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Each year we spend many billions on technology, most of it with the NSA, some with the CIA, and some with sat-intel.

There are only several countries with sizable nuke and conventional arms military, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, plus a few others. If our NSA is so bloody good that we can listen in on Merkel's private calls, I would suspect that we have tasked certain resources to these countries.

Knowledge is power, and power is dependent on being to apply that intelligence in the most effective and practical way.

What shocked me about Russia's Little Crimean Invasion  was the reaction of so many of our political types, and even worse, how unprepared we seemed to be.

By every account I could find, both our CIA and our State Department was stunned, with their virtual pants around their ankles, having no clue that Russia would actually put 6,000 to 15,000 troops down on the ground in the Crimea.

The idea that those two critical entities were shocked at the Russian move is worrisome. How could that happen, in this day and age? That means, by analogy, that we can be surprised just as badly by Pakistan, India, China, or North Korea. That means that we have a serious problem.

Let's look at another group of people : The Select Committees on Intel in the House and the Senate. Despite having the unmitigated gall to put a clown like Michele Bachmann on one committee, most of the people who sit there are serious policy wonks. They are educated, experienced, and are briefed each day about the world's hot spots. They stay on the committee by doing good work, and by trying to keep the US safe.

From everything I could see, none of them had a clue about Russia's intentions.

Or, let's take the White House. Their reactions proved that they had no clue of the growing unrest in Crimea, or how the Russians had planned to deal with it. On a practical basis, you don't mobilize 6,0000 to 15,000 troops without a lot of preparation.

For example, even before our Little Iraqi invasion, people in Chicago could tell something was up, just because OHare Airport had over 100 flights of these massive troop and equipment carrying planes flying over, starting at 3:am and taking most of the morning. With noise like that, it is hard to keep them secret, especially given O'Hare's military importance with large scale military moves. (And, yes, Secretary Kerry, some nations DO invade other countries based on lies)

Same with the Russians. It is impossible to mobilize that many people without planning and preparation - things that our NSA, CIA, and DIA should have caught.

Yet, each and every group was shocked. The CIA was (by one account) flabbergasted (a word I rarely see, unless you are stuck in the Beltway). Our State department was honestly shocked and taken by surprise. Admitting something like that is not easy, unless it simply comes out because it was the truth.  State's predicament is understandable. Dick Cheney decimated a wonderful boutique intel group there, because they were too smart, too independent, and he could not bend them to his will on Iraq. But no longer. State now relies on NSA and CIA.

Congress? The last I heard from any defense wonks (and unfortunately, McCain still is part of that) none of them had any heads up or expectation that  Russia would dare invade Crimea.

Finally, the White House. Between the body language and the strained choice of words, one could tell that no one in the White House had a clue about this upcoming invasion, at least not in advance.

What does this all tell us? Nothing good, and a lot of bad. Here is my take on the possibilities. I am sure that there are others, and feel free to add your own.

A. WE KNEW, or at least the NSA KNEW.

If we did know in advance, then why were our political leaders, both within the White House and Congress, (not to mention State and the CIA - both of whom expressed real surprise and shock) so utterly unprepared when the Ruskies did what they did? Their collective reaction was not well thought out, planned, or one that was based on many kinds of analysis and game-playing. It was collective shock, pure and simple.

You would think that a heads up, especially to State and the CIA would have been appropriate, and would allow them to analyze what was coming and what we could do about it.

No, I think the surprise was real and that there was no heads up from the NSA's little spy munchkins allegedly reading their mails, texts, or calls.

B. WE KNEW BUT NSA DIDN'T TELL THOSE IN POWER

Given how badly the Cheney Bush admin screwed up our intel units, starting with politicizing the CIA, and decimating the State Department's truly effective boutique intel unit, (As I said above,  they were right about WMD in Iraq, and everyone else was shitting their undies when Cheney demanded a particular response)  there is a possibility that the NSA knew, but didn't or couldn't give this critical data to the House, the Senate intel units, State, the CIA and to the White House.

If that is the case, and if the NSA is so good at domestic spying, but has no way to share foreign data, we are in a heap'um big trouble, because while we piss off all of our friends by spying on them, the information is functionally and practically useless. if it cannot effectively advise and inform those who need to know, why do we still have the NSA?

