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24 April 2012


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William R. Cumming

Protected by secrecy and its claims of success the public failures of the CIA and poor language and cultural capability should long ago have ended the CIA. But the Truman concerns over its establishment also should be considered in restructuring or eliminating that organization.

But the approximately $100B a year spent on INTEL most of which is of no use to anyone is a national tragedy and one might ask why only now the organizational change is necessary in DIA and what are the costs and benefits of this new organization or reorganization. No one will know except those employed probably.

And PL would you argue or support the notion that the CIA's most recent miss was the ARAB SPRING?

Larry Kart

"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."

Colonel -- Posts such as the above are among the many reasons we need you.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

You mention the CIA's blunder in Afghanistan. Another ('peacetime') incident relates to the shenanigans of the dozen or more agents in Rome trying to kidnap some hapless Muslim preacher. If I recall aright there was much talk later of high living in 5-star hotels and top-level restaurants, and some bedroom switching.......


Larry Kart

Thanks as always. I can't remember if you have renedered an opinion on "Down the Sky." If not, please do so. Your review of TBC was just grand. I am trying to get back to work on several projects in spite of my illness, pl


FB Ali

Yes, Isn't "covered" status grand? You can make yourself into the "Maharajah of Hyderabad" if you want. I think DIA is a little more restrained. pl



I did not have access to the analytic product of CIA on this subject. If I had I would not be able to talk about it. I can only say that the foreign policy establishment, government, journalistic and academic experienced an orgiastic fit of almost sexual joy at the thought that the "old" was ended and the "new" had begun. Sad. Ali Abdullah Salih had it right the other day when he said the Arab Spring was wrecking these countries. pl

The Twisted Genius

This is something a lot of DIA case officers have been wishing for and working for since the Defense HUMINT Service (the original DHS) was established within DIA by our esteemed host. I don't know if it was an alternative considered at that time. Throughout the many DHS reorganizations, one faction pushed for integration of all HUMINT collection disciplines at the lowest organizational level while another pushed for pulling clan HUMINT into a single organization within the DHS.

DIA did have a serious problem of case officer retention when I was there. It almost got to the point where management threatened to seize your first born child if you left DIA within a substantial time frame...well past the standard twice the length of training timeframe. Opportunities for field assignments, especially overseas, were limited. A bleak career of mostly desk jobs is not what most case officers signed up for.

"CIA says DIA does poor work?" That's beyond funny. It's ludicrous. Man for man, Defense case officers were/are better than their CIA counterparts. That was also true back when we were not part of DIA. We accomplish more with less resources, less authorities and less opportunities than CIA case officers. CIA often asks for DOD augmentation for tough targets.



The goal was to achieve this capability and structure as well as to run all lower order operations in other compartments of DHS. The attache system was always in a separate, open, branch of Defense HUMINT. pl



"Man for man, Defense case officers were/are better than their CIA counterparts. That was also true back when we were not part of DIA. We accomplish more with less resources, less authorities and less opportunities than CIA case officers."

While I have no first hand experience of this subject,your comment sounds to me like the echo of observations about the "MBA - Professional Manager" ethos that has destroyed or hobbled many corporations around the world. The idea that a person can "manage" something by virtue of alleged management training without relevant first hand experience of what is being managed is deeply flawed.

Col. Langs observation about the Camp Chapman attack is also an example.

I suspect that the best civil training for a civiian intelligence Officer might be in the halls of Academia as an Academic - where treachery is not only a way of life, but celebrated.


Col. Lang --
I'd respectfully add a few nominees to your "World's Greatest Self-Promoters" list, which has some good ones (esp. the USMC!):

1) The New York Times (try to count the number of times you've seen some variation on the phrase "as the best newspaper in the world...." when the Grey Lady talks about herself, you'll lose track).

2) Harvard University, and elite higher education more generally (one of my favorite old New England saws holds that one's opinion of Fair Harvard is inversely proportionalte to your proximity to the place -- something about all those tax-free Academic latifundia grates on us local peasants....).

3) The generation under c. 30 years old, which had the misfortune to grow up with both "self-esteem" (read: baseless narcissism) and the Internet, a fatal combination if ever one occurred. I have had several students in this bracket tell me that "they were confident they had earned an A in HIST 320" or whatever course it was, and proceed to throw juvenile fits when they were not automatically awarded the highest praise. It's as though the Baby Boomers concentrated all their bad qualities in their children.


