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Michael Brenner, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Transatlantic Relations, and  Professor of International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh writes a scathing indictment our American Intelligence Failure in Iraq, tracing it back to delusional thinking and lack of accountability in the Bush-Cneney administration.

His last three paragraphs are such a brilliant  indictment not only of the failure of our foreign intelligence function but also of our lack of accountability for violations of civil liberties and the Forth Amendment with of domestic intelligence agencies that I want to share them with you here without trying to summarize his entire analysis of intelligence failures in Iraq.

The theme Brenner builds up running into these three paragraphs are the problems that arise when "belief substitutes for strategy, policy results are automatically spun, failure is a world unspoken -- and, therefore, no one is held accountable for it, especially the intelligence agencies." He doesn't mention the neocons and Dick Cheney by name but I will plant the idea in you mind as we join Michael Brenner in his best tree paragraphs.  

The distressing truth is that our leaders have inhabited a policy world so twisted out of shape by deceit and self-delusion that that their grip on reality has been dangerously loosened. The dishonesty at the core of George Bush's "war on terror" has had the deleterious effect of distorting the lens through which Americans -- including his successor -- view themselves, the world around them, and the dangers that emanate from it. Multiple delusions follow. One of these delusions -- shared by the President and his entourage -- is that we are protected by highly motivated, super competent and relentless intelligence agencies directed by people of great probity. A companion delusion is that it is unpatriotic to look too critically at those leaders and what they actually are doing. The inevitable outcome: abuse, failure and squandered resources.

Of course, there is an advantage to perpetuating delusions about the performance of the intelligence agencies: you don't learn things that inconveniently discredit other delusions. We have one striking example of this psychological pattern at work. Revelations about the NSA's trespass on the Fourth Amendment evoked a response conditioned by the near universal conviction among Washington elites that the Agency's activities were invaluable and, therefore, any conjectural curtailment -- however modest -- had to be balanced against that supposed benefit. Senior officials gave solemn testimony under oath that indeed the information gleaned had been vital in protecting Americans.

Those pronouncements by Clapper, Alexander, Brennan et al turn out to have been outright untruths. It is now established that there is no evidence that a single terrorist threat in the United States, of any magnitude, was prevented as a result of these massive assaults on civil liberties. Or the electronic surveillance of foreign leaders and other public figures. The President's own select Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies has so concluded. Yet, neither the Congress, nor any part of the Executive Branch nor the MSM have drawn the logical conclusion that the threat has been hugely inflated and the siege mentality that has driven American policies at home and abroad without sound basis. Concealing that logical connection helps to explain the absence of any serious effort to come to terms with the NSA abuses, those who have orchestrated the deception about their justification, those who lied about them and those (including the President) who have used the same methods against the Senate Intelligence Committee itself. To tear the tissue of delusion about the one is to risk the pain and embarrassment of tearing other tissues of delusion as well.

Freedom of conscience about the truth of the "terrorism years" is not prized or sought. It is the comfort and convenience promised by "corrected" truth that better serves what our leaders' crave and need most.

Damn, this is fine writing. How I wish I had written this. This is so important, however, I am pleased just cut and paste it here for your perusal and discussion.

Many of us here have struggled to find way to make the threat of an out-of-control NSA more compelling, but seem almost helpless as even our own Democratic leaders and President seem to go a long with massive wave of an unprecedented level of domestic intelligence that could not even have been imagined a few years ago, as if it is absolutely essential now, and if we were to leave untapped even one phone anywhere in the country we might miss a terrorist who could take out a major American city and Democrats could be blamed. So politicians seem fearful to challenge any aspect of these excessive programs.

We need to find a more succinct and less dense way of saying it but what I hear Micheal Brenner warning us about hear is the greater danger that if we do not challenge these incorrect assumptions, and hold those who have committed not only glaring monumental errors, but even fraud, accountable the performance of the entire intelligence function can and will degrade even further to the point that we see greater failures of the magnitude we've just seen in Iraq.

This failure land right at the doorstep of the House and Senate Intelligence Oversight Committees and also the Presidents who have not conducted the top to bottom reviews of the intelligence failures and abuses lead by former Vice President Dick Cheney, as I have called for twice this month, and Bobswern and others have written about numerous times over the last years.

