WaPo: Counterterrorism effort overblown and unmanageable

posted at 8:48 am on July 19, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The first installment of the Washington Post’s new series on the massive efforts against terrorism went live today with a splashy microwebsite designed for a long-term rollout of in-depth investigative reporting.  “Top Secret America” appears as though it will last for quite a while, rather than just a one-day purported exposé of military and intelligence secrets.  If the opening overview gives any indication, the problem may be less that the Post will reveal classified material and more that it exposes the lack of reform in the 2005 structural changes to the intelligence community, and how much overlap and overbureaucratization had slowed our ability to act.

Not that it lacks specifics in the Dana Priest reporting today:

Much of the information about this mission is classified. That is the reason it is so difficult to gauge the success and identify the problems of Top Secret America, including whether money is being spent wisely. The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 21/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn’t include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs.

At least 20 percent of the government organizations that exist to fend off terrorist threats were established or refashioned in the wake of 9/11. Many that existed before the attacks grew to historic proportions as the Bush administration and Congress gave agencies more money than they were capable of responsibly spending.

The Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, for example, has gone from 7,500 employees in 2002 to 16,500 today. The budget of the National Security Agency, which conducts electronic eavesdropping, doubled. Thirty-five FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces became 106. It was phenomenal growth that began almost as soon as the Sept. 11 attacks ended.

Nine days after the attacks, Congress committed $40 billion beyond what was in the federal budget to fortify domestic defenses and to launch a global offensive against al-Qaeda. It followed that up with an additional $36.5 billion in 2002 and $44 billion in 2003. That was only a beginning.

With the quick infusion of money, military and intelligence agencies multiplied. Twenty-four organizations were created by the end of 2001, including the Office of Homeland Security and the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Task Force. In 2002, 37 more were created to track weapons of mass destruction, collect threat tips and coordinate the new focus on counterterrorism. That was followed the next year by 36 new organizations; and 26 after that; and 31 more; and 32 more; and 20 or more each in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In all, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11. Each has required more people, and those people have required more administrative and logistic support: phone operators, secretaries, librarians, architects, carpenters, construction workers, air-conditioning mechanics and, because of where they work, even janitors with top-secret clearances.

In 2004, the 9/11 Commission reported to Congress on the failings that led to the 9/11 attacks, and gave their recommendations on how to reorganize intelligence.  How has that worked?  According to Priest, not well:

The first problem was that the law passed by Congress did not give the director clear legal or budgetary authority over intelligence matters, which meant he wouldn’t have power over the individual agencies he was supposed to control.

The second problem: Even before the first director, Ambassador John D. Negroponte, was on the job, the turf battles began. The Defense Department shifted billions of dollars out of one budget and into another so that the ODNI could not touch it, according to two senior officials who watched the process. The CIA reclassified some of its most sensitive information at a higher level so the National Counterterrorism Center staff, part of the ODNI, would not be allowed to see it, said former intelligence officers involved.

And then came a problem that continues to this day, which has to do with the ODNI’s rapid expansion.

When it opened in the spring of 2005, Negroponte’s office was all of 11 people stuffed into a secure vault with closet-size rooms a block from the White House. A year later, the budding agency moved to two floors of another building. In April 2008, it moved into its huge permanent home, Liberty Crossing.

Today, many officials who work in the intelligence agencies say they remain unclear about what the ODNI is in charge of. To be sure, the ODNI has made some progress, especially in intelligence-sharing, information technology and budget reform. The DNI and his managers hold interagency meetings every day to promote collaboration. The last director, Blair, doggedly pursued such nitty-gritty issues as procurement reform, compatible computer networks, tradecraft standards and collegiality.

But improvements have been overtaken by volume at the ODNI, as the increased flow of intelligence data overwhelms the system’s ability to analyze and use it. Every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases. The same problem bedevils every other intelligence agency, none of which have enough analysts and translators for all this work.

