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21 May 2010


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There are many who regarding the DNI post from its get-go as little more than a fellatio corner, and that 'it' was originally designed to be a scapegoat/political cover when needed.

Patrick Lang


That view is the result of a concerted CIA information ops program.

Was it better when CIA could suppress or steal many Defense Intelligence operations? pl


Pat --

Your 4:22 is spot on. Unfortunately, no one has figured out how to square the CIA/DNI circle.

I heard a John Negroponte interview in which he opined that the DNI position was probably not necessary. It may not be, but I have NEVER seen anyone as DCI who could keep his own agency in balance with the rest of the community.

This is going to be an interesting saga as it unfolds.

William R. Cumming

The reasons President Harry Truman opposed creation of a CIA should be reviewed now that the new administration is not tied to the dog and pony show created by the Intelligence Reorg Act of 2004! That statute should be looked at closely.


Who is Hagel? Sorry for not being up to speed.



The DNI position needs to be given teeth as in the DCI, DIRNSA positions done away with. The 'turf wars' need to end, voluntarily or with heads rolling/balls being castrated. Either way, the turf BS needs to be brought to a close.

Panetta and Alexander both need to be given their hats and walked to the door.

Clapper has no business as DCI.


Clapper has no business as DNI.

Patrick Lang


Senator Charles Hagel.


The Twisted Genius

I guess you didn't have a graphic handy for ass kisser... or you are just too much of a southern gentleman.

I've only dealt with Clapper from a distance, but I also found him to be self absorbed and very ambitious. I hope his skills go beyond briefing and ass kissing (or apple polishing), but I really don't have any evidence of that. Sadly, maybe being able to brief well and ingratiate oneself to the Executive and Legislative Branches is exactly what is needed in this town to get a job done.

DOD HUMINT needs either an effective DNI or something in that role to keep CIA from trying to steamroller DOD operations. Although there are always shining examples of cooperation and mutual respect, CIA's use of the coordination process has usually meant absolute imperious control... the Klingon bastards!


Also the DNI position needs to be a O-6 slot. O-7's and above prohibited from the DNI office. Why O-6's only some may ask? That's simple, O-6's still live in the real world. Our blog host is a perfect example.

Also, IMO those who have been in the DCI position need to be prohibited from any future positions in the revolving door of Defense & Intelligence Contractors. The former DNI that Adm. Blair replaced is a prime example of what I'm talking about. McConnell has and is lining his personal pockets at the expense of the DNI position.


typo correction -- DNI versus DCI position.


Thank you. I like Chuck Hagel. Is he the last honest republican? I really like him and I'm a liberal dem. For some reason, I have a real dislike of Blair.


Obama does not appear to have good judgment in people.



That's just about impossible because of how the community is structured and funded and Congress doesn't want to upset that many rice bowls.


Stupid (or whatever adjective one thinks fits the bill)is as stupid does.

This kind of intrigue is what these folks do well. Which is not to say they 'win' all the time. There are, obviously, 'winners' and 'losers' in these games/battle. But this is the kind of thing these people love and in some degree excel at.

They do 'intelligence poorly. And they do, for the most part, military planning poorly. Their, our, greatest victory in the 'GWOT' came, for the most part, only because of the serendipitous situation in Iraq that saw 'AQ in Iraq' be so arrogant in their treatment of the Sunni community in Iraq that they actually turned that community, for the most part, against AQ. This situation, along with the courage, sacrifice, and determination of American military and civilian personal 'on the ground', to await foreseeable (to some) geopolitical and cultural events out on the ground, despite, repeated, poor leadership decisions in DC, saved the day in Iraq for us.

Now the same class who made the mistakes in the first place, have squandered this window of opportunity. And threaten to put the nation in the poorhouse to boot.

But, i repeat, Palace Intrigue is what they do best. What, in the world, does Panetta do if not that? What else has he ever demonstrated proficiency at. A vote counter? Perhaps. The political equivilent of a bag man in a Daley like machine? Sure, ok. Or Blair. Or Brennan? Or the whole lot of them, with some notable exceptions?

This is a class and cultural issue in DC. And I am beginning to think it is a hopeless situation.

Clifford Kiracofe

Here is one take:

1. "According to press reports, the leading candidate to succeed Dennis Blair is retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, whose record does not inspire confidence. Clapper has a well-deserved reputation for giving consumers of intelligence what they want to hear.

He now serves as undersecretary of intelligence at the Defense Department, working for Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was the chief bureaucrat responsible for politicizing U.S. intelligence in the 1980s as an apparatchik for CIA Director William Casey.

Some of my colleagues in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity have the book on Clapper, who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1991 to 1995. There, according to Larry Johnson, Clapper earned the reputation of “worst-ever DIA director.”

