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Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’

Where Democrats stand on surveillance

Posted by Richard on July 11, 2008

President Bush today signed legislation expanding intelligence agencies' powers to monitor communications involving foreign terrorist suspects.

If you're planning on contacting a bin Laden-backed, Taliban-supported Deobandi madrassa in Pakistan to see if the sons you sent there to be radicalized have been turned into jihadis and are ready to come home to continue the struggle, consider yourself warned.

The bill was passed by the Senate Wednesday 69-28. Twenty-two Democrats voted for the bill, including Senators Bayh, Casey, Feinstein, Inouye, Landrieu, both Nelsons, Rockefeller, Salazar, and Webb. Oh, yeah, and Sen. Obama, who had pledged during the primary campaign to filibuster the bill.

It was another significant victory by the purportedly incompetent and unpopular lame duck:

Even as his political stature has waned, Mr. Bush has managed to maintain his dominance on national security issues in a Democratic-led Congress. He has beat back efforts to cut troops and financing in Iraq, and he has won important victories on issues like interrogation tactics and military tribunals in the fight against terrorism.

Debate over the surveillance law was the one area where Democrats had held firm in opposition. House Democrats went so far as to allow a temporary surveillance measure to expire in February, leading to a five-month impasse and prompting accusations from Mr. Bush that the nation’s defenses against another strike by Al Qaeda had been weakened.

But in the end Mr. Bush won out, as administration officials helped forge a deal between Republican and Democratic leaders that included almost all the major elements the White House wanted. The measure gives the executive branch broader latitude in eavesdropping on people abroad and at home who it believes are tied to terrorism, and it reduces the role of a secret intelligence court in overseeing some operations.

The bill also made it clear just where many leading Democrats — including the presumptive presidential nominee — stand on this "privacy rights" issue: They're unalterably opposed to any compromise on communications privacy, even for foreign terrorists, and even if their opposition threatens national security and the safety of Americans … but not if it threatens their political future. 

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How FISA protected al Qaeda kidnappers

Posted by Richard on October 17, 2007

Apparently, it's a very small world when it comes to telecommunications. Two people having a cell phone conversation in Iraq are likely to have that call routed through American telecom infrastructure, where it could be intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies. But under the old FISA law (which the Democrats are trying to restore and further tighten this week), they'd need a warrant. It could be granted retroactively, but first someone has to stick their neck out and grant emergency permission based on the belief that the warrant will later be approved. Think bureaucrats and political appointees are eager to do that?

The problem isn't entirely theoretical, according to a New York Post story. On May 12, while the strict FISA rules were still in effect, al Qaeda gunmen in Iraq attacked a U.S. outpost, killing four soldiers and taking three others — Spc. Alex Jimenez, Pfc. Byron Fouty, and Pfc. Joseph Anzack Jr. — hostage. The subsequent frantic search led to information possibly identifying the kidnappers. U.S. intelligence agents asked for permission to intercept communications that might lead to the kidnappers and their captives:

Starting at 10 a.m. on May 15, according to a timeline provided to Congress by the director of national intelligence, lawyers for the National Security Agency met and determined that special approval from the attorney general would be required first.

For an excruciating nine hours and 38 minutes, searchers in Iraq waited as U.S. lawyers discussed legal issues and hammered out the "probable cause" necessary for the attorney general to grant such "emergency" permission.

Finally, approval was granted and, at 7:38 that night, surveillance began.

"The intelligence community was forced to abandon our soldiers because of the law," a senior congressional staffer with access to the classified case told The Post.

"How many lawyers does it take to rescue our soldiers?" he asked. "It should be zero."

Democrats supporting the tightening of FISA denounced the release of the story as a cynical attempt to politicize the search for the soldiers. Fox News has a fair and balanced presentation of both sides, along with a detailed timeline. The Democrats' House Intelligence Committee staff argued that it shouldn't have taken NSA lawyers five hours to determine that they had probable cause, and it wouldn't have been necessary to track down Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in Texas if three other Justice Dept. officials authorized to approve the request had been available.

Granted, five hours seems like a long time for lawyers to hem and haw over probable cause. But consider the climate. These people knew there was an ongoing surveillance firestorm, complete with leaks to the New York Times, congressional hearings, lawsuits, endless political posturing, and threats of legal action. If you were an NSA attorney, how quickly would you stick your neck out and say, "I recommend going ahead, and I guarantee the FISA court will retroactively approve"? If you were Gonzales or one of the assistant AGs, wouldn't you carefully review the material presented to you before authorizing the intercept, knowing it could land you in front of a hostile committee with the news cameras rolling?  

