The DNI has now admitted in writing that he lied under oath to the senate. He must resign or be fired.
I renew my call for his depature. pl
The DNI has now admitted in writing that he lied under oath to the senate. He must resign or be fired.
I renew my call for his depature. pl
"I have been asked by my superiors to give a brief demonstration of the surprising effectiveness of even the simplest techniques of the new-fangled Social Networke Analysis in the pursuit of those who would seek to undermine the liberty enjoyed by His Majesty’s subjects. This is in connection with the discussion of the role of “metadata” in certain recent events and the assurances of various respectable parties that the government was merely “sifting through this so-called metadata” and that the “information acquired does not include the content of any communications”. I will show how we can use this “metadata” to find key persons involved in terrorist groups operating within the Colonies at the present time. I shall also endeavour to show how these methods work in what might be called a relational manner." Kieran Healy
A u.s. Senator warned that “NSA’s potential to violate the privacy of American citizens is unmatched by any other U.S. intelligence agency.”
“Tons of electronic surveillance equipment at this moment are interconnected within our domestic and international common carrier telecommunications systems. Much more is under contract for installation. Perhaps this equipment is humming away in a semi quiescent state wherein at present no citizen is targeted but simply scanned…How soon will it be before a punched card will quietly be dropped to the machine, a card having your telephone number, my telephone number or the number of one my friends to whom we will be speaking.”
The sinister statement above was uttered in 1976.
Under the Reagan administration, the NSA could be authorized to lend its full cryptanalytic support – analysts as well as computers – to any department agency. By then, the microwaves and the internet and satellite coverage had transformed human communication. By 1981 there were domestic satellites in orbit with the capacity of carrying thousands of circuits. Each COMSAT bird had 18,000 thousand circuits that record many thousand phone conversations. Literally tons of billions of words including computer data transfers. Even the mail was being carried by satellite.
Is it not strange that the Congress that seems eager to pursue Snowden to the ends of the earth "till he spouts black blood and rolls dead out" is apparently not concerned that The Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the National Security Agency both seem to have committed perjuty in testimony before the Congress.
James Clapper told Andrea Mitchell on television this week that he had given the senate the "least false answer" that he could manage when asked by Senator Widen of Oregon if the NSA collected data on ordinary Americans.
Keith Alexander has evidently done some similar thing. pl
"The scale of America's surveillance state was laid bare on Thursday as senior politicians revealed that the US counter-terrorism effort had swept up swaths of personal data from the phone calls of millions of citizens for years. After the revelation by the Guardian of a sweeping secret court order that authorized the FBI to seize all call records from a subsidiary of Verizon, the Obama administration sought to defuse mounting anger over what critics described as the broadest surveillance ruling ever issued.
A White House spokesman said that laws governing such orders "are something that have been in place for a number of years now" and were vital for protecting national security. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, said the Verizon court order had been in place for seven years. "People want the homeland kept safe," Feinstein said. But as the implications of the blanket approval for obtaining phone data reverberated around Washington and beyond, anger grew among other politicians." (The Guardian)
The revelations of the last several days about the scope of the NSA's surveillance efforts is remarkable in many ways. It started with a whistle blower leaking information and documents to Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian. The scope of what was released dwarfs what Bradley Manning released to WikiLeaks. Like Manning, the leaker of the NSA information is undoubtedly someone with a U.S. security clearance who signed a nondisclosure agreement. The government will will be hunting for this leaker with a vengeance. I signed the same thing as did Colonel Lang. For that reason, I am not linking to any of the leaked classified documents.
Both Obama and Clapper have issued statements acknowledging these surveillance programs. They, and a host of Legislative officials, have stated the programs are all legal and necessary to keep us safe. Obama assured us that no one in the government is listening to our phone calls. Sure, that's not really technically feasible… yet. Clapper's statement is informative in explaining the legal safeguards and how "the Intelligence Community is committed to respecting the civil liberties and privacy of all American citizens." That's probably all true, but "trust us" is not that reassuring of an answer.
My first thought upon hearing of this was of Erich Honecker's pervasive and sordid surveillance state. I remember when we all thought the DDR was an abomination because of all that internal surveillance. I recommend the movie "Das Leben Der Anderen" as a cautionary tale. It could happen here.
'Fogle had been trying to recruit a Russian intelligence services officer responsible for fighting Islamist terrorists in Russia's Caucasus region, the Federal Security Service said. The agency, known as the FSB, also alleged he had been carrying a Russian-language recruitment note explaining how to set up a secure Gmail account and promising "up to $1 million a year with the promise of additional bonuses" for information. The State Department confirmed that a U.S. diplomat had been detained and released by Russian authorities but declined to say for which agency Mr. Fogle worked. U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said only that he was "an American staff member of the embassy." Pressed to say if that meant he may not be a foreign-service officer, he said, "right, I just don't have any more information, one way or another."" WSJ
Ho Hum. This is a game that the US and Russia have played with each other for a long time. There is no danger to bi-lateral relations and no admissions are expected. Nor should any be made.
Why does this "spying" continue? Simple - Countries cannot be trusted to tell the truth in negotiations. Therefore, a prudent course of action is to find people on the other side of issues who will tell you what your negotiating "partners" really intend. We should continue to do this kind of thing but we should do it better.
Wigs, concealment devices, a letter of instruction for an "asset" who might be recruited in a meeting, this is absurd. Why not hang a sign around your neck? The "Game of Nations" must be played by adults, not by post-adolescent fantasists who want theatrical "dress-up" as part of their lives.
Presuming that we know who this fellow worked for I must say that I remember an occasion when his group wanted to bring someone to my home overseas in disguise. I told them that this was unacceptable. The meeting went smoothly.
However, if they are still "into" this kind of thing I might suggest this costume.
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Not to horn in on BG Farrell's movie reviews here at SST, but I recently saw a documentary and wanted to bring it to the attention of the SST community. About two weeks ago I was asked to go with our former USMC senior service rep here at the US Army War College to see the new Israeli documentary The Gatekeepers by Dror Moreh. The Gatekeepers is an oral history of Israel's internal security and intelligence service - Shin Bet. Moreh's documentary is built around in depth interviews with the last six Shin Bet directors and spans events from the 1960s through to the last several years, combined with archival footage and computer generated reenactments. In fact the documentary's production was delayed until the most recent former director, Yuval Diskin, retired and could be interviewed for and part of the project. Moreh was able to get the project going, which features the first public interviews with any of these men, because one of the former directors, Ami Ayalon was willing to be interviewed after being elected to the Knesset from the Labor Party. It was Ayalon who helped convince his peers to participate.
