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24 January 2011


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REMFs I have lost count of how many NOs issued to me by REMF’s . Pointy End of the Spear folks somehow don’t mix well with the suits. With the coming budget cuts due to the depression, my money is on the suits to eliminate contractors, field forces, and just become a big building full of suits.

I’m not too cynical, it’s human nature to insure one’s economic station in life.


"Wanting to believe" killed Eight CIA staff in Afghanistan in 2009. It also resulted in negotiations with a fraud in 2010.

How many more warnings does the CIA need?



By Iran-Contra figure Clarridge having 'his own CIA' so-to-speak, his private merc intel operation is doing damage to both our nation's intelligence collection and its covert ops. 'Farm out' personas (excluding yourself) for the most part are not bound by our Constitution, which career Military and MI personnel swore to uphold. We have witnessed too many examples of Clarridge types (including Erik Prinze and his Blackwater, Dynacorp, etc.) both skirting and outright breaking U.S. laws to achieve their objectives whatever they may be.

Those within DOD who awarded and that were part of the decision process that awarded Iran-Contra Clarridge his government contracts, are now themselves under investigation for both violations of DOD procedures/regulations and breaking of U.S. laws.

And based on what has transpired that is Clarridge related, I don't see him as having done a good job, not one bit.

A merc is a merc is a merc in my book, mercs screw the pooch every time they are employed, just because they have a different allegience -- to their company and its bottom-line/pocketbook, whereas U.S. Government Military/Military Intelligence/CIA/DIA/NSA are all bound by our Constitution and our nation's laws, even though we see them from time-to-time walking in too many gray areas for comfort.

I give Clarridge and his private CIA a thumbs down.

Brent Wiggans

Thank you for the post.

My question would be about Clarridge’s personal foreign policy agenda, one that seems to be highly developed and deeply held. By his own description he has created an organization modeled on the O.S.S. He has hired it out to the U.S. when there has been an apparent confluence of interests, but it seems to have a life and purpose of its own. His most recent contract with the U.S. government has been terminated and, yet, his agents continue in place. His organization is now funded by undisclosed sources. Who are these sources and what is their agenda? Are they USIC shell entities or might they be Neocon conduits? I do not question his sincerity or his patriotism, but he may not be working for us anymore, if he ever really was.

Phil Giraldi

That our arteriosclerotic intelligence agencies do not perform very well is widely known, at least among insiders. I do know Clarridge, having worked for him. He had a huge amount of energy and drive but was ruthless and essentially dishonest. As has been reported, he was monkeying around with helping Reagan get elected while he was in Rome as COS and ostensibly working for Carter. I might note that hubris driven dishonesty was not unusual among the upper ranks of the DO, so he was not unique. My problem with private intelligence collection is that is does not have the resources to even make an attempt to verify information (not that CIA always does that either) meaning that rumor and innuendo often winds up looking like something that it is not and some poor bastard's hut and family get blown up as a result.

Patrick Lang

Phil Geraldi

"private intelligence collection" How about analysis? pl

Phil Giraldi

Colonel - As you know, good analysis depends on having a good analyst, but it also requires reliable information. Garbage in, garbage out. Didn't one senior analyst at CIA once refer to the Agency analytical product as a $10 billion dollar pile of crap? Would Dewey do any better? Doubt it.

Patrick Lang


"reliable information? A really good analyst usually works with incomplete and ambiguous information. I am not saying that he is a good analyst or an analyst at all. Having been a CO and a boss of analysts I recognose the profound difference even if a lot of COs don't. pl

Patrick Lang


"an apparent confluence of interest"

How? pl

Charles I

Just from the ignorant civilian perspective, this could indicate that the institutional intel apparat, heroes of 9/11, Slam Dunk, etc is still so dysfunctional that private crooks of the kind some imagine brought us all this war in the first place, are the current fix.

This is not good.


My (naive) take on this is, if the CIA or any other of the intelligence agencies want to outsource stuff they find technically difficult (for whatever reason), I certainly have no problem with that - provided that sufficient oversight is provided to make sure the product is delivered substantially as promised...which in this case probably means, that the contracting agency has assured itself (however it feels it must) that the intelligence is not particularly biased, and that the collection was done in a neutral enough fashion to make the information gathered reasonably valuable. Because if that's not the case, we're paying someone to produce crap, that will be used to kill people (both foreign nationals and inevitably US servicemen) - and I really don't see the benefit in that.


"His dispatches — an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated report.... are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, ..."

Betraying your oath to defend the Constitution seems to be working out for some conservatives. As to the Sandanistas, they did win an fair and free election, but that didn't stop the Contras. Daniel Ortega was re-elected in 2006 as President Nicaragua.

I would think that any analysis Clarridge would do would be heavily biased. Is it possible he's being played? Seems that happened before. The stench of Iran Contra continues. Remember Michale Ladeen and Manucher Ghorbanifar, amongst others?


