Phi Beta Iota: There are two forms of accountability, neither of which is achievable today. The first is as mentioned above, cost-benefit analysis. General Tony Zinni has nailed it with his assessment that today's $80 billion a year community produces “at best” 4% of what a major commander needs — General Mike Flynn documented results even worse than that for Afghanistan. The other form of accountability has to do with laxity in counterintelligence and operations security. NSA biggest dirty secret for the past 50 years is that the Soviets captured core crypto machines in Viet-Nam, and then got the key cards from penetrations of the US Navy. The raw fact is that secrecy is used to hide fraud, waste, and abuse 90% of the time. Best quote on the latter point:
“Everybody who's a real practioner, and I'm sure you're not all naive in this regard, realizes that there are two uses to which security classification is put: the legitmate desire to protect secrets, and the protection of bureaucratic turf. As a practitioner of the real world, it's about 90 bureaucratic turf, 10 legitimate protection of secrets as far as I am concerned.”
General Michael Flynn (USA) has been nominated to become the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in spite of or because of his severe criticisms of the inability of the U.S. Intelligence System to produce useful strategic intelligence on Afghanistan. As a result among the small portion of the media that even noted his nomination, a good deal of nonsense has been written about DIA. I hope this will clear the air a bit.
The DIA was created by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in 1961 with the specific mission of providing a single voice for the individual military service intelligence commands. As with many of Secretary McNamara’s ideas, DIA completely ignored reality. The service chiefs simply ignored DIA and the directors of DIA (all general officers of those services) went along. In the press of the Vietnam War Secretary McNamara paid no attention to DIA after creating it. So DIA really had no defined mission and became known as the “redundant agency.”
Since its creation DIA has struggled to find a viable mission that would not interfere with the missions of the service intelligence commands or of the National Security Agency (NSA) which also was under the Department of Defense (DOD) or the independent Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which had considerable status as the senior intelligence authority and in the theory the ear of the President. This continues to be a problem with DIA having only Measurement and Signature Intelligence (MASINT) as its exclusive domain. DIA also has numerous heavily classified programs and projects, but when these see light of day they often prove to be pointless or even lunatic. DIA does have one central mission and that is to serve as the J2 (intelligence arm) for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (ICS). Having actually worked in J2, I can testify that this does not give DIA a good deal of authority either in the Intelligence Community (IC) or even with JCS.
The Defense Intelligence Agency is a powerful if obscure organization responsible for providing intelligence to military commands, the Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Its secret weapon: It’s chiefly responsible for all of the Defense Department’s human informants. Yet it can seem overly bureaucratic and in eclipse compared to the military tactical-intelligence shops it helps man.
“Flynn’s nomination is interesting because he does not seem like someone who would choose to be a placeholder at an agency in decline,” says spywatcher Steve Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. “The appointment may signal a revival of DIA, or at least some upheaval.”
Flynn is the latest to ascend, pending Senate approval. And he’s probably not done breaking the spy community’s furniture.
Phi Beta Iota: From the US IC point of view, nothing changes as long as the money is constant. The point of the US IC is to waste $80 billion a year on corporate vaporware, not to actually provide intelligence. Jim Clapper, the single best qualified DNI in history, failed to change the IC because he did not focus on outputs–he let inputs and collection continue to drive the train, did nothing about processing, nothing significant about HUMINT, nothing at all about analysis which is worse off than it ever was, and he failed to actually create intelligence for Whole of Government or to implement initiatives in the open source intelligence and the multinational, multiagency, multidimentional, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making arena. He has been–like Gates was at DoD–a place holder, a token leader of one of the US budget's sucking chest wounds. Flynn does not know what he does not know — he is simply not armed with what he needs to know to make the big changes that need to be made if intelligence with integrity is to be restored not just within DoD, but across Whole of Government. With his present knowledge base, surrounded by the ever-present sychophants, he will make changes on the margin. He will NOT change the craft of intelligence, especially if he continues to let contractors drive the train and rob the government of its key personnel. He is inheriting a corrupt, pathologically-fragmented mess completely lacking in integrity.
A US general who once blasted the work of military spies in Afghanistan as “only marginally relevant” has been nominated to take over the Pentagon's intelligence agency, officials said.
The decision to name Lieutenant General Michael Flynn suggests a possible shake-up of the sprawling Defense Intelligence Agency as the general has earned a reputation for pushing for dramatic change in his work with special forces.
Flynn was a scathing public critic of military intelligence in Afghanistan, where he served as a top intelligence officer in 2010, saying it failed to provide decision makers with a clear picture of conditions on the ground.
He chose to publish his critique through a Washington think tank, the Center for a New American Security, instead of sticking to customary channels within the Pentagon bureaucracy.
“Eight years into the war in Afghanistan, the US intelligence community is only marginally relevant to the overall strategy,” his report said.
