Blog Archives

Why the IC goes PC

Why has the intelligence community gone politically correct? Because it’s a huge bureaucratic organization that’s fighting for relevance as determined by mission, manpower, and money.

Who provides the missions, manpower, and money?

Politicos, to include progressive politicos. The politicos of the left view the military, the schools, and anything “they” (via the taxpayer and/or borrowing) fund, to include the intelligence community as their own experiment in liberal social engineering:

For the first time in its history, the Central Intelligence Agency is actively seeking recruits from a new demographic – the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community.

There’s the answer to the Petraeus meltdown: he should have said he was bi-sexual in his mea culpa (or given the beating he suffered anyway, at least make Obama fire him for effectively doing what Bill Clinton was doing. That would have put Barry in a spot…).

But what about the effectiveness of the intelligence community’s mission (and let’s just ignore its efficiency)? Based on the record, it isn’t good. Technical surveillance and contractor created tools to lash things together (and then using them to kill bad guys) may be awe-inducing, but what about the longer term analysis? Who in the IC saw the “Arab Spring” coming? While I’m sure some did, I’d also bet their analysis never reached the “senior leader” level.

There, the issue is one of filtering. My hypothesis is that our nation’s intelligence products are filtered, dumbed-down (or turned into a crisis, if that’s the desired outcome), and/or politicized by our senior leaders and “public servants” until it’s no longer recognizable as the truth. And for what it’s worth, the intelligence community doesn’t really have all that sterling a record when it comes to (for example) the revolution in Iran, the collapse of the Soviet empire, 9/11, found WMD in Iraq, etc.

In the meantime, others—domestic U.S. law enforcement (including the FBI and Homeland Security)—want to read all your texts, e-mails, and anything you’ve perused on the internet.

Where is the outrage? There is none, because it seems by mutual agreement, senior leaders in the intelligence community and their corresponding politicos have decided it would be better to support one another, regardless of the detrimental effect on national security, let alone the truth.

Why? Because otherwise, people’s careers might get off track or the budget might be cut. Has the IC (some, much, almost all?) become the fabled self-licking ice cream cone?

Advertisements

All dots lead to Obama

toolWhen David Petraeus says the CIA’s talking points on Benghazi were edited to take out references to the event being a terror attack, there’s only one place that such editing could occur: from somewhere above the CIA and from somewhere within the Obama Administration machinery.

In other words, although our sadly incurious media has no desire to connect the dots—or to follow them in any way—the dots all lead to Obama.

Obama personally? Perhaps, although it seems likely that a politico from his re-election effort would be more likely. After all, who has the most to lose? (Oh, that would be Obama, but anyway…)

Is it possible that Petraeus, having to perform as CIA Director with his not-yet-public sex scandal hanging over his head (and his entire political future very much in doubt) was compromised at his initial Benghazi brief to Congress? All dots lead to ‘yes.’ And is it possible that now the damage has been done, Petraeus is free to tell the truth?

Connect your own dots: your results will not vary.

Pre-Petraeus scandal, it appeared Leon Panetta would be tagged as the Administration’s Benghazi scapegoat for the death of the four Americans who were left to twist in the wind during the Benghazi attack. Now it’s clear the Administration thinks the narrative on the event has changed from the Administration’s disgraceful and inept performance to the personal foibles of Petraeus. In such a case, no Administration scapegoat is required (other than the one they already have).

Tell me again how many people were killed as a part of the Watergate scandal?

Benghazi: Obama denied, Americans died.

Petraeus: do as I say and not as I do

Ralph Peters skewers four-stars David Petraeus, John Allen, and William “Kip” Ward for their gross hypocrisy.

The general held himself up as a paragon of self-discipline and model family man. In Iraq and then Afghanistan, he rigorously enforced “General Order No. 1,” which prohibits our troops from fraternization, all sex, alcohol consumption, the possession of pornography and, generally, from any activity that might make the boredom and terror of this kind of war more bearable. When our troops screwed up, they got hammered.

Generals can take a weekend in Paris and get drunk (as Gen. Stanley McChrystal did), but the grunt who goofs in a firefight faces a court-martial.