Larry Kart

Colonel -- Ashamed to say that I haven't yet read "Down the Sky" or "Death Piled Hard" (though I have bought "Death Piled Hard"). My reasons are perhaps peculiar and also perhaps a tribute to the power of the series. Feeling fairly sure where the series was going in the broad sense (it is of course outwardly constrained by historical fact) and also so moved by the personal fatality and nature of Devereux after reading volume one, I've not yet been able to move on to the stresses and strife that I know is to come. In effect, I've been reduced here to the sort of reader I sometimes was as a child, unwilling to endure the account of a grave eventual loss. That it will be a fictional one doesn't make it any easier for me to contemplate, because the "fiction" of volume one feels more real than any historical account of that time I know. But I will move on eventually.


Larry Kart

You are right. It is a painful thing, and I somehow wrote it. Some of it seems to have a life of its own that I have little to do with. There is a quality about it that is inexplicable. I think I am going to write another set in 1862 that will have some of the same people in it, The Egypt project will have to wait. pl


Is LTG Flynn not the guy that wrote the scathing report about the paucity of the intel product to be used at a tactical and operational level in A'stan a while back ? I've read that he fine tuned the whole F3EA(d) targetting cycle that jsoc started in iraq and is now widely practiced.

'Critically, the DIA has responsibility for the entire Defense Department’s human intelligence network. However, in the bureaucratic fray within the intelligence community, the DIA’s reputation has often been associated with the minutiae of force structure analysis and puzzling over signals, technical, and imagery intelligence. This is, in part, due to the wide array of intelligence duties the DIA has been tasked with, including, but not limited to, the National for Medical Intelligence, the Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and the Defense Intelligence Support Center, currently under construction. The often unwieldy bureaucracy has made human intelligence gathering and exploitation a lower priority for the agency. In practice, aside from the Tactical HUMINT Teams, DIA does not often focus on collecting actionable human intelligence, but delegates these tasks and their supervision to relevant services’ military intelligence elements. With Flynn running the DIA – Senate confirmation pending, of course – it is unlikely that the agency will retain a background or passive role.'

my question to the experts is, why have two separate organisations that can effectively do the same job (CIA and DIA) ?

'It is all about the future funding streams when OCO disappears.
DIA already had DHS not sure what they are trying to do---if they want to be truly revelant at the tactical/operational levels simply turn the intel around faster to the field instead of only analyzing a minimum of the field reporting and then after evaluating it never really telling the field in a timely fashion.'
'....and I see the negatives that have overshadowed the HUMINT world continuing to be present in years forward, namely that DIA will continue to support three-letter agency (TLA) priorities rather than the CCDRs or services.
I think its also telling that this has gained support from Vickers' shop at USDI. Putting more DIA assets directly under CIA's control provides CIA with the authority to direct those assets (as they have exhibited to some degree in the past) and provides CIA with capability. This goes beyond deconfliction and coordination. It creates the problem that you note...CIA is not a 'combat support agency' and does not clearly support DoD requirements..and probably won't effectively leverage the DIA capability to do the same. To fix that problem, you have to work from the CIA side of the house...or, better yet, get rid of both organizations and break down both houses. After all, it's a big part of this problem that we can no longer clearly distinguish between T10 and T50 intel requirements...so, why shouldn't the organization better match the current requirements? '
excuse my ignorance Col/TTG but why not merge CIA and DIA ?

Cloned Poster

Civil War photos




So, how long have you worked for CIA? You are very good at parroting their self-serving propaganda.

"why have two separate organisations that can effectively do the same job (CIA and DIA?" I agree. CIA has outlived its usefulness. pl



If I may 'add' an agency to those agencies (CIA) that have 'outlived' their 'usefulness', the NSA. The NSA has become too big for their britches and need to be dissolved, and their relevant communications duties absorbed by DOD, and some of their 'legal' surveillance duties given to DIA, and the rest of their boneheaded programs put on the scrap heap.

