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09 February 2014


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Colonel Lang,

Imagine if, for the past decade, instead of turning
to the USIC, the POTUS had simply logged in to SST
for policy guidance and predictions about the future.
The Republic would be happier, more prosperous,and
better organized. All this for a few pennies instead
of hundreds of billions and not a drop of blood, well,
very little, and not ours.

USMC 1965-1972
FBI 1972-1996

Charles I

Let us be grateful at least that such people can still be found, at least in some pursuits. Where I live its old guys still at canoes, boats and furniture in their gramp's original shop.

My father was in the lumber business back when lumber was still lumber, used to make furniture and fine cabinetry as a hobby for decades. I have never seen, let alone matched the joinery and finishing he mastered. It was like one second of one degree of perfection away from 3d printing, that one degree of course the charm, beauty and mastery of material no printer affords. All by hand and eye.

"Hold this THERE and DONT MOVE!" I can see it, smell the shop now.

John Gavin

Dishonesty has become part of the military culture in the US. Telling (or reporting) the truth is non-career enhancing. Much preferred is to tell higher what they want to hear. I have watched my career go from promising to dead end due to my unwillingness to toe the party line in Afghanistan, and my insistence on reporting the truth. It's taken 22 years, but I now realize there is no place left for me in the IC.

William R. Cumming

PL! Just too many people doing the people's business!



Too many people, too much size and too much money in the hands of the merely ambitious. pl


A well read person using the internet to research a wide range of current international news seems better able to make assessments than the intelligence community if for no other reason than institutional bias is avoided or at least canceled out.

The Twisted Genius


Nice to know there's a good gunsmith in the area. As the son of a tool and die maker, I appreciate the work of a craftsman. I have some old beauties that may need attention some day, including a Luger made in 1916 with all matched parts captured by one of SWMBO's relatives in France in 1917. My M-1 carbine is a 1944 model purchased by my father in law through the CMP in the 60s. I love the thing. He's in a nursing home and the carbine is mine.

As for the IC, there are damned few craftsmen left. The vast intelligence enterprise (yes, that's what it's actually called now) is infested with charlatans and grifters who don't give a tinker's damn about the craft or producing a quality product. I'm glad I'm out of it and doubly glad I don't have to drive in that area anymore.


The local technical high school closed its machine shop last year. Sold off the almost all the lathes, milling machines, surface grinders and other useful large tools.
Reason? They could not meet the state minimum requirements for enrolled students to continue the class.
The night school for machine shop sold out every semester, but old male white farts are not the desired classroom.
The shop had a Monarch that by its serial number was made in 1946, served for decades on a Vulcan class repair ship, before being purchased by the school. True story, I worked on that lathe for several semesters of evening school, it had NO digital crap, no TLC but I could stand a nickel on edge on the ways and it would not move with the machine running. I have no answer just observations.

Farmer Don

IF, "I want to have someone do the work who does not give a damn about what other people think of his methods, but who feels he can take pride in what he does. pl ".

Then this person is for you:


To me at least, this fellow seems to be the real deal. This Video was widely shown on German TV.

Best Regards



So far as I know Snowden was never anything more than a glorified clerk. I can sympathize with Snowden in his act of revelation concerning domestic surveillance but his exposure of foreign SIGINT is deeply injurious to my country and yours. pl



As a long time analyst who finally gave it up to preserve my sanity, your analysis of the situation is spot on. The sausage making process the IC uses to produce finished intelligence products completely dilutes the message the customer needs to hear. Instead it's analysis by committee, and usually unduly influenced by senior corporate types at the top.

Regarding Karzai, I've always thought what happened to Najubullah as Karzai's worst nightmare. Why can't the IC and our policymakers understand that?


Your question implies that the leadership wanted the true answer to the right question. I see plenty of evidence that they wanted the convenient answer to the wrong question.

The only way the Republic could have been happier in the period was by electing different leaders or disciplining the leaders you elected with greater vigour. The suppine "democracy" got exactly what it deserved.



My post states without equivocation that the national political leadership wants answers from the IC that support what they have already decided to do and that the leadership of the IC general bludgeon the analysts in order to comply. When that does not happen it is a miracle. pl


Dear Colonel,

IMO experience, the disease you refer is an institutional disease of government (and probably any large, hierarchical, organization). At some point, the energy to do ones job correctly as opposed to expediently and burnout arises.

Clearly there are approaches to counter this natural tendency, but of course, such requires an advocate at the top, while the top tends typically to prefer expediency. To me it is unclear why swapping the top administrators with political appointees is a good way to run a country.



That is true but unimportant. I am not concerned with similar "disease" in other fields. It maters not very much if the Department of Agriculture or the Bureau of Indian Affairs are stultified messes. It matters a great deal if the IC consistently produces bogus opinions and information. Your comment implies that it was ever thus. It was not. pl


I believe you are right. I recall that when he was VP, Gore wrote "BS"on reports that he didn't like and said that he didn't want to see any more such reporting.
The neocons like Wolfowitz and Feith were of the same ilk- intel that was contra to what that wanted was ignored.


I am glad that I chose not to pursue going with the 'company' after college. It is bad enough in the corporate world where incompetent middle managers excel at CYA and little else.


Ironically, Obama is an enthusiastic user of data and objective analysis--when it comes to winning elections.


Our tax dollars at play:
by quite a coincidence, I'm sure.

John Gavin

Hamid Karzai and his friends and family (AKA Karzai, Inc, the largest narco cartel in world history) have no worry whatsoever of ending up like Najibullah. They have stolen billions of dollars from the international community, and have bought up huge amounts of choice real estate in the UAE, Western Europe, and the US. Karzai and his friends will be the first rats of the ship once their is no more money to steal.


John Gavin

Not the point. The question is whether he will be nimble enough to escape the country when the time comes or if the new government would succeed in having him extradited from the UAE or wherever. The charge would be "crimes against the Afghan people." pl

John Gavin


Point taken. Karzai does, however, have enough money to rent anyone's allegiance long enough to avoid extradition for quite some time. There is also the question of whether the government that succeeds his will have standing to request extradition.

I would place money on Karzai's handpicked successor winning any election that may or may not happen this year, and Karzai's presidency would enter Putin-like hibernation for a spell.


John Gavin

I lived and worked in Dubai. The Amir is scared silly of Islamists and with good reason. IMO the issue of "standing" for extradition would not be decisive. This would be a political decision in an Islamic context. pl


Verdad! [En Español]

Too often we rely on the “throw-more-money-at-it,” along with the “give-us-something-we-want,” Intel.

As my late economics professor often quoted a notably wise but mostly obscure soul, “Bureaucracy tends to propagate itself.” But for not much good, obviously.

William R. Cumming

ALL: Any suspicion Snowden under a control by foreign power?

Since Snowden apparently used some kind of readily available web crawler any evidence the IC now protected from other Snowdens?

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