Two worthwhile perspectives on the state of US intelligence services

In the light of speculation about whether our intelligence services and agencies are deliberately trying to sabotage President-elect Donald Trump, I found two articles over the past week that were very interesting.

The first is from Karl Denninger, who isn’t very complimentary about the report alleging Russian ‘interference’ in US politics.

If in fact the CIA outpost in Benghazi was part of an arms-smuggling operation into Libya that went wrong and wound up with some of the weapons going to Daesh, and Ambassador Stevens was murdered in no small part because the CIA and he tried to reverse some of the damage, then it certainly appears quite logical that Russia, which has no interest in Daesh causing problems for them (terrorism is bad even if the targets are Russian, right?) would have a logical reason to not want the person who, in their judgment ARMED Daesh on purpose, in the White House!

Maybe you can explain to this little American peon exactly how that, and expressing that preference, is bad?

I wonder if your explanation would include a discussion into the reasons why Secretary Clinton has never faced an actual inquest as to whether her actions, those of Obama and others (including those in the CIA) violated US law by quite-effectively providing material aid and comfort to terrorists?  You know, an act for which you or I would (quite properly so) do hard felony prison time?

. . .

What does the DNI/ICA report amount to?

Simply this: The Russians preferred Trump as a candidate.  They believed, for what may or may not have been good cause, that Hillary Clinton might have incited a war with Russia, and deemed this undesirable.  In response they ****-posted on social media to this effect and ran slanted news stores on RT.  This makes them evil, where all those who ****-posted on social media and ran slanted news stores on other media for Clinton, including media here in the United States who not only slurred Donald Trump they also intentionally ignored the DNC’s rigging of an actual election (the Democrat primary) are good and holy people who should be deified while the Russians should have sanctions applied, their diplomats expelled and property seized.

Yeah, that’s about the size of it.

. . .

PS: The intelligence “community” (e.g. DNI in all of its components) work for the President, not the other way around.  If this “report” is demonstrative of the quality of their “work” the entire lot of them deserve to have their next assignment to be shoveling dog**** at the local pound.

There’s more at the link.  Recommended reading.

Another interesting, more thoughtful assessment comes from Captain Tightpants, who has some personal experience in the field.

Analysts, whether deliberately or unconsciously, tend to tilt things towards what “they” want them to be, and to report what they are “expected” to find. This can be as unintentional as the mid-80’s support to Afghan “freedom fighters” against the USSR ignoring all the signs that such groups would be a future threat to others, or as deliberate as the recent concerns that U.S. military reports out of the Iraq region were blatantly skewed to show the fight against Islamic State forces was more effective than what actually was occuring. Either way, to one extent or another, it has a tendency to tint the reporting from what in a perfect would would be a relatively pure result. This is also connected to the politics of public exposure. The analyst is a shy creature, frightened of bright lights and criticism. The last thing an agency wants is to publicly be called WRONG on a conclusion, or to go against the prevailing social winds of what should be. Compare “Russia 2012” comments by the administration, in which Romney’s statements of concern were viewed as cold-war holdovers, to “Russia 2017 is our foe” – Russia and their goals haven’t significantly changed in that time, but the political and public perception of how they affect us has.

Finally, there is the whole “consensus” issue – in that, there is NEVER a 100% consensus, no matter what you hear. It simply. Does. Not. Happen. Not with 17 different agencies, different threshholds of reliability in terms of the information and outlook, and different resources. Intelligence agencies as a whole don’t even LIKE the concept of saying something is 100% one way or another – they’re drawing conclusions based on data, and projecting it forward. Think about the last family get together you had, and if you could get people to agree 100% on things? The “Intelligence Community” is a federal-level group of Uncle Ted, with all his opinions out at the dinner table. The only reason I bring this up is that if you ever see news reporting on a “unanimous consensus” among intelligence agencies, it’s either over something irrefutable such as “the sky is blue,” or a total lie.

Again, more at the link, with some interesting examples from the field to illustrate his points.

Bottom line:  I don’t believe our intelligence agencies at this point.  The only things they seem to have demonstrated are partisan bias, relative incompetence, and blind knee-jerk political correctness when called upon to justify their positions.  That’s not good for America in general, never mind Mr. Trump in particular.

I suspect it’s long gone time for a house-cleaning.  One hopes the new Administration will provide it.



  1. The other factor is that top level bureaucrats tend to report what their bosses want to hear. The system runs on a manage up principle,
    you do what your boss tells you to, he does the same for his boss.

    Anything that shows upper managements thoughts are flawed is heresy in the worse case and ignored as unreliable at best. If the data doesn't support any theory then the boss's reasoning is accepted as correct instead of being unconfirmed.

    My $0.02. Russia may think they can deal with Trump, but they are perfectly happy just creating chaos and mistrust of the institutions of the US government. When the USA is focused internally they withdraw from the world stage.


  2. Working for one of the .gov agencies I can tell you that Gerry is right with the management principals. You don't get in to any sort of management or supervisory roll if you show that you can disrupt the system by highlighting flaws and problems. You can't go to management with issues because they in turn push it back upon you to fix when you don't have to tools or power to do so. Instead of problems that are known about getting addressed they tend to be pushed aside to let someone else deal with it when they suddenly become critical problems. Hopefully by then management is long gone having moved up to a different department or is promoted high enough that it is no longer their problem to deal with. And on it goes. It's no surprise that our intelligence agencies are such a mess with that sort of leadership from the highest levels all the way down. They are not in the jobs and positions to serve the country. Just to take care of themselves.

  3. Biggest problem with the agencies is they are so far beyond the electorates control. That is the biggest problem. If the elected people could actually fire those in the agencies we might be able to correct some of the problems.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *