Intelligence Summit 2006
Washington, DC. Feb. 20th, 2006 ---- Behind the rows of heavily armed police and security guards the world intelligence community met together to network and occasionally listen to speakers at the Intelligence Summit held in Crystal City, VA next to the Pentagon.
The Summit was launched with the screening of part of the Saddam Hussein video, billed as the "Smoking Gun" of WMD. In fact it was a damp squib for the flowery rhetoric of Saddam could have been translated as anything, including an attack on Area 51. The Bush Administration were so incensed at the video being shown that they ordered their Intelligence leaders to stay away from the conference. Nobody missed them, and all that it meant was there were fewer opportunities to discuss intelligence failures.
The days running up to the Summit were interesting as multiple sources "Suggested" that it was a bad idea to attend. The left labeled the Summit as a "NeoCon-Israeli Propaganda Bonanza" and the Bush Administration told the Intel Community to stay away. With endorsements like that it was a "Must Attend" scenario.
I never got to listen to any of the many presentations because the "Who's Who" of intelligence from around the world kept wanting to sit quietly at the many tables in corners and discuss the world of geopolitical intelligence. Not just the usual "Enthusiasts" but the real players worried about the media face of the geopolitical intelligence world. True there were more Mossad than Ayatollahs, but there were an exciting mix to keep the brain on overdrive.
Far from being a propaganda exercise the Israelis were open to suggestions, any suggestions that could stop the out of control spiraling of Middle East politics. Overall most attendees were disgusted with the lack of leadership by Bush, which was surprising from a right leaning group.
Noticeably lacking were the media, and I only saw two Press Badges at the show, and one was mine. The coverage of the conference was overall very negative, which was interesting as none of the reporters I had read had either attended this show, or the one last year. In fact although the conference was organized by volunteers we were made more welcome and catered for than most conferences I have attended over the years. The hundreds of high level Intel people had no problem with talking, for the rules were no attributing of discussions, which opened both minds and mouths. Maybe that is why Bush didn't want his people to attend in case the truth was inadvertently reveal to the hoodwinked voters.
It will take several weeks to digest the pages and pages of revealing notes, and follow up with the pile of business cards, but to respect the understood policy of non attribution of material obtained this short piece is all the world will get. But again an excellent conference well worth attending if they hold it next year!