This cancer can not be swept under the rug. The cost, pain, and damage will become greater the longer we wait. As I recommended two weeks ago, and last month, because it seems to be a job larger than the Congress can handle, perhaps, it needs to be conducted by an independent Blue Ribbon panel.

But, do it we must. Our nation's national security, as well as our civil rights and constitutional form of government remain at risk until we do it properly

Originally posted to HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 07:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by PostHuffPost: Connection-Conversation-Community and And Now for Something Completely Different .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (35+ / 0-)

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

    by HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 07:32:57 PM PDT

  •  That's easy, HD... (15+ / 0-)
    We need to find a more succinct and less dense way of saying it
    The Global War on Terror has been -- is now -- and will be in the future... a ruse.

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

    by markthshark on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 07:50:58 PM PDT

    •  I'll just forward my post draft to you from now (5+ / 0-)

      on mark and you can post the readers digest version and save us all a bunch of electrons.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 07:54:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, this was a one time deal... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, HoundDog, dclawyer06, kurt, oldhippie

        The writer in me doesn't often allow me to do succinct. lol

        So keep writing!

        "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

        by markthshark on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:03:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Darn, and I had just gotten naked, opened up a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          markthshark

          beer and climbed up on the big tree stump in the back yard proclaiming, to all of my forest critter friends who have been waiting for me, all these years,  to come out and play,  "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, we're free at last!"

          Now what I'm going to tell them. I was fooled my Mark the Shark in a Sharknado2 like scam?  

          You know Sharknado 2 is almost here!

          Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

          by HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:30:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I wait in anticipation for its return... lol (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HoundDog
            You know Sharknado 2 is almost here!

            "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

            by markthshark on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:35:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Clip of Charleton Heston: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark, HoundDog

      "...but when you known you're wrong, Mr. President, it's a liiiiiiiiiiiiiie."

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:27:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      markthshark, HoundDog, Sunspots
      The Global War on Terror has been -- is now -- and will be in the future... a ruse.
      There were no intelligence "failures" in Iraq.  As another commenter pointed out, no one is asking who funds ISIS.  It's all a big game, with the military-industrial-complex profiting and the rest of us paying.

      The lack of accountability in the huge intelligence apparatus that has been built up since 9/11 is not a bug, it's a feature.  They don't want the U.S. public to know what they are doing.  And, as Snowden's leaks confirmed, they want to know everything we do.  The purpose is for social control.  Fighting terrorists has nothing to do with it.

      HoundDog wrote:

      Many of us here have struggled to find way to make the threat of an out-of-control NSA more compelling, but seem almost helpless as even our own Democratic leaders and President seem to go a long with massive wave of an unprecedented level of domestic intelligence that could not even have been imagined a few years ago, as if it is absolutely essential now, and if we were to leave untapped even one phone anywhere in the country we might miss a terrorist who could take out a major American city and Democrats could be blamed. So politicians seem fearful to challenge any aspect of these excessive programs.
      If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
  •  The intelligence/industrial complex exists... (15+ / 0-)

    ...as does the military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us about.  These people only care about justifying their money making lies and jobs.  defending the country is NOT their priority.  Their #1 and possibly only priority is to justify their budgets and jobs.

    The current intelligence budget is at almost $50,000,000,000/year.

    Snowden shone a light on this obscenity but the Obama administration still doesn't accept the truth. Imagine a Repug administration.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:13:07 PM PDT

    •  And that's only the one we know about... (8+ / 0-)
      The current intelligence budget is at almost $50,000,000,000/year.

      "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

      by markthshark on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:18:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it is larger than if you count all of it (9+ / 0-)

      in all the different places.  Its like when people say the military budget is $650 billion or so it it deceptive. The real total military budget is about $1.2 trillion  I think.

      They leave the pensions and labor costs out of the base. They leave the primary intelligence budgets out which I thought were in the neighborhood of $100 billion, we better go check. There are 15 to 16 different intelligence functions if you include domestic.

      CIA is thought to do foreign, but parts to the NSA does signals and communication, the DOD has never really trusted the CIA so the DIA duplicates much of what they do.

