1. Like videos? Check out DirectDamage.com!

Bush's cloak-and-stagger folly

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by zrinkill, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

    33,400 Messages
    1,152 Likes Received
    Andrew Greeley
    August 15, 2007
    Chicago Suns-Times

    The president's comment that the CIA was just guessing is spinless truth, for a change. In fact, the agency knew virtually nothing about what was happening inside of Iraq, and hence described the worst possible case, just as it was unaware that the Soviet Union was falling apart at the end of the Stalinist era. The best intelligence about the Soviets was contained in the books written at the time by the reporters from the Washington Post and the New York Times.

    On the basis of these books, I predicted in the early '80s the Soviet Union would fall apart. The social scientist in me could not believe that the corrupt, incompetent society described by Robert Kaiser and Hedrick Smith could survive. In the meantime, the CIA was warning of the increasing power and threat of the Soviets. They could not have been more wrong.
    They could have hired the reporters or just read their books. But that would not have helped because the White House in that era wouldn't have believed them.
    Tim Weiner in his new history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, argues that the agency's mistakes on Iraq are like its other major failures -- they have never had good data on societies about which they are supposed to be advising the government. In recent years, they knew nothing about Iraq. They had to rely on Iraqi defectors (many produced by Vice President Dick Cheney), foreign intelligence units (French and English), and the occasional sociopath like the notorious "Curveball."


    The CIA had no hard evidence about weapons of mass destruction. It did not report that uncertainty. But internal and external pressure (from the head of the CIA) forced them to selectively choose evidence. Thus the various CIA reports confirmed what the president and the vice president wanted to do -- protect the United States from terrorists by invading Iraq. It did not report that there wasn't much reason to believe that Iraq had the fearsome weapons. Similarly, when Colin Powell went to the U.N., his arguments, shaped by the CIA, were formed to provide a rationale for war.
    Weiner contends that the CIA was not actually lying to the president, not actually telling him that he had a slam dunk. Alas, thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis would die. The CIA is an agent of the American government. In the past it has been forced into projects by presidents and highly placed presidential advisers -- Robert Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Oliver North. Presidents have used the CIA to try to kill many foreign leaders the presidents didn't like. Presidents generally do not want to be bothered by espionage that is hard to gather and by reports that are almost always hedged in uncertainties.


    The structures of American government make it impossible for the CIA to flatly tell the president that he was wrong. The vice president had his own information that he thought was better than that of the CIA. No one, not even the hapless Powell, was in a position to say, "we don't have hard evidence to go to war." So now the president is spinning phony success on the road to phony victory. Dead humans have piled up by the thousands.
    The nation needs to have a competent and independent intelligence agency, something like the Federal Reserve, which can protect itself from punishment for telling the truth, from telling the president that he is wrong. The Iraq war is the Bay of Pigs fiasco writ large.
  2. Eric_Boyer

    Eric_Boyer Well-Known Member

    4,959 Messages
    612 Likes Received
    this ending paragraph really destroyed an otherwise good article.

    The federal reserve is a private bank. It makes the important decisions behind closed doors and is not accountable to the people in any way. In fact as of now it can print as much new money as it wants, and won't bother to report how much that is.

    The Federal Reserve protects itself by not telling us anything.
  3. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

    37,347 Messages
    3,489 Likes Received
    The CIA is very capable of providing good intelligence if it has the authority and funding to do so. Starting in 1997, the CIA had there opperations budget cut by well over half. Our intelligance community has been under funded for some time. Not saying it's acceptable to provide bad intel but I do think we can look to ourselves as to the causes of this. Which one do you want? Good intel or cost reductions?
  4. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

    5,128 Messages
    204 Likes Received
    When you let Bankers rule, you get a world good for Bankers.....
  5. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

    5,128 Messages
    204 Likes Received
    Throwing money at the problem, of course, does not guarantee better results.

    The present administration got the results it wanted from the CIA. It doesn't take too many reports returned with 'This conclusion is not acceptable' to let the ambitious know which way to jump. People getting promoted or sidelined, not on the quality of their appraisals, but on how well it matched what the guys up top wanted, is another thing that becomes obvious pretty quickly. And this was a pretty standard MO, just check out Rumsfields' behavior towards his generals. He also usurped control over the promotion of military generals, just to make sure they understood.

