In 1989, as a
former spy for the CIA who became the second-ranking civilian in Marine Corps
Intelligence, I ghost-wrote an article for the Commandant of the Marine Corps,
Intelligence Challenges in the 1990's." This was the first article to
distinguish between the conventional threat and emerging threats (such as ISIS
today) and call for radical changes to how we do intelligence. I followed this
up in 1990 with my own article, "Intelligence
in the 1990's: Recasting National Security in a Change World," in which I
discussed six specific challenges that have still not been addressed as of
today, $1.25 trillion dollars later:
#1 Meet the Needs of ALL Public Programs
#2 Indications & Warnings of Revolutionary Change
#3 New Theory & Methods of Counterintelligence
#4 Developing an Information Technology Strategy
#5 Establish a Responsive Requirements System
#6 Realign Resources in an Era of Radical Change
It never occurred to me to throw ethics in there. I took that as a given. I was wrong to take ethics for granted. Today we are at the logical end of a quarter-century moral vacuum in which three individuals -- James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence), Mike Vickers (Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence), and John Brennan (Director of the Central Intelligence Agency) represent the complete collapse of the profession of intelligence. We lack integrity in every possible sense of the word.
As I wrote recently in an Open Letter to President Barack Obama (also delivered to Dr. Susan Rice via Certified Mail),
Torture is not the only secret program that has failed to produce intelligence with integrity -- this failure is true of every part of the secret world from the CIA, which relies on foreign liaison hand-outs for the bulk of its "clandestine" intelligence to the NSA, which processes less than 1% of what it collects, to the NRO and NGA that are inept at "Big Data" and incapable of providing all-source fused data to the end-user at a desk in Washington or in a foxhole abroad.
This is about far more than torture -- this is about the complicity of military and civilian intelligence in assassinating thousands (with a documented 98% innocents along the way) while spending over a trillion dollars in a manner that is not helpful to Whole of Government strategy, policy, acquisition, and operations.
Torture, assassination by drone, the out-and-out prostitution of his office by George "Slam Dunk" Tenet that allowed Dick Cheney to get away with 935 known lies, the largest two of which were that Al Qaeda was responsible for 9/11 and that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and the general failure of a $100 billion a year intelligence community to do anything useful these past 25 years, all boil down to a culture of secrecy that morphed into a culture of sadistic nihilism focused on spending money for the sake of spending money, without regard to the public interest.