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30 January 2012

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The Moar You Know

That's quite a story of hubris and stupidity, a heady and lethal mix to be sure. What is unsaid yet obvious is that she and her husband thought she was a modern-day crusader, complete with a cross that would protect her from all evil. Hopefully someone has learned from her mistakes.

I feel badly for the husband - there's no need for the rest of the family and everyone else on God's green earth to keep bringing up to him the fact that she screwed up. That's not his concern, frankly. He's got three kids that he's got to raise on his own.

Matthew

A very powerful story.

Paul Escobar

“I said, ‘These people over there are ruthless. Here you are, a Christian woman, killing their heroes. Everything’s wrong about it, Jenny,’ ” the uncle recalled. “She took offense at any suggestion that a female can’t do what a male can do.”

...

If that exchange was described accurately, I question her fitness for any "intelligence" job.

They are discussing her chances of being safe in a foreign land. The uncle points out that by virtue of how she looks and what she chooses to wear on her neck...she will be a prized target...more so than her male counter-parts.

Her reaction? Accuse the uncle of sexism!.

I remember an old article by Jason Burke at the Guardian. He was interviewing an Iraqi insurgent, and picked up on something interesting. African-American soldiers in particular incensed the Iraqi rebels. The insurgent bragged about snipers taking MORE pleasure in those racially motivated kills than any other.

She had no obligation to heed her uncles wishes. But she did have an intellectual duty to understand what he was saying.

J

Colonel, Phil,

What about the CIA officials that comprised her chain-of-command that put her in that situation? Are they to bear no agency discipline for their major command heads-up-their-backsides screw up?

Patrick D

What sort of persons are needed for this kind of work?

"Hard hearted empaths" pl

Fascinating assessment and choice of words, Colonel. I think I know what you mean but you please elaborate?

walrus

As I have said numerous times before, "Political Correctness" has destroyed more lives and property in the last Thirty years than anything else I know, and will probably destroy the West if it continues.

Political Correctness is an avenue that allows the incompetent, or venal, or corrupt, or malicious, or stupid to gain access to power because in an effort to compensate for perceived bias, we ignore the intangible factors that are necessary for success.

These include character including as Col. Lang points out, the absolutely critical ability to empathize.

It remains to be seen, for example, if an element of political correctness contributed to the election of President Barack Obama, although his competitor for the Democratic nomination Hilary Clinton, also played the PC card.

To put that in un PC terms, there are some things that old, well brought up, well educated and honourable white men do better than others. One of them is governing. The other is intelligence work.

We need more hard hearted empaths.

Judith Weingarten

Jennifer Matthews may well have been stupid but the link says she had been at Khost for two months. Was she truly responsible for nurturing this double agent? And did she or his handler allow him to pass the gate unsearched?

turcopolier

Judith Weingarten

No. She was in command and nothing else matters. Two months in a situation like that is an eternity. She was altogether responsible for everything the team did or did not do. Do I detect a trace of feminist defensiveness? pl

turcopolier

Patrick

You must feel others' pain but be able to ignore it. pl

William R. Cumming

After passage of time and her retirement wonder what you PL and readers of the blog have as a take on Valerie Plame's career?

turcopolier

WRC

Her career was ended by illegal disclosure of her true identity. This made her a liability to the DO. pl

Morocco Bama

The Husband/Father had this to say about the incident, amongst other things, per the article:

*****But underneath, Anderson, 50, is seething. He’s angry with the teachings in the Koran that he believes incited the suicide bomber to kill Americans*****

Say what? Even if that were true, meaning that this individual was just a mere run-of-the-mill zealous suicide bomber sacrificing their life for Allah, it's not as though the individual blew up a a cafe or bus in Tel-Aviv. It's a war, and like it, or not, the CIA are considered the enemy by the other side, and for good reason. The other side is justified, IMO, in considering CIA as combatants.

Now, having said that, what does this obviously Christian man have to say about Drones dropping bombs on innocent civilians from tens of thousands of feet in the sky using intelligence gathered by that same CIA? Could not some poor slob on the other side say that the teachings in the Bible incited the CIA and the Drone operator to kill Afghani's?

FB Ali

Walrus,

The other day I came across the following definition of Political Correctness:

Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end.

It was said to be a winning definition in a Duke University contest.

Patrick D

I like it! I try to express the concept as "empathy does not mean sympathy and understanding does not mean approval" but that is relatively cumbersome.

The Twisted Genius

Walrus,

This isn't a case of political correctness. It a case of careerism... a race to the top by any means necessary. Learning the craft well and conducting clandestine operations with a pride of craftsmanship usually just gets in the way of a true careerist. During my time in the business, I've seen more and more careerists, both male and female, enter the field. Not all of the new breed are like this, but enough to be truly disheartening.