C. WE KNEW BUT NSA MISREAD THE INTEL

Of all the possibilities, this is the second most scariest. It means that we have the technical means, but that our analysts are anal-cysts. Cysts so big that Rush is jealous.

This means the NSA is an utter waste of money. More money won't fix it, and it might actually make things worse. There are a few groups who are as bad at spring cleaning as our intel units, (who would rather attack honest whistle blowers) but at the moment, I cannot think of who.

D. THE NSA WAS NOT ONTO THIS.

The worst possible choice. Not only is our investment in Big brother pointless, useless, and a huge waste, but it gives us a false sense of security.  Who cares if Big Brother can catch a California pot dealer, tell the authorities when they are driving to Chicago, and have local police nab them on a rummy toll booth violation charge? (this is true, unfortunately. The NSA gave the local Illinois PD the heads up. This was one of the first breaks in how the NSA grabs illegally gathered intel, shares it with local PDs, who then pretend to develop it separately and on their own. Criminal Defense lawyers are only scratching the surface.)

Unfortunately, this also seems to be the most likely.

Translated, our CIA, NSA, DIA monstrously huge military-intelligence-industrial complex is inept. Worse than worthless. Unable to do the job it was originally designed to do.

So far, no one in government or our media has bothered to put two and two together and to start asking questions about how and why our response has been so lame. And that is the saddest thing of all.

Poll

Which was it?

33%27 votes
5%4 votes
13%11 votes
6%5 votes
11%9 votes
17%14 votes
3%3 votes
8%7 votes

| 80 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  They were speaking Russian&Ukrainian (10+ / 0-)

    Nobody left in "The Intelligence Community" who speaks Russian or Ukrainian

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:26:33 PM PST

  •  The NSA knew, and the Executive Branch... (4+ / 0-)

    ..believed that, after the change of government in Kiev, there was a high likelihood (75%) that Putin would invade Crimenia, using the same arguments that Bush used in Iraq.

    That's my take.

    Having said that, what could President Obama have done differently?

    Should the US have sent naval vessels to the area at the same time that the change in government was taking place in Kiev?

    As someone who believes that the US should focus its military resources against Chinese territorial ambitions in Southeast Asia, I say no.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:29:25 PM PST

    •  Good question (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa, blue aardvark

      What could be done so many thousands of miles- excuse me, kilometers away?

      Nothing practical and practically nothing.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:45:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  How fast does a naval vessel move, and how (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa, Gurnt, Bozmo2

      long did they have?

      The Sixth fleet is in Naples. From Naples to Sevastopol is about 1,000 miles straight line, which of course ships can't sail.

      At 30 knots that's ~33 hours of sailing.

      And you aren't doing 30 knots through the Bosporus.

      Probably two or three days if the fleet is ready to leave port at a moment's notice.

      Very hard to have a carrier fleet in the Black Sea in a timely manner, especially if you need Turkish permission first.

      Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

      by blue aardvark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:21:51 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting ... although I might want to check the (0+ / 0-)

        location of the USS Mount Whitney and USS Taylor ....

        https://thedaywefightback.org/

        by Bozmo2 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:29:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would expect the flagship to be with the fleet (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bozmo2

          That's sort of what flagships do.

          As for a frigate - you do understand that a frigate is close to the smallest ship deployed by the USN, and pitting one frigate against the Russian Black Sea fleet is about as effective as shouting insults?

          Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

          by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:46:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I will defer to your greater knowledge about (0+ / 0-)

            frigates. Given the title of the diary, I might suggest the USS Mount Whitney has other capabilities besides floating.

            https://thedaywefightback.org/

            by Bozmo2 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:01:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a flag ship (0+ / 0-)

              If it's not connected to the whole US Military intelligence apparatus, it's not doing its job. Send and receive, mainly receive. See, if you think that our main intelligence collectors float you need to do some more deferring.

              Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

              by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:40:55 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I am curious, do you think the Navy is in error (0+ / 0-)

                in it's description ..