This becomes a theme in the reporting on intelligence.  It got too big too fast, according to the Post, and has become a leviathan incapable of any one person commanding it. Just getting a briefing is a daunting, and in some ways futile, task:

In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials – called Super Users – have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.

“I’m not going to live long enough to be briefed on everything” was how one Super User put it. The other recounted that for his initial briefing, he was escorted into a tiny, dark room, seated at a small table and told he couldn’t take notes. Program after program began flashing on a screen, he said, until he yelled ”Stop!” in frustration.

“I wasn’t remembering any of it,” he said.

The 9/11 attacks interrupted a strategy created by Donald Rumsfeld to transform the American military into lighter, more nimble organizations able to respond and collaborate quickly, a strategy the Bush administration considered essential to the post-Cold War world where asymmetrical warfare would be a likelier threat than massive war from a major power.  The 9/11 Commission recommendations went the other direction, bulking up bureaucracies while created crossed and dotted lines.  The Post’s report comes as no surprise to anyone who recognized the fatal flaws within the creation of the ODNI and saw that it would merely create a whole new avenue for massive expansion of bureaucracy.

And the supposed crown jewel of the ODNI structure, the National Counter-Terrorism Center?  According to one intel officer of command rank who went on the record, it’s been next to useless:

When Maj. Gen. John M. Custer was the director of intelligence at U.S. Central Command, he grew angry at how little helpful information came out of the NCTC. In 2007, he visited its director at the time, retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd, to tell him so. “I told him that after 41/2 years, this organization had never produced one shred of information that helped me prosecute three wars!” he said loudly, leaning over the table during an interview.

Two years later, Custer, now head of the Army’s intelligence school at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., still gets red-faced recalling that day, which reminds him of his frustration with Washington’s bureaucracy. “Who has the mission of reducing redundancy and ensuring everybody doesn’t gravitate to the lowest-hanging fruit?” he said. “Who orchestrates what is produced so that everybody doesn’t produce the same thing?”

The Post’s series may wind up exposing classified data, but what it mainly exposes in the first installment is the reality that we went the wrong direction five years ago in intelligence reform, and it’s costing us both money and security.  While that was utterly predictable, the exposure of the reality might finally prompt Congress to return to intel reform and demand real restructuring, streamlining, and bureaucratic reduction before it really gets too late.


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75 Billion huh? All worth it, im sure /sarc

On a lighter note, who knew that AT&T did top secret nuclear work? I wonder if its possible to sign up with a cellular provider NOT deeply integrated into the US intelligence apparatus…

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 8:52 AM

This doesn’t give me any heartburn whatsoever. Intelligence and security are important, but you get to a point of diminishing returns. At some point, we’ve made enough of a security apparatus and it begins eating us from the inside out. When such a large percentage of our capability is expended in protecting the few “producers”, then we begin to strangle the golden goose while we think we’re protecting her.

Leaders need limits and so do programs. Without the helpfulness of daylight on these programs, they merely will grow out of fear of the unknown, rather than rational decision making.

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 8:53 AM

9/11 was an excuse to expand government which is why Bush had no problem getting the dems to go along with all of it. It was simply more money, more government jobs, more government agencies, and more pork to everybody.

keep the change on July 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM

I do not read the Washington Post, I have never read it and do not care what they print.

They are desperate to sell advertising and will do anything to improve their circulation. It will not work in the long run. The WaPo and all the creeps who work there are history.

Can we have more stories about Alvin Greene please?

jarhead0311 on July 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM

So how do you determine how much national security is enough?

SoulGlo on July 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Much of the intelligence apparatus will defend the spending and cry foul of investigation as a means to “protect the country.” While I cannot disagree with that approach, it is akin to academic institutions crying “academic freedom” when investigated by attorneys general who peek into the work and spending of their professors. Either way, it’ll be painful but helpful.

