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19 July 2010

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J

Colonel,

I have a 64 thousand dollar question to pose. -- If Intel Mercs like BAH are in the hands of the Ziocons, just how many of the BAH's Intel inner workings have been penetrated by Sayanim at the ready, who are waiting for Herzliya's beckon call?

Would not such be categorized as a 'sixth column'?

Walrus

Col. Lang,

""truly criminal activity" and who decides what that is, you?"

Unfortunately Col. Lang, the answer to that is that you have to guess whether your behaviour is criminal or not with reference to your oath, and hope that you are afforded a court of law in which to explain your decision.

Reading the Marine oath above explains this perfectly.

Job description:

1) Support and defend The Constitution.

2) And obey President.

3) And obey Officers.

4) And and obey UCMJ and regs.

It is conceivable, at least to me, that situations may arise where one or more of these requirements may be mutually exclusive.

I have a friend who has been an expert witness in several trials. When cross examined by a belligerent attorney demanding a "yes or no" answer to a difficult technical question, he sought and obtained relief by simply turning to the judge and saying "Your honour, I cannot remain true to my oath by answering Yes or No to this question".

It is in all our interests that either this facility is provided to potential whistle blowers or that they be afforded a Court in which to defend their actions.

WP

WRC,

When I was referring to the oath to join the federal bar, I was referring to the oath an attorny must take upon admission to practice in a federal court. The oath required in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia is "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Government of the United States; that I will maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial offices; that I will well and faithfully discharge my duties as an attorney and officer of this court; and that I will demean myself uprightly and according to the law and the recognized standards of ethics of the legal profession. So help me God."

Allen Thomson


As long as we're talking about oaths, let me ask: What civilian employees of the government have to take something that looks and sounds like an oath?

I ask because when I EODed with a certain three-letter agency based in Langley, VA in 1972 I was surprised and somewhat distressed that the procedure only involved signing various legal documents that looked like nondisclosure agreements with warnings of civil and criminal legal penalties for violating them. But at no time did we get to stand up, raise our hands and swear true faith and fealty. I wish we had.

Now maybe (I am not a lawer) signing a nondisclosure agreement is equivalent to an oath of fealty. But it sure didn't feel that way.

Patrick Lang

walrus

All members of the armed forces take the same oath. pl

Patrick Lang

cynthia

When you are given access to classified information, you sign papers in which you acknowledge your special obligation to safeguard that information and accept the legal penalties that will be laid upon you if you do not.

What part of that do you not understand? pl

Jackie

Allen,
When I was hired at the IRS we had to stand, raise out right hand and swear an oath to protect the Constitution. It made me feel very patriotic.

Bart,
We don't have your particular "evil-doers" in my part of the country. We have an alphabet soup of GWOT victims.

Cynthia

Colonel,

I don't think it's necessarily wrong to fire employees for blowing the whistle on their employer. Employees get fired all the time for doing far less harm in the workplace. But I DO think it's wrong as wrong can be to send them to prison for this, especially if no harm was done to our national security, as was the case with Thomas Drake. According to The Washington Post, Drake's only crime was that he leaked evidence of "waste, mismanagement and a willingness to compromise Americans' privacy without enhancing security." This sort of crime don't justify 35 years behind bars. If anything, it justifies a badge of honor.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/13/AR2010071305992.html?hpid=sec-politics

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/07/14/whistleblowers/index.html

J

US officials push back at 'troubling' spy agency report


Patrick Lang

Cynthia

They are not just
"employees." To hell with you. You are an insult. Go away and take your friends with you. I will leave soon and then then you can talk to each other. pl

John Minnerath

It's been a hot day.
You need to find a shady spot and have a couple cold ones.
And forget about the idiots and fools that plague us all.

john in the boro

“Another official, a longtime conservative staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee, described it as "a living, breathing organism" impossible to control or curtail. 'How much money has been involved is just mind-boggling,' he said. 'We've built such a vast instrument. What are you going to do with this thing? . . . It's turned into a jobs program.'" (Top Secret America)

Seymour Melman wrote “Pentagon Capitalism” in 1970. According to him, the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about turned into an integrated “management” system during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. Secretary McNamara was its architect. Shorter Melman: the Pentagon put together an industrial empire in which private corporations are subsidiaries of the Pentagon's project managers. The Pentagon guarantees profits (Melman uses the F-111 project to illustrate his contention). The defense contractors locate their facilities throughout the United States in most congressional districts. Genius is not required to see that a cozy relation between industry and congressmen resulted from spreading the wealth (not necessarily conspiratorial but definitely prudent). Today we have the military-industrial-congressional complex. The political arm determines the threat, establishes the appropriate defense posture, and appropriates the funds. The military arm determines the requirements necessary to fulfill the mission, contracts for goods and services, and requests more funds. The industrial arm supplies the goods and services and rewards/lobbies the political arm through campaign contributions, facilities, employment, etc. The Pentagon is at the hub of this three-way, and the SecDef works for the president—executive power. The Global War on Terrorism prompted a big increase in the services that private contractors provide to the government.