                "The ship's afloat communications capability is second to none. MTW can receive, process and transmit large amounts of secure data from any point on earth through HF, UHF, VHF, SHF, and EHF communications paths. This technology enables the Joint Intelligence Center and Joint Operations Center to gather and fuse critical information while on the move. As the most sophisticated Command, Control, Communications, Computer, and Intelligence (C4I) ship ever commissioned, MTW incorporates various elements of the most advanced C4I equipment and gives the embarked Joint Task Force Commander the capability to effectively command widely dispersed air, ground and maritime units in an integrated fashion."

                http://www.mtwhitney.navy.mil/

                https://thedaywefightback.org/

                by Bozmo2 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:53:14 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What I said (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Bozmo2
                  If it's not connected to the whole US Military intelligence apparatus, it's not doing its job. Send and receive, mainly receive.
                  Please show me what in your long block quote is in contradiction to that.

                  Now, address this:

                  See, if you think that our main intelligence collectors float you need to do some more deferring.
                  The NSA does not rely on a warship being within LOS of places of interest.

                  Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

                  by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:55:47 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  If the Sixth Fleet had been by Sevastopol on Fri.. (5+ / 0-)

        day afternoon, and Putin had nonetheless invaded, what should President Obama have done?

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:00:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a very difficult question ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PatriciaVa

          I am very unsure of WHAT is going on, to be honest.
          I think President Obama has very few good options. Use of force, in any way has to be the last on that list. Diplomacy must always be first.

          https://thedaywefightback.org/

          by Bozmo2 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:22:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  An excellent question (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bozmo2, PatriciaVa

          But on the other hand, Putin would have had to ask himself what the Sixth Fleet might do, in the event the Ukrainians resisted the incursion.

          Which they might have done, had the fleet been offshore.

          Which might have been a very bad thing, because Russia can get through to a carrier if it's within range of Russian air force bases ashore. And Putin might very well have considered himself to be within his rights to take it out given the hypothetical bombing of Russian troops by planes from that carrier.

          So all in all, we may very well be better off the way things are.

          Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

          by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:49:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting! (6+ / 0-)

    I was thinking it rather interesting that this "troops on the ground" thing allegedly caught everyone in DC completely flat-footed. Granted, I haven't heard every "official" account, but that was the gist I got out of this too (They were shocked! Shocked, I tell you!).

    Maybe the NSA isn't really everywhere, after all?  Or maybe they're just as full of shit as the rest of Official Washington is.

    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

    by lunachickie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:32:55 PM PST

    •  Or maybe the Russians know a thing or two (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gurnt, radical simplicity

      about spying, and have counter-measures. See my comment below. Those counter-measures aren't free, and if this were a shooting war might have cost the Russians.

      Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

      by blue aardvark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:18:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Under the treaty between Russia and Ukraine, (3+ / 0-)

      Russia was allowed 25K troops in Crimea.  So all this jabber about airplanes flying out of Chicago is misleading, because some percentage, possibly 100%, of the Russian troops that deployed initially only had to drive a few miles.

      Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

      by oblomov on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:28:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This was Senator Wyden's face ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agnostic

      ... after he heard Clapper's answer in testimony back in March 2013, and Wyden said, "It does not?":

      snowdenwyden

      You can watch Senator Wyden's "shocked face" here on the Guardian video of the testimony. Of course, we all know, now, that Wyden knew perfectly well that there was metadata retrieval. But guess who apparently didn't know that at the time? Edward Snowden. This is from Snowden's interview with German television, and specifically, a question about what was the "decisive moment," for him, that required his stealing all those documents:

      "I would say sorta the breaking point is seeing the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, directly lie under oath to Congress. There's no saving an intelligence community that believes it can lie to the public and legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its actions."
      (4:46 of the linked video). As we all know now, everyone on that Intelligence Committee knew the details of the metadata program. Wyden's "shocked" expression fooled Snowden. So, I'm not surprised that Government officials acting "shocked" about something might fool you as well.

      I would suggest that it would be unreasonable to base one's opinions about a Government's capabilities or knowledge simply on surface reactions in one short time span. That's what Snowden did, and look what that got him.  

      Rand Paul is to civil liberties as the Disney Channel is to subtle and nuanced acting. Ron Paul thinks he's a wit, but he's only half right.

      by Tortmaster on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 01:56:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cannot argue with your position, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lunachickie

        Isn't the goal of an intel program to never ever be surprised?

        Just think if we had rational and talented people in office, instead of Condi rice, when several confirmed sources warned about an upcoming strike within the US and A?