The Democrats' argument amounts to saying that the restrictions wouldn't have been a problem if the officials involved had just acted without regard for the possible consequences — the consequences that those same Democrats have done their best to hang over the officials' heads.

It's nice that Democrats are so concerned about our privacy now, considering how hard they worked to undermine it for umpteen years (remember Carnivore, "key escrow" encryption, "Know Your Customer," and John Effin' Kerry's repeated attempts to further destroy financial privacy?). But do we have to protect the privacy of what amounts to battlefield communications by our enemies during a war? 

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Instant glory

Posted by Richard on August 24, 2007

If you want to achieve instant glory these days, all you have to do is undermine the war effort and/or the Bush administration. The media are falling all over themselves to bow down before the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and Sen. John Warner.

The thing to remember about the NIE is that it isn't new information, it's just "analysis" — that is, the intelligence community leadership looked at what we already know (or think we know) and offered up some opinions about it. Mind you, these are the same people who've been consistently wrong about almost everything for many years, who blew it regarding al Qaeda and 9/11, and who, the media keep reminding us, "lied" about Iraq. Now, they're exalted in the media and their opinions are taken as gospel. 

The thing to remember about John Warner is there's nothing that you remember about John Warner. Before his idiotic call for withdrawing 5,000 troops as a "gesture," when was the last time you saw or heard a news story that began, "Sen. John Warner said today…"? On the few occasions this century when I heard his name, my reaction was always, "Is he still there?"

But suddenly, in the last 24 hours, every anchor, analyst, and political reporter in the country has spoken of Sen. Warner with reverence and awe. He's the most respected voice in the Senate, they all say (so how come they never listened to him before?). The most important Republican at the Capitol. The ultimate authority on all things military (sorry, Sen. McCain, you're not their darling anymore).

Sen. Warner will be the guest on Meet the Depressed this weekend, and appearances on Face the Nation, This Week, Anderson Cooper, and all the rest will surely follow. He'll no doubt get fawning, respectful, softball questions and lots of smiles and admiration. He's going to be invited to all the good parties. 

I predict that by October, Sen. Warner will have his own reality TV show. Maybe they'll team him up with Ozzy Osbourne — they're about equally coherent.

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Why we’re safer

Posted by Richard on September 7, 2006

Last week in Salt Lake City, President Bush delivered the first of a series of speeches about the war against Islamofascism. I dubbed the speech "Bush channels Sharansky" –it made the case for rejecting the policy of promoting Middle East "stability" (which the U.S. pursued for over a half-century) in favor of encouraging freedom and democracy.

On Tuesday at the Capital Hilton in Washington, Bush followed up with a speech to the Military Officers Association of America, which included a sobering picture of our enemies:

We know what the terrorists intend to do because they’ve told us — and we need to take their words seriously. So today I’m going to describe — in the terrorists’ own words, what they believe… what they hope to accomplish, and how they intend to accomplish it. I’ll discuss how the enemy has adapted in the wake of our sustained offensive against them, and the threat posed by different strains of violent Islamic radicalism. I’ll explain the strategy we’re pursuing to protect America, by defeating the terrorists on the battlefield, and defeating their hateful ideology in the battle of ideas.

The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are men without conscience — but they’re not madmen. They kill in the name of a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil, but not insane. These al Qaeda terrorists and those who share their ideology are violent Sunni extremists. They’re driven by a radical and perverted vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of political power. They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call a "Caliphate" — where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology. …

We know what this radical empire would look like in practice, because we saw how the radicals imposed their ideology on the people of Afghanistan. Under the rule of the Taliban and al Qaeda, Afghanistan was a totalitarian nightmare — a land where women were imprisoned in their homes, men were beaten for missing prayer meetings, girls could not go to school, and children were forbidden the smallest pleasures like flying kites. Religious police roamed the streets, beating and detaining civilians for perceived offenses. Women were publicly whipped. Summary executions were held in Kabul’s soccer stadium in front of cheering mobs. …

The goal of these Sunni extremists is to remake the entire Muslim world in their radical image. In pursuit of their imperial aims, these extremists say there can be no compromise or dialogue with those they call "infidels" — a category that includes America, the world’s free nations, Jews, and all Muslims who reject their extreme vision of Islam. They reject the possibility of peaceful coexistence with the free world. Again, hear the words of Osama bin Laden earlier this year: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."