Moreh's documentary is divided into seven segments and includes such controversial topics as the 300 bus incident, the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin, and breaking up the Israeli Jewish extremist attempts to blow up the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount. For me one of the most interesting portions of the film was when Yaakov Peri, who ran Shin Bet from 1988 to 1994, referred to Palestinian's who had engaged in attacks on Israel as melkhamim. Melkhamim is Hebrew for warriors. All the other former directors referred to Palestinian attackers as terroreest, which, as you can tell, is the transliteration word imported into Hebrew for terrorist. The documentary was excellent and I cannot recommend it highly enough to the SST community. If you're interested in counter-terrorism, intelligence, counterintelligence, and/or the Israeli/Palestinian dispute you need to see it if it is in your area. All six of the former directors interviewed demonstrated significant nuance in regards to their assignments, their adversaries, the problems Israel faces, and the politicians they work for.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the United States Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Army War College and/or the US Army.
To Order Directly From the Author:
PO Box 16103
Washington, DC 20041
Pricing for Perfect bound Softcover:
The Butcher's Cleaver: $23.95 (Hardcover $33.95)
Death Piled Hard: $18.95 (Hardcover $28.95)
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Please add $3.99 S&H handling for each book ordered, or $11.89 for all three books in the Trilogy.
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I was interviewed some time ago by the North Carolina Museum of History concerning the writing of this trilogy.
"The Confederate Secret Services, a conversation with W. Patrick Lang, novelist, retired U.S. Army colonel, and military intelligence consultant
Patrick Lang discusses his two novels, The Butcher’s Cleaver and Death Piled Hard, both of which focus on Claude Devereux, a Virginia banker who is recruited by the Confederate secret service and placed in the office of Union secretary of war Edwin Stanton. Approximate run time: 24 minutes. Podcast "
This podcast is highly recommended
"Science currently holds that time travel is an impossibility, but readers of Down the Sky, thefinal volume of Colonel Pat Lang’s Strike the Tent trilogy will question that assertion. Code-named “Hannibal,” Confederate penetration agent Claude Devereux is firmly lodged in the upper echelons of the Federal war machine. Now a Brigadier General of the Union forces with the new Congressional Medal of Honor on his chest, Major Devereux of the Confederate Secret Service knows time is running out. His minders in Richmond may no longer trust him, his personal life is a shambles, and Union spy-catcher Lafayette Baker is determined to bring him down. Only his peculiar, personal friendship with President Lincoln holds his enemies at bay.
I have never worked in intelligence. The closest thing I got to it was having the CIA ask me to go to Iraq and report on what I saw there. I didn't go, because I was uneasy about it because I am a journalist. I am a very patriotic American, and I had good contacts with the Iraqis in Washington, just as I had once had good contacts with the Libyan before President Reagan booted them out. But yesterday, a columnist, Rachel Marsden, did a good review of the movie, "Zero Dark Thirty," and I wanted to post her analysis because it is very close to one I did for a character in a novel I am working on. Richard Sale
"Chastain's CIA officer says to the agency director that she's "done nothing else" over her 12 years with the agency besides work on the bin Laden case. Unlike with James Bond films, information doesn't just fall into someone's lap, or come as the result of a one-night stand with a source after a few well-shaken martinis. Chastain's character spends years vetting little bits and pieces of information as they trickle in. At one point she's devastated to learn that a lead in which she had invested enormous time and resources pursuing might ultimately be a dead end. "Confirmation bias" -- assessing a theory or a piece of information as valid because you desperately want or think it to be, and excluding other information for the same reason -- is mentioned several times throughout the film as an impediment to good intelligence work." Marsden
It is true that the movies distort intelligence work but it is not quite so pedestrian as Marsden portrays it to be. pl
James Clapper has effectively been working for John Brennan during Obama's first term. Now the president wants Brennan to be the Director of the CIA. In that position Brenan would be one of Clapper's statutory subordinates in his role as Director of National Intelligence. Does that make any sense?
The position of DNI has been given most of CIA's former functions in coordinating the actions of the IC as well as the writing of National Intelligence Estimates.
CIA has been properly limited to the "ownership" of the National Clandestine Service. CIA is unhappy with that and seeks continuously to break out of the "box" that it finds itself in. It's fascination with the drone war over Pakistan is a reflection of that psychology.
John Brennan is a vigorous 57 year old executive. If he returns to CIA will he be content to work within the present IC structure or will he seek to restore the ancien regime in the community.
Would it not make more sense to put Brennan in charge of the whole community as DNI? pl
"If the US Government must have a paramilitary drone capability, then it should be lodged somewhere in the military establishment or in an organization completely separate from our CIA and its human collection operations. To put it anywhere in the CIA is risky, foolhardy and ultimately counterproductive, serving neither our covert human collection nor our paramilitary operations.
"Haviland Smith is a retired CIA Station Chief who served in Prague, Berlin, Beirut, Tehran, Langley and Washington working primarily in Soviet and East European operations, as Chief of the Counterterrorism Staff and as Executive Assistant in the Director's Office."
"a lengthy interview..." What are they playing at? Interviews are not granted on subjects like this without a specific goal. Ah, the election, yes that is what they are playing at. Given the president's apparently desparate situation it seems likely that the Post was encouraged to get this series out on the street NOW!
I knew Brennan when he was a very junior CIA analyst working in Saudi Arabia for Alan Fiers. Remember him? He seemed incredibly solemn and resolute. What he was resolute about was unclear (to me). The women in the embassy had aerobic dance classes in a little building on the embassy compound. I remember seeing him in there running and hopping with them (and his wife). My, how people do rise in the world! Apparently he is quite religious?
I have to say that I agree with much of what he is said to be doing. The neocon imperial wars are ending (unless Romney is elected). The war against foreign terrorists of every stripe who seek to attack us must continue. Brennan's plan is to consolidate and systematize procedures so that the anti-terrorist war is both effective and controlled by centralised authority. At the same time he wants to get CIA DO out of the business of executing violence and back altogether in the business of espionage and black propaganda. He wants to return all policy driven external violence performed by the US Government to the department of Defense. IMO, this is a good idea. CIA is too "loose" an organization to have that kind of function. The complex bureaucracy of the military and the civilian world of OSD are better places for that function to reside. Supervision is a lot tighter.
In one of the debates, BHO said "people like me should be reined in." He is right. It looks like Brennan in trying to do that on an institutional basis. pl
"The fact is, as important as diplomatic security is, it’s also very, very expensive. Sometimes it requires building a whole new embassy -- a daunting project even in far better budget circumstances.