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:55:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)
          Isn't the goal of an intel program to never ever be surprised?
          It's unreasonable to expect perfection, but the kind of malfeasance and/or tunnel-vision we see in situations like this is bullshit.  

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:34:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Funny thing, CIA thru USAID, was funding (12+ / 0-)

    the folks who deposed the elected president . . . and now they're SURPRISED.

    I guess they were surprised on 9/11, in spite of the "Osama bin Laden determined to strike inside USA" briefing.

    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

    by bobdevo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:33:33 PM PST

    •  Link? (0+ / 0-)

      Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

      by blue aardvark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:15:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Below. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

        by bobdevo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:40:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your link says that Wheeler has said (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          btfsilence, Gurnt, DiesIrae, Tortmaster

          that her tweets do not mean that this is a US funded overthrow.

          Update: Wheeler has responded on Twitter to say that her Tweets were taken out of context, but would not give specifics. Adam Colligan, with whom Wheeler was debating, commented on Pando that "while Wheeler did raise the issue of external interference in relation to a discussion about a coup, it was not really at all in the manner that you have portrayed." Further "[Pax Americana] appeared after the conversation had shifted from the idea of whether a coup had been staged by the Ukrainian Parliament to a question about the larger powers’ willingness to weaken underlying economic conditions in a state.”
          And if you think the Ukrainian government can be overthrown via a donation of $421,000 you must live in a different economy than I do.

          Let us be clear: you can't create what we saw in Kiev with a few million dollars. You might be able to help indigenous groups organize themselves; but that implies that the opposition to the government is in fact ... indigenous.

          And further, your links don't suggest that USAID got any money at all from CIA. The word "CIA" does not appear in the article.

          Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

          by blue aardvark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:47:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Please ... USAID is a CIA front. (3+ / 0-)

            And if you think this is the only connection between the CIA and Ukraine, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

            Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

            by bobdevo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:06:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  In 1991, it was not. USAID sent me to be the first (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue aardvark

              US professor to teach law in the Baltic states.

              Today, different story.

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:30:26 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It most certainly was a CIA front in 1991. (4+ / 0-)

                I didn't say ALL USAID projects are CIA.  If they were, USAID wouldn't be a "front", it would just be a department of the CIA.

                1991 you said.  In 1991 USAID was a busy bee in Haiti:

                It was USAID money that helped a CIA agent persuade Emmanuel "Toto" Constant to organize the murderous FRAPH in 1991. That terrorist organization was responsible for some 5,000 murders in the wake of the military coup that removed Aristide from his first term as elected president.
                NED (National Endowment for Democracy) was created under Reagan, and is budgeted and administered within USAID:
                NED regularly provides funding to opposition candidates in elections in countries other than the USA. According to Allen Weinstein, one of the founders of NED, "A lot of what we [NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA"

                NED has principally supported candidates with strong ties to the military and who support the rights of U.S. corporations to invest in those countries with minimal restriction. The NED has not supported candidates who oppose investments by U.S. corporations or who promise restrictions on investment rights of U.S. corporations.

                Tom Engelhardt notes that "we've seen "the Rose Revolution" in Georgia, "the Orange Revolution" in Ukraine, and now "the Tulip Revolution" in Kyrgyzstan, all heavily financed and backed by groups funded by or connected to the U.S. government and/or the Bush administration.

                You really think we weren't messing around in Ukraine?

                Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

                by bobdevo on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 09:02:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I suspect we are messin' around (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kurt, bobdevo, blue aardvark

                  in many places, except Iran ( where keystone kops would blend in easier), North Korea (where agents refuse to serve due to allergic reactions from being served up as pig food while alive) and  Belgium (where we keep trying to speak bengalese instead of the native languages) ((due to a slight software glitch in our Big Brother NSA database))

                  What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                  by agnostic on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 01:23:29 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  More on NED from Meteor Blades current front (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    agnostic

                    page diary:

                    NED, a $100 million-a-year agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against targeted states, lists 65 projects that it supports financially inside Ukraine, including training activists, supporting “journalists” and promoting business groups, effectively creating a full-service structure primed and ready to destabilize a government in the name of promoting “democracy.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “A Shadow US Foreign Policy.”] . . . As Assistant Secretary Nuland and Sen. McCain cheered the demonstrators on, the street protests turned violent. Police clashed with neo-Nazi bands, the ideological descendants of Bandera’s anti-Russian Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazi SS during World War II.