In this particular case, everyone was blinded by the possibility of being the one to get OBL. The competition for counting such a coup is high among everyone in this field, but the careerists who smell such a possibility in the wind can't resist running blindly towards it.

Cato the Censor

To put that in un PC terms, there are some things that old, well brought up, well educated and honourable white men do better than others. One of them is governing. The other is intelligence work.

Like the chaps in the US and the UK who worked next to Kim Philby for years without even a glimmer? Or James Jesus Angleton? It's not only women who have a gift for incompetency.

turcopolier

Cato the Censor

More PC feminist "modern" baloney. pl

Fred

J,

I think you need to re-read this article. She spent 21+ years in the agency. To quote " “There were a lot of submissive types there,” Anderson recalled. “She wasn’t that way.”.... and ... "Matthews was known at the agency as a forceful, opinionated person, unafraid to speak candidly to superiors. “She didn’t tolerate idiots,” Anderson said. “But she was diplomatic, too. She was good at reading people.”

Surely you've worked in a bureaucracy where subordinates are often chosen due to their agreement with the views of their boss? Where extremists can often succeed in shoving the moderates under, aside or force them out? (How about that security chief who warned of the dangers then dutifully stood in the receiving line - couldn't risk saying no the boss on this one?

To quote the Wapo again:“Jennifer was one of the visionaries who recognized the threat of al-Qaeda,” said one of Matthews’s colleagues, a CIA counterterrorism officer made available by the agency.

Now 'we' have a martyr, too. Isn't that why she went, to cleanse the shame of the reprimand for failing to tell the FBI about two Al Qaeda operatives who entered the US in 2000?

As to the very important question of the chain of command who put her there - yes, just who selected and promoted her over the past two decades? It looks like she knew how to fight inside the beltway bureaucrats, not jihadis. I fear that too many of her superiors are exactly the same. Just how many got promotions they did not truly deserve while others were passed over or moved aside because they were the wrong sex or religion? Here's hoping St. Petraeus will clean up this mess.

turcopolier

Patrick D

No. You still do not understand. You can sympathise and approve but you still must be willing to betray. pl

Dan Gackle

I find that phrase "hard-hearted empath" to be both profound and haunting. It is a novel in three words.

How does a person get to be a hard-hearted empath? Is one born that way? Is it training? Emotional trauma? Most empathetic people are soft-hearted. (I am one. I could not finish the article. Perhaps I should be embarrassed to say so here.) And most hard-hearted people lack empathy.

I can see why both the soft-hearted empath and the hard-hearted unempathetic types would be ill-suited to the work you describe. Each can be manipulated. But I am trying to imagine what being a hard-hearted empath would be like. It seems that it would be a difficult path. The defenses a human would normally invoke to deal with the pain of such an existence would tend to shut down the empathy, rendering the person ineffective. I wonder if it is difficult to function this way for a long time, or if one just gets used to it.

Actually, there is one way I can imagine an empathetic person willingly becoming hard-hearted: to serve a higher cause.

(Apologies if this gets posted twice- there was a technical error and I had to rewrite it.)

YT

Do I detect a trace of moslem defensiveness?

walrus

We are in furious agreement that this is a case of careerism.

The trouble is that PC has killed the traditional defences gainst careerism ie: "This guy was an asshole at school and is still an asshole", "I watched this person cheat at golf", "This guy cheats on his wife", "This bastard screwed over her subordinates", "this person is a mean drunk", "I served with this guy and they are....".

PC has killed all those non - evidence based, but terribly important, predictors of long term performance. "Character" is not evidenced based.

My guess would be that the lady in question was warned about the risks, but most likely chose to ignore the warnings and/or denigrate the person doing the warning, most probably for being a threat to her authority.

Just be glad she didn't rise to a position where her stuidity could have killed even mnore operators.

walrus

Cato, I suggest you read "The Double Cross System" and the official British history of intelligence in WWII, to see what a bunch of superannuated, white male, effeminate, snobbish, academics did to Germany.

They are worth reading just for the prose and the masterly insights into the human condition.

It's a pity America doesn't seem to have the equivalent corps of devious intelligent old white males.

turcopolier

Dan Gackle

As I said, the right people must be chosen and sent. The phrase will appear in Mark Riebling's soon to be published book, "Order of Battle." This is an authoritative history of the first fifty years of the Defense Intelligence Agency. pl

William Fitzgerald

Pat Lang,

Speaking of "political correctness"in institutions and operations in which it should not be a consideration, I would offer the example of the invasion and occupation of Iraq from the fall of 2002 until well after the departure of the CPA in 2004.

WPFIII

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