It’s been said the higher you climb the ladder, the more your rear end will be exposed. The reality seems to be the higher you climb the ladder, the more people you have covering your rear end.

Here’s the explanation: the more of an entourage one has, the more the entourage will protect the person leading the entourage. Why? It’s either inappropriate loyalty or the fact the members of the entourage have lashed their own success to the person possessing the entourage. (Plus the folks in the entourage themselves hope to one day have their own posse and will want to be treated the same way.)

I suppose an existentialist would say since there is no true basis for morality, it really doesn’t matter and that these three simply reflect some sort of random mutation regarding organizational Darwinism or regarding their own lack of free will. Red of claw and fang and all that.

The Petraeus/Allen/Ward cases are the military version of the same sort of hypocrisy and lack of accountability that brought down Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and others, but the larger point is that Petraeus is a do as I say and not as I do guy. How many others like this (or worse) are there? Answer: they are legion.

The government and especially the top of Administration, is thick with these types: think Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle on their taxes, Eric Holder on Fast and Furious, Warren Buffett (Muppet/prop/useful idiot and not an Administration member) on his crony capitalism, Joe Biden on his plagiarism, Barack Obama on his drug use, Hillary Clinton with her cattle futures, etc..

Over time, you get the government you deserve.

Welcome to Obamaland!

totalitarianThe lies you once heard from the government: “We’re glad to see you and we’re here to help.”

The lies you now hear from the government (not an all inclusive listing): “We’re still glad to see you. We’d never read your e-mail or sell your information to a third-party. We respect your right to privacy.”

From the Hill:

Google received more requests from the U.S. government to hand over user data during the first half of this year than from any other country, according to the search company’s biannual “Transparency Report” released on Tuesday.

The increase in the first half of the year is attributable to the Administration’s run up to the election.

Post-election, the government’s expected requests will be due to a combination of factors, mainly political payback, preparing for the mid-term and 2016 elections, and of course, the Petraeus/John Allen/Jill Kelley/Paula Broadwell case.

The FBI is too busy to get to Benghazi and collect evidence; they’re not too busy to bust into Broadwell’s house and carry her belongings and personal information away. What was the charge again, fellas?

Who is the bill-payer for the Administration’s Benghazi debacle? It would appear to be one David Petraeus.

Who is “the White House,” what did it know, and when?

g manFrom ABC regarding the Benghazigate/David Petraeus resignation debacle (BTW, far too much can be described as a debacle at this point in the history of the Obama Administration):

The FBI withheld its findings about Gen. David Petreaus’ affair from the White House and congressional leaders because the agency considered them the result of a criminal investigation that never reached the threshold of an intelligence probe, law enforcement sources said today.

I’ve asked it before and I’ll ask it again: when is the FBI the first responder for what’s been described as harassing (but not threatening) e-mails received by an ordinary citizen (the “social liaison to MacDill Air Force Base”)?

The song remains the same: never.

Good grief, $1.6 billion disappears under Jon Corzine’s watch and nothing happens and yet the FBI goes all in with their e-peeping for the MacDill social liaison receiving harassing e-mails?

(Update: the WSJ reports “The FBI investigation began with five to 10 emails beginning around May…”)

The next ABC blurb:

Despite the lengthy investigation into Broadwell by the FBI, the White House says it was not made aware of it until Wednesday, the day after the election, a revelation that surprised many.

OK, who is “the White House” and is that different than the “Obama Administration”? Building’s don’t speak or hear but people—people in the Administration—do. And doesn’t the FBI work for Eric “My People” Holder? Think this was compartmentalized from Holder? Neither do I.

Had Petraeus been a normal career intelligence type and not a plausible political candidate in a holding pattern, would this entire “investigation” have occurred? No.

While Petraeus is guilty of disgracefully self-destructing (as an admitted zipper-case), somewhere, J. Edgar Hoover isn’t just smiling: he’s laughing his guts out.

What is a form of flattery?

Not to pat myself on the back or anything (Ow, my arm!) but imitation is said to be a form of flattery. Compare and contrast, if you dare.