                    With the crisis escalating and scores of people killed in the street fighting, Yanukovych agreed to a E.U.-brokered deal that called for moving up scheduled elections and having the police stand down. The neo-Nazi storm troopers then seized the opening to occupy government buildings and force Yanukovych and many of his aides to flee for their lives.

                    With these neo-Nazis providing “security,” the remaining parliamentarians agreed in a series of unanimous or near unanimous votes to establish a new government and seek Yanukovych’s arrest for mass murder. Nuland’s choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as interim prime minister.

                    Yet, the violent ouster of Yanukovych provoked popular resistance to the coup from the Russian-ethnic south and east. After seeking refuge in Russia, Yanukovych appealed to Putin for help. Putin then dispatched Russian troops to secure control of the Crimea. [For more on this history, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Cheering a ‘Democratic’ Coup in Ukraine.”]

                    Unless Obama OK'd NED involvement,  it looks like NEED is a rogue agency.  Ask JFK how he liked it when the CIA went rogue with the Bay of Pigs.

                    Fiat justitia ruat caelum "Let justice be done though the heavens fall."

                    by bobdevo on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:53:35 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh my aching eyes. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      bobdevo

                      Nuland was Stroke Talbott's chief of staff? No wonder she is such an idiot. Then the chief foreign policy advisor for Dick Cheney?  

                      Who the hell keeps her in public service? She is a danger to world peace and diplomacy,

                      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                      by agnostic on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:29:34 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  So when your source says you are wrong (0+ / 0-)

              you maintain that you understand the situation better than the person you cite to support your thesis?

              And downstream you agree that not all USAID activities are CIA directed, so since you've got nothing linking the CIA to this particular operation, I think you've seriously overreached.

              Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

              by blue aardvark on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:52:03 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  I'm going to go with my own poll answer (10+ / 0-)

    "The NSA had some information, but not enough to draw a definitive conclusion, because the Russians are not amateurs and know about spy satellites".

    It's a lot easier to move 15,000 troops across ground than across water, which is why D-Day is still a legend.

    It's a lot easier to communicate securely when you can use land lines located entirely within your own country.

    So the NSA probably knew the Russians were doing something, but not enough to send up the "The Russians are coming!" signal. Especially when you consider the Russians were already conducting maneuvers in the area, and you therefore have to distinguish between "troops leave barracks, perform maneuvers" and "troops leave barracks, head for border".

    Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

    by blue aardvark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:44:18 PM PST

    •  Good points, but then (0+ / 0-)

      Doesn't that mean that our analysis and ability to predict behavior is pathetic and weak?

      Chicago just started using an AI program that predicts who is likely to commit a future crime. They claim that their intervention based on this software has cut crime by 30% in a couple of areas.

      While that reminds me of a tom Cruz movie, it is impossible to think that the NSA does NOT have such toys, and a lot more sophisticated than Chicago PD.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:50:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It means intelligence is a chess game (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DiesIrae

        And the Russians play it fairly well.

        What our intelligence does is force (in this case) the Russians to do things they'd probably rather not do to avoid us. Use land lines rather than radio, or encrypt the radios, or even encrypted land lines. And have your troops start moving at times when the spy sats aren't overhead. And avoid moving troops from elsewhere toward the Crimea to replace those moving across the border. And not deliver large quantities of supplies to the invading troops. And do maneuvers, which are expensive and tire out your troops, to provide a layer of deception. And other stuff.

        Had the Russians been moving into an area with forces arrayed against them such that their troops would have had to deploy into attack formations, maneuver against the enemy, and things like that, the NSA et al would almost certainly have intercepted communications, gotten pictures of formations, and so on. They would have had to supply their troops for extended time in the field, bring up the reserves in case of counter-attack, and other noticeable things. But this isn't a shooting war, yet. If it had been, the Russians would either have tipped us off, or they'd have taken some enormous risks doing things to avoid tipping us off.

        Instead, though, they pretty much just drove down the road.

