Thursday, April 05, 2007

Intelligence and Security

No, this isn't the title of a new musical about the two things we're most lacking in this country now. (But what an idea! I should get to work on that script right away.)

This is the gist of a lecture I just attended by the Mission Manager for Counterintelligence, Office of the Director of Intelligence (I'd hate to have to fit all THAT onto a business card), who gave a very timely talk about the role of counterintelligence in U.S. security operations.

He explained the difference between national intelligence and national security with the following analogy: suppose you find a hole in your fence. Security's job is to fix the hole, whereas the job of intelligence is to find out who made the hole, how they made it, and what they took away with them afterwards. (Frankly, a much harder job, I'd say.)

He spoke about a lot of things that are very worrisome for those in the intelligence structure with regard to containing leaks and preventing sensitive data from being sent to other entities (countries, governments, spy networks, etc.), and while he couldn't go into elaborate detail about his job (for obvious reasons), he did talk about how important this function is and why we should all be concerned with it.

Then came the question and answer session. I won't bore anyone with the questions that were asked, but I will just say that lots of these old, rich, white men have WAY too much time (and paranoia) on their hands to come up with cockamamie ideas and conspiracy theories, and should probably do a little volunteer work. At their age, it should tire them out nicely.

My favorite quote from the entire presentation came from when Brenner described the culture in Washington, DC. He said that often when things don't function properly, it's impossible to determine responsibility and fix things because "the bureaucracy surrounds us like a bacillus." I've heard that said by different people many times, but never in quite that way. I liked it!

I think the analogy of a disease-causing organism usefully explains a lot of our problems right now.


Anonymous Partly Dave said...

A nice contrast to the Bush administration's approach to intelligence, which has been: "How can we use this hole in the fence to benefit the Replican party? Who would we like to blame for this hole in the fence, and what little scraps of fake evidence can we scrape together to make it seem like they did it?"

6:57 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Yes, ya gotta hand it to them...they can make a tornado in Oklahoma look like the Democrats' fault (of course it helps that their target audience is so gullible).

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

So far, Hillary Clinton is responsible for global warming, the World Trade Center attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and Pearl Harbor.
We haven't found a way to blame Iraq on her but just you wait. She did vote for it after all. so what if we lied to her and told her Hussein had "nuk you lure" weapons.

9:00 AM  

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