OODA OriginalUncategorized

The nail that sticks up . . .

. . . gets the hammer:

In the late 90s Julie Sirrs, late of DIA, traveled to Afghanistan to put eyes on the goings on. She found out first hand what the Taliban and al-Qaida were all about and even managed a meet with the Lion of the Panjshir. For sounding off against the commonly accepted wisdom, as well as ill-informed policy, she got ‘the business’ and was forced out of the business.

In the words of Sen. Pat Roberts . . . “(Kie) Fallis tracked Al Qaida for a year, linked them to Iranian intelligence and terrorist cells. In January of 2000, he predicted two or three major attacks against the United States. [. . .] He attempted in vain — in vain, to convince his superiors to issue a threat warning in August of 2000. His warnings were considered — I think they were called anomalies, not connections. And we now know different.” For his troubles Fallis also went through the door.

Able Danger . . . nuff said.

Today we learn that former Deputy Undersecretary for Defense John Shaw reported that Russia helped move Iraq’s WMDs to Syria and Lebannon. For doing the right thing he and his allied pals also got ‘the business.’ You can’t exactly give DUSDs the bums rush, but you can try to PNG their allied friends.

The common theme that runs through these examples? The response from those with the responsibility to explore these “anomalies” is to announce with great fanfare their dismay that someone is acting outside their lane or beyond the scope of their authority. In light of a long string of both policy and intelligence failures would not the proper response be to dedicate resources to confirm or debunk the oddity? Let’s face it: How many people do you need to have on hand to steer missions that are on auto-pilot?

This kind of behavior is shameful in that those who perpetuate it are forgetting that the goal is the acquisition and dissemination of “the” answer, not “your” answer. It would be nice if they were to keep in mind that the next batch of innocents that are targeted for death (and their future widows and orphans) don’t care whose logo is in the warning.

The real shame in this kind of behavior is that it cultivates a culture of mental bovines. Why bother reading, researching, stretching or imagining when in the end you are just going to have you’re a$$ handed to you? You see the effect already, with the demand for producing “evidence” in assessments or the production of lists of quadruple-sourced “facts”. The cobbling together of only certain types of trusted data for regurgitation in a narrative format is the work of trained monkeys, not skilled analysts. It is a sure-fire way to ensure that – in the words of a wise and wizened colleague who would point dismissively at the screen of his classified workstation – “you can’t trust that stuff.”

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.