So our diplomats and spies make do. And, not to make excuses, but the security officers, intelligence agents and analysts working out of U.S. diplomatic outposts in places like Libya have their hands full trying to find out what the enemy is doing.
In the chaos of post-Gadhafi Libya, moreover, do critics really think that the State Department and the CIA should have been sitting on their hands until they got spanking brand-new facilities built for them? " Jeff Stein
Diplomatic and intelligence work in "the field" as opposed to behind a desk in Washington is a risky business. The work in the field requires access to the local people. Some of the local people are always dangerous. The assumption should be made that they are dangerous. Nevertheless, it is always necessary to have access to the people in order to accomplish one's duty. There is not enough money available to fortify all diplomatic and intelligence posts even if it were a good idea to do so, and it is not for the reason stated here above.
Could the consulate in Benghazi have been made a more difficult target within the strictures of operational necessity? It probably could have been made more difficult for the assault force but not difficult enough to have repelled an attack like this by roughly a hundred determined men armed with small arms and RPG rockets.
Should the USMC security guard system be given the mission of defending our diplomatic premises? The present mission of these marines detailed to the State Department is to protect the classified information in these premises, not the premises themselves or the ambassador/consul. Such a change of mission would require a massive change of training for the marines involved and reinforcement to such a level that this would become a major mission, perhaps the major mission for the USMC.
Someone who calls himself "Anonymous" critiques Stein's analysis in this article. I believe I know who "Anonymous" is, and if that is his true identity he never served a day in the field in his life.
BTW, Jeff Stein and I served in the same Army intelligence unit in VN, albeit in different parts of the country. There was nothing "wimpy' about the men in that unit. Several small detachments of them fought for their lives in facilities just like the one he described. Some did not survive. pl
"... after nine years — and regular praise from officials at the Department of Homeland Security — the 77 fusion centers have become pools of ineptitude, waste and civil liberties intrusions, according to a scathing 141-page report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs permanent subcommittee on investigations." Washpost
A lot of "loopy" things were done during the hysteria that folllowed that awful day. Vast amounts of money were "borrowed" by the government. That money was spread far and wide throughout the government and among contracting companies that serve the government. Some of it came my way. I was pleased to accept it. It was not hard to see then, and easier now that the institutional "empire building" and open handed distribution of "the spoils" of counter-terrorism were excessive and are excessive yet. The same thing applies to the national defense establishment in general.
We need to "build down" the whole national security apparatus. There are too many groups doing overlapping tasks. There are too many "fusion centers," CT centers, joint task forces on "this or that." There are too many contracter employees in the Pentagon doing the work that active duty military people should be doing for themselves rather than spending their time "politicking" for promotion. CIA? The "game" has not been different there.
Once again, we should have just one army. The USMC has grown and "morphed" into a second army for the United States. Once upon a time, the marines were a small service dedicated to the prosecution of the land aspects of a naval campaign, as well as various small "jobs" like; running naval prisons, guarding admirals from sailors and serving as legation guards in places far away. In WW2 the Army and USMC were about equally successful in conducting bloody, bloody amphibious landings. Normandy and Iwo Jima would be examples.
Today the USMC is larger that the British and Canadian armies combined. The USMC is now a large land mass operations service. Afghanistan and Iraq demonstrated that. We should combine he two services into one. The resultant savings in the now duplicated education, training and logistics establishments would be large. Such a merger would also put an end to the endless bickering and hostility that mark today's situation.
Contrary to popular belief smaller is often better, better in the retention of the best and discarding of the worst. Let's get smaller. pl
Basilisk suggests that this old article of mine has relevance to the present discussion on the importance of expertise as opposed to a generalist managerial background. This was written before the intelligence community re-organization that created the DNI. pl
"... a paper entitled “Preparing For A Post Israel Middle East”, an 82-page analysis that concludes that the American national interest in fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel. The authors conclude that Israel is currently the greatest threat to US national interests because its nature and actions prevent normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community.
The study was commissioned by the US Intelligence Community comprising 16 American intelligence agencies with an annual budget in excess of $ 70 billion. The IC includes the Departments of the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Defense Intelligence Agency, Departments of Energy, Homeland Security, State, Treasure, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency commissioned the study." Foreign Policy Journal
I don't know anything of this journal but such a paper seems an improbability. To propose such a paper would be a career ending move. To write it with the conclusions stated would be enough to ensure banishment from government and a hue and cry.
Entertaining though... pl
"The CIA station chief opened the locked box containing the sensitive equipment
he used from his home in Tel Aviv, Israel, to communicate with CIA headquarters
in Virginia, only to find that someone had tampered with it. He sent word to his
superiors about the break-in." AP
Hey! They are a foreign country right? No? Oh. pl
"On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages [.pdf] from a 1985–2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the U.S.* The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth — who was convicted of running a U.S. front company — met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel’s prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network’s unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing“Project Pinto.”" Grant Smith
Today the Israel Lobby Archive releases an FBI
counterespionage debriefing obtained under a Mandatory Declassification Review
appeal. FBI special agents debriefed
Richard Kelly Smyth in 2002 after INTERPOL detained him in Spain. Smyth fled the U.S. after being indicted for
illegally shipping 800 nuclear triggers to Israel. In the secret debriefing report, Smyth
details how he was brought into a multi-front-company nuclear smuggling network
and his key contact at the Israeli node: Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu Worked Inside Nuclear Smuggling Ring
Counterespionage debriefing reveals how Israel targeted U.S.
by Grant F. Smith
...FBI agents interviewed Smyth on April 16-17, 2002, at
the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. The secret interview report details
how during a trip to Israel Smyth was "spotted" by Milchan, who
claimed he worked as an exclusive purchasing agent for the Ministry of Defense.
