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Spengler

Gulliver Tied Down by Lilliputians

September 2nd, 2013 - 7:18 am

American Culture and American Intelligence

Jul 22, 2010

“Intelligence,” both in the national security as well as the ordinary sense of the term, is limited by the culture from whence it stems. Dana Priest’s and William Arkin’s Washington Post account of chaos in the American intelligence community, “A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control,” has prompted a round of finger-wagging at both the Bush and Obama administrations. But the glaring problems in America’s intelligence services stem from an underlying failing in American culture, exacerbated by massive over-resourcing and duplication of effort in response to 9/11.

According to Priest and Arkin, “The overload of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and annual reports is actually counterproductive, say people who receive them. Some policymakers and senior officials don’t dare delve into the backup clogging their computers. They rely instead on personal briefers, and those briefers usually rely on their own agency’s analysis, re-creating the very problem identified as a main cause of the failure to thwart the attacks: a lack of information-sharing.” They report:

Among the most important people inside the [intelligence installations] are the low-paid employees carrying their lunches to work to save money. They are the analysts, the 20- and 30-year-olds making $41,000 to $65,000 a year, whose job is at the core of everything Top Secret America tries to do.

At its best, analysis melds cultural understanding with snippets of conversations, coded dialogue, anonymous tips, even scraps of trash, turning them into clues that lead to individuals and groups trying to harm the United States.

Their work is greatly enhanced by computers that sort through and categorize data. But in the end, analysis requires human judgment, and half the analysts are relatively inexperienced, having been hired in the past several years, said a senior ODNI official. Contract analysts are often straight out of college and trained at corporate headquarters.

But where is the intelligence community likely to find personnel qualified for foreign intelligence? A rough but useful gauge is the number of university students studying the languages terrorists typically speak.

Read the rest of my article at First Things.

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Top Rated Comments   
Thankfully only about two-thirds of them wind up getting the job.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Amen to that. The only good terrorist is a dead one.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
More accurately Islam is at war with us and we are in denial. If we weren't in denial Hussein would never have been elected POTUS. Good grief, it wasn't enough that he was the narcissistic son of 2 commies. He was not the son of 2 citizen parents and thus not a a natural born citizen as that term was understood when the Constitution was drafted. When you add in the failure to check Muslim immigration after 9/11 and President Bush's religion of peace nonsense you have a prescription for disaster.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (37)
All Comments   (37)
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More accurately, Gulliver tied down by Gulliver.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I resent the analogy. - David Gulliver
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
DLI in Montery is still up and running, is it not?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
These are not new problems, the US faced similar issues 80 years ago with Japan. The difference is, the POS POTUS we have to deal with today. If instead of FDR in the White House in the 1930's, we had had Yasuhito, Prince Chichibu, Hirohito's brother, running the government, the situation would have resembled the current mess. Suffice it to say, WW II in the Pacific would have had a far less benign outcome for the United States.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
First of all, it is NOT a matter of Washington not being in the loop. ALL being taken into consideration, it's a wilfully blind individual who thinks our problem is a matter of misguided foreign policy. And now we have Boehner agreeing with and supporting President Obamas choice of actions. PLEASE, does anyone get the picture yet on what here in this country we are up against?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There's a difference between the number of applicants w/t terrorist ties who *apply* for intelligence jobs, and the number of applicants *hired*.

They wouldn't be much of an adversary if they weren't smart enough to try to penetrate their enemies' systems, now would they?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thankfully only about two-thirds of them wind up getting the job.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The skills sought in a truly competent interpreter include being bi-lingual in the two languages and being bi-cultural. Under most circumstances this combination of skills is learned at mother's knee, not taught in college. So, the "mother tongue" is learned at home and English is picked-up in grade/high school. The mother tongue may be polished at university. Ergo, the person sought to fill this niche will be a first or second generation immigrant. Most first generation immigrants will not be able to qualify for a top secret security clearance so they will not be employable by the intelligence community. Being sent to visit relatives or go to school for while in the "old" country would help both with getting current in the language and in acculturation. But, good luck with convincing the CIA/DIA/NSA that you are a good and loyal American.

The alternative, used by all of the intelligence agencies, is to send 20 somethings to "language" school for a year to two to "learn" the required language. Then the new agent spends six to ten years in that part of his/her agency. However, the siren call of promotion will, eventually, cause him/her to move on and the language skills will slowly disappear.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is a black ops move. Elect a plant as the last POTUS. Destroy the dollar. Cause a civil war in the US. Finally invade & dominate. When the whole thing is done get rid of Muslims after they have been used as usual.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You forgot, "cause suspicion of the US intelligence operation so that it is destoryed and the country is laid bare to its enemies".

OK, I'll bite. By whom?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The impression I get regarding Israel differs between (*) your two articles.

From this article I get, "Israel should be a valuble ally, but the US doesn't want to listen".

From your First Things article I get, "Israel and maybe India can help, but we should be careful whom we trust".

the messages are quite different, almost conflict. Why?

(*) among?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We are at war with Islam yet we continue letting Islam into the country. There will be hell to pay. Low-information humans will simply have no idea how the chaos and carnage happened.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
More accurately Islam is at war with us and we are in denial. If we weren't in denial Hussein would never have been elected POTUS. Good grief, it wasn't enough that he was the narcissistic son of 2 commies. He was not the son of 2 citizen parents and thus not a a natural born citizen as that term was understood when the Constitution was drafted. When you add in the failure to check Muslim immigration after 9/11 and President Bush's religion of peace nonsense you have a prescription for disaster.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good old modern liberal media - how well they have brain washed the average US Citizen
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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