First, from me on 1 November 2012 regarding Benghazigate and the CIA’s statement:

However, the tone shifts with the next sentence. “No one at any level in the CIA told anyone not to help those in need,” means 1) the CIA was not the decision-make on this issue, 2) the CIA elevated the issue to the decision-maker, and 3) the decision-maker choose to not take action. The assertion is presented as an absolute and it’s an absolute which begs more questions (that is, the kind of questions where depositions are taken and testimony is provided).

And of course, after the fact, Leon Panetta has said: “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.” Not only is this an idiotic offering—the military and first responders almost never have full knowledge of any situation—but it’s effectively a non-denial that requests for aid were not only made, but that they were rejected.

Who was the decision maker, Leon?

Next, from Jed Babbin at The American Spectator on 11.12.12:

The statement said that no one in the CIA chain of command turned down those pleas for help. Which could only mean two things. First, it confirmed that the pleas for help did come, and were heard at the highest levels of government. Second, that someone higher than Petraeus had to have turned down the requests for help from Americans under fire. In the executive branch of government, the only person who outranks a cabinet member such as the CIA Director is the president.

Actually, the Director of National Intelligence has the entire intelligence community including the CIA; that’s why Clapper could suggest Petraeus resign. But my Babbin’s larger point is correct: the non-response of the U.S. government regarding the Benghazi terror attacks has been both a tragic debacle and a national security scandal.

And while great minds may think alike, some think faster than others. (And for less pay, I’m sure.)

Similarly, we were also out in front of the New Yorker in our curious and informed cynicism.

Think the Administration will appoint a special prosecutor a la Valerie Plame and Scooter Libby? Me neither…

It’s a long way to the top

While AC/DC told us it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n roll, it’s also a long way to the top if you want to be a “senior military leader.”

From Ricochet in a blistering take on David Petraeus, his resignation, and those who are perceived as being like Petraeus:

The path to power in our armed forces has two critical components: first, make sure you always profess your faith in the ideology of the ruling class; second, spend as much time near the source of power in Washington and obtaining advanced degrees from prestigious civilian institutions as possible.

The above assertions are wrong at worst and incomplete at best. The real story regarding successful military careers, as the saying goes, is “it depends.”

(Example: at this point in time, it is still possible to be promoted if you drive an SUV and not a Prius.)

While you don’t have to “profess your faith” in the “ruling class” (which I’ll broaden to mean your service, Army, for example, or specialty/weapon system, airlift, let’s say), I do believe you can’t speak any ideological unfaith, or even give voice to any doubts (except under very limited conditions). Basically, you need to convincingly appear to be assimilated and the higher your rank, the more assimilated-looking you must be.

And regarding the “advanced degrees from prestigious civilian institutions,” there’s far more to it than that. In fact, too many educational experiences will normally lead to career self-elimination/plateauing as the military rewards action (which happens in military assignments  including command and “standing close to the flagpole”) and not introspection (which occurs in an educational setting).

Beyond all that, the government-military complex has established set asides for all sorts of impressive sounding academic programs (and pays for them), so it isn’t as competitive as getting into Princeton as a white, non-legacy, Appalachian-American male. Some of the military services, the Air Force, for example, are quite egalitarian, assuming you’re a pilot. The USAF has plenty of general officers with advanced degrees from Central Michigan and Embry Riddle.

Back to the Ricochet article:

Waging war successfully is not a criterion for advancement to the senior ranks of our military. This accounts for the prominence of generals like Petraeus and Powell.

While the first blurb was highly arguable, the above blurb is inarguable. First off, even during war, large parts of the military may not be “at war.” Next, being great at your military job is neither necessary nor sufficient for an eye-watering military career (although it is undeniably helpful). What is necessary is avoiding blame (if failure should occur) and having the right words and right blocks checked on your performance reports (and from the right people). Over time this become your record.

And as the saying goes, your record—and not you—is what meets the promotion board. In time, a “halo,” deserved or not, hardens into a form of institutional “can’t fail” (unless some sort of crime or egregious violation—like adultery—has been committed while on active duty).

Total war—World War II—led to military leaders who were total warriors (think Curtis LeMay) from whom advanced academic degrees from prestigious institutions did not matter. What then did matter was a successful combat record. Today, the thought of total war is far-fetched. Our nation lacks the will, stomach, and capacity to wage total war. So in the meantime, we’ll continue to create leaders who work within the system that exists.