Smyth was introduced around to high military officials including then-general
Ariel Sharon. Smyth was also put in contact with Benjamin Netanyahu, who worked
at Heli Trading Company. According to the FBI report, "Smyth and [Netanyahu]
would meet in restaurants in Tel Aviv and in [Netanyahu's] home and/or
business. It was not uncommon for [Netanyahu] to ask Smyth for unclassified
...Milchan pulled Smyth into his glamorous, star-studded
movie circuit. "While in the United States [Smyth] met with [Milchan]
numerous times in Los Angeles... Milchan and Smyth would have dinner frequently
and would visit one another's house often...it was quite common for [Milchan]
to invite [Smyth] to various Hollywood parties and introduce [Smyth] to
During the 2002 Smyth counterintelligence debriefing, the
FBI learned that the Ministry of Defense ordered and paid Heli Trading for
krytrons. Heli in turn sourced them from MILCO in a clandestine operation
codenamed Project Pinto. The report reveals how MILCO illegally shipped
prohibited articles under general Commerce Department export licenses rather
than smuggling them out via Israeli diplomatic pouches. The last time Smyth saw
Milchan was in 1985. The Ministry of Defense issued a burn notice on Smyth
after discussions with U.S. officials about the krytron smuggling. According to
the FBI report, "Shortly thereafter, [Smyth] fled the United
"Today the Center for Policy and Law Enforcement releases
a Defense Intelligence Agency video obtained under a multi-year Freedom of
Information Act process. Jonathan
Pollard was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 after he was caught selling
large amounts of highly classified documents to Israel. The 14 minute video
"Jonathan Pollard: A Portrayal" produced by the Threat
Countermeasures Branch of the DIA emphasizes that "eighty percent" of
the documents obtained by Pollard were DIA files. The video encourages American
government employees to overcome inhibitions and proactively report suspicious
DIA's internal Jonathan Pollard briefing video can help
organizations detect Israeli espionage -- IRmep
Washington -- The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency has
just released an internal briefing video that is now available online on both
Vimeo and Youtube. The IRmep Center for
Policy and Law Enforcement obtained release under the Freedom of Information
As it happened, I was on the JCS damage assessment board convened after Pollard's arrest. This guy had "flags" hung out all over him. He should never have been hired or cleared for employment in naval intelligence. He had a clear record of telling people things like "Israel is my real home." The material he stole at the direction of the Israelis was mostly concerned with Soviet affairs. The Israelis wanted it for barter with the Soviet government. pl
Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations observes that based on the most recent USG official statistics on global terrorism for 2011, "the number of U.S. citizens who died in terrorist attacks [is comparable to those] crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year." So the inert television and chairs sitting around your house are every bit as threatening to your physical safety as the sum total of all terrorist organizations actively operating world-wide.
In confronting this objectively miniscule but emotionally-compelling threat, the USG has undertaken the most extensive reorganization and expansion of its national security apparatus since WWII; conducted massive military interventions and enormous nation-building efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq at tremendous costs in American blood and treasure; and authorized ever-more intensive assassination campaigns in Pakistan and Yemen that include American citizens as 'legitimate' targets.
The 'global war on terrorism' was a flawed strategic framework from its inception appealing primarily to the appreciable fear of the American public in the wake of the horrific attacks of 9-11 and eschewing an objective assessment of the scale and nature of the threat. Terrorism as a tactic of the weak will always be with us. It will never be eliminated. This report demonstrates that this threat has clearly been reduced to a manageable level. The Al-Qa'ida organization that attacked us on 9-11 is a shadow of what it was. Targeted attacks on its leadership and support networks wherever they operate can most effectively and efficiently be facilitated by close cooperation with local law enforcement, intelligence, and as needed, special operations forces.
In these times of fiscal constraints and 'tough choices', U.S. citizens and taxpayers should demand a reality-based discussion of the military, security, and intelligence forces needed to defend critical American national interests here and abroad. Our political and military leaders should lead this rational debate. Nevertheless, many politicians, defense lobbyists, and those working in the national security and foreign policymaking apparatus (both government and civilian) will be tempted to employ hyperbolic exaggeration of the threats confronting us as a justification for continued U.S. interventions across the globe. The rise of China as a conventional military and economic competitor and the potential for Iran to develop nuclear weapons are prime candidates to replace terrorism as the next great security 'threat' demanding exorbitant expenditures of America's treasure and resources. Let's at least insist on a rational and fact-based debate over these issues.
The author is a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army.
"In October of 1992 personnel at the Yuma Proving Ground, which tests nearly every significant ground combat weapons system, detected a University of Buffalo computer system user had penetrated their military computer network via New Mexico State University. The senior majoring in Chemical Engineering hacked the UB system to obtain high-level privileges using access codes stolen graduate students. Soon after the BU hack "computers from the Weizmann Institute for Science accessed computers from NM SU to penetrate computers at YPG." FBI investigators suspected the BU student, arrested by Amherst Town police on October 8, 1992, passed the secret access codes to Weizmann. FBI counterespionage officials uncovered Weizmann's clandestine nuclear development role and US funding network, but closed the investigation." Irmep
- The "Double Agent." Evidently there was something "special" about the intelligence trail that caused the intercept of a bomb headed to the States from Yemen. The media are full of the story that a penetrant reached the heart of the operation and caused its failure. I am suspicious, 1-As he is described he would simply have been our agent or the Saudis', not a double agent. A double is someone who is "in play" for both sides. This man is described as being solely ours. But, the media are simpletons, so, what can one expect... 2- If this was actually a "leak" of the identity of an active penetrant, then great damage has been done to the US. Peter King has called for an investigation. If this story of the "leak" is true then he is correct in doing this. 3- On the other hand, perhaps some other element of intelligence work was the key to the success, and the story of the penetrant is "cover" to protect that source. King may be playing along with that. 4- Another possibility is that the "leak' is intended to inspire distrust among the jihadis.
We will never know the answer to this conundrum and we should not.
"About 15 percent of the DIA’s case officers will be part of the Defense Clandestine Service, the defense official said. New, more clearly delineated career paths will give DIA case officers better opportunities to continue their espionage assignments abroad, he said." Washpost
This is not a new "agency." It is not a new "service." It is the creation of a new unit withoing the DIA HUMINT depatyment. This one will be dedicated to recruitment of high level assets outside war zones. In other words this is not a combat support organization/ Why is this needed. Simple. CIA is a civilian organization. It has always done a poor job of trying to "work with" foreign military men.
CIA says DIA does poor work? Now that is really funny. Who was it that had half a dozen clandestine service people wiped out in in Afghanistan with one bomb. It was CIA. People died because of their poor skills and practises.
CIA, and the IDF are the greatest self promoters in the world. The marines run a close third in that race. rpl
An article in Wired's Danger Room blog caught my eye. Entitled "Pentagon Wants Spy Troops Posing as Businessmen," the article's main point of DoD wanting to use commercial cover in its clandestine activities seemed woefully out of date... by decades. However, a shocking notion was buried further down in the Wired article:
"There’s another change the proposal would make — one that seems boring and bureaucratic, but explains a great deal. Authority for overseeing the Defense Department’s human spying lies with the Defense Intelligence Agency. The proposal would give it instead to the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence"
Wired's original source for this information is an article from Inside Defense. I found one version of that article available to the public. A second article on the same subject is behind a paywall. The Inside Defense article is less dramatic, but still intriguing:
"The Defense Department is seeking new authority from Congress that would let DOD personnel work undercover in industry to conduct clandestine military operations abroad against terrorists and their sponsors. The Pentagon's request, submitted to lawmakers last week in a package of legislative proposals, is designed to significantly broaden DOD's existing authority -- first enacted in 1992 -- to use commercial cover in support of intelligence-collection activities.