    How you insulate the CIA from these political pressures, while getting good intel, and holding them, in some ways, accountable? That, is some kettle of fish....
  6. AtlCB

    AtlCB Well-Known Member

    3,810 Messages
    73 Likes Received
    The problem with the CIA is that it has been mismanaged for years. This country has the worst foreign intelligence of any major power. We then further weakened the organization by coming up with stupid laws like the Toricelli(sp?) Principal. The CIA failed in WWII, failed multiple time during the Cold War, and is still failing in the war on terror. I usually take these intelligence reports about the state of al Quida with a grain of salt. The fact is that the organization doesn't know where bin Laden is, doesn't know how strong al Quida actually is, and didn't see that Putin was becoming a dictator until it was too late.

    The biggest problem is that every president knew the organization was a failure, but none of them did much to fix it.
  7. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

    43,022 Messages
    2,537 Likes Received
    The CIA was not around in WW2, but you are correct about its failures- that has been happening for more then 30 years. And no one has done anything about it- when Goss tried, he was shot down.
  8. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

    43,022 Messages
    2,537 Likes Received
    By the way ABQ, show me WHEN the CIA was RIGHT about much of anything.
  9. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

    43,022 Messages
    2,537 Likes Received
    Greely is full of crap. Reagan flat out said that the Soviet Union was going down in the early 80s. He was ridiculed for that. He said they were failing and no 0ne should be suprised. But the CIA was.
  10. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

    37,347 Messages
    3,489 Likes Received
    Realistically, you have to give to get. I'm sorry it's not popular but that's the way it works. The alternative is to have no means by which to gather intelligence. The CIA is not a good guy organization designed to be accountable to the public the way politicians or any elected officials are. Sorry, that's part of the way it's designed to function. Accountability is not a bad thing, don't get me wrong, but accountable to who? Not the public certainly. An intelligence community can not opporate in this way. That's what you sign on for when you create an organization such as the CIA.
  11. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

    37,347 Messages
    3,489 Likes Received
    Burm, when the CIA is right about something, you are never going to know about it. When the CIA is wrong about something, you should never no about it either but that's not the way it works because politicians and political parties are eager to leverage these kinds of things. Not saying it's ideal or even attractive but that's the way it should work.
  12. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

    21,156 Messages
    2,137 Likes Received
    you didn't source this but I will for you:)
    I am not a big fan of Reagen as many are but he was clearly prescient about Russia.


    excerpted from:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Predictions_of_Soviet_collapse


    On March 3, 1983, United States President Ronald Reagan told the National Association of Evangelicals in Orlando, Florida: "I believe that communism is another sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last — last pages even now are being written."[31]
    Ronald Reagan
    Ronald Reagan

    Reagan's fullest analysis came in his June 1982 address to the British Parliament, which received worldwide attention.

    It is the Soviet Union that runs against the tide of history by denying human freedom and human dignity to its citizens. It also is in deep economic difficulty. The rate of growth in the national product has been steadily declining since the fifties and is less than half of what it was then. The dimensions of this failure are astounding: A country which employs one-fifth of its population in agriculture is unable to feed its own people. Were it not for the private sector, the tiny private sector tolerated in Soviet agriculture, the country might be on the brink of famine. …Overcentralized, with little or no incentives, year after year the Soviet system pours its best resource into the making of instruments of destruction. The constant shrinkage of economic growth combined with the growth of military production is putting a heavy strain on the Soviet people. What we see here is a political structure that no longer corresponds to its economic base, a society where productive forces are hampered by political ones. …In the Communist world as well, man's instinctive desire for freedom and self-determination surfaces again and again. To be sure, there are grim reminders of how brutally the police state attempts to snuff out this quest for self-rule – 1953 in East Germany, 1956 in Hungary, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, 1981 in Poland. But the struggle continues in Poland. And we know that there are even those who strive and suffer for freedom within the confines of the Soviet Union itself. …What I am describing now is a plan and a hope for the long term – the march of freedom and democracy which will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history as it has left other tyrannies which stifle the freedom and muzzle the self-expression of the people. And that's why we must continue our efforts to strengthen NATO even as we move forward with our Zero-Option initiative in the negotiations on intermediate-range forces and our proposal for a one-third reduction in strategic ballistic missile warheads."[32]

    Analyst Jeffrey W. Knopf has explained why Reagan went beyond everyone else:



    "Reagan stands out in part because he believed the Soviet Union could be defeated. For most of the Cold War, Republican and Democratic administrations alike had assumed the Soviet Union would prove durable for the foreseeable future. The bipartisan policy of containment aimed to keep the Soviet Union in check while trying to avoid nuclear war; it did not seek to force the dissolution of the Soviet empire. Ronald Reagan, in contrast, believed that the Soviet economy was so weak that increased pressure could bring the Soviet Union to the brink of failure. He therefore periodically expressed confidence that the forces of democracy 'will leave Marxism-Leninism on the ash heap of history'."[2]
  13. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

    21,156 Messages
    2,137 Likes Received
    We know what we do know about the CIA because there is money in telling its secrets.