In the military or anywhere else, what gets rewarded is what gets done.

I tell you folks, it’s harder than it looks…

More Petraeus resignation hooey: it ain’t adding up

The Petraeus resignation backstory smells worse and worse. From Politico:

The FBI reportedly happened upon former CIA Director David Petraeus’s extramarital affair while investigating a complaint from a woman close to Petraeus who had received harassing emails from the general’s alleged mistress.

First, when does the FBI get involved—as an apparent first responder—in complaints about “harassing emails”?

Answer: I’ll take “never” for a thousand.

More:

…the sexual demeanor of the [Petraeus/Paula Broadwell] emails pointed to an affair. Investigators approached Petraeus two weeks ago about what they had discovered and told him no criminal charges would be filed, according to The New York Times.

Next, what charges—exactly—would be considered?

Beyond that, if there is no crime, what exactly was being investigated?

Finally, given that adultery has been granted status as a societal non-crime, why did Petraeus resign?

While Petraeus is a self-confessed zipper case and such behavior can’t be condoned, it seems he’s getting—so to speak—shafted.

BTW, All In is the title of Broadwell’s biography on Petraeus. Sounds like some sort of Freudian slip or double entendre which is sadly appropriate for this whole peculiar spectacle.

On the Petraeus resignation: what just happened?

zipper case

David Petraeus, CIA Director, resigns on the Friday before Veterans Day for having an extramarital affair. What really just happened?

Here’s the WSJ’s report:

The [FBI’s] computer-security investigation—which raised questions about a potential compromise to national security—points to one reason Mr. Petraeus and the White House decided he couldn’t remain in the senior intelligence position. An extramarital affair has significant implications for an official in a highly sensitive post, because it can open an official to blackmail.

Except that makes no sense! Petraeus just coughed up his mea culpa, ergo how could he be blackmailed? As such, that theory makes as much sense as Barney Frank being blackmailed for being homosexual.

And while we’re at it, let’s get real: the Administration has been no friend to David Petraeus.

First, the Administration did all it could to minimize Petraeus, a military rock star, by sending him over to Afghanistan to replace his own subordinate after the media manufactured McChrystal mauling. Next, when Petraeus retired, a man of his record warrants the Directorship of the CIA? Not exactly a leap ahead—as being Chairman of the JCS would be—and likely so planned by the Administration. Finally, all this comes after the election and after Petraeus, like the Administration itself, put up a gigantic “not our fault” flashing neon sign with regard to the Benghazi debacle.

Could it be a coincidence, you ask, that this comes out in the wash just after the election? The odds of a coincidence range from improbable to impossible. Why? Because (again) according to the WSJ, this e-scandal has been bouncing around since the spring and it ended months ago.

The computer investigation began late this spring, according to a person familiar with the investigation. Mr. Petraeus wasn’t interviewed by the FBI until recently.

While Mr. Petraeus was still a general, he had email exchanges with the woman, but there wasn’t a physical relationship, the person said. The affair began after Mr. Petraeus retired from the Army in August 2011 and ended months ago, the person said.

I have no sympathy for a zipper case, yet on this issue, the fix was in and was being held until just the right moment. Military guys have little propensity to fight back (versus their political counterparts; think Bill Clinton) and lack the stomach for a steady stream of disgrace and embarrassment as the FBI-found e-mails would likely reveal… of course, unless you were to resign, General.

Better to just fade away.

All zipper cases are not created equal

David Petraeus’s political future has almost certainly just gone up in a puff of smoke. The cause? Extramarital sex.

While all general officers—and flag officers—are political, big-boy politics ain’t beanbag, nor is it nearly as collegial as the military.

(Consider Colon Colin Powell, a non-zipper case military man who still clearly confirms the military-political Peter Principle. With Powell, the longer he’s out of the public light, the better his legacy.)

Other political zipper cases—Bill Clinton, the Lyin’ Lion of the Senate, his brother, others—haven’t fared as poorly as Petraeus, nor for that matter, are those who have been charged with crimes, such a John Edwards (although Edwards is finally toast).

Yeah, you got your occasional Gary Hart, but it’s strange how it works out, isn’t it?