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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/27/14

Rebuilding National Intelligence -- A 12-Step Plan

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More recently I created this graphic, as I was contemplating what innovation I might inspire if selected to be the DoD Inspector General for Intelligence. Realistically, since I am the anti-thesis of the malfeasance now entrenched across the leadership of the US Intelligence Community, I will never return to this community unless I am selected by the President to clean it up. I am not holding my breath but certainly I have trained my whole life for precisely that opportunity.

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Figure 3: Four Quadrant Process for Evaluating National Intelligence

Put bluntly, we earn an "F" across the board today. Our process is skewed toward technical collection that is not processed, and dismissive of everything else -- humans, open sources, holistic analytics, speaking truth to power. Our purpose is perverted -- CIA killing people with drones while NSA spies mostly on Americans? Our sources suck. 90% of what CIA claims as clandestine is actually a hand-out from a counterpart foreign intelligence service and generally wildly untrue (witness Pakistan on Afghanistan), or obtained through legal traveler debriefings in the USA. We are utterly incompetent at outreach to real people everywhere. The time has come to be honest about the lack of utility of the secret intelligence community. Outside of being a secret pork pie for Congress and a financial wind-falls for the banks and the corporations that feed them, the secret intelligence world is largely worthless.

This may strike some as incomprehensible, so I will take the liberty of providing one more graphic. Below I show, from a collection point of view, what the secret world collects today in relation to the larger whole of available relevant information in 183 languages we do not speak -- most of that information not being online.

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Figure 4: What US Does Against Real-World Information in All Languages & Mediums

The second half of the graphic, "Achievable Now," is what I could create within 90 days by mandating proper respect for Open Source Everything (OSE) augmented by a Multinational decision Support Center (MDSC). Instead of the entire US intelligence community being "top secret" and largely worthless, we need to move to a state where it is largely NOT SECRET, and very very valuable to everybody across all mission areas, from schoolhouse to statehouse to White House".with ethics prominent throughout.

All of these failures directly, and adversely, affect our capacity to interpret world affairs as well as domestic threats and challenges in a responsible manner. Our reactions to the Ukraine, where fascist criminals have replaced communist criminals, and our Secretary of State is constantly embarrassing us with a mixture of banalities and lies -- one presumes they are talking points he has been given, and he is helpless precisely because he lacks an authoritative source of ethical evidence-based decision-support.

Here is one final graphic that depicts my vision for how Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) should underlie the classified disciplines while also being a discipline in its own right, and enable the provision of decision-support to EVERYBODY such that we can focus on whole of government waging peace and commerce, instead of always being on a global war footing for lack of intelligence with integrity.

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Figure 5: Intelligence for Grown-Ups -- A Truly Professional Approach

Context for Reform -- The Ugly, the Bad, & the Good

It was my privilege to play a small role in supporting the National Security Act of 1992[32] as crafted by Senator David Boren (D-OK), then Chairman of the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence (SSCI) and his counterpart, Representative David McCurdy (D-OK-04), then Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee for Intelligence (HPSCI). I learned three things that bear on the President's need to get a grip on reality today by sponsoring a National Security Act of 2014.

UGLY: Congress only cares about its 5% kick-backs. I happen to be a great admirer of a number of Senators, among them Pat Roberts (R-KS), past chairman of the SSCI, and of course Carl Levin (D-MI). Unfortunately, however well-intentioned a few Senators may be, the majority are in it for the money and this is not going to change absent a national strike led by Occupy, the small parties, the Independents, and the sane wings of the two-party tyranny, demanding an Electoral Reform Act.

BAD: No one cares what the SSCI and HPSCI do. All the power is held by the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). The center of gravity for achieving substantive reform in national intelligence, national defense, national diplomacy, and national governance is with the SASC and HASC, not the SSCI and HPSCI.

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Robert Steele is a former spy -- one of the first to chase terrorists in the 1980's -- who has become known for his global proponency of Open Source Everything (OSE). Raised abroad by a father born in New York and a mother born in Colombia, he spent four years on active duty as a Marine Corps infantry officer and S-1/Adjutant (personnel and (more...)

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