America's Intelligence System: Part III – Political Chemotherapy For This Growing Cancer

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Part
1: Bloated and Ineffective

Part
2: Why It Has Failed

This
is Part III of a three-part essay on America’s intelligence system.
This first part dealt with what it is and how it has failed. Part
II dealt with the specific reasons for its failure. Part III describes
how it is morphing into an instrument of a police state and, given
that we are currently stuck with a protection racket government,
how to cut it down to size to preserve our rights to life, liberty,
and property.

Since
the end of the Cold War and despite the many failures cited in Part
I of this essay, America’s intelligence agencies have survived virtually
intact. Now they are thriving again, thanks to their collective
failure to warn of and prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the
U.S. The budget for the intelligence community has been increased
– possibly on the order of $5 – 10 billion per year, and
most components of the intelligence community are going on a spending
spree. More of the same bureaucratic incompetence and waste, in
and of itself, will continue to leave the nation exposed to internal
and external threats. Treating the symptoms and not the causes,
politicians of almost all political stripes have been pushing additional
new solutions to the intelligence problem, many of which threaten
our rights to life, liberty, and property.

The
Department of Homeland Security bill – the House bill was passed
by the Senate on November 19, 2002 in the lame duck session of Congress
– contains some extremely troubling provisions. First, this
department is being structured along the lines of the interior or
home ministries in European countries, which means that it may eventually
pick up some sort of law enforcement/internal spying/secret police
functions. The Secret Service will be transferred to this department,
and one should wonder why? Like Jim West and Artemus Gordon in the
old “Wild, Wild West” television series, will U.S. Secret Service
agents begin prowling the country in search of bad guys, breaking
any laws deemed necessary to get the job done?

Then,
too, there is a provision in the Homeland Security bill that will
allow the department to start funding the development of new technologies
to enhance U.S. security. Such technologies would include the type
that could be used to spy on citizens, keep track of their movements,
and help turn the nation into a police state. There is also a provision
in the bill that affects the Defense Department’s Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA. DARPA is now being run
by the infamous John Poindexter, the former Navy Admiral/National
Security Adviser who took the hit on the Iran-Contra affair in the
Reagan Administration. The bill will allow DARPA to set up a Security
Advanced Research Projects Agency (SARPA – don’t you love all
these crazy acronyms!) that will conduct research into new technologies
for security as well as set up a massive database on all people
in the U.S. – both citizens and non-citizens. The database
will contain information from one’s bank and brokerage records,
spending and travel habits from credit card receipts and checks,
information on one’s passport and its usage, tidbits gleaned from
personal e-mail messages, web sites visited, and probably phone
records and even phone conversations. Poindexter refers to this
as the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program, and the motto
for this program is knowledge is power. To aid Poindexter,
the National Security Agency might well turn its listening devices
on the American public and begin shipping the information to his
TIA database. After all, NSA needs a mission as all it can seem
to do with regard to Al Qaeda is tell us that there is a lot
of chatter, an indicator that Osama and his boys are possibly
up to no good. NSA cannot seem to pick up Al Qaeda conversations
in which direct orders of specific attacks are given as Osama and
the boys apparently have learned how to communicate without being
tracked or decoded by NSA or the CIA.

Not
to be outdone in the post-9/11 expansion game, the CIA has gone
on its own spending binge, trying to hire new spies and those with
the ability to read and translate the foreign languages utilized
by Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian terrorists. Furthermore, CIA
has begun to station its employees at FBI field offices, all in
the name of making sure that CIA foreign intelligence is passed
to the FBI to help in the war on terror. This is a major violation
of the principles upon which CIA was created – that is, keep
foreign intelligence gathering and analysis – which often involves
law breaking – separate from the FBI so as not to create an
American KGB. CIA is also going to teach FBI employees how to analyze
intelligence information; this is a real hoot given CIA’s failure
to predict the Soviet economic and political collapse. Finally,
CIA seems to have been given the go-ahead to get heavily involved
in covert operations, actions which, in the past, have come back
to haunt the agency and hurt America’s security.

Then
there is the FBI, which has for a number of years been stationing
special agents around the world (nothing like a foreign assignment
with government-paid housing and other extras!) to fight crime.
Any American with a foreign bank account should consider himself
open to FBI overseas snooping, all of which is now being done in
the name of fighting terrorism. The FBI’s budget has also been increased
sharply, to hire and train more special agents and upgrade their
computers, again all to help with the war on terrorism. Given the
USA Patriot Act, one should question whether the FBI has not been
running amok conducting black bag jobs on suspects’ domiciles since
the law was passed in late 2001 (black bag jobs are illegal break-ins
to snoop around suspects homes, done without a proper search warrant).

Finally,
rumors continue to surface regarding a major reorganization of counter-espionage
and counter-terrorism functions of the U.S. government, all along
the lines of Britain’s MI5 (known as the British Security Service).
Components from the FBI’s counter-espionage and counter-terrorism
units would be taken and moved into such an organization. Would
the new organization stay in the Justice Department or would it
be moved to the proposed Department of Homeland Security; in Britain,
MI5 is under the Home Secretary. Would it be given extensive powers
to violate the Constitution, such as being allowed to conduct illegal
breaking and entering of individual homes as well as conduct warrant-less
wiretaps and buggings? As stated above, the current USA Patriot
Act allows some of this, and it could be expanded even further,
all in the name of protecting us from Islamic terrorism.