The proposal would also delete from existing law the requirement that the Defense Intelligence Agency oversee DOD's use of commercial cover. The current statute was enacted before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks led Congress to establish the under secretary of defense for intelligence -- dubbed USD(I), for short -- to direct and oversee all intelligence, intelligence-related, and security programs of the department, DOD writes. Michael Vickers, the third person to hold the post since it was created in 2003, has served in that capacity for more than a year. The Secretary has directed that the USD(I) oversee these commercial activities," the proposal adds. "These developments have made the current statutory mandate for an oversight office in DIA an unwarranted limitation on the discretion of the Secretary and the Under Secretary in managing and overseeing the commercial activities program."
I have no idea why DoD would need to see more authorities to use commercial cover in its clandestine activities, even revenue generating commercial activities. Read Emerson's "Secret Warriors" for examples of special mission units and intelligence units using commercial cover. Regulations and directives for doing such activities have been around for ages. They are hard and expensive to initiate and maintain. They require tremendous discipline. The payoff is never immediate and there may never be a payoff. That's why they are so seldom undertaken. I've conducted commercial cover operations for near twenty years in both intelligence and special mission units, so I know about these things.
The Wired article says USD(I) will assume oversight of human spying (clandestine HUMINT) from DIA. That would mean Michael Vickers, as current USD(I), would become the DoD HUMINT Manager rather than LTG Michael Flynn, the incoming DIA Director. If true, that would be a significant change. The Defense News article only talks about USD(I) assuming oversight of the commercial activities program from DIA. Even that would be a big change.
Michael Vickers has a long history with special operations from his time in Special Forces, CIA and as ASD/SOLIC. He has a long history with both McRaven and Flynn. JSOC and special mission units are still in ascendency. Perhaps this is the sound of crockery breaking as Flynn moves into DIA.
The Stuxnet virus that damaged Iran’s nuclear program was implanted by an Israeli proxy, an Iranian, who probably used a corrupt “memory stick.32,” former and serving U.S. intelligence officials said.
In the continuing battle to hold off the Iranian nuclear program, Iranian proxies have also been active in assassinating Iran’s nuclear scientists, these sources said.
These sources, who requested anonymity because of their close proximity to investigations, said a saboteur at Natanz, probably a member of an Iranian dissident group, used a memory stick to infect the machines there. They said using a person on the ground would greatly increase the probability of computer infection, as opposed to passively waiting for the software to spread through the computer facility. “Iranian double agents” would have helped to target the most vulnerable spots in the system,” one source said. In October 2010, Iran’s intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi announced an unspecified number of “nuclear spies” were arrested in connection with Stuxnet.33 virus.
Two minutes into this interview on the Newshour Colonel (Ret.) Killibrew of CNAS chooses to denigrate what he calls "intelligence soldiers" as opposed to "direct combat soldiers" (sic) in the matter of the Afghan photos of troops and Afghan police palying with the remains of Taliban fighters who accidentally blew themselves up while installing roadside bombs. Bomb installers do this with some frequency. The IRA were particularly prone to this accident. I remember one fellow who did himself in while mixing fertiliser and other "goodies" with a steel shovel on a concrete garage floor. Special Branch and MI-5 had a good chuckle over that.
Killibrew's insult is reminiscent of all the snide remarks I have heard in the US Army over the last half century about intelligence soldiers. In memory of my old comrades I must say that I have seen intelligence soldiers fight as hard as any infantry and I have never known them to murder civilians in their beds.
From what I can learn, that whole brigade (4/82 Div.) behaved poorly during that deployment. The were unhappy to have been ordered into the "mentoring" mode and that showed in their performance. pl
"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.”" Wired
The "crockery" needs breaking. DIA tends to be inhabited at the top by bureaucratic politicians who should be sent to graze somewhere else.
Not a West Point graduate.
Flynn sounds like a good idea. We will have to see if he will do as good a job of backing up his analysts in NIE discussions as did Burgess. pl
This is a perennial story. I have seen it all my life. It is easily possible to analyze fragments of information to produce a general picture of what will occur. It is much harder to acquire specifics with regard to particular future enemy activities. To do that requires highly capable SIGINT, HUMINT, etc.
A COIN campaign like the one in Afghanistan is one of the hardest "arenas" in which to forecast particular future enemy operations. These forces have little equipment, little communications equipment and thus present a small "target" for information collection.
HUMINT penetrations of the enemy are the answer. In a civil war like the one in Afghanistan this should be quite possible if skill and imagination are present.
Evidently they are not. pl
The National Security Archive published a recently declassified memorandum from a senior U.S. State Department advisor Philip Zelikow who in 2006 courageously (if belatedly) opposed the Bush Administration's authorization of water boarding and other methods of what is often euphemistically referred to as 'enhance interrogation.' The legal opinions by former Deparment of Justice lawyers led by John Yoo endorsing the use of torture will serve as a blot on the soul of our nation for some time to come. It is a credit to both John McCain and Mr. Zelikow that they pressed the government to adhere to its own laws and professed principles.
Much of the Zelikow memo is written in legal-ease. The essence of his argument is that many of the "enhanced interrogation techniques authorized for employment by the CIA...[are] intrinsically cruel, inhuman, [and] degrading...[and should] be barred even if there is a compelling state interest asserted to justify them." The memo goes on to more explicitly make the case that specific coercive techniques including water boarding and stress positions are unconstitutional; while other measures such as sleep and food deprivation may be legal "depending on the circumstances and details of how these techniques are used."
Nations often reflect the aspirations, hopes, and fears of their people and leaders. In the of 9/11, many Americans have become overly fearful and only too willing to sacrifice personal liberties and bypass constitutionally-guarantee legal protections in the pursuit of an imagined (and unachievable) sense of security. Thankfully, President Obama has put some of the uglier aspects of the 'global war on terror' behind us. However, other aspects such as warrantless searches, 'targeted assassinations', and indefinite detentions remain. We will yet need many more citizens, politicians, and officials to demonstrate the courage of their convictions.
The author is professor of national security studies at the U.S. Army War College. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
As a former practitioner of the dark arts described in this film, I attest to the verisimilitude of a lot of the matter of the film.
