Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Secret Intelligence Appreciation Day Part 1
Please join me in calling on our Government to declare “Secret Intelligence Appreciation Day”, a day on which we pay homage to our selfless public servants sneaking around on our behalf. On this special day we also work to educate our woefully ignorant masses about the nuances and aesthetics of secret intelligence.
More than any time since the late, lamented Cold War passed away, ordinary people are discussing a seemingly endless stream of revelations about secret intelligence, secret missions, and special operations. It has become a topic of hipster parties and a test of faith among people who are sensitive to the shifting trends of what opinions are required in polite society. “Did you hear?” they say, “Did you hear that America actually *spied* on someone and then they used drones! Oh my God!”
I listen and read these discussions and shake my head with dismay at the primitive and je jeune aesthetics and misinformation with which the self-appointed elite respond to the latest breathless disclosures whether by a would-be whistle blower, or a superannuated Vietnam era counterrevolutionary, by Anonymous or someone pretending to be Anonymous, by Wikileaks or yes by everyone's favorite, Ed Snowden, the little spy who couldnt stop.
Instead of complaining they should be happy and feel blessed to live in an era where we are privileged to know such things because historically this is quite rare. And I have wondered if whether the expressions of outrage comes in part from a lack of aesthetic training in this area. People have to study to understand Mahler, perhaps they should have to expect to study to understand the Berlin Tunnel.
So here at Global Wahrman, I propose to lead a modest seminar from time to time in “special intelligence appreciation” so that you the reader can heighten your knowledge of these arcane matters and appreciate them for what they are and what they are not.
Unless of course you know all this stuff already, which many of you do.
First a note on sources and controversies. Many of you know that I hold rather eclectic opinions on some matters; opinions that are outside the mainstream. To the best of my knowledge that will not be the case here. The intent here is to go over some very uncontroversial general principles, that I hope, and with sincere good faith, are pretty much just true. There is always nuance of course, and “all generalizations are wrong” and we will try to point these out as we go along. On the other hand, when I say something like “in my humble opinion” or “it is my speculation” feel free to laugh because that is just me guessing.
I am no great scholar to know these things, I am just a layman who has an interest and who reads a lot. And if you are interested in these matters then you can know this stuff as well.
First we go over the boring principles, then we get to the more fun ones.
In the following, IC stands for Intelligence Community which is a blanket term used to refer to the 17 different independent agencies of the US Government responsible for intelligence matters. POTUS stands for President of the United States. CONUS stands for Continental United States, which means the 48 states not including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, etc.
1. Is it legal for the US Government to keep secrets from the American people?
2. Is it legal for the US Government to keep secrets from the US Congress?
3. Is it legal for the IC to break the law?
4. Why do we have so many different agencies?
5. Are all of these agencies a part of the Department of Defense / Pentagon?
6. Does the CIA / NSA go around killing people?
7. Why do we spy on our allies?
8. Why do we do spend all this money and do these sort of things? What about love?
9. How do we know about any of these things at all?
(and now a little more fun)
10. I hear that George Bush was warned about 911 and did nothing.
11. What happens when a secret intelligence project is leaked.
12. I read that so and so is moving to Germany so that the NSA cant spy on them.
13. When such-and-such project was leaked, the learker said it was illegal, was it?
14. Why is the government so intent on prosecuting Ed Snowden?
15. Is it true that drones kill civilians?
(and even more)
16. How can I believe anything they say. How do I know the POTUS isnt lying about something?
17. Why dont the various agencies of the IC work together better?
18. Arent they really hiding a secret plot to kill Americans just like I see in the movies.
19. Why doesnt Congress do something to stop these horrible activities?
(and finally, my opinions about ... )
20. Seymore Hirsch.
21. Glenn Greenwalt, Laura Poitras, Wikileaks.
So, here we go!
Continued in Part 2....