Among other things, he restructured DIA’s analytical corps, removing an analysis capability that would have been an invaluable asset in the period before 9/11 and succeeding years. As a direct result, hundreds of the most experienced analysts took early retirement, and DIA has had to play catch-up ever since to reconstruct its analytic capability."

McGovern's piece also points to the Israel factor indicating Blair perhaps was not sufficiently pro-Israel.

2. Here is a New York Times pieces which attempts to shift the issue to France as a factor without providing context that would include the Freeman episode and the pro-Israel Lobby's position, particularly that of Senator Schumer of New York, who seems to be lurking for the Senate Majority Leader slot...

Phil Giraldi

CIA has always been better at infighting than it has been at spying, future DNIs please note. The Agency's problems have little to do with leadership or management per se and a great deal to do with the fact that it has become a huge, arteriosclerotic organization that spends most of its time and budget performing a large number of completely useless tasks that have nothing to do with national security. I would recommend that the Agency be dismantled to separate the analytic function from the spying and reconstructed from the ground up. Fire about two thirds of the personnel - once described by Milt Bearden as "buggy whip makers"- along the way.



If the Congress used their brain-cells instead of their all too frequently sitting on them, they could re-structure the community to suit National Security objectives. And with funding, all they have to do is stop the printing presses and demand 'all' the paper-work on black projects. Rice bowls were made to be broken.

Alas, one major large hurdle U.S. Security problem has yet to be addressed with all the 'Rice Bowls' - the Hostile Takeover (i.e. Foreign store-front D.C. Think Tanks, etc.) by a Foreign Nation and their buying & selling of the U.S. Congress.

A 'strong' DNI could address the Foreign Nation takeover, but a certain clique in the Congress doesn't want that.



The rice bowls are in Congress. Those reforms won't happen for the same reasons Congress won't merge the SEC and CFTC - something almost everyone agrees would be a good idea. To do so would upset the balance of power between Congressional Committees. That's why Congress usually favors creating new bureaucracies instead of reforming the old ones.

It should come as no surprise that one of the 9/11 Commission recommendations that was never implemented called for consolidation of appropriation and authorization powers into either the select committees or a merged joint committee. There's actually been talk of doing that since 1948 but it's yet to happen. Frankly, I'm cynical that anything will change.

Patrick Lang


A comment appeared yesterday that attributed to Clapper an intention to perform sexual acts in service of his ambition. The comment was not mine and I have removed it. I was particularly tired yesterday and missed that comment in the process of moderating SST. Additionally, someone was so creepy as to attach my initials to it. I thank KV for pointing this out to me. pl



I also suggest that while dismantling the CIA and sending its 'buggy whip makers' packing, they need to do the same to NSA. Both were made for a different time period. Time has marched on while both agencies have become stagnant and behemoth AND primarily self-serving.


Our future National Security DNIs need to enlist brains who have seen the Intelligence world from the inside out. Pat, Phil, are you up for the job? IMO our nation desperately need persons like yourselves who have their heads on straight and who use them, instead of the all too frequent D.C.'s brains=seat cushions.

Allen Thomson

J said: "I also suggest that while dismantling the CIA and sending its 'buggy whip makers' packing, they need to do the same to NSA."

My experience in the IC is 1972-1997, but NSA was always my favorite Three Letter Agency, though I worked elsewhere. CIA was a mixed bag -- my opinions of it ran hot and cold on alternate days of the week. Though, I'd say, despite the general uselessness of the operations directorate, the intelligence and S&T directorates usually tried to get things right. With mixed results, but they were trying.

However, and having said that, I think another TLA to put on the ax list is the NRO. It achieved mightily in the 1960s and into the late 1970s, but got off the rails after that and is now way more a liability than an asset. Technology and the world have moved on, the organization has settled into a standard preserve-ourselves-no-matter-what bureaucratic mode. The overhead IMINT and SIGINT capabilities which were and still, to a large degree, are so valuable can be procured from commercial sources. The parochial interests that fortify themselves behind security walls could and should be eliminated, and the Republic would be a lot better off for it.

(I guess that was a rant. But it was a sincere rant.)



Thanks for the best description of our nation's problems at this time in history:

This is a class and cultural issue in DC. And I am beginning to think it is a hopeless situation.

I too have come the the conclusion that reform in the present is hopeless. Soon enough, I will become a "Retired Patriot" in no small part due to the cultural issues inside our arteriosclerotic capital (thanks Phil).

As to why Blair as fired? I suspect we'll hear more over the weekend - but I can't help but believe it has as much to do with no rolling over on "sponsored" (re-)assessments of Iran's nuclear program. Add to the confusion of high-level IC changes the steady deployment of combat forces to the Persian Gulf/Arabian Sea - now apparently peaking in August.

The summer's end portends to be quite exciting.


Kim Viner

Yikes Col: I should have known that you would not do that. Sorry.

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