In particular, the seedy, shoddy government premises that were characteristic of such establishments before the GWOT scattered money far and wide seem very familiar and "real." Anyone who remembers the dilapidated temporary buildings that housed much of the CIA on the Mall along Constitution Avenue or the god awful collection of similar buildings that sheltered DIA at Arlington Hall Station must agree.
The film is set in 1973 at the height of the Cold War. The underlying plot feature is a search for a "mole" put in place at the top of the "Circus" (MI-6). This is clearly based on the Kim Philby story as well as that of a lot of other dastards in the British services of that time. The mole is uncovered at the end and dealt with appropriately. He tells George Smiley, a wonderful and endearing character, that he "had to make a choice because the West is just so rotten." That motivation seems to have been true of many of the Cambridge University "Apostles" who were recruited by Arnold Deutsch. Deutsch was possibly the greatest espionage recruiter of all time in any service, in his case the NKVD. When Deutsch recruited them, they stayed recruited for life. He was, of course, killed in the Blood Purges of he late '30s. Stalin did not believe such recruitments were possible.
For me the best parts of the film are faithful reproduction of the internal bueaucratic struggle among the mandarins of the Circus. I still have the scars.
As a piece of cinematic art, the film is, IMO, very nearly flawless. It is very much a European film. Americans, in general, are too intellectually sterile to create such a film or to follow the dialogue. The director is Swedish. The only other film of his that I have seen was "Let the right one in." This is a bizarre story about child vampires trapped in child bodies in the Swedish night. It was creepy.
No, the very best part of the film is the manic Christmas party that is shown in snatches throughout. At one point a Santa Claus appears wearing a mask with Joe Stalin's face. He leads the standing assembled British spooks in singing the Soviet national anthem. It gave me chills and brought back a Christmas party to which I was invited just after the fall of the USSR. At this party the assembled US spooks, all of them Russian specialists, sang "We're dreaming of a Red Christmas, just like the ones we used to know." They were finished. They knew it.
Many have now been reborn as CT analysts. Isn't that right, Basilisk?
It's a great flick, if you are up to it. pl
"The Trust" was a Cheka run product of the genius of Felix himself and of his "Karla" like crew of henchmen and women. Through that supposed union of Russian anti-Bolsheviks, the Cheka ran the effective anti-communist activity in Europe for many years. The inestimable Sidney Reilly was enticed to his death by "the Trust" and there was never a less trusting man than Reilly.
How much more simple it will be to entice America to a mad gesture in the Middle East than it was for anyone to entice Reilly. pl
"Other intelligence officials indicated that while there was no evidence of other Iranian plots in the United States, Mr. Clapper’s remarks were intended to put both the Iranians and the American intelligence community on notice that high priority would be given to ferreting out information about possible plans to stage attacks in this country.
Mr. Clapper said that the suspected assassination plot “shows that some Iranian officials — probably including supreme leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”" NY Times
I did enjoy seeing Petraeus sitting in a subordinate position at the table. That must have hurt. But, on the other hand, Clapper is clearly covering his a-s against the possibility of an Iranian action in the US. Feinstein is, of course, against whomever Bibi is against.
The now almost legendary suspected plot against Adil (the chihuahua) Jubeir remains a very doubtful thing. It has Zimmerman telegram written all over it. To use THAT for evidence of Iranian intentions towards the US is enabling of deep suspicion.
At the same time the judgment that AQ has been largely disemboweled gets little play. pl
"Then, in October 2010, the CIA released results of the agency’s internal investigation into the Khost attack, fueling another round of stories that Matthews was partially responsible. Matthews and her team, the report concluded, failed to follow the agency’s procedures for vetting informants. One of Matthews’s severest critics was her uncle, Dave Matthews, a retired CIA official who had helped inspire his niece to join the agency." Washpost
Evidently this woman was not qualified by training to deal with clandestine espionage operations in the field. She was also not qualified by experience. She was an analyst. That means that she was a kind of research scholar. She was evidently selected for this extremely dangerous post in the field because she was a woman and because she wanted the job for the purpose of advancing her career in CIA. The career had shown signs of slowing up in its progress toward "nirvana" on the top floor at Langley. Four year tours of duty in London as a liaison are not career builders, however pleasant they may be. There are analysts who are also good field HUMINT people, but not many.
She was a "church lady," whose husband seems to say that he and she believed that the US Army and God would protect her from the heathen. The Army could prevent Taliban or AQ capture of the outpost within which her "base" (a term of art) was sheltered but it could not keep her from trusting this recruited asset so much that she lined her staff up to welcome him as a "colleague." As for God, he appears to have been playing on a different team that day.
Some of the best and most tough minded field operatives I have known were women. I did my best to foster their careers. They contrasted starkly with the kind of staff "princesses" who generally get ahead fast in such organizations.
CIA sent a person who seems to have been ill suited by temperament, talent or experience for this important job. Men and women died for that error. One of them is reported to have counseled her to be less trusting.
What sort of persons are needed for this kind of work?
"Hard hearted empaths" pl
"The U.S. intelligence community says in a secret new assessment that the war in Afghanistan is mired in stalemate, and warns that security gains from an increase in American troops have been undercut by pervasive corruption, incompetent governance and Taliban fighters operating from neighboring Pakistan, according to U.S. officials.
The sobering judgments, laid out in a classified National Intelligence Estimate completed last month and delivered to the White House, appeared at odds with recent optimistic statements by Pentagon officials and have deepened divisions between U.S. intelligence agencies and American military commanders about progress in the decade-old war.
The detailed document, known as an NIE, runs more than 100 pages and represents the consensus view of the CIA and 15 other U.S. intelligence agencies. Similar in tone to an NIE prepared a year ago, it challenges the Pentagon's claim to have achieved lasting security gains in Taliban strongholds in southern Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials who have read or been briefed on its contents." LA Times
The US armed forces and CIA's Directorate of Operations are "interested parties" in progress toward pacification and success at the benighted adventure of COIN warfare there. This is true even thought the assumption in Washington is that COIN is finished for a while as a srtategic doctrine rather than as a technique of some limited utility.
Their "interested party" status make the statements and forcasts of these two groups suspect, National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) are NOW produced by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) which works for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) The NIC used to effectively bye under CIA. This made these estimates hostages to CIA DO's particiapation in execution of national policy rather objective analysis.
That is no longer the case. pl
Came across an interesting article in my local newspaper. Not sure why the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star picked up this AP piece, but I'm glad it did. Kimberly Dozier describes how MG Bennet Sacolick, the current commandant of the JFK Special Warfare Center, is bringing HUMINT and tradecraft training to Special Forces training. This is not a new concept. The Center has been training SF soldiers in conducting low level source operations (LLSO) for at least a decade. MG Sacolick served as an SFODA commander and has commanded Delta before serving a tour with the CIA in their Counterterrorism Center (CTC). In spite of his long association with the special operators of Delta and the "capture, kill" operators of CTC, he seems to have retained his SF character.
