Jul 18, 2009

Our Boy - Rested & Ready?

...been wondering when our boy would make his appearance (vacation?).

The latest "scandals" involving the Central Intelligence Agency are genuinely hard to understand, other than in terms of political payback. Attorney General Eric Holder is considering appointing a prosecutor to investigate criminal actions by CIA officers involved in the harsh interrogation of al-Qaeda prisoners. But the internal CIA report on which he's said to be basing this decision was referred five years ago to the Justice Department, where attorneys concluded that no prosecution was warranted.


"Will anyone go to jail? Probably not. But you will leave a trail of destroyed officers," predicts one CIA veteran. Meanwhile, I fear, CIA employees will steer away from areas such as counterterrorism, where the political winds may change.


Obama understands that the country needs a better and stronger intelligence agency. He wants more information than he gets in his daily intelligence briefings, and he has discussed with Panetta the challenge of building a tougher, smarter, more aggressive CIA. That's a righteous goal, but it begins with depoliticizing the agency and ending the culture of permanent scandal.

If Obama means what he has said about looking forward rather than backward, then he should stick to his guns -- and hope that the attorney general and House speaker agree that it's time to stop kicking this football.

Jul 17, 2009

Practical PSYOP Afghanistan

Dead-tree tactical PSYOP - someone is definitely keeping the Risograph busy over there.

U.S. military spokeswoman Captain Elizabeth Mathias said the military had posted and distributed leaflets in Paktika and neighboring Ghazni province calling for his [the missing U.S. soldier in Afghanistan] safe return.

"One of our American guests is missing. Return the guest to his home," reads the leaflet, which includes a phone number and shows a U.S. soldier shaking hands with smiling Afghan children.

Mathias said another leaflet had been distributed which read: "If you do not release the U.S. soldier then you will be hunted." It shows U.S. soldiers kicking in the door of a house.

Jul 16, 2009

Ho ho ho Honduras

The Honduran minister who called U.S. President Barack Obama "that little black guy" quit the country's post-coup interim government on Tuesday, citing U.S. Embassy "pressures."

A U.S. embassy spokeswoman denied the United States was exerting any pressure, saying the embassy had no contact with a government it did not recognize. [ho ho ho] Enrique Ortez's resignation comes just days after he was moved from the post of foreign minister to minister of government and justice in the wake of his comment about Obama. The interim government had previously apologized to the United States.

Jul 15, 2009

Twitter You

Right or wrong - no bum We know assumed otherwise.

Is Twitter Handing Over Private Data to the Feds?

A source tells us that a loose-lipped Twitter staffer recently dished at a lunch that the company has allowed a federal agency to set up a tap to monitor a "firehose" of its data, including private details on users, presumably including private "direct messages," IP addresses and account information. The Feds — the NSA would seem the most logical agency —then analyze the data to mine for information they deem of interest.

Twitter, it is said, is one of only a handful of internet companies large enough for the Feds to bother setting up such monitoring.

Jul 10, 2009

Jul 8, 2009

On Facebook, a Spy Revealed (Pale Legs, Too)

-always hele, forever conceal and never reveal ...

-hide in a field, not in a cave
--BoM 54:66

-Don't wait to be hunted to hide, that's always been my motto. --Samuel Beckett

LONDON — The man in the Facebook photographs seems like your average guy having a little fun. Here he is in a festive scene at a park, gamely wearing a red fleece and a Santa Claus hat. Here he is again, playing Frisbee on the beach, clad in a pair of snug bathing trunks that show off his muscular, if pale (he is British) legs.

Oops. It turns out that this is not a regular person at all. He is in fact Sir John Sawers, diplomat and spy, currently the British ambassador to the United Nations and soon to be the chief of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service. It is as if, suddenly, the Internet were awash with pictures of the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, cavorting half-naked on vacation.


[T]he disclosure, such as it was, raised a little flurry of excitement in diplomatic and journalistic circles. On one hand, The Mail on Sunday fulminated that the existence of the now-defunct items represented a shocking breach of security that exposed the failings of the state apparatus, possibly compromised the safety of Sir John and Lady Sawers and was “potentially useful to terrorists.”

On the other, “It is not a state secret that he wears Speedo swimming trunks,” Foreign Secretary David Miliband declared snippily in a television interview. “The fact that there’s a picture that the head of MI6 goes swimming — wow, that really is exciting.”


It was not so long ago that MI6, the agency that in fiction employs James Bond, was so shrouded in secrecy that the government barely admitted that it existed, let alone condescended to reveal the identity of its chief (forget photographs). That never seemed to stop counterspies from, say, the KGB from knowing a great deal about the secret services, as various episodes over the decades proved.

-Jacked & Hacked NYT