Amateur Hour in Intelligence Gathering
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  • Corlyss

    “his administration’s intelligence gathering practices.”

    Hardly fair to blame him. Blame him for a lot of other things, but this one is one he accidentally got right because he didn’t screw-up of what those with much greater vision who went before him have done.

    “We need a thorough airing out of this mess, with personnel changes where appropriate, so that the NSA can stop doing things it ought not to be doing and instead spend its energy making sure that it does a good job on what we really need it to do.”

    Another disappointing “analysis” from VM. The last time we went thru one of the reflexive liberal/Prog/Dem foot-shootings such as the writer contemplates, we got all the frustratingly counterproductive revelations and fatuous constraints that came out of the Church committee. Ever since then, American intelligence has been one of two things: 1) too late to be useful and 2) on the front pages of NYT and WAPO. If the writer wants to see how intelligence OUGHT to be used, let him read Fred Greenstein’s The Hidden Hand Presidency: Eisenhower as Leader and the new book (screed some have called it) about the Dulles brothers. We need the doin’. What we don’t need is the blabbin’ that even this administration can’t seem to control among its own people.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    For an administration as secretive as this one, you would think they would be better at hidding the Real National Security Secrets.

  • Andrew Allison

    VM skirts the real issue. It’s clear that NSA has gone rogue. As Merkel herself said, just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. The question is what did the Administration know about it and when? If it was aware of the transgressions, domestic and international, failure to put a stop to them is inexcusable. If it wasn’t, it’s incompetent.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Exactly!
      The stories about the NSA and its ‘above the law’ approach to national security are nothing new, General Alexander has been the poster boy for abuse of power to anyone following the NSA for years now. With Snowden’s leaks, the NSA now seems to be behaving as if it is time to remove the mast and double down on bad behavior.
      One can debate whether or not the NSA spying was a good idea in the first place, but their lack of accountability is not acceptable in any event. Obama is the only person with the ability to bring them to heel. That he has not done so is a disgrace.

      • Andrew Allison

        Today’s NSA news, reported as far as I know only by the Beeb, is that a former head of the agency gave an off-the-record interview via cell phone while on a train (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/24668428)! Maybe it should be renamed the National Stupid Agency.

  • wigwag

    Forget the Blue Ribbon panel; I have a better idea. Why don’t we just tell Merkel, Hollande and the rest of the Europeans to go take a flying you know what?

  • wigwag

    “Imprudence matched with incompetence doesn’t lead to anything good.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    There is another manifestation of Obama’s incompetence that Professor Mead neglects to allude to; the stunning foolishness of the way the Justice Department handled Snowden after his leaks came to light.

    If the Obama Justice Department had been willing to cut a deal with Snowden while he was hiding in plain sight in Hong Kong, things might have worked out far better. Three to five incarcerated in a Club Fed might have been a deal Snowden could have accepted.

    Instead it was clear to Snowden (and anybody with a brain) that the Justice Department intended to try to punish his leaks by indicting him under the Espionage Act which could have resulted in a decades long prison term.

    This drove Snowden straight into the arms of Putin and the Russians and all of Snowden’s secrets went right along with him.

    Putin’s entire foreign policy centers on opposing the United States. Snowden was only incentivized to release more and more secrets by the Justice Department’s relentless pursuit of him.

    Had the Obama Administration been less arrogant, childish and inept they would have offered him a deal to lure him home. Instead they gave him no choice but to seek Putin’s protection. He’s been spilling the beans to the KGB (or whatever it’s called now) and Glenn Greenwald ever since.

    It all just one more in an enormous line of mistakes made by Barack Obama and the keystone cops who work for him.

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