HUMINT and clandestine tradecraft are natural extensions of Special Forces capabilities. These skills apply not just to intelligence operations, but also to insurgencies. How do you think the rebels in Tripoli prepared fro Operation Mermaid Dawn? In the early 80s, my ODA taught a one week course in guerrilla operations in urbanized terrain to other ODAs in 10th Group. We touched upon the use of clandestine tradecraft, cover, cellular operations, sabotage and other dark arts. 10th Group ODAs would conduct advanced training in Berlin in these subjects. I hope MG Sacolick includes all this and more in future Special Forces training. TTG
My way of thinking such things through is entirely subjective. I have always been opposed to systems of “objective” analysis of real world problems in the analysis of human affairs. I have opposed them whether in intelligence or in academia. The great difficulty with objective systems is that they inevitably build models for whatever they are studying. Such models require that a problem be “factored” for the elements of the study. This creates artificialities since human affairs concern humans and humans are more complex than any model can be made unless the subject studied is extremely narrow. Any widening of the subject beyond something like a market place mechanism is likely to lead to false results through an inability to reflect actual human thought. Not surprisingly, social “scientists” do not like my position on this, but since none of them are Hari Seldon, I am not impressed.
My own analysis is based on two altogether subjective aspects of my mental process:
- I view all of human experience as a continuum extending through time, developing, expanding and reflecting an accumulation of learning and development by human groups in a variety of paths, some of which share characteristics and many of which do not. This is basically a river of moving data that is growing and changing as it flows. We live in a small segment of that river’s current but the course of the river upstream has made our piece of the river what it is and the river flowing through and past us creates a future that is shaped by the stream as it flows forward in time. This does not mean that what has been will necessarily be, but it does mean that the elements of the past will be present in any future. It means that something truly new in human affairs is a rarity. We often think things are new but usually that is because we do not know enough about the past. I watch continuously for what have recently been called “black swans.”
- I have spent my life accumulating knowledge in a wide variety of fields. I have a good memory. My mind is like a filing cabinet with most of the files available for inspection. Anomalous phenomena stand out against the picture formed by the stream of history in much the same way that a moving object stands out against a static or constant background. I often see them clearly.
Israel? I don’t think God is a real estate agent and I don’t think the Israeli claim to a divine right to Palestine is anything more than the kind of myth making that Elie Khedourie discussed in his book on nationalism. I have no objection to Israel, its existence or its regional ambitions. I have never been interested in taking anyone’s side against the Israelis. As I said before my only complaints about Israel are that they manipulate out political process to their advantage and to American disadvantage and they use their access to a 5th column among our citizens to do it. The other thing I don’t like about our relationship to Israel is that the relationship is very one sided. The alliance with Israel has never been profitable on a net basis and it still is not. Pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
"Phares obtained a fellowship at the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a teaching position at National Defense University. He became a trainer at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, a nongovernmental organization that claims to have "trained over 75,000 Intelligence Community, Military, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Government and Corporate employees over the past 14 years." Phares has testified before Congress and advised the Department of Homeland Security." and ""[Phares] is telling people to suspect all Muslims Americans as something other than how they portray to themselves," says Thomas Cincotta, one of the authors of a report titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace," published by the liberal group Political Research Associates. But it's not just anyone Phares is preaching his ideas to. "He's addressing the intelligence community, he's addressing policymakers, military personnel," Cincotta notes." (hat tip to a commenter named Alex at Stiftung Leo Strauss: The Bunker)
Click on over and read the whole thing. I first met Dr. Phares in person in 2004 at a Florida Political Science Association conference. I was coordinating the panels on terrorism and political violence (and was one of the presenters). Every so often we'd cross paths. While I was a post-doc at UF we did some Florida Public Radio segments together by three way telecon on events related to 9-11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I knew he was a Lebanese Christian, somewhat conservative, and had been involved with the Maronite militias. What I did not know was just how involved. From listening to his conference papers, reading his articles on conflict resolution, and doing one or two radio segments together you would have thought he was a center-right, pretty main stream, professor at a tier 2 university. Apparently when you make the jump to a neo-Con funded outfit originally backed by Frank Gaffney and run by one of his proteges, you can really let your freak flag fly! The frightening thing with this is not just that he provides expert testimony for the prosecution in counter-terrorism prosecutions (as we've detailed here before), while admitting he doesn't know a whole lot about Islam or that he's training law enforcement and intelligence personnel (as the Mother Jones' reporting indicates), but that he is now advising the GOP candidate that is considered to be the most likely to gain the nomination at this time. Have to give the neo-Cons credit, they do know how to play the long game.
*Adam L. Silverman
"Future analysts and operators will open their computers to a common browser that will take them to sites where they can gather data across the community, assuming they have the authority and clearances." Pincus
I have no quarrel with the DNI's desire to have the national agencies work together better, but his "thinking" about the relationship between collection and analysis is disturbing. If I understand this correctly and Pincus has reported it correctly, this is a terrible concept.
For the uninitiated, "collectors" find and bring in data in various ways. Analysts are tradtionally engaged in scholarship that produces opinions as to what that data means. The present DNI does not seem to have ever accepted that division of labor.
Zelikow's re-appointment to the "President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board" (PFIAB) is testimony to the enduring power of AIPAC in Washington. On this board Zelikow will have access to ALL the deepest secrets of the US intelligence community. pl
The new Soviet leader had come, as far as we were concerned, out of nowhere. He had already said things never heard from any other Soviet leader, and worse yet for our business, he had withdrawn tank divisions from the five Soviet armies that surrounded us and another tank division each from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.
We had heard it before—thin out one army in order to bring more tank regiments into the adjoining army, or empty a garrison to allow the introduction of some new missile, radar, or gimcrack, but when the divisions began to pack up and actually leave the forward area, we were, in the words of our British colleagues, “gob smacked.”
The killing of bin Laden in a US Special Forces raid on a house in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad unleashed a torrent of stories about the event. The accounts by various US officials (given in bits and pieces immediately after the raid) gave little information on the details of the operation, and none on the ‘back story’. This left the field open to a lot of speculative accounts about how the raid took place and the events leading up to it. A rash of conspiracy theories also sprang up, many of which flatly denied bin Laden was even present in the house, while others put forward various versions of the Pakistani role in these events.
