand for cyber intelligence and value added to cyber security.
Phi Beta Iota: The US is not just lacking in cyber-intelligence, it is lacking in all forms of intelligence qua decision-support. The US intelligence community lacks integrity, and General Keith Alexander and General Jim Clapper and Mr. Mike Vickers have all been given too much money with zero adult leadership. Top Secret America is a disgracefully dysfunctional enterprise, and now richly deserving of almost complete shut-down. Congress and the White House have failed to be ethical or intelligent in this matter.
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SEPTEMBER 7, 2011
It’s no longer about ‘need to know.’ Our guiding principle is ‘responsibility to share.’
By James R. Clapper
It has been a decade since our nation suffered the greatest strategic surprise on American soil since the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the aftermath of September 11, as the country sought to understand how such a complex attack could go undetected, much attention was focused on the intelligence community. Pundits, scholars, commentators and others quickly labeled 9/11 an intelligence failure.
Phi Beta Iota: General Clapper means well, but his Op Ed is utterly disingenous and completely out of touch with reality. Below the line is a safety copy of his Op Ed with inserted commentary.