Review: Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry

Secrecy & Politics of Secrecy
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Marc Ambinder and D. B. Grady

3.0 out of 5 stars Mish-Mash — Superficial, Avoids Ethics, Corruption, and Cost Issues, April 7, 2013

This is a seriously disappointing book. As another reviewer has noted, and I concur, it is a hodge podge. Worse, it avoids the serious issues of ethics, deep corruption, and the opportunity cost of continuing to spend $70-100 billion dollars a year (depending on how much of the black special operations intelligence world you count) a year to produce what General Tony Tinny has said provided him with “at best” 4% of what he needed to know.

I carefully examined the endnotes and the index first, and rate this book at three stars at best. All ten of the books below are vastly better than this one. While the authors strive to conclude on an intelligent note — when everything is secret nothing can be protected and the cognitive dissonance between real and false secrets will inevitably spawn leaks — there is no substance in this book. It is mish-mash, perhaps useful if integrated into a giant trash can of everything that can be known from open sources, but even there the authors are utterly oblivious to all of the sources that are listed in my own master list, easily found online:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)

As one of those who testified to the 1993 presidential commission on secrecy, and to the Aspin-Brown Commission and to the Moynihan Commission, I would have expected much more from these authors. Not only have they barely scratched the surface and presented a mish-mash, but there is no substance to this book. Looking at the authors “credentials” what I find is a big fat zero. This is a C-level (A-F) book written without much thought, simply to sell the book.

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Journal: US IC Re-Discovers the Davies J-Curve

Full Story Online
Full Story Online

15,000 Affected By Intelligence Community Server Shutdown


Oct 8 2009, 9:53 am

Marc Ambinder

EXTRACT: A CIA analyst who works on open source projects with state and local law enforcement officials said that uGov provided the only secure way to provide them with critical homeland security information.

Several Defense Intelligence Agency employees wrote that the e-mail offered them cover for their intelligence gathering work — using uGov at an internet cafe in a foreign city wouldn't be a problem because, being an innocuous-sounding domain, did not reveal which agency they worked or what they did.

“I can't imagine doing my job as effectively without it,” an ODNI employee wrote.

Continue reading “Journal: US IC Re-Discovers the Davies J-Curve”

Journal: Director of National Intelligence Reverses Progress–Time to Rethink Everything

Government, Methods & Process, Reform, Technologies, Tools


Shutdown Of Intelligence Community E-mail Network Sparks E-Rebellion

The Atlantic POLITICS

Marc Ambinder

Oct 6 2009

The intelligence community's innovative uGov e-mail domain, one of its earliest efforts at cross-agency collaboration, will be shut down because of security concerns, government officials said.  The decision, announced internally last Friday to the hundreds of analysts who use the system, drew immediate protests from intelligence agency employees and led to anxiety that other experimental collaborative platforms, like the popular Intellipedia website, are also in the target sights of managers.

It follows reports that another popular analytic platform called “Bridge,” which allows analysts with security clearances to collaborate with people outside the government who have relevant expertise but no clearances, is being killed, and indications that funding for another transformational capability, the DoDIIS Trusted Workstation, which allows analysts to look at information at a variety of clearance levels — Secret, Top Secret, Law Enforcement Sensitive– is being curtailed.