Recently, two accounts have been published that claim to be based on information from sources ‘in the know’ or ones who actually participated in the planning (though perhaps not the execution) of the raid. The first was a detailed account by Nicholas Schmidle in The New Yorker, based on interviews with and information provided by senior White House staff and some of the planners of the raid. This was obviously the “official” version, what the US administration would like people to believe. The second is a post on her blog by RJ Hillhouse, in which she quotes her intelligence sources on certain aspects of the raid, especially the events leading up to it.
By studying these two accounts, separating the grain from the chaff, and judiciously filling in some of the blanks, it is possible to come up with what is likely to be fairly close to the real story.
"In the interview for the documentary, Clarke offers an incendiary theory that, if true, would rewrite the history of the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that the CIA intentionally withheld information from the White House and FBI in 2000 and 2001 that two Saudi-born terrorists were on U.S. soil—terrorists who went on to become suicide hijackers on 9/11.
Clarke speculates—and readily admits he cannot prove—that the CIA withheld the information because the agency had been trying to recruit the terrorists, while they were living in Southern California under their own names, to work as CIA agents inside Al Qaeda. After the recruitment effort went sour, senior CIA officers continued to withhold the information from the White House for fear they would be accused of “malfeasance and misfeasance,” Clarke suggests." Daily Beast
Is this true? I do not know. Clarke, in my experience, has always been a solid performer and not given to mischief making. Would the CIA Drectorate of Operations have tried to recruit these men for the purpose of penetrating AQ? That would have been a logical thing to do. Would old "slam dunk" have covered up something like this? pl
"Despite years of covert operations inside Iran, extensive satellite imagery, and the recruitment of many Iranian intelligence assets, the United States and its allies, including Israel, have been unable to find irrefutable evidence of an ongoing hidden nuclear-weapons program in Iran, according to intelligence and diplomatic officials here and abroad. One American defense consultant told me that as yet there is “no smoking calutron,” although, like many Western government officials, he is convinced that Iran is intent on becoming a nuclear state sometime in the future. " Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker
Hersh quotes me quite a lot in this piece. I would like to make it clear I that am not the "retired military intelligence official." Nor am I the source in any passage that does not name me as such. I have not read or had saccess to the NIE of 2007 on Iran, nor have I read or had access to the "Memorandum to holders of the Iran NIE" of 2011. I have had no access to classified US Government information on this subject. pl
Adam L. Silverman*
Penn Bullock and Brandon Thorp of Gawker, based on culling reporting from the NY Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, McClatchy, and other sources, have reported that the head of the unit tasked with hunting and finding bin Laden from 2002-2004 went on from that position to a lucrative career helping to profiteer off of US operations in Iraq, as well as trying to bribe the Jordanians and providing illegal campaign contributions from non-Americans. Moreover, based on his own emails he seems to be too enthused by the unfortunate realities of what is going on in the war zone he and they company he went to work for were profiting off of.
Its this very lucrative market that is going to make it very hard to actually adjust our policies, strategies, and operations.
I know a number of very, very professional, dedicated, and highly qualified people who have worked for the Agency. Its a testament to their professionalism that when the politicized shenanigans that have seemed to reoccur there over the past decade that they keep plugging away doing their jobs.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not represent those of the US Army War College or the US Army.
Well, bless him if he can manage that.
It will take a major change in foreign policy to make that possible. At the same time the flags who have grown fat at the trough in the last decade have no historic memory and will insist that such cuts in acquisitions, operations and maintenance are "disloyal."
Such a change in foreign policy does not necessarily mean isolationism. What it really would mean is an abandonment of the "American Exceptionalism" imperial meme. The Navy and Air force look like good "bets" in this environment.
No more culture wars overseas. pl
I was sent this fascinating essay by an occasional reader. The document was found among the effects of Klestadt after his death. It is quite applicable in the present circumstance when there is much loose talk about killing Qathafi. pl
Albert Klestadt (1913 -2006) a former intelligence officer and student of Military History.
I was once so privileged as to be an official of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in various capacities. (CV on the blog). I understand that in the last years DIA has performed as the premier agency of the US intelligence community. This has been reflected n the quality of its HUMINT operations and the brilliance and integrity of its anaylsis within the process of National Intelligence Estimation particularly in the matter of Iran.
LTG Burgess (the director), whom I do not know, is to be commended for the support he has given his people under pressure.
I don't like this man, never liked him and to the extent that he remembers me I am sure that he has no warm feelings for me, but he really is trying to distinguish here between the reality of the lethal nuclear capability of Russia and China and the much amaller capabilities of countries like Iran and North Korea who do not constitute an existential threat to the United States.
Nevertheless, Clapper's ineptitude in public speech is strange. This is particularly strange in a man who has testified so many times before Congress. He no longer seems to comprehend that one must "play the game" in dealing with the political realities of Congressional desire to see the world in simplistic terms as well as media driven obsession with the "devils on the wall" created by information operations.
Leave before they throw you out, James. pl
The saga rolls on, while (as they used to say in the old pulp novels) the plot thickens. Davis remains in prison awaiting trial. Relations between Pakistan and the US continue to be quite strained. And the circle of collateral damage widens.
The facts of the incident that sparked all this are now fairly clear. Davis, in a rental car, was driving around in Lahore in areas where foreigners scarcely ever venture, tailed by two ISI auxiliaries on a motorbike. After an hour or more of trying to shake them off, they both came abreast at a stoplight. He pulled out a gun and, firing through his windscreen, shot them both. Accounts differ as to whether they made any threatening gesture, but one was killed as he was trying to run away.
The backup van that Davis called for came roaring up the wrong way on a one-way street, ran over a cyclist, killing him, then turned around and roared off. Davis was arrested, and weapons, ammo and other paraphernalia were found in the car. On his cell phone were numbers that were later traced to phones in the tribal belt where the Taliban operate, while his camera had pictures of religious schools and military sites.
Pannetta, in an evident desire to upstage Clapper told the Congress that HB would be gone (implying last night). It seems that this prophecy was based on media reporting. He is the director of CIA? Why?
Then, Clapper told the Congress that the leaders of the Muslim Brothers are"secular." He based that on the incorrect belief that because they are not "clerics," and are instead engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc. they must be "secular." Jimmy Clapper has been in the national intelligence scene since he was Director of DIA in the '90s. (loathing alert), then he headed the space imaging/mapping thingy, then an OSD boffin, then this. In all that ime he never learned that there are no clergy in Islam, that the bearded ones in turbans are just scholars and judges, that there are NO PRIESTS AND NO CLERGY? The fact that the leaders of the MBB do not wear robes and turbans is meaningless. pl