    Still, to think we know even half the story is a comical concept.


    My problem with Bush here is that he had very real ties inside the CIA and could have well known all the info he wanted through back channels.

    The concept that the CIA couldn't inform him of info is just plain wrong.

    Cheney can argue whatever he wants but Bush is ex-CIA for chrissakes.

    And the Fed Reserve is an amazingly efficient and effective organization.

    It is why we have been able to stay afloat as a country though the gov't is horrendously in debt.
  14. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

    4,423 Messages
    157 Likes Received
    QFT when the CIA does something right you will never hear about it. For the most part they do ALOT of things right. But again, 99.99% of Americans will never hear about it.

    The bigget problem with the CIA is not money. It is the PEOPLE of the Unites States and the political parties. Most Americans are adverse to doing things like murder, kidnappings, assasinations, etc. In fact there are laws they specifically state that we cannot use someone like an arms dealer or drug dealer or even a war criminal as a source. The sad thing is that many of the best sources we could recruit are bad people, that is why they have access to the information that we need. Also, we have a problem recruiting minorities. There are not many people in the CIA who can fit in, in the middle east much less Africa or even China. But that is a entirely different problem.
  15. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

    21,156 Messages
    2,137 Likes Received
    The CIA does recruit and hire arms dealers and drug dealers and assassins. We know this because it gets published eventually, long after those folks usefulness is over with:)

    It is a necessary evil.
  16. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

    21,156 Messages
    2,137 Likes Received
    Oh and since I slathered praise on Reagen here(which makes me feel dirty, lol) I have to also note even though he knew of this Soviet collapse, he still slaughtered our national debt with money spent on the military, especailly on Star Wars to prevent missiles the USS could not afford to launch from hitting us.
  17. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

    37,347 Messages
    3,489 Likes Received

    Actually, the problem with the CIA at point is money. You hit on it but I think your slightly off on the actual problem. Because we no longer actively train opperatives the way we used to in the old days, we rely on outside sources to conduct opperations. It's not ideal because I personally don't like having other people from other countries conducting opperations for us but that's what we've come down to. End result is that it's more expensive to pay other countries and hire assets from foreign countries then it is to use our own. It buys a certain amount of insulation but it's far less reliable and much less cost effective IMO. When the money goes away, our ability to hire assets is compramised. It really is about money unfortunatly.
  18. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

    21,156 Messages
    2,137 Likes Received
    Much of what we view as the CIA is really just another governmental office there are a few cool teams still tho:)
    The SAD and DARPA rock pretty hardcore:)~


    The Special Activities Division (SAD) is a division of the Central Intelligence Agency's former Directorate of Operations, now the National Clandestine Service, responsible for covert paramilitary operations, effected when the U.S. Government does not wish to be overtly associated with such activities. As such, members of the unit, when on missions, normally do not carry any objects or clothing (e.g., military uniforms) that would associate themselves with the United States. SAD has been changed to Special Services Office in recent years.

    Certain elements of SAD are believed to be an outgrowth of the CIA's Phoenix Program and the SOG (Studies and Observations Group), both of which were created and active during the Vietnam War.

    The unit's existence became known in the autumn of 2001, when U.S. special operations forces arrived in Afghanistan to hunt down Al Qaeda leaders and aid the Northern Alliance against the troops of the ruling Taliban. The CIA paramilitary teams, in conjunction with Special Operations Forces and the Afghan military, provided intelligence for U.S. air strikes.

    The division has several hundred personnel, most of them former members of Delta Force, Navy SEALs, (including DEVGRU), Army Rangers, Special Forces and USMC Force Recon teams. The CIA's formal position for these individuals is "Paramilitary Operations Officer". Other members of the SAD are drawn from within the ranks of the CIA's National Clandestine Service division. On occasion, the Agency has been known to employ civilians for specialized paramilitary activities.

    The primary strengths of SAD paramilitary officers are agility, adaptability, and deniability. They often operate in small teams, typically with six men with military training and knowledge of foreign languages. These officers often operate clandestinely in remote locations behind enemy lines to carry out raids, espionage, counter-intelligence, sabotage, guerilla warfare, and hostage rescue missions. They also play a large part in recruiting, training, and leading indigenous forces in operations. SAD officers are trained at Camp Peary (also known as "The Farm") in Virginia, and at privately owned black ops training centers around the United States. Within the international intelligence community, the SAD is considered to be one of the most skilled and lethal forces in the world.