My boss in INR was at a "cut the cake" meeting a few years back where it was decided the Bushies needed a PDB on a pending free trade pact.
The Agency said they could get a 20-25 page analysis in 6 months. This could then serve as the basis for the usual one-pager in a PDB. My boss piped up and offered to get it done in a month. When I got the tasking, I agreed to do a 4-5 page assessment for the IC and work backward to the PDB.
Both were done in less than a month and contained several counter-intuitive calls that panned out. Of course, we didn't have the $$ to job it out to hired guns, so the work got done quicker.

The Twisted Genius

Being on the government payroll does not guarantee that a collector's (or analyst's) motives and actions are pure. Aggressive careerism is just as bad as aggressive pursuit of the next contract and will ultimately produce the same disasterous results. Duty and honor, like civility, must be burned into one's soul to ensure that the intel professional does the right thing when it's hard to do the right thing.

Margaret Steinfels

Does the "Free Market" in intelligence gathering do any better than the free market in anything else. I'd be surprised.

Adam L Silverman

Sir: the heart of this, and your question on legality, turns on who was doing the collecting. It is illegal for contractors to do intel collection. Based on this reporting, and the earlier reporting last year when this all blew up, Mr. Claridge's on the ground personnel in Afghanistan are alleged to have done intel collection, specifically HUMINT collection. Additionally, at least one of the personnel was a journalist and maker of adventute documentaries who immediately launched his own PR campaign in the media claiming he was lied to about what they would be doing, which was supposed to be some form of open source media analysis and "human terrain" like research and work.


It wouldn't be too hard for the "free market" in intelligence to outperfrom the abysmally inept performance of the government;just as the free market ALWAYS outperforms the brain dead government in pretty much every thing else..

Cato the Censor

"just as the free market ALWAYS outperforms the brain dead government in pretty much every thing else.."

Is the 2008 stock market crash an example of that in action?

Brent Wiggans

By “an apparent confluence of interests” I meant that Mr. Clarridge’s services were retained when his known, personal, interventionist agenda was in alignment with the objectives of those in the U.S. government who hired him. The reporting suggests that in some instances those who caused him to be employed may have been pursuing their own agendas that may not have been consistent with official policy.



of course, that's why the 'free market' should replace the US army. I'm sure Blackwater/Xie is available.


Graywolf, there is no "free market" in intelligence if the subject is properly understood.

There is one set of facts, imperfectly known, and a great many people trying to "sell" their interpretation of those facts to the customers.One or Two of those interpretations will be relatively valuable for their correctness. The rest are worthless, no matter how much you paid for them.

To put it another way,; it's like the "Art Market". There are dozens of paintings of sunflowers out there, but not many I'd pay millions for like this one:




I wonder if Clarridge and his merc boyz [along with those at DoD that awarded him his government contracts] ever cracked open Army FM2-22.3 HUMINT Ops. Did/Do Clarridge and his merc boyz understand they are bound by the applicable laws and policies that might affect HUMINT collection activities. Applicable law and policy include U.S. law; the law of war; relevant international law; relevant directives including DOD Directive 3115.09, "DOD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning"; DOD Directive 2310.1E, "The Department of Defense Detainee Program"; DOD instructions; and military execute orders including FRAGOs. Did/does Clarridge and his merc boyz understand that HUMINT collectors are subject to applicable law, which includes U.S. law, the law of war (including the Geneva Conventions as applicable), and relevant international law. Additionally, local agreements with Host Nations or allies and the applicable execute orders and rules of engagement (ROE) may further restrict HUMINT collection activities. However, these documents cannot permit interrogation actions that would be illegal under applicable US or international law.

Cold War Zoomie


Exactly how would the free market work in intel collection? My background is in SIGINT - tell me how the free market would gain access to encrypted packet networks in places like China or North Korea, or Iran.

What's the plan?

I'm not seeing it.

Cold War Zoomie

I'm not surprised this guy is doing what he's doing. My first instinct is that it's bad news since his activities are not being coordinated by anyone. But my limited experience with those people across the river in Langley makes me understand why Dewy is taking matters into his own hands, and I've seen first hand the ineffective leadership that leads nowhere. People who are focused on the mission and getting shite done end up discouraged and beaten down.

I'm ambivalent, and nothing surprises me anymore.

Off to watch mindless TV.



Sorry but your 'free market' intel market just doesn't cut the mustard. To those boyz it's all about m-o-n-e-y, not quality or national security. A merc is a merc is a merc, to them it's all about their bottom line wheither they be a merc gun for hire, a merc intel collector, a merc soldier. Mercs are soul-less bastards who more often than not can't pour piss out of a boot. You can have your 'free market', I'll stick with my Constitution bound government types, as least with them there are a modicum of 'constraints'.

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