The War for Intel Independence

President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are framing the trials of John Bolton, their nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, as a partisan political squabble. It is much more than that. It is rather a matter of life and death for the endangered species of intelligence analysts determined to "tell it … Continue reading “The War for Intel Independence”

Paying the Price for Getting It Right

Many have asked how it could be that a comparatively small group of intelligence analysts in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) was able to get it right on several key Iraq-related issues, while larger agencies like CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency – with, literally, a cast of thousands – got … Continue reading “Paying the Price for Getting It Right”

Honest Intelligence Needed

The latest commission looking into intelligence failures on Iraq reports a certain consistency in the performance of the intelligence community. We are informed that we also “know disturbingly little about the weapons programs” of other countries – such as Iran. One might think this would counsel caution for a Pentagon planning to “take out” Iran’s … Continue reading “Honest Intelligence Needed”

Cheney’s Other Trick NIE?

Hats off to journalist Dafna Linzer and Sunday’s Washington Post for exposing a familiar but fallacious syllogism favored by senior Bush administration officials: Iran has a lot of oil. Ergo, Iran does not need nuclear energy for civil purposes. Ergo, Iran’s nuclear development program must be for weapons. Linzer and her researcher, Robert Thomason, remind … Continue reading “Cheney’s Other Trick NIE?”

The Intelligence Made
Them Do It

Let’s review now. It was bad intelligence that made President George W. Bush invade Iraq, right? No, you say, and you are correct; that is just White House spin. The “intelligence” was conjured up many months after President George W. Bush’s decision to attack. Now, two years and thousands of lives later, the story is … Continue reading “The Intelligence Made
Them Do It”

Who Now Will Read to the President in the Morning?

Senate skids have been greased for John Negroponte to be confirmed as the first director of national intelligence. Never mind that he deliberately misled Congress about serious human rights abuses in Honduras where he was ambassador from 1981 to 1985. That dissembling enabled the White House to circumvent the congressional restrictions that would have denied … Continue reading “Who Now Will Read to the President in the Morning?”

Hail, Hail The Gang’s All Here

The nomination of John Negroponte to the new post of director of National Intelligence (DNI) caps a remarkable parade of Bush administration senior nominees. Among the most recent: Alberto Gonzales, confirmed as attorney general: the lawyer who advised the president he could ignore the US War Crimes Act and the Geneva Conventions on torture and … Continue reading “Hail, Hail The Gang’s All Here”

It’s Worse Than Illegal

The following remarks were delivered at a press conference for Veterans for Common Sense. My professional credentials are in intelligence, but I believe the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for attorney general is first and foremost a moral issue, so I will address it from a moral perspective. In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, … Continue reading “It’s Worse Than Illegal”

Laughing Dragon, Dancing Bear

While President George W. Bush, his neoconservative advisers, and centrist Democrats bask in the glow of America’s status as "the one remaining superpower in the world," signs are mounting that other major powers do not intend to hunker down and suspend their own efforts to shape history. The most striking result of Russian Defense Minister … Continue reading “Laughing Dragon, Dancing Bear”