Robert Young Pelton spent years investigating counterterrorism mercenaries, so the last thing he expected was to be branded one himself.
Yet there he was on the front page of the New York Times on March 14, his color picture flanked by photos of legendary ex-CIA official Duane R. Clarridge and Michael D. Furlong, a Pentagon psychological warfare official.
I am happy to report that the New York Times has done the right thing and corrected their depiction of me in their recent series of articles about Afghanistan and “rogue” contractors. Although I have no personal or ethical problem with DoD contractors, information operations, intelligence activity covert operations or any other programs funded by the Department of Defense to protect our citizens here and overseas. I was not a DoD contractor nor was my company or were my employees involved in any spying, clandestine or illegal activity.
I do have a problem with the illegal use of contractors for espionage, breaking laws or stepping across clearly identified moral boundaries in the use of journalists. But I did not make these allegations, the source for the current activity (almost half a year after we were told the DoD would not be a subscriber) is a leaked memo and DoD insiders. Not my company.
The El Paso Intelligence Center, launched in 1974 to identify drug traffickers south of the border, is all but a complete bust, the Justice Department’s Inspector General reported Tuesday.
The 86-page report was a virtual laundry list of seemingly intractable problems at the border intelligence post, opened by the Drug Enforcement Administration with great fanfare 36 years ago.
“EPIC could not produce a complete record of drug seizures nationwide because of incomplete reporting into the National Seizure System, which is managed by EPIC,” Glenn A. Fine, chief of the Office of the Inspector General, reported.
“EPIC had not sustained the staffing for some key interdiction programs, such as its Fraudulent Document unit, its Air Watch unit, or its Maritime Intelligence unit….” Fine added.
“As a result, EPIC’s service to users in these program areas had been disrupted or diminished for periods of time.”
Brilliant Analysis of Federal Budget As Influence Device,
February 27, 2002
This absolute gem from 1989 should be updated and republished. I have resurrected it in relation to my reading on federal budgeting and the dangers of the deficit spending now in vogue in Washington (2002).This is the best book I have read on the strategic aspects of the federal budget–needed reforms, key issues in allocation policy, using the budget to stabilize the economy.
Where the book excels is in its analysis of how the federal budget should be used to steer private sector outlays–as Osborne and Gaebler suggested, we must steer rather than row–guide the private sector rather than use taxpayer dollars for direct products and services.
In his discussion of priorities, the author focuses heavily on the lack of investment in education and the resurrection of education both public and private. As we enter the 21st Century largely ignorant as a Nation (of external realities, not at individuals), I cannot help but think that the time has come for the public to take charge of “political economy,” and begin actively setting forth its priorities. Just this week, in The Washington Post of 27 February 2002, David Ignatius suggests that Washington has turned its back on the Nation. Seems to me that’s pretty dangerous, but if the Nation allows itself to be ignored by Washington, then we have the government–and the federal spending priorities–we deserve.