Monday, June 16, 2008

On Spies and Intelligence

In Last Sunday's Denver Post there was an article by David Ignatius on a recent conference to fix the CIA and the nation's intelligence agencies. The basic recommendations were:

   * The reorganization should be rationalized. One person should run the entire community, and that person should probably also have oversight of the CIA's clandestine service.
   * The CIA should stop trying to be all things to all policymakers and instead concentrate on the hard targets that matter most.
   * Washington should learn from what's working in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not earth-shaking news, I know. There are reams and reams of reports and analysis generated by too many agencies, and nobody is co-ordinating them into a cohesive whole because of childish turf wars, and George Bush's illiteracy. After 9/11, the public's confidence lowered when it became clear that agencies like the CIA were producing reports that bolstered the administration's viewpoints and did not reflect situations as they actually were. Or, in other words, they lied... Much of the national discussion came about from a published history of the CIA, Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes.

If even one page of this book is true, it's a damning indictment of our intelligence community, run by incompetent idiots who have killed untold thousands of lives in operating fucked up clandestine operations all over the world. Much of the hatred of the US in Asia, the Middle East, and South America is due from their meddling and machinations. Most of the illegal sale of arms and importing of drugs are done to finance covert operations that are kept hidden from the public eye; the rest done by black market opportunists in our military. As for intelligence, the CIA has gotten every major prediction of world events wrong, from the Korean War, to the dismantling of the Berlin Wall and to the intentions of Iraq before we invaded.

My father spent his career working for TRW; he had a hand in designing almost every satellite that went into space for over 30 years. He had a top secret security clearance, and as he grew older the younger generations of designers couldn't qualify for that level of clearance, he ended up working on the spook satellites. I remember him boasting that there were satellites up there that could count the number of hairs on a gnat's ass...

A running argument that I had with him was over the need of secrecy. I was for complete transparency and disclosure of where our tax dollars are spent, and he was not. One time he got angry and he exploded " The reason we have secrecy is to hide all of the mistakes we've made! "
End of discussion. 

So much of the Pentagon's budget and our Intelligence budget goes to these mistakes concocted by arrogant sociopaths, and are supported by the co-dependent members of Congress. If we diverted tomorrow the monies going to these groups, we could get rid of income taxes or end poverty and hunger in our country. I doubt anyone has the cojones to do it, but at least some of the information is now out in the public arena.


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