S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Intelligence bytes --

Intelligence refers to being smart, to finding out things that protect the national security of the U.S. and its allies, as well as - in my book - to operating under the rule of law, as the Constitution requires. The Obama administration has had a difficult time moving away from the previous administration's lack of intelligence regarding national security matters. There are still far too many secrets. We are increasingly mired down in Afghanistan. We are still too dependent on civilian contractors for war fighting. And the intelligence services are still in need of more diversity. But some things are in a state of flux. Today's post gives a few bytes about the latest. (Image credit: Von Rosen)

American Civil Liberties Union fights an important intelligence document transparency battle -- Even though Attorney General Eric Holder has started an investigation of the C.I.A.'s abuses involved in the Bush administration's so-called "enhanced interrogation" programs, the Obama administration's lawyers are still trying to avoid revealing important classified documents in court related to the highly questionable programs. The petitioner, the ACLU is going to ask that the documents be declassified similarly to the documents opened last week by the current administration.

Afghanistan loses an important Intelligence official -- With some questioning the wisdom of U.S. presence in Afghanistan and others questioning the validity of its presidential election, the Taliban continue to target Afghanistan officials cooperating with the United States. In Mehterlam in an eastern province of Afghanistan considered to be relatively safe, the second in command of the Intelligence services for the country, Dr. Abdullah Laghmani, has been assassinated by a suicide bomber outside of a mosque. At least 23 people were killed in the Taliban attack and it will be a big blow to the Afghani government, according to Al Jazeera.

Important CRS report cites vulnerability because of the lack of intelligence shown by this trend -- According to the New York Times, contractors outnumber U.S. troops in Afghanistan. And when they are not properly managed you have a setup for another Abu Ghraib or Blackwater murder of civilians. This also means that it is the highest contractor to military ratio in the history of any war in the history of the U.S. Over the past two years it has averaged 65%, according to the Congressional Research Service report cited.

Importance of diversity spotlighted by Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair -- On a more positive note, C-SPAN rebroadcast an appearance Tuesday by former Admiral Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, before a gathering of representatives of Historically Black Colleges. The event was to announce grants and give recognition to partnerships with minority educational institutions who have recruitment and training programs in national intelligence work. Multi million grants were announced. along with awards for participation in the Intelligence Community's Centers of Academic Excellence program. (See Blair's and others' remarks, pdf-10 p.)

National Intelligence, long an area of focus for this blog, is challenging, maddening, confusing and occasionally heartening. Today brings some bad news and a bit of good. Stay tuned.

[Post date - September 2, 2009]

See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.

Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative website is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.

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