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Somehow I knew this “bombshell” wouldn’t be directly connected to Obama. It’s that evil Booooshs fault. Obama will have no choice to cut all this wasteful spending.Yeah .this time it is wasteful spending, but Obama is licking his chops at a chance to cut anything relating to defense of this Country.

sandee on July 19, 2010 at 9:01 AM

and how much overlap and overbureaucratization had slowed our ability to act.

But this same government can adequately manage the healthcare system of 300 million people.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:01 AM

jarhead0311 on July 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Translation: ::covers ears:: “LALALA I CANT HEAR YOU”

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:01 AM

And yet y’all trust the military and intelligence arms of government unconditionally.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Why doesnt the WAPO sum it up and say it is the usual government cluster________ and needs some heavy looking into?

docflash on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Fixing that byzantine elephant would be a good thing, no doubt.

But this all smacks of the 70′s and the intel community is a familiar target. Could the WaPo next take a look at How medicare is spent, and the level of fraud?

JeffWeimer on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Every single aspect of this Government has overlap and over bureaucratization.Lets throw it all out and start over. I say lets start with health reform…

sandee on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Frustrating, ain’t it?
We told congress then that this would happen. But what has happened with intelligence agencies is going to be repeated with Health Care and Financial Regulations, and if ‘energy/pollution/carbon’ legislation passes the same thing will happen there.

Meanwhile our Presidential Pretender thinks his duties are to read speeches off the teleprompter and force congress to concede more power to the executive branch. That power to be exercised by friends of the Pretender while the Poser in Chief appears before large adoring crowds of party loyalists.

Skandia Recluse on July 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Uh oh, if WaPo beats this drum, it may distract from fundamentally transforming America.

petefrt on July 19, 2010 at 9:06 AM

And yet y’all trust the military and intelligence arms of government unconditionally.
ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Where did y’all get that idea?

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:07 AM

JeffWeimer on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Yep, sure would be nice if these exposes concentrated on other things too, such as Congressional perks, welfare fraud, or the true cost of illegal immigrants on our system.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Nealry every governmental organization has serious overlaps in responsbilities, these guys are no different, with the exception they are Super Seekrit, and have pretty much no public oversight. That is a big problem right there.

Johnnyreb on July 19, 2010 at 9:09 AM

Once Jamie Gorelick was appointed to the 9/11 Commission, I just assumed things were going to be taken care of the right way.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:07 AM

The reflexive conservative opposition to scaling down the defense budget perhaps?

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:10 AM

…the exposure of the reality might finally prompt Congress to return to intel reform and demand real restructuring, streamlining, and bureaucratic reduction before it really gets too late.

I would not exactly take a great big breath and hold it in on this one. Right now the Congress has only one thing on its collective beady little mind, namely the November Elections.

Nevermind trivialities such as national security.

pilamaye on July 19, 2010 at 9:13 AM

Where did y’all get that idea?

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:07 AM

Ernie has a special, handy source for his ideas.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Gasp! Government over-reacted? Who’d a thunk it? When will we investigate the massive overreaction to Katrina, the BP oil spill, climate change, yet another recession or the fact that some people might not have healthcare! The breathless crisis mongers of the Washington Post bring us another crisis… that we overreact to crises? Please.

rhombus on July 19, 2010 at 9:16 AM

I support a 1-for-1 scaling down of intel budget and entitlement budgets.

fair is fair.

500 million for defense, 500 million for sugar

or 5% defense, 5% sugar

same same

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 9:18 AM

Adjusting, of course, for relative size at the outset. Either way, I think that’d be a fair trade.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM

The reflexive conservative opposition to scaling down the defense budget perhaps?
ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Ah yes, because the template says that all conservatives are willing to throw money into the defense budget with no oversight.

Can I play the game too, though you might not like what I have to say about reflexive liberal opposition to certain things.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM

So how do you determine how much national security is enough?

SoulGlo on July 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Well, I guess we wouldn’t want to approach the Hitler/Stalin model of national security, would we?