Read the whole thing — it’s excellent.

Today, Bush followed up with the third installment, and it was the big newsmaker because of Bush’s revelations about terrorists held by the CIA:

In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.

Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks — here in the United States and across the world. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people.

Please don’t just rely on the 90-second news stories about this speech. Read the whole thing — or better yet, watch the video (about 30 minutes, available at the same link; requires Real Player). Bush is compelling and persuasive, and his recounting of the events set in motion by the capture of Abu Zubaydah –including the thwarting of several planned attacks on the U.S. — is the stuff of great spy thrillers. In particular, I found the revelation of a foiled anthrax weapons program chilling.

Bush presented, in my opinion, a powerful defense of the CIA detention program and the interrogation techniques used:

These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used — I think you understand why — if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.

This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department of Justice and CIA lawyers; they’ve determined it complied with our laws. This program has received strict oversight by the CIA’s Inspector General. A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they’re screened from a pool of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.

I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it — and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.

Personally, I wouldn’t have been as diplomatic and restrained in discussing McCain — or the Hamdan decision. I’d have said that this crap about humiliation, intimidation, and degrading treatment being torture is ridiculous and insults the victims of real torture (in fact, I have). But I’m not a politician, and I suppose Bush is right not to complain about things he can’t change now.

I’m glad Bush is going to Congress. It’s about time they quit just carping and viewing with alarm, and actually fulfilled their role. Bush is correct that, in the wake of Hamdan, we need specific legislation spelling out what is and isn’t legal. And Congress should certainly authorize military tribunals to deal with the men at Gitmo — they can’t and shouldn’t be handled as a law enforcement problem.
 

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Did the NSA save the New York subways?

Posted by Richard on June 21, 2006

Here’s another belated observation about a Sunday news show. On CNN Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer interviewed Senators Pat Roberts and Dianne Feinstein, the chair and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and he asked them about the story of an aborted 2003 al Qaeda plot to attack New York’s subways. Both senators were circumspect, as you’d expect. But Roberts suggested something — and Feinstein appeared to back him up — that I found remarkable. Blitzer starts off (emphasis added):

Senator Roberts, the chairman, let me start with you and read to you from the new edition of Time Magazine, our sister publication, an excerpt from the book, "The One Percent Doctrine" by Ron Suskind.

In it, this paragraph: "There would be several placed in subway cars and other strategic locations and activated remotely. This was well past conception and early planning. The group was operational. They were 45 days from zero hour. Then Ali told his handlers something that left intelligence officials speechless and vexed. Al- Zawahiri had called off the attacks," referring to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two Al Qaida leader behind Osama bin Laden.

A report that there were cyanide gas attacks planned for the New York subway system that were inexplicably called off. What can you tell our viewers about this?

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: Well, not very much, except to say the Intelligence Committee is briefed on these kinds of threats. I would simply say that we’ve had a briefing.

It points up, once again, the value of the terrorist surveillance program, the NSA program that’s been in the news so much. We are able to detect and deter and stop such attacks. And we were very fortunate that that did not happen.

BLITZER: But can you confirm that there was such a plot in the works?

ROBERTS: I can’t either confirm or deny, but I can just simply repeat that we are briefed on these kind of threats. And, as I say again, I’m very happy we have the capability to do what we do to stop these attacks. And that goes back to the statement you’ve heard a lot that, you know, thank goodness we’ve not had an attack of that nature since 9/11. But that’s not by accident.

BLITZER: Senator Feinstein, I know you’re restricted on what you can say about these kinds of sensitive intelligence-related matters.

Two former intelligence officials have told CNN there was such a plot in the works. We have not been able to confirm that they were only 45 days off of actually launching it. But go ahead and add whatever you want.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I think the chairman said what could be said about it. I don’t think that anybody doubts that there are people that want to do us harm, that there are those that want to launch these attacks. They will if they can.

And so, you know, there’s the need for eternal vigilance. And I think Senator Roberts is correct. The terrorist surveillance program is an important tool in this area.

