Yet Another Intelligence Disaster

UPDATES BELOW

Asking for a friend: Is it too early to start drinking heavily? No, not taking up the VodkaPundit school of journalism (which is far superior to corporate journalism). Instead, I’m looking at the Biden Regency and the unmitigated disaster that is U.S. Intelligence Operations. Before I get fully into rant mode, allow me to recommend this post from Nina Bookout at Victory Girls and this post from David Strom at HotAir. Also, Nina has some good words about the Pentagon’s Baghdad Bob who seems a better fit for Russia or China than in a Republic.

Okay, to be fair, U.S. intelligence operations have been a disaster for a while now. Frankly, we never have been that good at it. Yes, we’ve had a few individuals over the years who were outstanding at the job, going back to the Civil War. Organized and large scale intelligence operations not so much. I don’t know if it’s the ghost of Stimson and the curse of the Black Chamber or something else. The OSS was a good wartime operation, but when it came time to start the metamorphasis to what eventually became the CIA, well, let’s say there have been ups and downs.

Personally, I view the current FUBAR as starting under Carter, who should have been awarded the Order of Stimson for his incompetence with intelligence, intelligence operations, and (much needed) intelligence reforms. His cavalier revelation of our ability to monitor car phones in Moscow blew that source and the much needed intelligence it provided right out the airlock.

Which brings us to the current fuckup. While I wonder if it was more than one person, someone rather clearly went shopping in a SCIF and despite all preventative measures walked out with documents that were never intended to leave the SCIF. Unlike television, getting into and out of a SCIF can be and should be a major PITA. Because if not you get the current situation. Like David, I suspect they know or have a good idea of the person or persons involved as the access list for documents like this is rather small.

Okay, bad enough that information has gotten out. That information is not going to make things easy for us or our allies, and is a boon to our enemies. It’s an even bigger boon as the information reveals sources and methods. The documents don’t have to say ‘Joe Blow in Department X says’ to reveal sources and methods. In some cases, again, the information being discussed has a limited pool of people with access. In others, it may be a dawning realization that the CIA and the Peanut are listening to more than your glowing description of Olga the masseuse.

Frankly, if I were a confidential source within either allied or enemy camps, I would see this as a lodestone moment, grab my spooker, and take a long unplanned vacation under another identity. As for the methods compromised, sigh, not much can be done and that is an area of constant cat and mouse. Short- to mid-term it is devastating, but new methods will eventually be found.

However, the release of this information is earth shaking. Catastrophic even. Coming on top of such things as the Chinese balloons, the loss of most HUMINT from China, and other delights, the damage to our ability to gather intel can’t be overstated. We already weren’t doing a good job of gathering and analyzing (see Afghanistan for many examples of same).

This puts our intelligence assets, military, and more in danger. It is going to strain and possibly rupture relationships, organizational and governmental. Intelligence sharing? Who’s going to risk anything truly sensitive now? Catastrophic is a mild term for the damage done, and if it was done to win a geek argument among gamers, the death penalty should be on the table. No, not joking. If I had handled classified information as far too many in the Regency appear to be doing, I would be under Leavenworth until my demise.

No, it’s not too early to start drinking. I just suspect there is not enough bourbon and rye in Kentucky to take the edge off dealing with the blazing floating dumpster fire that is the Biden Regency and American intelligence.

Sorry Nichevo, will try to get to your second question tomorrow.

UPDATE: Probably not ours, but headdesk headdesk headdesk

UPDATE II: An excellent read that asks some very good questions is found here. Very much agree with the conclusion. The arrest and details don’t add up, and frankly there’s a stench wafting from this.

UPDATE III: The situation with the leaker stinks to high heaven. The story and data as presented do NOT add up. This story expands on that, and the points are worth considering. Glenn Greenwald also makes some good points here. BTW, am I the only person having some cognitive dissonance with GG becoming a voice of reason? Lots of question, and I doubt we are going to get the answers. The rot runs deep.

UPDATE IV: A different take from a former member of the intelligence community. For me, still not adding up and the smell continues to grow.

UPDATE V: Let me be clear: Even if we do find out for sure later that this guy’s code name was “Patsy,” he deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. He SHOULD be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law because of the damage done to sources and methods alone. Should Vindman have been prosecuted as well? IMO, YES. In this two-tier system, the latter is not going to happen. Would that it could as both have done tremendous damage to the Republic IMO.

15 thoughts on “Yet Another Intelligence Disaster”

  1. What about this tidbit? I find it rather interesting that this article focuses so heavily on the “gun enthusiast” identity of the supposed leaker. This, plus the FOIA about the FBI considering things like personal improvement or physical fitness to be ‘extremist’ has my paranoid senses tingling. I want to be wrong about it, but it feels like there is battlespace prep being done for new boogeymen to blame for it all. Someone has to be the kulaks for their plans to work

    https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/13/politics/pentagon-leaked-documents-military-base/index.html

    1. Indeed, and I’ve noticed several of the corporate media outlets are pushing a ‘guns, racist memes, games’ for the group, apparently from either a DOJ release or perhaps from Belingcat. I agree with Ed Morrissey at Hot Air that with the info we have now, this does not add up and frankly right now stinks. Agree with you, this does look like battlespace prep. Hope we are wrong, but this is the Biden/DNC DOJ…

  2. So you believe the documents are actually valid?

    Not saying I don’t, just saying so far I ahven’t seen anything that would actually cause me to believe they are

    But I haven’t really been following it, waiting for someone I trust (like you) to cover them

    1. All of them? No. Some have clearly (almost laughably) been altered (apparently Russian activity). Some appear genuine. Others, good question. It’s the reaction to some of them from allies (and enemies to some extent) that have me taking notice and thinking that at least some are real. There are elements to this that, based on the info we do have, stink to high heaven. The Biden DOJ, with the help of Bellingcat (who I do not warmly regard), is clearly pushing some agendas and I have a lot of questions. So, I think some are valid, some may be valid, some are clearly not, and the information coming out on this highly questionable. We may get more good info in the days ahead, but I am not betting on it right now. I see a LOT of agenda pushing already this afternoon, and when that happens the truth tends to lag far behind. This has done damage to our intel and diplomatic efforts, in some cases massive. It is ironic that some of the invalid and questionable may end up doing more damage than the actual valid.

    2. Oh, and thanks! I appreciate the compliment, and I do try hard to get things right. When it comes to predictions, one never bats a thousand. When it comes to facts, events, and citations, I do try to make sure they are good. Pity I can’t trust my own memory anymore, but that has also created some good where I’ve gone back and researched things, and ended up learning something new along the way. 🙂 Again, thanks!

  3. I am reading on Red State that a 21 year old MA Air National Guardsman has been arrested in connection with this debacle. Hard to see how a ANG member would have access to some of the stuff reportedly stolen.

    1. Agree. With the info we have right now, this does not add up and frankly stinks.

  4. Not sure I follow.
    Haven’t any and all of America’s enemies been drooling—at least since Afghanistan—in anticipation of a wonderful, shining future…while doing THEIR UTMOST to ensure that Joe Biden remains president for years and years to come?
    Nor will General Milley have to waste any of his valuable time making phone calls or otherwise sending emoji-laced messages to his pals in Beijing in the foreseeable future to reassure them about American military plans, ideas, initiatives, etc…since they already know everything. (Probably know it before Biden, come to think of it.)
    Alas, this poor sucker in Mass. Maybe if he’ll be able to persuade the Feds that he’s really, truly trans, they’ll go easy on him…. Let ‘im go even. Give ‘im a promotion?

  5. The organizations which constitute the intelligence community have gotten too large to focus on their mission and instead are overly involved with power grabbing and growth.

  6. So they’ve frog-marched a 21-year-old nobody, a preening braggart in a Massachusetts Air National Guard unit. Undoubtedly, he put the material out there, but it was never his. A superior there is responsible for laying out all that material. They’ll find him, too.

    I’ve worked in a SCIF. I’ve borne Top Secret clearances of a number of ‘Alphabet’ types. This stuff is not lying around where anyone with Top Secret can take a look. This material requires not just clearances but a high level of ACCESS. The ‘C’ is SCIF stands for COMPARTMENTED. Virtually everything that has been revealed would have been from different COMPARTMENTS, not accessible to nobodies like ‘OG’.

    Thus he somehow got his hands on aggregates of different compartments, which would necessarily be extremely restricted among a handful of superiors. Somebody gave this kid the keys to the store, such as unsecured final documents left lying around, or passwords scribbled on a desktop.

    They say he spent hours, to begin with, HAND COPYING documents before he graduated to photographic copies. Not since John Walker has any SCIF area allowed a single person unfettered entry and solitary access. So, there are others who SHOULD have been aware that something untoward was happening.

    In the end, it won’t be a nest of spies they wrap up. It will be a clutch of incompetents, given too much trust and too little oversight.

  7. From Wikipedia:

    Johnson worked at the CIA for four years as an analyst, then moved to the State Department’s Office of Counterterrorism. In 1993, Johnson left government work to join the private sector, “going on to build a dual career as a business consultant and a pundit on intelligence issues.”[1]

    So Larry left the CIA in 1992 AT THE LATEST.

    Keep that in mind when he says:
    > I worked in the CIA operations center, and I helped prepare
    > those reports, that’s an internal CIA document. No one on a
    > U.S. military base anywhere in the world will have access to
    > that kind of document.

    He left the CIA back before/during THE FIRST desert storm.

    SIPRnet dates back to 1997 (basically). For them not read it, that’s the “Secret” level Military and Intelligence Community network.

    JWICS, which is the TS/SCI level network–which is also where Manning and this twit found their files–was around as a “secure” teleconferencing system, and evolved later in the 1990s.

    So when Mr. Johnson was a CIA “analyst”, he used a lot of couriers and *maybe* fax machines to move stuff around.

    I submit that Mr. Johnson *may* love getting his face on TV more than he loves being honest about what he knows.

    And yeah, things may have changed since my clearance lapsed a decade ago. But not *nearly* as much as they’ve changed since the early 1990s.

    1. Some good points well worth considering. Though on the point about TV time, think that applies to quite a few including some “conservative” voices who see TV/Social Media as a zero sum game. As a result, they will toss anyone and anything under the bus to get that TV time or viral post.

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