David2.0 on July 19, 2010 at 9:23 AM

Great thinking material.

Think. The DHS is the largest government created agency since the creation of the DOD.

To enable the DHS to grow, it must have a large number of enemies to allow its force structure to grow.

The DHS is often found falling into the never ending “what if” game and the public is required to pay for every “what if”. But, the money is running out to support every if. So we come full circle. What if we run out of money does our enemy win?

MSGTAS on July 19, 2010 at 9:26 AM

Government bureacracies grow bigger through failure …

PackerBronco on July 19, 2010 at 9:27 AM

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Hey, you’re the card carrying republican. I’m the youngin who would rather watch both ideologies burn. At some point, through your votes and political activism (at whatever level) you provide tacit approval for those who insist on throwing money into defense with no oversight.

Now, if you’d like to outright deny such an association right here and now, go ahead. But so far, I’ll assume that your republican and conservative bonafides include that nasty fetish for authority that manifests itself as a constant urge to feed the defense and law enforcement beast.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:29 AM

How about they do education next.

WisCon on July 19, 2010 at 9:29 AM

A Hidden World, Growing Beyond Control? The Washington Post article seems to have grown beyond control. It is way too long for what it concludes.

rhombus on July 19, 2010 at 9:31 AM

So we come full circle. What if we run out of money does our enemy win?MSGTAS on July 19, 2010 at 9:26 AM

We beat the Soviet Union to win the Cold War by forcing them to spend themselves into oblivion…..Did we not learn a lesson then? Is anyone asking the obligatory question of “If we spend too much on security will we bankrupt ourselves and have nothing to show for it?”

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 9:33 AM

Hey, you’re the card carrying republican. I’m the youngin who would rather watch both ideologies burn. At some point, through your votes and political activism (at whatever level) you provide tacit approval for those who insist on throwing money into defense with no oversight.

No kidding? Quick, what color is my skin, Carnac? A “Card carrying Republican” would support the GOP at every turn, and I don’t.

Like I said, your template is being affixed by you no matter whether it fits or not. I know you like to proclaim yourself a mid-road activist but your veneer on that wore thin here at HA long ago.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:42 AM

So to be clear, should the dems propose a cut in defense spending…you’d support it?

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Is anyone asking the obligatory question of “If we spend too much on security will we bankrupt ourselves and have nothing to show for it?”

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 9:33 AM

SHHHH!!! We all know that we have unlimited resources to put towards unnecessary wars! If you think otherwise, you’re just a terrorist shill and a traitor!

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:48 AM

WisCon on July 19, 2010 at 9:29 AM

The federal education apparatus is only so large. At the end of the day, if you’re unhappy with your local schools, your community is to blame.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Hey, they caught that hot babe from Russia didn’t they?

And they know no one knows where BinLaden is, right?

And they have been working a double-agent Iranian “scientist”, right?

Wouldn’t they get more intel if they just used all the money on bribes?

albill on July 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I know you like to proclaim yourself a mid-road activist but your veneer on that wore thin here at HA long ago.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 9:42 AM

Ernie likes to portray himself as a philosopher contrarian, but most of us noticed long ago it only goes one way. He just can’t maintain an appearence of objectivity very long and it gives him away. He’s young and wil learn to disguise better as he matures.

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 9:53 AM

According to Dana Priest and ernesto, we must be in dire need for another intelligence accountability Czar along with another commission to oversee DOD expenditures. By all means, let’s create another government bureaucracy, (fund it with more porkulus), and give Obama full credit for “jobs created/saved”. While we’re at it, why not just abolish the House and Senate since they’ve embraced every damn commission and Czar their dear leader has appointed. Seriously, who needs Congress any more?

Rovin on July 19, 2010 at 9:55 AM

“Finreg” will create at least 260 new programs , and in the context of the TRILLION dollar President, maybe GWB should have spent MORE!

