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CNSNews reminds us of how great it is to work at NGIC: Where the intel is doctored, your keystrokes logged, and the phones are tapped.

A former federal employee who says intelligence data was deliberately falsified over several years in order to justify the purchase of certain U.S. military weapons systems, will be questioned by the lead investigator in the bribery and corruption case that sent California Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham to prison, Cybercast News Service has learned.

Edward T. Cassin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Services (DCIS) plans to interview former intelligence analyst William L. Cruse, according to an email Cruse received from Cassin and forwarded to Cybercast News Service. The DCIS is the criminal investigative arm in the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Defense.

The interview of Cruse appears to be part of a larger investigation into possible corruption at the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC.) Two individuals already interviewed by investigators told Cybercast News Service that the probe appears to be expanding into other areas.

Have I mentioned that hell should be excavating a new level just for the “Dukester?”

Cruse worked from 1995 until 2001 as a Russia/Eurasia intelligence analyst in a wing of the NGIC called the Forces Directorate. The NGIC, located in Charlottesville, Va., provides detailed intelligence on foreign ground force capabilities to war fighters, senior planners and decision makers.

[…] he discovered that data he provided for classified threat assessment databases was being deliberately altered, both quantitatively and qualitatively, to exaggerate certain threats. An officer allegedly told Cruse he had been assigned to alter the data. The databases being altered included the Country Force Assessment (COFA) database and the National Futures Database. When Cruse brought the matter to the attention of senior NGIC officials, Cruse said he was told the changes were necessary to justify increased funding for specific weapons systems the U.S. Army wanted.

I was not around in the “missile gap” days, so I have only heard tales of how this or that group would characterize data in a way that best suited their needs when it came time to dole out dollars. I don’t ever recall anyone mentioning that they just flat-out lied. There was a time, in another secretive environment, when there was no more egregious sin than to diddle with collected data. It would appear that those days are long gone.

Cruse’s responsibilities also included editing the work of other intelligence analysts. He said he soon found that a pattern of plagiarism was threatening the quality of intelligence provided to policy makers. One example he said he found involved an analyst who in 1999 copied a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report from 15 years earlier and presented it as his own up to date intelligence analysis. The reference to “Soviet Union” in the present tense was a dead giveaway, said Cruse.

He told Cybercast News Service that he eventually found “dozens” of cases where analysts either “cut and pasted” old work and presented it as part of a current assessment, or simply plagiarized entire reports, including the master’s thesis of a Russian colonel, and presented it as updated intelligence. The reasoning for the plagiarized and ‘recycled’ intelligence, Cruse said, included analysts wanting to impress their bosses by producing “volume” and pressure from superiors to arrive at a pre-ordained conclusion.

It used to be a point of pride to note that as an analyst you sought to write best-sellers, not pulp fiction. In Computer Science the concept of “code reuse” is not only acceptable, it is encouraged. Somehow, in our rush into the digital age, we forgot to communicate that using the work of others as a tool of economy and efficiency was a practice that did not translate. This is what happens when you try to re-tred 20th century bean counters into 21st century futurists. More accurately it is a reflection on the process of recycling those whose practical utility has worn out, but whose tickets are still valid.

While these practices might fool the senior temps-in-uniform that rarely have the time to actually read and absorb meaningful content, it does nothing but sow ill-will and contempt amongst peers across town and across the country who know better. It is one thing to cross one’s “lane-in-the-road” but to do so with someone else’s work is particularly insulting (I’m looking west-ward).

Read the article and note the amazing similarities in how other recent whistle-blowers were treated once they pointed out that their official oaths didn’t mention anything about bilking taxpayers or endangering their lives.

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.