And there’s only one defense and that is good intelligence. And there is a very real need for us to do everything we can on the Intelligence Committee to see that the intelligence community, all 16 agencies, have really recovered from what led to the Iraq adventure, which was mistaken information, and that we get it correct.

And in fact, good intelligence has stopped what were real threats. And I think that’s important for the American people to know.

Sen. Feinstein is not exactly a shill for the Bush administration. I interpret those statements as strong hints — quite strong, within the constraints of the "we can’t confirm or deny specifics, we can only speak in generalities" paradigm — that the NSA’s international communications surveillance program played a critical role in learning about — and perhaps deterring the execution of — an attack on New York subways.

That seems pretty significant to me. I suspect that it’s as close to confirmation of a direct benefit from the NSA program as we’re likely to get — until the historians get their hands on the relevant documents about 50 years from now.
 

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Understanding the NSA data mining

Posted by Richard on May 13, 2006

So, what’s really going on with the NSA and all those phone records? Let me illustrate how the program works using a hypothetical scenario: The US Army is torturing an al Qaeda member using the technique known as "invasion of space by a female." He succumbs to this inhumane treatment and spills the beans about the secret Yemeni phone number used by al Qaeda’s Assistant Director of North American Sleeper Cells.

The Army passes this information to the NSA, which starts looking for phone calls to or from the Yemeni number. Lo and behold, they discover calls from that number to a phone number in Dearborn, Michigan. In fact, there’s a pattern: there’s a call from the Yemeni number to the Dearborn number on the 6th of each month. So they start looking at the calls to and from the Dearborn number, and they find another pattern: on the 6th of each month, shortly after the call from Yemen, the Dearborn number always calls six other Dearborn numbers. Each of those 6 numbers calls 6 more and then orders several pizzas for delivery.

Since the NSA, like the rest of the Bush administration, is in the hands of fundamentalist Christian zealots, the 6-6-6 pattern freaks them out, and they rush off to a FISA judge. He grants access to information about those 36 Dearborn phone customers and a warrant to wiretap the pizza joint’s phone.

In just a few months, the FBI unravels a bio-terror plot involving bad mushrooms and targeting college students throughout the Midwest. Americans everywhere breathe a sigh of relief as the Dept. of Homeland Security lowers the alert level to mauve.

So that’s how the data mining of phone records might work. But you’re probably still confused about some aspects of it, so let me clear a few things up.

Thursday’s USA Today news story wasn’t news. If you read beyond the superficial, ignorant MSM reporting, you knew all this last December. The EFF filed their class-action lawsuit against AT&T in January, and it alleged exactly what the USA Today story breathlessly reported this week as breaking news. Since the story isn’t news, it must have some other purpose, such as undermining the nomination of Gen. Hayden and setting the stage for a media circus during the confirmation hearings next week.

This kind of NSA activity isn’t new. In fact, since this program collects only "externals" — who’s calling whom — it’s far less intrusive than the Clinton administration’s infamous Echelon program, which was specifically designed to collect "internals" — the actual conversations — and use them for a broad range of purposes far less noble than preventing airplanes from flying into buildings. In fact, NSA communications monitoring programs of various degrees of intrusiveness and nefariousness — mostly worse than what’s happening today — have existed under every administration, Republican and Democrat, at least as far back as Kennedy. If you want to grumble and fuss about that ignoble record, fine — I’ll help. But quit hyperventilating.

The information they’re looking at isn’t protected by the 4th Amendment. Back in the Ma Bell days, when phone calls were analog and connections were made in cross-point switches, the government could track who you called by installing a device called a pen register at the phone company switch. All it did was record the numbers you dialed (and back then, you really dialed them). In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Maryland that Mr. Smith had no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding the phone numbers that he dialed, since he shared them with the phone company, which was free to use the information for billing and other purposes. The Court held that pen registers did not constitute a search, did not violate the 4th Amendment, and did not require a warrant. Today’s digital telephony network comes with the equivalent of pen registers on all the lines.

The information they’re looking at isn’t exactly private. The NSA is looking at phone company CDRs (call detail records). Phone companies use CDRs for billing, marketing, diagnostics, network analysis, and other purposes. Until privacy policy disclosures came along, they probably routinely sold your data to third parties for marketing purposes. Your cell phone records are for sale on the internet.

