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  • You call this intelligence?

    The White House has been throttling the press over the scraps of 'intelligence' that it's tossing out today. To me, these shreds of information only serve to indicate that nothing has changed with respect to Al Qaeda and the terrorist threat - it's still there, stronger or weaker, and much of our intelligence still consists of guesswork and generalizations. Where is the intelligence that says the 'war on terror' approach does not work and the US needs to put more effort into domestic security, international diplomacy and intelligence sharing (both internally and externally)?

    There will be a persistent threat from terrorism for the next century. It's time to start realizing the greater picture here.

    The report, put together over three years, warned of a persistent threat from terrorism to the United States over the next three years.

    But it said the threat from Muslim extremists inside the United States was "not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe."

    The assessment said increased global counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have "constrained" al Qaeda's ability to attack within the United States again and led militant groups to perceive it as "a harder target to strike" than on September 11.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/polit...7?pageNumber=1

  • #2
    Re: You call this intelligence?

    Man, I've been meaning to bring up Secretary Chertoff's "gut feeling" that something bad's going to happen this summer and I keep forgetting...

    Despite the lunacy of publicly announcing you have a "bad feeling", we need to remember that intelligence is as much an art as it is a science. Kinda like psychology in that manner. It's not always accurate, but the generalities are sound. Individuals are the only ones that can analyze the data, so pure objectivity is impossible.

    I'm also frustrated with the lack of communication from the White House. Sure, there's lots of stuff that shouldn't be released to the public, but at least tell us the general direction in which we're going to go!
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    • #3
      Re: You call this intelligence?

      Originally posted by AMosely View Post
      Where is the intelligence that says the 'war on terror' approach does not work and the US needs to put more effort into domestic security, international diplomacy and intelligence sharing (both internally and externally)?
      So, uh, are you suggesting that the government decided to classify that line in the report so no one could read it? Or perhaps you're suggesting that no one in the government is as brilliant as you so they haven't come up with it yet?

      I've got a counter suggestion--that line of "intelligence" hasn't been written because it would be inaccurate.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: You call this intelligence?

        Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
        So, uh, are you suggesting that the government decided to classify that line in the report so no one could read it? Or perhaps you're suggesting that no one in the government is as brilliant as you so they haven't come up with it yet?
        Learn how to maturely discuss things with people whom you disagree with if you want anyone to respond to you.

        I've got a counter suggestion--that line of "intelligence" hasn't been written because it would be inaccurate.
        It's far more accurate than anything that has been released this week. Here's a quote : "Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here." This statement conveys no sense of authority or validity to me.

        What I am suggesting is that I'd like to see more statements of fact concerning domestic security improvements - other than the leaked NSA wiretap program, that is.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: You call this intelligence?

          Intelligence "reports" like this that are made to the press are first and foremost political documents. It is no coincidence that Chertoff's "gut feeling" preceded a wave of Republican speeches from the likes of Santorum, Brownback, and various ringers about the likelihood of another imminent attack and how they would be proven "right" about the threat of terrorism.

          A populace afraid of an outside attack is more likely to support an authoritarian government. The Republican party has hitched their wagon to the terror horse and they must continually whip it over and over again to maintain any kind of momentum in the face of growing public discontent. These briefing have never been written to provide the public with useful, actionable information, but to raise specters and remind us that we need the government to protect us.
          In game handle: Steel Scion
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          • #6
            Re: You call this intelligence?

            Originally posted by AMosely View Post
            Learn how to maturely discuss things with people whom you disagree with if you want anyone to respond to you.
            My comment was on precisely the same level as the original comment I was replying to. If you consider that immature, then perhaps it is, but no more so than the original. And lo and behold, people did respond to me.


            It's far more accurate than anything that has been released this week. Here's a quote : "Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here." This statement conveys no sense of authority or validity to me.

            What I am suggesting is that I'd like to see more statements of fact concerning domestic security improvements - other than the leaked NSA wiretap program, that is.
            Alright, if that's what you're suggesting, then that's what you should say. Thats not even a bad suggestion in and of itself. But it's not what you said the first time around.

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            • #7
              Re: You call this intelligence?

              Originally posted by AMosely View Post
              "Although we have discovered only a handful of individuals in the United States with ties to al Qaeda senior leadership since 9/11, we judge that al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here." This statement conveys no sense of authority or validity to me.
              It's a valid statement to me but what exactly does it say? Nothing revealing. Of course, Al Qaeda would want to put more operatives here and if they could intensify their efforts to put operatives here they would?

