On page 32 of Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History(Spiegel & Grau, 2011) author Matt Taibbi has this to say about the country's criminal mix of politics and finance over the past quarter century:
What has taken place over the last generation is a highly complicated merger of crime and policy, of stealing and government. Far from taking care of the rest of us, the financial leaders of America and their political servants have seemingly reached the cynical conclusion that our society is not work saving and have taken on a new mission that involved not creating wealth for us all, but simply absconding with whatever wealth remains in our hollowed out economy. They don't feed us, we feed them.
Combine this with Congressional abdication of Article 1 of the US Constitution (essentially, the balance of power provision), and a two-party tyranny that blocks Independents and the four robust small parties (Constitution, Green, Libertarian, Reform) from access to the ballot and to Congressional positions, and you have a government Of, By, and For the 1%.
I am the most published (and ignored) intelligence reformer in the English language, but because of Edward Snowden's revelation about NSA, and a recent profile of my work in The Guardian, I am suddenly being heard, for the first time it seems, in 25 years. A quarter-century ago, in 1990, I outlined the six practical failures in US intelligence represented today by the below graphic. While the graphic is largely self-explicatory, the article upon which it is based it explains each of the six grievous short-falls in detail.
Figure 1: Six Fundamental Intelligence Failures Unaddressed in Past Quarter Century
25 years ago I nailed it -- but as soon as the power brokers realized my vision meant more intelligence for less money, I was marginalized. Today, $1.25 trillion later, neither my recommendations, nor those of the Aspin-Brown Commission, have been addressed and the President is perpetuating a system of governance that is morally, intellectually, and financially bankrupt.
In 1993, speaking to the National Federation of Abstracting and Indexing Services in Washington, D.C., I offered this practical depiction -- ethics and purpose aside -- of what we had and what we needed:
The Intelligence Community Was Built To Do Soviet Secrets
The reality is that the intelligence community, in its designs and methods, its collection and production management decisions, and its resource allocations, has been so totally structured for a single mission, the collection of intelligence about a closed society, the only closed society that represented a strategic nuclear threat of consequence, that its capabilities do not lend themselves to re-orientation to other targets, much less to rapid and constant re-orientation among differing targets sets over time.
It is as if we had built a Cadillac and a single superhighway connecting two points--Moscow and Washington--and all of a sudden find that we need three jeeps, ten motorcycles, and a hundred bicycles in order to handle our information requirements. The Cadillac does not lend itself to off-road movement, nor does it lend itself to multiple "minor" missions.
Let me pursue this from another angle, that of cybernetics. Effective decision-making and action comes from having good feed-back loops--not only lots of feed-back loops, out to various sensors or informants or sources of information in different areas of interest, but also efficient feed-back loops, in which the time between change of circumstance, report of change, and notice of change is kept to a minimum.
Nothing has changed in a quarter century. We continue to do the wrong things with the wrong methods, ever more expensively and less responsibly.
I will not belabor the many great minds and earnest patriotic calls for change that have been published these past twenty five years. Here I will only link to a single list of 300 summary book reviews on secret government intelligence, along with my selective list of my own sharply focused intelligence reform publications over the same period.
There is nothing intelligent -- or ethical -- about US intelligence writ large. Intelligence is not helping the President, it is not helping the Cabinet, it is not helping the Congress, and it is most assuredly not helpful to the US banking and commercial enterprises whose communications NSA has been sabotaging or exploiting -- or to the public being spied upon with indiscriminate abandon.
Agency by Agency -- A Summary of Malfeasance