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July 09, 2004

It seems like every day on the news, someone from the House or Senate is being asked their opinion on matters of national security and intelligence, e.g., the 9/11 commission.

It is remarkably rare that I ever think any of our elected representatives knows as much or more than I do about how intel works, and in almost all cases, their public pronouncements are designed for political effect rather than to convey the truth.

I am certain that virtually no one in the media understands how intel works. Of those who do, most simply don't care, or (worse) they play on the ignorance of politicians and the public when publishing their "news" in order to push a particular agenda. Case in point: the media, in lockstep, completely and uniformly mischaracterized the preliminary report from the 9/11 commission.

I expect the Senate Select Intelligence Committee report on pre-Iraq-War intelligence being released today will be more of the same — a kernel of truth, surrounded by a cocoon of spin, particularly by those who don't like the report's conclusions.

Yes, I know a thing or three about intelligence.

I was once a small cog in the military intelligence machine. I had to be smart enough and had to pass tests to to qualify for the training, had to go through a couple years of extremely specialized schooling, and had to undergo a long bout of rectal microscopy to get a security clearance.

I don't think even 5% of our national-level politicians could successfully get even that far. And all that was what had to be done before I could serve my country in the real world. The hard work came after the training.

Politicians, on the other hand, only have to win their periodic popularity contests.

But I'm reasonably confident I couldn't do that.

Update: did you see Senator Rockefeller at the news conference? That's what I mean by spin: taking basic facts and overlaying your own veneer of opinion to try to score political points.

Posted by Russ at 10:28 AM, July 9, 2004 in Nat'l Security

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