              But then again I could be misreading it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: You call this intelligence?

                Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                The White House has been throttling the press over the scraps of 'intelligence' that it's tossing out today. To me, these shreds of information only serve to indicate that nothing has changed with respect to Al Qaeda and the terrorist threat - it's still there, stronger or weaker, and much of our intelligence still consists of guesswork and generalizations. Where is the intelligence that says the 'war on terror' approach does not work and the US needs to put more effort into domestic security, international diplomacy and intelligence sharing (both internally and externally)?

                There will be a persistent threat from terrorism for the next century. It's time to start realizing the greater picture here.



                http://www.reuters.com/article/polit...7?pageNumber=1
                What improvements would you suggest? And could you expand on the "greater picture" that the rest of us are missing?

                It's easy to recycle a Democrat party line statement like: "The Bush administration's national security strategy has failed in its most basic responsibility,". What does that mean?

                In my view they have succeeded in their primary responsibility - by keeping Al Qaeda busy in THEIR back yard! Where would we be if their car bombs were going off in say, Maine? I suppose the Bush administration would be blamed for not pursuing them in the middle east. Thinking we have something to "win" in Irag is a naive notion. What we gain is security in the US.

                The Bush administration inherited this mess and the Democrats know it, so they are busy criticizing anything and everything Bush to distract the public into thinking they are not culpable and it appears it is working well on you. You see a report compiled from data from SIXTEEN security agencies and criticize it as "shreds of evidence", nothing new and accuse them of not sharing information? Are you serious?

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                • #9
                  Re: You call this intelligence?

                  Maybe if we'd finished the job at Tora Bora?
                  Do or do not, there is no try....
                  -- Yoda, Dagobah

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: You call this intelligence?

                    Originally posted by Judge_Leo View Post
                    In my view they have succeeded in their primary responsibility - by keeping Al Qaeda busy in THEIR back yard! Where would we be if their car bombs were going off in say, Maine? I suppose the Bush administration would be blamed for not pursuing them in the middle east. Thinking we have something to "win" in Irag is a naive notion. What we gain is security in the US.
                    Um, doesn't the report kind of imply that bombs going of in Anbar don't necessarily prevent bombs from going off in Maine? In fact, doesn't it explicitly state that the conflict in Iraq is energizing Al Qaeda membership and providing training and recruits for potential attacks in other countries, including the US?

                    Update your talking points. The "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" line is disproven, stale, and foolish.

                    The Bush administration inherited this mess and the Democrats know it, so they are busy criticizing anything and everything Bush to distract the public into thinking they are not culpable and it appears it is working well on you.
                    Bush Jr. inherited it from Clinton, Clinton inherited it from Bush, and Bush inherited it from Reagan. Reagan himself inherited a lot of it from Carter. Each of these administrations contributed to the current geopolitical make up of the middle east. The timeline of history does not simply end at a point convenient for you to attack your political enemies.

                    But if it makes you feel better to believe that the current situation in Iraq and the middle east is somehow more Clinton's fault than Bush's, who am I to deny you your opiate?
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                    • #11
                      Re: You call this intelligence?

                      Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                      Update your talking points. The "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" line is disproven, stale, and foolish.
                      Where, exactly? I should very much like to see this proof. It sounds interesting.

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                      • #12
                        Re: You call this intelligence?

                        Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                        Update your talking points. The "fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here" line is disproven, stale, and foolish.
                        Does this mean you would rather bring the violence home?

                        Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                        The timeline of history does not simply end at a point convenient for you to attack your political enemies.
                        Interesting point, I think it's similar to what I was saying only different?

                        Originally posted by Steeler View Post
                        But if it makes you feel better to believe that the current situation in Iraq and the middle east is somehow more Clinton's fault than Bush's, who am I to deny you your opiate?
                        I didn't mention Clinton.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: You call this intelligence?

                          Originally posted by Judge_Leo View Post
                          What improvements would you suggest? And could you expand on the "greater picture" that the rest of us are missing?
                          The greater picture is that terrorism has and will continue to be a threat to national and public security regardless of the perceived success or failure of a self-proclaimed 'war on terror.' I've said before that such a war cannot be won. The war on terror is both a war of vigilence and diplomacy. Terrorism is a tactic employed by the oppressed, and so long as there is injustice (whether real or perceived) in the world terrorism will have a use.