The Priest/Arkin article criticizes the intelligence community and its use of private contractors as well as contractors generally—nothing new there. CWZ contends that contractors are not the policy makers. They aren't, they are subsidiaries of DoD Inc. and other federal agencies. The issue is where to draw the line? The Bush administration, for a number of reasons, chose to deploy large numbers of civilian contractors to obfuscate the numbers of personnel that prosecuted the GWOT. This may have been a good short-term solution to the personnel shortages in the active force, folks will argue this for years. Be that as it may, nine years is a long time for ad hoc fixes.

The Priest/Arkin critique of the intelligence community itself notes the duplication of efforts in the system. One of my criticisms of the Intelligence Reform Act of 2004 is that its purported attempt to get all the intelligence agencies sharing information and on the same sheet of music is wrong headed. The investigations of the intelligence leading up to OIF reveal diverse analytical opinions of Iraq''s WMD and procurement programs not to mention Al-Qaeda connections. To put it another way, not all the agencies drank the cool aid. Do we really want everyone speaking in a single voice, thinking a single thought? A little duplication may be a good thing in an honest or competitive environment. At its best it may save us blood and treasure, at its worse it gives us perspective after the fact (OIF is a big example). Furthermore, the article implies the difficulty inherent in plowing through mountains of information in search of that nugget of actionable intelligence. That problem has plagued the intelligence community since its inception (Pearl Harbor for example). Piles of paper are now buckets of bits. It still takes lots of people, training, experience, coordination, and clear guidance to figure things out. But their biggest criticism is the privitization of national security functions from government employees to private contractors. The DoD in particular and the government in general should rethink what belongs in house and what can be securely and appropriately contracted. Serving two masters is not optimal. It's hard enough serving one.

The debate in the comments over whistle blowers, oaths, and NDAs seems to me to be a sad sign of the deep corruption in our political discourse. Dishonesty is assumed automatically. That is an insult to the millions of men and women who have served the United States with honor and distinction as private citizens and public figures.

Thanks

Cold War Zoomie

Somebody releases an RFP to hire contractors.

And it ain't contractors.

Once they are in, they start feathering their beds for the most part.

But they don't hire themselves.

Patrick Lang

JM

Thank you, sir. Clapper? pl

Fred

Walrus, in regards to contractors you forgot the one where a corporate VP signs the sweetheart deal around Thanksgiving and eases into retirement in January. As to thier going on to work for the consulting firm, why never, they just start then own and work as a subcontractor.

Cynthia, I'm sure the owners of Massey Energy have similar attitude. It didn't do much good for the employees killed in the recent mine explosion. I'm glad I don't work for you. However, if you think the law or policy is wrong, run for office. See how many votes you can get with that issue.

WP, I think WRC beat me to it, but the oath doesn't have 'so help me God' in it. If Georgia's does I would think it is an unconstitutional religous test.

As to oaths, most of us take them seriously; our prisons have a few inmates who don't, like former Congressman Duke Cunningham and former Mayor Kwalme Kilpatrick.

Patrick Lang

Fred

Yeah, but yours and mine has "So help me God" in it. I never had the chance like the man in 'The Searchers." pl

Fred

Col,

As I recall the movie that man saved the people that needed saving. Just like you're doing here, or at least educating them, which may be better.

William R. Cumming

Thanks WP! And thanks Fred! Yes each Federal District court requires an oath of attorney's appearing before it. Unfortunately not sure what the word "demean" means in the oath you recited. And even more unfortunately, there are NO recognized standards of ethical (professional) conduct for the profession of law. Each state has its own code and enforcement system. While there is agreement on some of the major points, what remains remarkable is the disagreement on some major issues. For example, fee-splitting is a major no no in some jurisdictions, but not under District of Columbia rules. This allows large law firms to make huge amounts of money by lobbying with non-lawyer experts retained by the firms or working for them. There are of course virtually no rules of ethics for lobbyists despite the much trumpted ethic reform law enacted by the 111th Congress and signed into law by President Obama. What is the proof of that? Number of convictions or absence thereof. Also even the most guilty look like under recent SCOTUS rulings they may escape justice except for time served.

Jake

"The US secret intelligence gathering systems have grown so much since 9/11 that no-one knows their exact cost, nor size, the Washington Post reports."

Costs? Budgets? Organizations? No Full Circle?

Why is anyone surprised at this? If the USG is out of financial control what makes anyone think that the agencies and their departments are going to do anything different? What's going on is the "all for me" mentality and the agency budget competition with a overall government (using that laughable word ) budget(s).... that are so out of sight that the Hubble telescope can't see them.

We keep up this pace we will not be able to afford to worry about intelligence.

J

US intelligence reliant on 'contractors'

"WASHINGTON: US intelligence agencies are dangerously dependent on contractors, with 30 per cent of the spy workforce potentially bound to shareholders more than the nation. "

confusedponderer

J,
that only proves that the intelligence services lack the manpower to handle their assigned tasks.

/snark

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