Thursday, January 03, 2008

No spy left behind

from the WaPo:

The keepers of the nation's secrets soon will be evaluated against common standards on how well they analyze problems, share information and stand behind their professional judgments.
Because NCLB is working so well for our childrens.

Those job performance standards and others will apply to all rank-and-file civil service employees in the government's intelligence community, according to a directive issued last month by the director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell.
Because Rule Number 2 rules. [rule #1: the boss is always right. rule #2: when the boss is wrong, see rule #1.]

It marks the first time that the employees, across 16 agencies, will be evaluated according to the same performance requirements.
Because no country needs 16 spy agencies, we'll start rolling them all into one. Kinda like the unitary executive; who needs redundancy? [actually, 16 does seem excessive.]

Intelligence agencies have been faulted in Congress and by independent commissions for missing opportunities to detect the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists and for a flawed analysis of the threat posed by Iraq under Saddam Hussein. In a bid to pull intelligence agencies closer together, Congress approved a law in 2004 that permits the director of national intelligence to set policies for managing intelligence employees.
It's been awhile, and I haven't been paying attention lately, but didn't we decide that the underlings repeatedly tried to warn Bush about all those people taking their flying lessons only half-seriously? Learning to take off but not bothering to learn how to land?

It's also been awhile since I read The One Percent Doctrine, but ever since 9/11 [and perhaps even before then] Cheney's worldview has essentially been: If there's a 1% chance that Iraq has nukes... if there's a 1% chance that some guy's a terrorist... if there's a 1% chance that some other guy knows a terrorist... if there's a 1% chance that ___insert your favorite fear here___, then we have to act as if it's true and we're in imminent peril.


Anonymous said...

Actually, without going into detail, there is a very good reason there are that many agencies. It reflects the methods each uses to collect data, and the type of information they are attempting to extract from the data collected.

The real problem, which isn't being addressed realistically, is combining all of this information into a single product for the decision makers. That is a task of the CIA, but they haven't been doing it very well, because they don't treat information from other agencies with the same level of respect they give their internally produced information.

A case in point was the fall of the Soviet Union. A number of groups could see it coming and reported on it for years, but the CIA ignored the reports, because the fall of the Soviet Union would endanger their budget. Politics and budgets are too influential in the process.

Unknown said...

Ouch! I spent the majority of my (short) military career as an intelligence officer.

I wonder if Chaney’s “1% rule” is related to Giuliani’s “Zero Tolerance”?

hipparchia said...

... the same level of respect they give their internally produced information.


i'm a tax-and-spend big-government librul, and i believe in redundancy and backups and multiple points of view and attacking problems from all sides, in just about all areas of life, but 16 shades of state-sponsored secrecy is just plain creepy.

hipparchia said...

i would guess that cheney's 1% and giuliani's zero tolerance are both comforts to an authoritarian mind.