                          An improvement would be significant changes in the intelligence community that involve less administrative control instead of more. Diplomatic relations, especially with countries such as Iran, should have been established all along instead of lumping them into a fictional 'axis of evil.' Such elementary and uncomplicated world views will only serve to cause harm to America in the decades to come. I urge you to look into Saudi Arabian and Iranian history in the past 50 years, paying close attention to American involvement both in terms of private contracts (see my posts on empire building) and declassified CIA activity. It is there that you will find the true origins of the modern Islamic terror threat. When I talk about the bigger picture, I am talking about making a concerted effort to not repeat that history, and instead learn from it and possibly undo it.

                          It's easy to recycle a Democrat party line statement like: "The Bush administration's national security strategy has failed in its most basic responsibility,". What does that mean?
                          I take it to mean that his policies have left us even more vulnerable than we were before. The military is being drained of morale and confidence as the Iraq war drags on into a fifth year. The public is frustrated and divided, and as a result of the last elections created gridlock in congress. The country is now fighting a war that it cannot sustain in most respects. And, lastly, of relevance to this thread, there is little faith in our intelligence community to keep track of the biggest threats to national security, and this latest report confirms that in my mind. It's guesswork. That, to me, is the most glaring sign of failure.

                          In my view they have succeeded in their primary responsibility - by keeping Al Qaeda busy in THEIR back yard! Where would we be if their car bombs were going off in say, Maine? I suppose the Bush administration would be blamed for not pursuing them in the middle east. Thinking we have something to "win" in Irag is a naive notion. What we gain is security in the US.

                          The Bush administration inherited this mess and the Democrats know it, so they are busy criticizing anything and everything Bush to distract the public into thinking they are not culpable and it appears it is working well on you. You see a report compiled from data from SIXTEEN security agencies and criticize it as "shreds of evidence", nothing new and accuse them of not sharing information? Are you serious?
                          The Iraq war hasn't kept anything in a back yard except the very insurgency that it created in Iraq. Al Qaeda has been extremely active (and in some cases successful) in Europe (mostly Britain), Pakistan and Indonesia. Depending on the outcome of the Pakistani elections, they could become more entrenched than ever. They are gaining strength, not losing it. Even this new 'intelligence' supports that, but this is not news.

                          The Bush administration did not inherit a war, and conciously elected to start two. I agree with them starting one of the wars, but they mismanaged both by going with flawed strategies (see the other thread I recently started on re-examining the insurgency in Iraq). The Bush administration inherited a threat that previously had not been dealt with, and they themselves were not planning to deal with it until 9/11 happened. This is documented fact. If you've read any of my previous posts, I don't play the blame game in this matter, and I do not make claims that it is any one agency or department's 'fault' for not containing this threat earlier. One can only place blame on decisions and policies made. I think that many of Bush's decisions and policies have been mistakes.

                          I challenge you to find something new and concrete in the pieces of this report that were unclassified. What I have read thus far sounds like a press junket. Based on the flawed intelligence surrounding the Iraq war, it has been concretely established that the U.S. intelligence community is flawed, and this has not yet been proven corrected. This report does nothing to restore any level of confidence, instead actually confirming fears of the current administration using intelligence in the wrong ways. I am absolutely serious, and don't for once think that anything is 'working well on me.'

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                          • #14
                            Re: You call this intelligence?

                            I'll try to summarize your solutions:

                            1. Less administrative control of our intelligence community.

                            2. Establish diplomatic relations with Iran and other nations like them.

                            Seems pretty easy, I wonder why they haven't thought of that? :)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: You call this intelligence?

                              Originally posted by Judge_Leo View Post
                              I'll try to summarize your solutions:

                              1. Less administrative control of our intelligence community.

                              2. Establish diplomatic relations with Iran and other nations like them.

                              Seems pretty easy, I wonder why they haven't thought of that? :)
                              I'm not sure what your joke is here, but I have little doubt that they have thought of it, they just haven't done it. Their policy, both domestic and foreign, is mostly one of 'my way or the highway.' Of the two you listed, Bush's administration will not allow #1 (substitute executive for administrative) and has begrudgingly begun #2 under pressure from dozens of former diplomats fearing a potential catastrophe. There are no other nations 'like' Iran, by the way. It shares similarities to many other nations, both in the Middle East and in Latin America, but is quite unique at this point in history - and not just because of its nuclear ambitions.

                              I am not convinced that you know what I'm talking about when it comes to foreign policy. Check out a recent book by Dennis Ross entitled Statecraft, it outlines quite a bit of successful ingredients to foreign policy, and focuses on the situation in Iran.

                              None of this seems easy to me. Perhaps that's what is so damning about the logic behind the current aministration's bungles - that they perceive too much to be easy.

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