Secrets and Lies - Part II
Why haven’t investigative journalists been looking at Bush’s “tells?” Using them as guides on where to dig and for what? It’s so much easier to hit pay dirt when you know what you’re looking for than it is when you cast a wide net and hope that it catches something worthwhile. Particularly when that net is thrown in a pond filled with fish that know the game better than you do. Know that you’ll nibble on every decoy they toss in the net.
Years from now, when future generations of Americans watch recordings of Bush, they’ll laugh in amazement that he could bamboozle anybody. They’ll have the advantage of more information about what is going on in this WH than we have, but they won’t be mere “Monday morning quarterbacks.” Bush’s “tells” will be obvious to them. So, obvious that it will be difficult for them to imagine that they weren’t always obvious. Just as Nixon’s “Checker’s speech” appears to us. Frauds and fakes don’t stand up well to the test of time -- perceptual skills change with each generation and that is why many fraudulent art works accepted as authentic at one time are so easily seen as fakes by a subsequent generation.
If what we’re told about the domestic spying operation is true, it is not only inefficient but is almost guaranteed never to produce any results. Like most reporters, they’re casting a huge net. Building up piles of straw that they have to sort through stalk by stalk in hope of finding a needle that may not even exist. This method to find al Qaeda operatives tells us that we have no functioning foreign “intelligence” operations. That we have no idea where to look and only the vaguest of ideas of what to look for. That they have given up on the ability of the humans employed in covert operations (and the billions of dollars spent in those operations) to produce actionable intelligence.
What makes this so odd is that in 2000 and 2001 (the pre-9/11 world) CIA, FBI and border control employees were perfectly capable of honing in on suspicious activities. In part because they weren’t wasting a lot of time sorting through a tons of wheat to find the chaff. Broadly pre-defining the wheat and ignoring it, and only looking at what was left, increased their chances to identify something that posed a real danger. The “intelligence” was there. What was missing was effective use of the intelligence. A rational approach would have been to fix the second part of the equation and beef up the functioning first part.
Instead, they really didn’t want to look at the second part. Didn’t want to look at the evidence from Colleen Rowley and the Phoenix memo that demonstrated how broken the second part was. They slapped on some legislation that would make it easier for the CIA and FBI to share intelligence, presumably not to lose identified al Qaeda members entering the US as they had done with the two that went from a KL terrorist cell meeting to San Diego. However, in San Diego, the two lived with an FBI informant; so, this was a double failure. Has anything been done to correct the second one?
Could anything be more incompetent than tackling a problem by substituting the most inefficient method possible for the one component of the solution that was functional? It would be like taking an underperforming stock portfolio in mid-2001 and shifting almost all of the investments into Enron. It’s not now known if more of the available resources (money) were diverted to NSA or if the NSA resources (people and money) were shifted to the domestic spying operation. What is known is that the pre-existing intelligence operations in the FBI are being overwhelmed with “tips” from the NSA operation that the FBI has to act on and not one of which have produced anything. It’s not too much of a stretch to postulate that the same thing is going on at the CIA. But why?
Bush and Cheney are stupid enough to select and champion the most incompetent method to address a problem. They are also secret and clandestine operations junkies, as well as confident that they can survive any charge of engaging in illegal operations -- they escaped Abu Ghraib unscathed by getting elected after it became public knowledge and several of the WH perpetrators were promoted. However, by promoting activities with highly questionable preventative value and ignoring those with demonstrated preventative value (it took four years for US airlines to simply secure the cockpit doors), what the hell are they saying? How can the public not see that they are less safe today than on 9/11? Or that Katrina demonstrated that four years after 9/11 and tens of billions of dollars later that the communications systems of first responders were no better than what they were on 9/11? A rational society would have revolted at this level of incompetence in their government and elected officials.
What do Bush and Cheney know that we don’t? So many possibilities. Ranging from 9/11 only succeeded because they played a role in it (thus, nothing similar could happen again) to being so invulnerable on US defense issues that regardless of any failure, a majority of Americans will rally around the GOP brand label, and collectively sigh in relief that at least the GOP was in charge and imagining how much worse it would have been if Democrats were running the country. If it’s the latter, there is no incentive for them to do anything to improve national security. They are free to use those resources any way they want. To accomplish any (secret) goal or agenda item on their rightwing wish list. That GOP Defense, Inc. is superior to all other functions of the federal government -- no disaster demonstrating their incompetence is so big that it can’t be disappeared from the minds of the public with a new WH propaganda campaign that includes shouting “Remember 9/11, 9/11, 9/11” from the rooftops. Or that they have hard-wired the nationwide voting systems well enough that nothing will remove them from power?
The Bu$hCo “tells” suggests a different picture. That they are running one of the best ever confidence games.