      It was just revealed that the NSA has been using the DEA as a cover to spy on foreign politicians and corporations especially in Latin America.

      Plus Congress rammed throuh extra billions for domestic local and regions intelligence Fusion Centers tgo coordinate CIA, FBI, DEA, NSA, DIA, and local law enforcement intelligence data on local citizens around the country.

      Some parts of these budgets are hidden around in other things.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:41:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's A Much More Inconvenient Truth. (8+ / 0-)

    All rational justification for our military/intel establishment disappeared with the collapse of our last credible peer enemy over a generation ago.

    Tragic as 9/11 was, it was not Pearl Harbor or the burning of the White House, performed by other enemy empires and one during military occupation of considerable "homeland" soil. Terrorism is a threat maybe a million times smaller than a nation state threat, one that can't seriously damage an entity larger than a village at any one time, and needing years for recovery between attacks.

    So there's a very real issue of what exactly even existed to have been caught by total information awareness.

    But we're not doing ourselves any favors either by perpetuating this half-century-and-longer mythology about our various leaderships blundering and making errors. Either the injuries to the country were intended, or to the decision makers more usually, they just didn't matter.

    We just don't matter.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:26:12 PM PDT

    •  If you are implying that much of the 9/11 hoopla (6+ / 0-)

      was to drum up the fiction that terrorism was and is as big a threat as was the Soviet Union so the US would continue to spend between 4 to 6.5% of our GDP (Depending on how you count, see above comment about base to total military spending) which is vastly more than any other country,

      When  George Bush received an economy in surplus from Bill Clinton he immediately did two things, massive tax cut and jacked up the military budget.

      So now we have a deficit. We could have returned taxes and defense to previous levels (and a a bit of stimulus to get the economy back up to full blast.)

      Instead even Democrats have bought into the the idea that we can not reduce military spending so must some how cut social spending, maybe even chained CPI for Social Security which is total bullshit.

      I lost a lot of respect for Joe Biden and Obama when they accepted Boehner's New Years Even Budget compromise that Harry Reid appropriately threw in the trash that settled for around $650 trillion in revenues rather than the $1.7 that even Obama said was essential.

      That $1 trillion blunder will hang like an albatross around Democratic necks for a decade or more.

      Yes, we were going to grant the middle class tax cuts, but that was our last leverage to get them out of either closing corporate loopholes or military fat.

      What an incredible shame.

      So now we are trying to run a government of around 21% of GDP with revenues of 16% to 17% of GDP.

      Even Democratic congressman would not cut fat out to the Pentagon budget that the DOD recommended.

      House GOP will not raise taxes a penny and may control the House into the 2024 and beyond.

      So its either coming from military or social spending. Want to take wagers?

      I propose we shut down the DEA for starters.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:57:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No (9+ / 0-)

    The failure is in the political class.

    Intel has says that Saudi Wahabi movement is bad. Actually, it is quite obvious. The political and moneyed think-tanks have done their best to cover this up. Blame everyone else than the Gulf State fundies.

    What politician is asking for intel to find the funding of ISIS? None. They don't want to find the answer.

    What politician is asking why we attacked Iraq after 9/11, a terrorists act conducted by mostly Saudis.

  •  What I am starting to fear is that different (9+ / 0-)

    elements in different agencies (CIA, NSA, DOS, etc.) of the fed. govt. are acting quite independently (maverick fashion) of Congressional and Presidential supervision and of each other. So that they finish up trying to implement what might well be incompatible projects with conflicting purposes and goals.

    In other words, we are suffering from an uncontrolled governmental structure which is running a mock.

    How else explain the insanity of our foreign policy whereby we always finish up causing disasters and biting ourselves on the ass? Look at the situation in the Middle East.

    On the one hand we help anti-Assad forces, thereby indirectly helping Isis and harming the Iraqi government, on the other we help the Iraqi government against Isis thereby indirectly helping Assad.

    What the fek is going on and who is responsible for what?

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 08:29:11 PM PDT

    •  This became clear when Clapper lied to Senate... (8+ / 0-)

      Then joked about said lie, with impunity.