        Purity is for primaries; in the general, our worst are better than their best.

        by blue aardvark on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:12:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There was no growing unrest in Crimea until (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, DiesIrae, blue aardvark, Gurnt, Anna M

    about a week ago. Protests in Kiev and elsewhere were quite unpredictable. I'm sure they knew what was going on. But then again so did everyone else with access to Twitter. The real question is what they knew about Russian plans re: Crimea. As another commenter said: "The NSA had some information, but not enough to draw a definitive conclusion, because the Russians are not amateurs and know about spy satellites"

  •  NSA too busy watching teenager sexting (7+ / 0-)

    Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

    by The Dead Man on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:53:06 PM PST

  •  The problem isn't that they didn't know in advance (5+ / 0-)

    The problem is there aren't any good options.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:56:46 PM PST

  •  I'm going with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FishOutofWater

    They were watching Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale on The Bullwinkle Show.

    "Raskolnikov"

  •  NSA too busy watching U. S. dissidents. (3+ / 0-)
  •  Enough was known (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PatriciaVa, Gurnt, radical simplicity

    For John Kerry and Chuck Hagel to make public statements about respecting the sovereignty of Ukraine when Putin gave orders for "training exercises".

  •  Certainly an interesting topic, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, PatriciaVa, Gurnt

    though I'd hesitate to draw sweeping conclusions based on "body language" and "strained choice of words" from the White House. Diplomacy is tough and you have to be very, very, very careful about what you say - especially when one of the countries under discussion is a nuclear power doing something you don't like. That seems like enough stress to cause visible discomfort.

  •  They probably did not know (5+ / 0-)

    because the plans were not discussed over a Yahoo Webcam session.

    If you stand for nothing you will fall for anything.

    by LieparDestin on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:42:07 PM PST

  •  Or Russia somehow has data on how NSA collects (4+ / 0-)

    Data and can now circumvent it. Somehow.  It's possible.

    Imagine the most profound idea ever conceptualized occupying this space. Now expect exactly the opposite. You'll never be disappointed.

    by Gurnt on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:42:54 PM PST

    •  That's a given (0+ / 0-)

      I can pretty much guarantee you that Edward Snowden didn't tell the Russians anything they didn't already know.  That's part of what makes it such a slap in the face that they're spying on us, having all of us carry around tracking devices (except the few who buck fashion and stick with encrypted devices made by a much-reviled Canadian company): The people that they really need to be paying attention to already know who to get around it.  

      They tell me I'm pretty amusing from time to time working with 140 characters or less.

      by CharlieHipHop on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:03:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately for the NSA, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CharlieHipHop, oblomov

    Putin didn't discuss his plans over the phone with an American citizen.

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:54:12 PM PST

  •  Don't know about the NSA (0+ / 0-)

    They're too busy collecting our stuff.

    But Congress and the White House were funning us.  Grandstanding outrage to divert from the US role in the Ukrainian coup.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:59:37 PM PST

  •  Seriously? Do you think the Russians are stupid? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, agnostic

    Snowden went to Russia last summer.  He has asylum there.  Who know what information he has given the Russians.  With all his leaks about how the NSA does things (and it wasn't only about US spying), you don't think Russia hasn't CHANGED how they communicate?   Putin isn't stupid - he's probably changed his government's entire communication system.   So of course the US government isn't going to know what is going on.  Of course, it shouldn't be that hard to guess, as far as Crimea is concerned.  

    •  Care to explain Georgia in 2008 then??? (0+ / 0-)

      Pre-Snowden. Russia knew Georgia was massing for an attack and moved troops and tanks near the tunnel to cross over as soon as Georgia made a move. US Intel had to know this as well. Whether they told Georgia of this, is another thing. I think they did and Georgia moved anyways thinking the West would back his move. He was wrong and the US/Isreali trained Georgia army got pummeled.

    •  Everyone, except lazy domestic Muricans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa

      changed, or encrypted how they communicate.

      In fact, I read that one country installed a whole new system, but refuses to use it now, or in the conceivable future. They are saving the infrastructure solely for a possible war in the future, because no one would think that it existed.

      Every encryption system that uses computing can be broken. The safest systems are those that are one time use, plus references to obscure existing packets of information. Other secure systems change how you encrypt and decrypt within the message. One of the toughest codes to crack is. . . Never mind.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 06:30:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cellphones, but satellite and humint? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      Snowden could sell them blueprints for our spy satellites, and they would still take pictures. And he would not have had any knowledge of old-fashioned human spies we might have in the area.