The Twisted Genius


DIA and the "Defense Intelligence Enterprise" properly does intelligence from the tactical to the strategic level with service elements concentrated at the tactical level. What ties it all together is that DoD intelligence supports rough men standing ready to do violence. The CIA shouldn't be dabbling in this arena. Let then stick to supporting everything else our government does outside our borders such as diplomacy and economic policy. CIA is still pissed about loosing their ultimate coordination function which was really a veto function. Tough!

The Twisted Genius


The NSA is part of DoD, although sometimes they forget that. As such, they should not be listening to our (U.S. citizens') conversations or reading our mail. There was a time when any NSA employee would run screaming from the room if someone suggested that they spy on U.S. persons.



"CIA is still pissed about loosing their ultimate coordination function which was really a veto function. Tough!" Amen. pl


J -

Why do I suspect that you haven't a clue what you're talking about?



The NSA that you and I 'knew' of yesteryear, is not the same NSA of today. Today's NSA = 'abuse of power'. The current DIRNSA along with his two previous predecessors have stepped all over our Constitution, and trampled the rights of the American citizenry. When USSIDs are mention they go 'say what?'. When I said 'boneheaded programs', I meant just that -- boneheaded. From their 'boneheaded' construction of their massive collection site in Utah, to their other new ongoing constructions elsewhere in the U.S., they continue to erode American's privacy. They have been (the 'theys' I refer to are the DIRNSAs) caught boldfaced lying before the Congress by various Congressmen, and they (DIRNSAs) were let get away with it instead of being called on the carpet for it and having them immediately removed from their DIRNSA position.

NSA is a sank-hole of unnecessary U.S. expenditures and a compendum of unneeded programs and mounting piles of unnecessary assets. NSA was created during the Cold War for primary use against the former Soviet Union, and was designed and intended for that purpose. Well the former Soviet Union is now a vapor of history, and the NSA should go the way of its former Soviet Union adversary, into the dust bin of the nearest trash can.

Just what is the NSA our our government for that matter going to glean from trolling through ordinary American citizens emails, and seeing what websites that Mom & Pop America visit? It is an abuse of power. No terrorist that I'm aware of was ever caught by their trolling through emails or their eavesdropping on ordinary American citizen's phone calls. So their use of the worn and tattered of 'we gotta have it to fight terrorism' mantra just isn't going to the cut the mustard any more.

Valid and 'necessary' surveillance programs I can understand, but NSA has taken the word boneheaded and added a capital B to it in as far as their abusive programs go.

If I had the power, there would be paddy wagons and MPs/U.S. Marshals waiting to take away the current DIRNSA and some of his upper echelon NSA cohorts to Leavenworth in orange jumpsuits and cuffs with leg shackles, for their abuse of power and their breaking of U.S. laws.

And when they had finished hauling them away, there would be an army of DOD IG with the appropriate clearances to go through their vaults to weed out the wheat from the chaff of what is necessary/valid, and what is boneheaded and needs to be chunked. When that was all said and done, then the appropriate relevant programs would be absorbed by competent DOD controls and oversights.

NSA is a military broadsword component of war, which was never designed for, and never should be for a broadsword of war turned inwards which is what has and continues to transpire regarding its existence.

NSA like CIA have outlived their usefulness, and need to be scrapped.



Here is one more that we can 'chew on' as we watch their continued abuse of power go unchecked --
CISPA, “National Security,” and the NSA’s Ability to Read Your Emails

NSA IMO has become a Tyrannosaurs Rex that really needs to put down and put to sleep permanently.

Mark Logan

Larry Kart, Col.,

I had thought I was the only one who swore not to read DPH until I had the third book was under my elbow. It sat in it's box at the bottom of the stack too. However, I would characterize my reason for doing so a bit differently.

I had become so intensely worried about Claudes state of mind at the end of TBC, that I was just a bit cross at having it end right there. It isn't a feeling of dread at finishing the series for me, not at all.

Took me awhile to figure out how that was done. I tip my hat. I can't even imagine attempting to transmit the numbness of a broken heart in such a way.

I re-read TBC a couple of times afterwards. I really enjoy the way it puts me back in the time. A very pleasant feeling, one like being in a very interesting place, yet with the leisure to let ones eyes wander, and pause on, whatever they will. If that makes any sense.



Mark and Larry

I understand. some things are just too difficult. I swore not to write criticism of my own work and I won't, but, thank you. pl

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