The information they’re looking at is an example of the dots they were criticized for not connecting. During the debate over reauthorization of the Patriot Act, Debra Burlingame, sister of American Airlines Flight 77 pilot Charles Burlingame III, pointed out an example that’s precisely on point (emphasis added):

NBC News aired an "exclusive" story in 2004 that dramatically recounted how al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, the San Diego terrorists who would later hijack American Airlines flight 77 and fly it into the Pentagon, received more than a dozen calls from an al Qaeda "switchboard" inside Yemen where al-Mihdhar’s brother-in-law lived. The house received calls from Osama Bin Laden and relayed them to operatives around the world. Senior correspondent Lisa Myers told the shocking story of how, "The NSA had the actual phone number in the United States that the switchboard was calling, but didn’t deploy that equipment, fearing it would be accused of domestic spying." Back then, the NBC script didn’t describe it as "spying on Americans." Instead, it was called one of the "missed opportunities that could have saved 3,000 lives."

The Democratic Party may have fewer records in its searchable databases, but they undoubtedly contain more detailed personal information than the NSA’s. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out, political parties and candidates are doing far more data mining than the NSA:

Getting elected to Congress is hard work. It is rivaled only by every incumbent’s dearest preoccupation: remaining in congress. It takes untold hours of dedicated labor by highly motivated staffs and party organizations. It takes the expertise of outside experts. It takes meticulous research into the predilections of likely voters. And, most of all, it takes money. Lots of money.

In modern American politics, that requires a fair amount of data mining—the very same bane of our existence that currently has the usual suspects in Congress posturing about whether President Bush should merely be impeached or drawn-and-quartered at high noon.
. . .

So if we’re going to have a national conversation about government data mining, by all means let’s have it. But let’s not just put the administration and General Hayden under the microscope.

Let’s examine the practices of the opposition that purports to find warehousing information and tracking data about American citizens to be the death-knell of liberty.

Let’s take a hard look at the elected officials who are taking a hard look at the NSA.

Here are a just a few questions we might ask Democratic-party chairman Howard Dean and the members of the judiciary and intelligence committees currently grousing for the cameras:

  • Do you maintain databases of American citizens for fundraising purposes?
  • Do those databases contain names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other identifying information?
  • Do the databases contain information about the interests of the citizens who have been entered into them? About candidates or causes to which they have previously donated money?
  • Are those databases searchable? If so, what search criteria do you use to divide these American citizens into various categories?
  • Do you do targeted mailings for purposes of raising funds or pushing particular issues?
  • When you target, how do you know whom to target? That is, what kind of information do you maintain in your databases to guide you about which potential donors or voters might be fruitful to tap on which particular issues?
  • Do you trade information about American citizens with other politicians and organizations in the expectation that they might reciprocate and you all might mutually exploit the benefits?

The loudest liberal critics of the NSA are the biggest flaming hypocrites. As the Second Amendment Foundation pointed out, for years, these folks have pushed to compile more and more data about honest, peaceful gun owners, imposed burdensome record-keeping requirements, and promoted the systematic violation of gun owners’ privacy rights and civil liberties:

“The hypocrisy here is staggering,” said SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “Feinstein, Schumer, Pelosi and others are having fits about the NSA’s possible invasion of privacy over telephone calls, but they’ve never had such reservations about mining gun trace data from federal law enforcement agencies, or demanding other invasive measures against law-abiding gun owners.
. . .

“Their concern over legal ‘fishing expeditions’ obviously does not extend to law-abiding Americans who own firearms, nor to the possibility that such digging could interfere with on-going criminal investigations,” Gottlieb stated. “Isn’t it ironic that Pelosi, Feinstein and Schumer are righteously indignant about probes that are supposed to be uncovering terrorist threats to our country, but they haven’t the slightest concern about digging into the lives of citizens who are no threat at all, and are guilty only of exercising a constitutional civil right?”

I just can’t get all that upset about the records of the phone numbers I’ve called. Not while I can grumble and fuss about this: any time they want, day or night, with no warrant or court order, BATFE agents can barge into a gun dealer’s house or shop, demand to see his records, and determine what guns I’ve bought.

And I’ve never talked to anybody in Yemen.
 

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Maybe “military intelligence” is an oxymoron, but…

Posted by Richard on May 9, 2006

OK, some healthy skepticism about anything related to government intelligence activities is probably a good idea — heck, throw in a little suspicion, caution, and paranoia if you like. But let’s not be stupid. Regarding the nomination of Lt. Gen. Michael Hayes to head the CIA, the concerns expressed by a bipartisan collection of Washington dolts are just plain stupid. A case in point is the slow-witted, inarticulate, bumbling fool who inexplicably sits just two heartbeats away from the presidency:

Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., declared his opposition to Hayden’s appointment, siding with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan.