“Having focused the overwhelming majority of its collection efforts and analytical brainpower on insurgent groups, the vast intelligence apparatus is unable to answer fundamental questions about the environment in which US and allied forces operate and the people they seek to persuade,” it said.
Flynn is credited with playing an influential role during his tenure at Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the secretive headquarters that oversees elite commandos like the team that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
At JSOC, Flynn reportedly persuaded special forces to place a higher priority on scooping up intelligence while carrying out targeted attacks on militants.
His nomination reflects the ascendancy of special forces in policy making both within and outside the American military, a trend reinforced by the successful operation against Bin Laden.
Flynn, whose nomination must be approved by the Senate, currently serves as the assistant director of national intelligence for partner engagement at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Phi Beta Iota: General Flynn has many challenges facing him at DIA: too many civilians with zero combat experience, redirection of MASINT dollars to HUMINT, while also integrating the fifteen slices of HUMINT into one coherent network using best in class commercial technologies; and resurrecting the now dead concepts of intelligence support to policy and acquisition (that is to say, intelligence with integrity that keeps policy honest and acquisition relevant). We pray for his success.
The US State Department has become the world’s leading user of ediplomacy. Ediplomacy now employs over 150 full-time personnel working in 25 different ediplomacy nodes at Headquarters. More than 900 people use it at US missions abroad.
Ediplomacy is now used across eight different program areas at State: Knowledge Management, Public Diplomacy and Internet Freedom dominate in terms of staffing and resources. However, it is also being used for Information Management, Consular, Disaster Response, harnessing External Resources and Policy Planning.
In some areas ediplomacy is changing the way State does business. In Public Diplomacy, State now operates what is effectively a global media empire, reaching a larger direct audience than the paid circulation of the ten largest US dailies and employing an army of diplomat-journalists to feed its 600-plus platforms. In other areas, like Knowledge Management, ediplomacy is finding solutions to problems that have plagued foreign ministries for centuries.
The slow pace of adaptation to ediplomacy by many foreign ministries suggests there is a degree of uncertainty over what ediplomacy is all about, what it can do and how pervasive its influence is going to be. This report – the result of a four-month research project in Washington DC – should help provide those answers.
ROBERT STEELE: Fergus Hanson of Australia has done a truly superb job of describing the considerable efforts within the Department of State to achieve some semblance of electronic coherence and capacity. What he misses–and this does not reduce the value of his effort in the slightest–is the complete absence of strategy or substance within State, or legitimacy in the eyes of those being addressed. If the Department of State were to demand the pre-approved Open Source Agency for the South-Central Campus, and get serious about being the lead agency for public intelligence in the public interest, ediplomacy could become something more than lipstick on the pig. The money is available. What is lacking right now is intelligence with integrity in support of global Whole of Government strategy, operations, tactics, and technical advancement (i.e. Open Source Everything).
Forgive the interruption. I reach out to you on a matter of some urgency, about my dear friend, a former CIA officer, dedicated, stoic, talented … and now in deep and terrifying trouble. What's happening to him is so stunningly crappy, and so unjustifiable, that his defense and support has become a personal priority. Though triggered — I believe — by a personal and political agenda, I see his cause as strikingly apolitical: this is about a man falsely persecuted, and the survival of his family.
Please, please take a minute to look at the below. Any questions, reach out to me, and/or check out the sites at the bottom of this email.
Thanks so much,
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
We write to ask you to join us in supporting, protecting and materially helping our friend and colleague, John Kiriakou, a long-time former C.I.A. official and case officer. Incredibly, John has been accused by the Department of Justice of crimes under the 1917 Espionage Act, a charge historically reserved for persons who betrayed their country to foreign governments for money.
Why? The prosecutors have not claimed that John talked to any foreign government, passed any government documents or accepted funds from anyone hostile to the United States. Instead, according to the facts asserted in the indictment, he committed the “crime” of responding honestly to a query from the New York Times related to the agency's interrogation program under the Bush Administration, which included waterboarding.
Okay. You got me. I can’t really tell you everything you need to know about big data. The one thing I discovered last week – as I joined more than 2,500 data junkies from around the world for the O’Reilly Strata conference in rainy Santa Clara California—is that nobody can, not Google, not Intel, not even IBM. All I can guarantee you is that you’ll be hearing a lot more about it.
What is big data? Roughly defined, it refers to massive data sets that can be used to predict or model future events. That can include everything from the online purchase history of millions of Americans (to predict what they’re about to buy) to where people in San Francisco are most likely to jog (according to GPS) to Facebook posts and Twitter trends and 100 year storm records.
Phi Beta Iota: Big data is most important for what it can tell you about true cost and whole system cause and effect, inclusive of political corruption and organizational fraud. These are past and present issues, not future issues. We design the future based on the integrity present today. This is why “open everything” matters.
With that in mind, here’s the three most important things you need to know about big data right now: