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.