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.
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.
Gordon Duff first reported in Veterans Today another financial scandal motive for the Repubs wanting to hold up Obama Care. New regulations were going into effect to stop the cross collateralization of insurance company reserves, who are all owned by banks, so they could be market traded. The sums involved were astronomical.
“The Obama Care issue is about ‘funds in management.’ The health insurance industry, through investment banks and hedge funds, accounts for 35% of the entire investment capital of the United States.
This sector has been totally unregulated with, not just individual policyholders but industries and government forced to subsidize a health care Ponzi scheme where in some cases fewer than 3% of policy premiums were paid back in benefits.”
The data-collection debate we need to have is not about civil liberties.
By Reuel Marc Gerecht
Weekly Standard, June 24, 2013
Should Americans fear the possible abuse of the intercept power of the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland? Absolutely. In the midst of the unfolding scandal at the IRS, we understand that bureaucracies are callous creatures, capable of manipulation. In addition to deliberate misuse, closed intelligence agencies can make mistakes in surveilling legitimate targets, causing mountains of trouble. Consider Muslim names. Because of their commonness and the lack of standardized transliteration, they can befuddle scholars, let alone intelligence analysts, who seldom have fluency in Islamic languages. Although one is hard pressed to think of a case since 9/11 in which mistaken identity, or a willful or unintentional leak of intercept intelligence, immiserated an American citizen, these things can happen. NSA civilian employees, soldiers, FBI agents, CIA case officers, prosecutors, and our elected officials are not always angels. Even though encryption is mathematically easier to accomplish than decryption, the potential for abuse of digital communication is always there—all the more since few Americans resort to encryption of their everyday emails.
But fearing the NSA, which has been a staple of Hollywood for decades, requires you to believe that hundreds, if not thousands, of American employees in the organization are in on a conspiracy. In the Edward Snowden-is-a-legitimate-NSA-whistleblower narrative, it also requires that very liberal senators and congressmen are complicit in propagating a civil-rights-chewing national surveillance system.
Why Snake Oil is the Drug of Choice for Ayn Rand Wannabees
Attached are two important papers, one by Stephanie Kelton and the other by Paul Krugman, arguing that it is time to consign austerity economics to the dustbin of history. Both are variations on a theme and are spot on, IMO.
The fundamental problem tamping down the American recovery is excessive debt in the private sector, NOT the government sector. Yet austerity economics ignores this reality and argues speciously for reductions in government spending. The sequester has taken this nonsense to the level of policy lunacy by legislating an abdication of government’s primary responsibility –i.e., to make policy decisions, in to law. As Krugman points out there is method to the austerity madness, however.
But madness it is. The attached chart, which I have distributed before, uses Federal Reserve Data to place the real debt problem into a long term perspective. Note the vertical scales are IDENTICAL! Bear in mind, the chart is about 1.5 years out of date and it does not reflect the recent, pre-sequester reductions in Federal Debt discussed below.
Telling the truth to those who have replaced intelligence with ideology and integrity with loyalty to something other than their Republic is most difficult and more often than not will get you fired, because those without integrity tend to be promoted in corrupt systems, and they see clearly the threat to their world-view — and their perks — of someone who persists in pointing out that the truth at any cost reduces all other costs.
Reform can be job and revenue neutral from state to state and district to district — and is of course subject to Congressional oversight via the authorization and appropriations process. Below are seven truths about the US military that I would like to see introduced into the hearings on the confirmation of the next Secretary of Defense, and ideally also tasked to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), where the senior specialist for each of the major services is capable of validating my views.