Hastert "believes a military figure should not be the head of a civilian agency," said Ron Bonjean, Hastert’s spokesman.

Let’s briefly recall the history of the CIA, shall we? Its precursor was the Office of Strategic Services, created by FDR in 1942. FDR named Bill Donovan as director. Donovan, although a Medal of Honor recipient and Colonel in WWI, was a civilian at the time, but FDR made him a general.

President Truman established the Central Intelligence Group in 1946 and named the first Director of Central Intelligence: Rear Admiral Sidney W. Souers. The CIG became the CIA in 1947.

Quite a few military men have served as Directors and Deputy Directors of Central Intelligence over the years.

Directors:

Rear Adm. Sidney W. Souers, USNR, 23 January 1946 —10 June 1946

Lt. Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USA, 10 June 1946 —1 May 1947
Rear Adm. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN, 1 May 1947 — 7 October 1950
Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, USA, 7 October 1950 — 9 February 1953
Vice Adm. William F. Raborn, Jr., USN (Ret.), 28 April 1965 — 30 June 1966
Adm. Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.), 9 March 1977— 20 January 1981(Admiral Turner retired from the Navy during his tenure as DCI)

Deputy Directors (some of whom served as acting directors, too):

Brig. Gen. Edwin K. Wright, USA, 20 January 1947— 9 March 1949

Gen. Charles P. Cabell, USAF, 23 April 1953 — 31 January 1962
Lt. Gen. Marshall S. Carter, USA, 3 April 1962 — 28 April 1965
Vice Adm. Rufus L. Taylor, USN, 13 October 1966 —1 February 1969
Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman, Jr., USMC, 7 May 1969 — 31 December 1971
Lt. Gen. Vernon A. Walters, USA, 2 May 1972 — 7 July 1976
Adm. Bobby R. Inman, USN, 12 February 1981—10 June 1982
Adm. William O. Studeman, USN, 9 April 1992 — 3 July 1995
Gen. John A. Gordon, USAF, 31 October 1997 —29 June 2000

Anyone who expresses concern about "a military figure" heading the CIA is either remarkably ignorant or has an ulterior motive.

In the case of Hastert, I’m inclined to go with "remarkably ignorant." But I suspect that most of the others expressing concern about the Hayes nomination would have found some reason to oppose anyone Bush cared to name.

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Kerry: dumb as Bush

Posted by Richard on June 8, 2005

Now we know why Kerry wouldn’t release his military records. They contain his Yale transcript, and it turns out that Kerry was a C student, just like Bush. In fact, his numerical score was a point below Bush’s. And, as WorldNetDaily notes, his freshman year was abysmal (emphasis added):

Newly released Navy records of Sen. John Kerry show the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, who was portrayed as the intellectual superior of President Bush, actually received a lower academic average than his rival while studying at Yale, including five Ds.
… 

The transcript shows that Kerry’s freshman-year average was 71, or a low C. He scored a 61 in geology, a 63 and 68 in two history classes, and a 69 in political science. His top score was a 79, in another political science course. Another of his strongest efforts, a 77, came in French class. His highest single grade was an 89, for a political science class in his senior year.

Bush received one D in his four years at Yale, scoring a 69 in astronomy. The president has described himself as a C student in college.

One of Kerry’s strongest efforts was in French. That’s just too funny.

After "Bush lied about WMDs," nothing has been more widely repeated and fervently believed by the left than that Bush is a simpleton, a dunce, a mere buffoon, and that Kerry is a brilliant, nuanced thinker. Well, maybe "selected, not elected" is right up there, too. All three beliefs are false.

I’ve always wondered why the Kerry campaign so eagerly embraced the idea that Bush is stupid — it quickly invited the obvious question, "Then why aren’t you beating him easily?" I suspect they couldn’t help themselves. Kerry, Theresa, and the blue-blood Eastern liberal intelligentsia around them are remarkably arrogant people. And Kerry himself is so wrapped up in his own image that, since the grades weren’t public, I’m sure he really believed in his own intellectual superiority. Just like Al Gore, who flunked out of Vanderbilt, believed in his.

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