Monday, May 15, 2006

The use of information

is the regime's biggest stumbling block concerning intelligence. The military has a tremendous capacity to collect intelligence.

Eighty percent of the national intelligence budget goes to the Pentagon, which contains the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, and the intelligence branches of each of the armed services. end quote.

And the CIA, a civilian agency,

coordinated all of the other intelligence agencies and packaged the resulting information into the president's daily intelligence briefing . . . end quote.

In other words, the power of the CIA came not from its funding or its strength, but from its capacity to manipulate the president. I don't mean to sound like the resident of a totalitarian state, but that's how I feel when I write about these matters. The distribution of power is not the simple fruit of principle or institution, but rather the heavily-doctored product of manipulation, advertising, and of what one person is capable of making another person perceive and think.

But the Pentagonians have had all they can stand of legwork and silence. They get 80% of the funding, it's time for the CIA to know its place and back down. This plays beautifully into neocon objectives because

For one thing, the Pentagon's intelligence activities largely escape congressional scrutiny. ''Rumsfeld and Cambone claim that everything they do is a military operation," says Richard Clarke, the former head of counterterrorism at the National Security Council, ''[and] that therefore nothing that they do should have oversight by the House and Senate intelligence committees. But they are doing things that are clearly intelligence." end quote.

I've said before that the U.S. intelligence establlishment, military & civilian, has no trouble gathering information. They can gather information on anything. Even though the NSA insists that it's only been "data mining" it really could listen in on every conversation, every internet transaction and every conversation in the nation and in many parts of the world if it wanted to using both tech & humans.
The problem is that once they have their pound of flesh, they don't know how to analyse it. The considerations involved in analysis and the direction of critical method goes either toward questioning the information to sell panic, to sell weapons systems, or to push or pull. The analysis, I believe, has been done with the end of manipulation in mind, and manipulation is not the same as a realistic assessment of possible actions.

The NSA, the NRO, and the NIMA, while technically part of the Pentagon, have a national mandate, but the DIA (the CIA's closest competitor) and the military intelligence arms have traditionally focused on the sort of information that would be of interest to a military commander-troop levels or weaponry or target locations. The CIA, on the other hand, sees itself as having a broader field of focus, taking in political and diplomatic concerns as well as military ones. end quote.

We possessed all the information we needed to head off 9/11.
The reason we did not use it correctly was a failure of analysis.
Our problems were not in intelligence gathering, or in the size or funding of intelligence.
They were all in the analysis area. And they remain in the analysis area if you read this article.

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