      The intelligence community is aiming at the wrong targets for this. They feel tasked to stop terrorists. Real countries are beyond their scope.

  •  The NSA is good at spying on us & allies (6+ / 0-)

    It's work to spy on countries that don't play our game. The NSA collects far too much information on us to find useful information about what Russia is doing.

    The NSA should be abolished. We have too many intelligence organizations. We need one intelligence organization with a mission to spy on adversaries and potential adversaries.

    “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

    by FishOutofWater on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:04:11 PM PST

  •  Also (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, FG, oblomov, chrississippi

    Russia has a base at Sevastapol, whose troops can easily be increased from Russian territory across the Dnieper River.  Russia's agreement is to station no more than 25,000 troops at Sevastapol (according to Russia) or 11.000 (according to the current Ukraine government).   According to reports, Russia deployed 6000 troops from the base throughout Crimea.  It does not take much to seal the isthmus that connects Crimea to the rest of Ukraine.

    And the fact that a good part of the Crimean population supported the Russian move allowed troop movements from the base to happen quickly.

    The troops that secured the territory were not unambiguously uniformed.  At first they were thought to be pro-Russian militias.

    Under the circumstances, orders might not have been sent directly from Putin to Sevastapol but through the chain of command on Russian territory.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:10:52 PM PST

  •  Here's another big one that no one is pointing (4+ / 0-)

    out: you know that infamous "Fuck the EU" phone call between Asst Secy of State Nuland and our Ambassador to Ukraine, Pyatt?  The one that was tapped (very cleanly, as Nuland later admiriningly remarked) and then posted on youtube, making US statecraft look like it has been conceived and incubated in the Niccolo Fucking Machiavelli Middle School?

    Well, why isn't anyone wondering how two senior diplomats in the US foreign service could conduct such a dicey dialogue over such vulnerable equipment?  I mean, the standard line, after Snowden revealed that the NSA has been listening to various heads of state chit chat on a regular basis, is: "Hell, everyone does it, it's SOP around the world, so get over it!"

    So...IF THEY REALLY BELIEVED THEIR OWN BULLSHIT WHY THE FUCK WOULDN'T THERE BE A BLANKET ORDER MANDATING ALL SENSITIVE  U S GOVT COMMUNICATIONS BE DONE USING THE MOST ABSOLUTELY SECURE EQUIPMENT AND MOST SOPHISTICATED ENCRYPTION METHODS AVAILABLE?

    I'm sure there are at least as many possible answers to that question as this diary has for the "Crimean Surprise" question, but the one that keeps barking at me incessantly, like a pit bull on a very short chain, is

    These people are just fucking dirt stupid - and so full of themselves that their grokking to that fact is a practical impossibility.

    "Well, yeah, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi, 6/30/07 // "Succeed?" At what?

    by nailbender on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:03:43 PM PST

    •  I take it you've never been in the military (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      agnostic, nailbender

      or know anyone who has worked in the government.  There are always certain people (usually higher ranking) who don't think that rules and orders apply to them.   Rules and regulations are for the minions and worker bees, not the generals, ambassadors and "important" people.  Or so they think.  Remember what happened to CIA director Petraeus?  Same sort of arrogance.

  •  Possibly Knew, But Didn't Let On (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, kurt

    I'm not defending anything here, but just being a contrarian thinker, I have to at least pose the possibility that some key people actually knew, but couldn't say anything to let on that they knew because it wasn't worth blowing their cover.

  •  Hasn't it been demonstrated by now that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    our nation's intelligence organizations are laughably inept compared to practically every other major power's counterpart? I mean cold war history as well as post 9/11 events have more or less shown that the only advantage our intel has is funding. Beyond that they fall way behind in practically every category.
    At least that's how I see it.

    •  But our toys are so much neater! (0+ / 0-)

      No one else has anything close to our toys!

      AI programs, sat intel, fiber optic spying devices, and that  magneto-hydro-dynamic multi-phasic, chromo-hedro nucleaic Omega 13 device (which no one seems to know how to turn on, or what it will do when it is activated). Isn't one of the NSA mottos, he who hath the most toys winneth?

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 01:35:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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