by Alan Simpson
Intelligence For Sale
There is no doubt that Washington, DC is the fountain of information when it comes to learning about political and military activities around the world. Within walking distance of the White House and the Capitol you can find someone to give you the lowdown, off the record of course.
I have friends who do the same in New York with the financial world. The sources are concentrated and accessible.
Now those who believe that these same people will give out information in email, or over the phone are smoking dope. The whisper with alcohol sweeteners has been the way of gathering background for thousands of years.
Unfortunately there is a huge public out there hanging on every word of gossip and eager to listen to any half baked conspiracy story no matter how badly fabricated. It sells magazines, newspapers and newsletters! Any facts that dispute the story are dismissed as planted misinformation designed to distract the reader from the real (hidden) truth.
In the paranoia that has gripped America there is an ever increasing demand for "Intelligence" and the Arms Race and Space Race has been replaced by the Intelligence Race.
This explosive growth is no better demonstrated than the number of "Intelligence Experts" with Blogs on the Internet, radio talk shows, and even as unpaid guests on the news networks.
Subscribe and they will explain the hidden secrets of life in Bin Laden's bedroom and what he had for breakfast.
Now what concerns me is that many of the growing legions of experts had their day in "the know" twenty years ago and then retired to a little cottage miles away from any action, or real information. Even the CIA is realizing that sitting behind a desk in Langley is too far from the action to give an effective picture of breaking events. You really do need to ferret out the bits of information at, or near the source.
Now academics and economists have made guesses, sorry predictions, from afar which although popular at the time, are usually proved way off. Today legions of military and political experts are doing the same, especially on terrorism and global threats.
That worked to some extent during the Cold War. If you had 10,000 tanks lined up pointing at Germany, the resulting barrage of incoming shells would not rock the suburbs of Nairobi, Kenya. You could take a guess that they would go west towards the assembled NATO forces.
Today with global targets of religious based terrorism anybody can make a guess and someone, somewhere will believe them. Joe Public desperately seeks an authoritative voice to pull back the curtain of silence surrounding the threat of global terrorism.
Actually there is no curtain of silence. The demands of terrorists are widely circulated across the Internet, they even have their own Blogs. Their views will not suit the majority of readers, nor of the western and pro-Israel governments.
Either way there is some retired military person who will save you time and filter your information input, to ensure you get the news you want to hear. They will sit and watch CNN or BBC, do a quick scan of the Internet with their dial-up modem and write a definitive piece on what is in the mind of the General in Baghdad.
They will not publish their credentials of recent years, and sound like John Kerry who tried to fight the election on his experiences 30 years ago.
But remember most of these "Intelligence Analysts" are living off government pensions, and don't have to trade with China, India or the Arab world. They can sit in their ivory towers and pontificate all they want. Their income is secure.
The Intelligence business isn't for part timers wanting a hobby in their Autumn years!