In
any case, the combination of all these changes are the types of
powers that the Soviet KGB had – the ability to gather information
on anyone or any organization inside or outside the country, all
in the name of preserving national security. Just as the sun will
likely rise in the morning, the one thing we can be sure of is that
once the government has this power, citizens’ rights to life, liberty,
and property will be grossly abused. It is only a question of when,
not if.

What
Should Be Done

The
whole American intelligence apparatus needs to be drastically trimmed
and refocused. The first steps are to change the U.S. government
policy of trying to run a world empire. By ending our meddling in
other nations’ affair, bringing our troops home, refocusing our
defense efforts on protecting the U.S. from external attacks, extending
the hand of free trade to all countries, and setting up a proper
system to end illegal immigration, we would be able to sharply reduce
our intelligence efforts. This means that the U.S. must adopt a
foreign policy of strict neutrality.

To
paraphrase Dr. Hoppe from his Democracy: The God That Failed,
as long as we have a publicly-owned government with a territorial
monopoly of protection over its citizens along with the power to
tax them to pay for it, there will always be a tendency to a larger
organization, with a decreasing quality of service and an ever-increasing
cost of such service. Thus, regardless of any major changes in U.S.
foreign policy and regardless of what we do to reduce the intelligence
community, bureaucrats and politicians will immediately commence
a new round of scheming and conniving to increase the size and scope
of their territorial protection monopoly. That is why the intelligence
community must always be subject to as much public examination and
questioning as possible; given the awesome and frightening powers
that they have, they should never be trusted.

That
said, let me offer these guidelines for cutting the intelligence
community down to a useful, Constitutionally consistent size and
keeping it on a short leash:

  • CIA and
    the Defense Department need to totally eliminate covert operations.
    These may provide short-term benefits to the U.S., but a good
    number of these operations have come back to bite us, imposing
    much heavier costs on the U.S. in the longer run by creating
    more enemies. While Congress apparently has the authority to
    veto covert actions, this has not been enough of a check on
    the executive branch. Congress needs to assert its authority
    to declare war, because covert actions are unconstitutional
    declarations of war. Thus, no declaration of war, then no covert
    action. One answer to this is that the Congress can grant letters
    of marque and reprisal for specific missions and include authorization
    for U.S. covert operations along with that. This would be the
    legal, Constitutional way to conduct covert action. While some
    element of surprise would be lost, it would definitely provide
    a solution to handling characters and organizations like bin
    Laden and Al Qaeda;
  • The Defense Department and CIA need to be forced to rely on
    commercial sources for as much intelligence as possible, especially
    in the area of spy-in-the-sky satellite photography. This can
    saves billions of dollars without compromising U.S. national
    security. Special government programs should only be used to
    fill in legitimate gaps in coverage;

  • The NSA mission needs to be rationalized and downsized, consistent
    with getting the information needed to prevent sneak attacks
    on the U.S. This cut in funding will also help reduce its capability
    to spy on U.S. citizens;

  • The Defense Intelligence Agency needs to be downsized considerably,
    as its major mission is apparently justifying higher defense
    spending. Once again, a sharp cut in funding will force DIA
    to focus on the mission of identifying the strength and capability
    of potential adversaries;

  • The CIA needs to be downsized significantly, notably in its
    collection, analytical and administrative functions. A downsized
    CIA will be better able to focus on the most important missions
    and provide better information to the president. While the nature
    of human intelligence collection is such that spies must recruit
    agents and get regular reports from them, getting fewer good
    agents – who consistently produce better and more useful
    information that does not need analysis – needs to be emphasized.
    It is obvious that the current quantity and detail of CIA analyses
    are not needed, especially with the expansion of private sources
    of intelligence that are now available to the public. CIA needs
    to have far fewer, and more intelligent, analysts to track important
    areas of concern to U.S. national security. It need not cover
    the world in detail to support the imperial ambitions of American
    presidents. Finally, CIA’s administrative unit is a pox on the
    agency. It has wrapped the rest of the organization in such
    red tape that reasonable operations cannot be conducted in a
    timely manner. It has become a vehicle for imposing political
    correctness in a function where political correctness can cost
    lives; and,

  • The FBI needs to be drastically downsized. It had been grossly
    overexpanded, not only to the point of meddling in State and
    local law enforcement but also it is being used as a tool to
    harass groups or individuals considered politically incorrect.
    The Ruby Ridge and Waco fiascos, along with its bungled handling
    of the evidence in the Timothy McVeigh bombing case, make the
    FBI a target for downsizing in and of themselves. In addition,
    its deployment of a major contingent of special agents overseas
    borders on the ridiculous. Where does the U.S. get the nerve
    to span the globe and demand enforcement of its domestic laws
    overseas? Ending this nonsense will go a long way towards changing
    the U.S. image of being a world imperialist. That would leave
    the FBI with a force designed to investigate national security
    related crimes and the crimes committed by federal employees.

All
of these recommendations would be much more effective if coupled
with implementation of a strict immigration control program. Together
with a new foreign policy of neutrality and non-interference in
the affairs of other countries, these actions would reduce the threat
that federal national security programs would pose to our rights
to life, liberty and property. With these measures taken, we might
be able to cut the intelligence community budget up to half, if
not by more, in the short-term. Over the much longer-term, strict
adherence to a foreign policy of neutrality and non-interference
would enable us to save further resources on this area as we would
likely not have as many enemies to worry about!

November
23, 2002

Jim
Grichar (aka Exx-Gman) [send
him mail
] was an economist with the federal government. He writes
to "un-spin" the federal government's attempt to con the
public, whether through its own public relations organs or via the
usual stooges and dupes in the mainstream media.

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