Rick554 on July 19, 2010 at 10:00 AM

What ernie meant to say:

The federal education apparatus is only so large. by far the largest waste of taxpayer dollars. At the end of the day, if you’re unhappy with your local schools, your community the out of control teacher’s unions are to blame.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Rovin on July 19, 2010 at 10:05 AM

So to be clear, should the dems propose a cut in defense spending…you’d support it?
ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Depends on what, when and where; the devil is in the details and all that jazz.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 10:05 AM

ernesto: Read this with some thoughtfulness — http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/19/discretionary-defense

onlineanalyst on July 19, 2010 at 10:05 AM

What we need is a Counter-Terrorism Czar. How about Cynthia McKinney? Lindsay Lohan?

MaiDee on July 19, 2010 at 10:06 AM

a capella on July 19, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Were you here the day he flipped out, name calling, insulting, swearing he would never be back because the rest of us were a pack of braying conservative hyenas?

Everyone has a political bias, Ernie just won’t admit his own.

Bishop on July 19, 2010 at 10:08 AM

The dirty secret in government spending is that nobody in civil service is incented to cut spending on their own. Advancement in civil service ranks is all about how large your program is. Look at a typical civil servant’s resume and you’ll see a work history of managing ever-larger programs, and expansion of a program is considered high achievement.

I’ve been there and have seen it first-hand.

flipflop on July 19, 2010 at 10:09 AM

And just think. We could save tons on national security by simply outlawing the practice of Islam, with a moratorium on all Muslim immigration.

awake on July 19, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Advancement in civil service ranks is all about how large your program is. Look at a typical civil servant’s resume and you’ll see a work history of managing ever-larger programs, and expansion of a program is considered high achievement.

I’ve been there and have seen it first-hand.

flipflop on July 19, 2010 at 10:09 AM

troof

ted c on July 19, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Phillip Agee call your office.

Oh wait, he’s in his office.

Nevermind.

Akzed on July 19, 2010 at 10:14 AM

the exposure of the reality might finally prompt Congress to return to intel reform and demand real restructuring, streamlining, and bureaucratic reduction before it really gets too late.

Hahahahahahaha! That’s funny!

I wonder if I can get a job up there! Seems like they’ll hire anyone because they have so much money to spend. I could start the Department and Administrative Management of Bureaucratic Systems or DAM BS.

Vince on July 19, 2010 at 10:15 AM

The federal education apparatus is only so large. At the end of the day, if you’re unhappy with your local schools, your community is to blame.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Are you even remotely aware of how many unfunded mandates and layers of bureaucracy have been imposed on local schools through the federal education apparatus? Are you aware of how little of this actually has an impact on the schoolroom and student achievement? I thought not.

onlineanalyst on July 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:04 AM

I’m in the military. There isn’t any “unconditional” about it. I can see from the inside how much work needs to be done. I think most of us 5 years ago also looked at the new structure for intelligence and thought: Huh? WTF do we need another aggregator of intelligence? Wasn’t the CIA created for that? We need to FLATTEN the beauracracy to make it more nimble.

So none of the WaPo stuff comes as a surprise, at least to me. I could see it coming a mile away.

Now, on to the other huge items in the federal budget, those that are considered “mandatory” spending although they aren’t spelled out in the Constitution, while the “discretionary” military is, but I digress. Fraud and abuse of SS and Medicare (and Medicaid) is a huge scandal that would free up a lot of money to help people. It’s just not as sexy as an expose on the secret-squirrel world of intelligence.

JeffWeimer on July 19, 2010 at 10:18 AM

The federal education apparatus is only so large. At the end of the day, if you’re unhappy with your local schools, your community is to blame.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:49 AM

True. So let’s get rid of it since it’s only so large and not very effective. It’ll save some money. Do that enough times and pretty soon you’re talking about serious money. And no, the military should not be immune. There are plenty of programs that do nothing to help military readiness that could stand to be axed, or those that do that could stand to have personnel cut back.