      The thought occurred to me, "what if this dude CAN'T be fired?"

      •  This is outrageous. Why didn't he just take (6+ / 0-)

        a copy of our Constitution and wipe his ass on it?

        At the very least, until he is brought up on charges of contempt of congress someone should commission a life size sculpture of him taking a crap on the Constitution.

        Where do we keep it in Philadelphia? If congress lack the courage and integrity to charge him with perjury for lying under oath to congress they ought to at least pass a bill add this to the exhibit where the original Constitution is kept so school children of the future can have a symbolic representation of the Senate and Congress oversight members who did nothing while these traitors trampled the very same Constitution these Congressman took an oath before God to protect.

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

        by HoundDog on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 09:34:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  it's not about "big government" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, Sunspots

      Yes, the CIA/NSA/military-industrial-complex is big. And it's government. But that's not the problem. The problem is the profit motive and lack of effective democratic oversight. Our media have been complicit---they bear part of the blame. So does Barak "I-will-not-investigate-the-crimes-of-my-predecessors" Obama.

      Hilary for 2016!

  •  Simple, (5+ / 0-)

    Just say this is Dick Cheney's NSA, created and fueled by dishonest fear-mongering. Like the war in Iraq.

    We need to find a more succinct and less dense way of saying it but what I hear Micheal Brenner warning us about hear is the greater danger that if we do not challenge these incorrect assumptions...
    •  Well, that works for you and me. But, we've (0+ / 0-)

      already said every possible combination of nasty words that can fit into one sentence about Dick Cheney and it hasn't seemed to have brought the Republicans around yet dclawyer.

      So it must be more than one sentence but fewer paragraph than Micheal Brenner uses.

      Hey, you are the big city lawyer, you should be telling us.

      We have to convince them that Dick Cheney's fear monger is a threat even to them and the effectiveness of our own intelligence capacity and the objective and rational functioning of that capacity is crucial to achieving our nation's and even their own self interest.

      My fear is they are unconsciously extrapolating their idea that if they bring dysfunction to government while the Democrats are in the White House and Senate they've won points.

      So if the see liberals like us being upset at Dick Cheney's impact on our intelligence functions many of the GOP think this must be good and they must be winning.

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:36:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Failures (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Hillbilly Dem


    The more 'privatized' the government becomes the less is done as to government officials, i.e. congress, in oversite and all accountability is thrown out as they may be working for the government but they're private enterprises!!

    Need look no further back for examples then the bushco with Blackwater and more, who were quickly morphed into the intelligence community. And all scandals since have been brought about by that privatization, no one in held accountable but the government workers still in getting all the blame. While congress, still government agencies, boost the budget fundings for them growing bottom line profits and wall street stock returns!!

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:06:28 AM PDT

    •  It's good to see you here jimstaro. Thanks for (0+ / 0-)

      commenting and rec'cing. We have to find a way to build up a critical mass on these intelligence, accountability, constitutional, and civil rights issues and focus them enough to galvanize some action on the House and Senate Intelligence Oversight Committees.

      When I'm standing on a soap box giving speeches I like the sound of demanding a Blue Ribbon Committee but it isn't going to happen or mean anything unless congress endorses it so it is just grandstanding on my part. (if they can do it, I don't see why I can't have some fun too.)

      But, if we are going to be serious we are going to have to prod congress and President to act - probably with a strongly worded letter (snark but also serious)

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:27:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The failure is the evil RW neocons who decided (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, HoundDog, Sunspots

    to go to war & lied to do it. That's a moral failure not an intelligence failure & there's plenty of that.

    Then the crime has to be covered up with "the surge is working" & bribing people.

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 05:49:45 AM PDT

  •  Great (and hopefully effective) diary. Keep (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, Sunspots

    on barking Old Pup.

    You're waking up the chickens and scaring the foxes.

    Rivers are horses and kayaks are their saddles

    by River Rover on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:22:15 AM PDT

    •  Woof, woof! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      River Rover

      Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

      by HoundDog on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:36:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We can't have intelligent intelligence. (0+ / 0-)

    If the work were done honestly and competently the answers would not be to our liking. Or at least the masters of the universe would find the answers completely unacceptable.

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