by Alan Simpson
Absolute Power Corrupts
The current discussions about a single "Intelligence Czar" has one obvious flaw, and there are glaring historical examples of why this flaw is important.
The FBI for most of it's existence was run as a private terror organization by the disgusting J Edgar Hoover.
Any research into the life and times of Hoover will come up with the same conclusion, that the man totally abused the office, the organization and totally betrayed the trust the people placed in the FBI.
(For the record I used to live in the same apartments on Massachusetts Avenue where Hoovers boy friend used to reside. The older residents spoke of threats should they speak aloud of the comings and goings of Hoover.)
But to his record as represents intelligence gathering and counter intelligence operations.
Hoover was outstanding in gaining intelligence on critics, people he did not like, and anyone he felt did not have the same thoughts as himself. He had files on every public official, and was reported to threaten even Presidents should they challenge his omnipotent power. He destroyed many fine people, often with just one of his handwritten scribbles in the margins of memos.
He let spies slip through his hands and completely missed the important dangers to the USA.
He did "Make an Example" of those who fell into his web, often by accident.
Nobody dare question him, and it was his way, or no way.
The many independent facets of looking at a piece of information is the beauty of the current US system. It is of course wasted because these different views are not communicated to each other, and there is no central clearing house, where the different scenarios could be combined, and compared.
Space assets can be fooled, and spoof messages can give a false conclusion. Humint assets can be corrupted and turned. But then again they could also all be accurate.
What is needed is an interpretation center that brings together all the many sources, and compares them realtime, and historically.
Having a Hoover in charge would lead to abuse of coverage, and allocation of assets. Imagine the NSA spending all its time listening to anyone using the phrase "Blue Chiffon Dress" instead of "Bomb"! But that was reality when protecting the Emperor became more important than catching criminals.
The other concern is that to be a successful spy in America you need a current Top Secret clearance, and having one super office that sees and hears everything is the perfect place to plant a spy, and a recipe for disaster.
Hansen would have been an ideal candidate for the new Intelligence Czar's office, and Walker would have been perfect for the communications center. The list of Top Secret Clearance spies goes on and on.
Presidents don't like firing people they have argued to be perfect for the job before the Senate. How many times would George Tenet have been fired if the CIA was a corporation.
Instead there is a false sense of "Loyalty", and the present Secretary of Defense is a classic example.
Now with an Intelligence Czar who is the eyes and ears of Congress, The President and the entire military, who alone has the attention of all sides of government, then the potential for abuse, and for self inflicted errors is too horrendous to contemplate. Imaging Ashcroft and his religious ideas, or Wolfowitz and his pro-Israel-at-any-cost as Intelligence Czar!
There needs to be a process like the Joint Chiefs of Staff to oversee the many agencies, doing what they do best.
Please don't create another J. Edgar Hoover,!