JeffWeimer on July 19, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Now you guys have really perplexed ernesto. You are agreeing that there are areas where the defense budget can be cut. He can’t respond to that with the things he was taught by liberals.

Vince on July 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

onlineanalyst on July 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM

It’s crazy when you look at the small percentage of funds that come from the federal government’s “contribution” to local school budgets compared to the sheer number of regulations and what they cost each locality. It’s surprising that there hasn’t been any locales that have tried to opt out of both the funds and the regulations.

Cindy Munford on July 19, 2010 at 10:49 AM

Vince on July 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

People are agreeing now…when push comes to shove though, just as we see with law enforcement, once someone comes with the ax conservatives start foaming at the mouth.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 10:54 AM

He who defends everywhere, defends nowhere.

logis on July 19, 2010 at 11:02 AM

Funny,

The people in favor of the party of bigger gov’t, are the very same ones pointing out the inefficiency of bigger gov’t,

isn’t it.

Tunnel Vision

franksalterego on July 19, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Gee, Ed, didn’t we discuss this whole mess, anticipated it pretty much all way back at CQ back in the day?

Running intelligence operations on the scale of deployed corps formations a la WWII is certainly not the way to obtain good intel, actionable intel and be able to react before overtaken by events, let alone plan and execute positive intelligence operations. But, this is what the whole DNI process and the 9-11 Commission started for us…throw tons and tons of money, large bills only, at the problem before understanding what the problem is. Those pesky multiple levels of bureaucracy just get in the way…again and again…and again…but there are a lot of cool looking reports and summaries being shared among the Community…all saying essentially the same thing only with different fonts and layouts.

Read the article…and so far right on target…and I am sure they left out a few things.

Does Department of Commerce or Department of Agriculture really need an intelligence ops center? HHS? Labor? Can’t be a proper Cabinet member these days without an intelligence apparatus under your control. And DHS is totally redundant of DOD…and a couple other long-standing outfits.

Glad I got out of DC in time. Back in those days one was a mere phone call away from the NSC. Today…have to submit a memo through channels to get on the appointment list, and not with a principal officer at that…just some fresh out of grad school underling…can’t talk to a principal in any “outside” organization without the lawyers clearing it, either, I am told.

Progress? Not in the least.

coldwarrior on July 19, 2010 at 11:04 AM

onlineanalyst on July 19, 2010 at 10:17 AM
It’s crazy when you look at the small percentage of funds that come from the federal government’s “contribution” to local school budgets compared to the sheer number of regulations and what they cost each locality. It’s surprising that there hasn’t been any locales that have tried to opt out of both the funds and the regulations. Cindy Munford on July 19, 2010 at 10:49 AM

I have been advocating for my school district to go rogue for many years. We can’t afford the “free” money.

Mojave Mark on July 19, 2010 at 11:41 AM

People are agreeing now…when push comes to shove though, just as we see with law enforcement, once someone comes with the ax conservatives start foaming at the mouth.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 10:54 AM

Sure, that’s bound to happen. Human nature and all. We fought against the F-22 production not being expanded. for good reasons, I believe – not only was it “stimulus” and “shovel ready”, it would keep union jobs in employ and have the salutory effect of helping meet a Constitutional responsibility.

I wasn’t reading blogs then, but what was your opinion of GWB’s attempt at SS reform in 2005? Certainly, nearly all liberals foamed at the mouth about that, to the point they crowded out any reasonable voice on the matter. I believe Nacy Pelosi’s response to fellow Democrats who were afraid that they needed a counter proposal in order to seem less the “party of no” was: “None, How does none sound to you?”

And your police analogy fails on the same argument you gave about schools. Nearly all police are local, so if you have a problem, talk to your city or county about that.