    Johnny Micheal Spann, the first American casualty in the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, was a member of the Special Activities Division.[1]

    SAD officers have operated covertly since the mid 1970s in places such as Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Chile, Bosnia, Serbia, Somalia, Kosovo and Afghanistan.


    ----------------------
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defense_Advanced_Research_Projects_Agency



    Current organization

    DARPA has eight program offices, all of which report to DARPA director Dr. Anthony J. Tether. (Note that as of July 2006 SPO and ATO have been merged into a single Strategic Technology Office (STO) that complements the Tactical Technology Office (TTO) as one of the two "systems" offices.)

    1. The Advanced Technology Office (ATO) researches, demonstrates, and develops high payoff projects in maritime, communications, special operations, command and control, and information assurance and survivability mission areas.
    2. The Defense Sciences Office (DSO) vigorously pursues the most promising technologies within a broad spectrum of the science and engineering research communities and develops those technologies into important, radically new military capabilities.
    3. The Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) focuses on inventing the networking, computing, and software technologies vital to ensuring DOD military superiority.
    4. The Information Exploitation Office (IXO) develops sensor and information system technology and systems with application to battle space awareness, targeting, command and control, and the supporting infrastructure required to address land-based threats in a dynamic, closed-loop process. IXO leverages ongoing DARPA efforts in sensors, sensor exploitation, information management, and command and control, and addresses systemic challenges associated with performing surface target interdiction in environments that require very high combat identification confidence and an associated low likelihood for inadvertent collateral damage.
    5. The Microsystems Technology Office (MTO) mission focuses on the heterogeneous microchip-scale integration of electronics, photonics, and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Their high risk/high payoff technology is aimed at solving the national level problems of protection from biological, chemical and information attack and to provide operational dominance for mobile distributed command and control, combined manned/unmanned warfare, and dynamic, adaptive military planning and execution.
    6. The Special Projects Office (SPO) researches, develops, demonstrates, and transitions technologies focused on addressing present and emerging national challenges. SPO investments range from the development of enabling technologies to the demonstration of large prototype systems. SPO is developing technologies to counter the emerging threat of underground facilities used for purposes ranging from command-and-control, to weapons storage and staging, to the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. SPO is also developing significantly more cost-effective ways to counter proliferated, inexpensive cruise missiles, UAVs, and other platforms used for weapon delivery, jamming, and surveillance. SPO is investing in novel space technologies across the spectrum of space control applications including rapid access, space situational awareness, counterspace, and persistent tactical grade sensing approaches including extremely large space apertures and structures.
    7. The Tactical Technology Office (TTO) engages in high-risk, high-payoff advanced military research, emphasizing the "system" and "subsystem" approach to the development of aeronautic, space, and land systems as well as embedded processors and control systems.
    Projects

    One of DARPA's projects, WolfPack, has an objective to create a system that will deny an adversary use of its communications while not interfering with friendly military and commercial radio communications.

    DARPA is currently attempting to develop shoot-through, invisible, healable body armor. It is armor that soldiers can see and fire through on one side, but is invisible and impenetrable on the other. It is proposed to be developed using metamaterials.[1]
  19. ABQCOWBOY

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

    37,347 Messages
    3,489 Likes Received

    There are still certain splinter groups within the CIA that are trained to carry out clandestine opperations but this is very different, IMO, then actually doing the work required to develop realiable G2. These opperatives are strike opporations assets as opposed to trained intelligence officers or operatives working at the grass roots level. They are necessary but they are not the same as using our own trained personel to do gather information. It's not like it was in the old day. Maybe that's good but the draw back is definatly a lack of reliable information. You probably get more info now but the quality of it is not as realiable IMO. You are also at the mercy of how much and exactly what level of detail is passed along. Other intelligence agencys from other countries do not always pass on all they know. They often pass on what they want you to know, which can be worse. In effect, they can influence us to do the work they desire to be done as opposed to the work that is in our own countries best interests. It's a bad policy IMO, to use other assets as opposed to our own as it used to be. JMO.
  20. sacase

    sacase Well-Known Member

    4,423 Messages
    157 Likes Received
    Oh they have more than enough money to pay assests. Rest assured. The actually problem is training and retaining good case officers. If you want to get to the top of the ladder you eventually get pulled out of the field. What's worse is something like 40% of the intelligence community is eligable for retirement in the next couple years. That is a lot of experience leaving the community considering that is your senior people. We have neglected HUMINT in favor of SIGINT, we need to boost our HUMINT capabilites a lot more.

Share This Page