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The (CT) Architect sounds off

Richard Clarke sounds off on the past, present and future. It starts out well enough:

FIVE years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, three years after the 9/11 commission report, and just weeks before a national election, the issues of what happened before those attacks have resurfaced. Suddenly, we are again witnessing heated disputes about such insignificant issues as whether the Clinton administration prepared a draft “strategy” or, alternatively, “a series of required decisions” about Al Qaeda for the incoming Bush administration.

. . . and it closes well:

If we are going to defeat the enemy, we must learn again to discuss our differences about Iraq and terrorism in civil and analytical terms. We must reject the use of fear and terrorism to divide America for political advantage. And we must not let ourselves get trapped in pointless, partisan debates that result only in having the past obscure the future.

But in between is a mixed bag.

It is tough to take calls for a more analytical and less political approach to fighting the war from a guh who is so quick to repeat the “Iraq and the GWOT are separate” mantra. The pile of data that refutes the idea that Iraq wasn’t some naïve waif when it came to supporting terrorism is apparently some kind of distraction. 

He points out correctly that he was at a nexus of government intelligence activity, but then plays the “illegal wiretap” and “torture” cards, as if he is completely ignorant of the true capability, nature, and goals of both efforts. I am reminded of how colleagues and I used to laugh derisively over coffee after reading the then-cyber-terror-czar’s latest rant about the evils awaiting us online. Talk about scaring with hobgoblins.

Course adjustments are most assuredly in order, but waving a dismissive hand at the past is a sure-fire way to both whitewash ones own role in the current state of affairs and ensure that the mistakes of the past (honest though they may have been) will continue to be repeated in the future. He’s hit the target, but no where near the bulls eye.

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.