JeffWeimer on July 19, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Now, if you’d like to outright deny such an association right here and now, go ahead. But so far, I’ll assume that your republican and conservative bonafides include that nasty fetish for authority that manifests itself as a constant urge to feed the defense and law enforcement beast.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Really, the right has a fetish for authority? Your guy, O!, is growing gov’t at an amazing rate (I know, you pretend not to be a liberal and not to support the dems – funny how all your comments follow the liberal line completely), including ordering people to buy things, taking over car companies, socializing health-care, and on and on in terms of reducing liberty and consolidating all power to the federal gov’t.

Yet, it is the right that “fetishizes authority”?

If you were against all expansion of the gov’t – including taxing and spending – and were for a smaller military and smaller intelligence services – you would at least be making an honest argument.

But you are for every form of gov’t control and expansion, except for military and intelligence, which just makes you dishonest and illogical.

Monkeytoe on July 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM

But you are for every form of gov’t control and expansion, except for military and intelligence, which just makes you dishonest and illogical.

Monkeytoe on July 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Great Post!

Ernie you were just PWND. Ernie quit your babbling.
Interesting you mention the military as part of some authority fetish…you do realize the military is to defend us from other countries? They are not normally used as home as an authority figure. Right? You really are stupid.

CWforFreedom on July 19, 2010 at 12:09 PM

The Post’s series may wind up exposing classified data, but what it mainly exposes in the first installment is the reality that we went the wrong direction five years ago in intelligence reform, and it’s costing us both money and security. While that was utterly predictable, the exposure of the reality might finally prompt Congress to return to intel reform and demand real restructuring, streamlining, and bureaucratic reduction before it really gets too late.

Agreed, and may I add that….the same can be said for Obamacare. ;)

capejasmine on July 19, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Now, if you’d like to outright deny such an association right here and now, go ahead. But so far, I’ll assume that your republican and conservative bonafides include that nasty fetish for authority that manifests itself as a constant urge to feed the defense and law enforcement beast.

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Yeah…because if we had less of both…it would be SO much easier to murder, rape, pillage, loot, steal, maim, abduct, and assault.

capejasmine on July 19, 2010 at 12:38 PM

I’m not a fan of WaPo … but I’m pretty excited by this article and it’s prospects and, I’ll tell you why.

I was on the “tip of the sword” of fighting the GWOT before I retired from the Navy. I can’t tell you how many times I was frustrated by the leviathon beuracracy that our government put in place to fight terrorism. I’m telling you, there were times when we had guys in our sights and we couldn’t get permission to shoot them because the guys we got permission from didn’t know who to get permission from themselves.

It’s just crazy and I think anyone else who’s served would tell you the same thing. I could give … probably 10′s of failures just from my personal experience where bad dudes “got away” or managed to succeed in something because we either couldn’t get permission to act in time, or couldn’t get the information we had to the people who need it.

The one thing that has stunned me since I retired is the success of the drone’s in Pakistan. They are having way too much success – why? I’ll bet if someone looks into it, someone or something in the government has streamlined the process for them.

This isn’t JUST an anti-Bush article. A lot of the problems being highlighted in the article will be problems Obama has caused, or allowed to perpetuate.

As CONSERVATIVES … how many times have we said that throwing more and more money at education is NOT the answer? We say this all the time – because it’s true – our educational system gets worse and worse in spite of ever increasing monetary outlays to it.

The same IS TRUE for Defense. Money is not always the answer. Money WAS THE ANSWER when Ronald Reagan was President – and he put money into it and fixed it. But right now – money isn’t stopping us from improving – it’s the damn leviathon beuracracy that’s killing us.

HondaV65 on July 19, 2010 at 1:40 PM

So to be clear, should the dems propose a cut in defense spending…you’d support it?

ernesto on July 19, 2010 at 9:47 AM

Ah, the only card in your fiscal deck, as per Democrat doctrine.

Also, a Democrat calling Republicans “authoritarians…” boy, you really do live in a fantasy world, don’t you. What don’t Democrats want to control?

Merovign on July 19, 2010 at 3:59 PM