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2006 May 10 — Why Now?
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Keeping the Nation Secure?

The Associated Press reports that Domestic spying inquiry killed:

The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers security clearance.

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax Wednesday to Democratic Rep. Maurice Hinchey of New York saying it was closing its inquiry because without clearance it could not examine department lawyers’ role in the program.

“We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because OPR has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program,” OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to Hinchey. Hinchey’s office shared the letter with The Associated Press.

The OPR investigation was only concerned with the conduct of the lawyers, not the program itself, but secret stuff has to remain secret.

Except: [

May 10, 2006   4 Comments

Well, Isn’t That Precious

There’s no need to worry because: Insurers in great shape before hurricane season.

Wait, you say, what about all of those payouts for the hurricanes? Simple, they are stalling or refusing to pay out on a large number of policies, so they could rack up over $40 billion in profits.

To avoid the expenses associated turning down claims they are canceling policies for people who live near the coast, including all of Long Island.

They certainly don’t want to insure people who might make a claim after paying premiums for 20 years.

May 10, 2006   6 Comments

Get a Clue, Lou

In his continuing paranoia about “brown people”, Lou Dobbs finds a little reality: Dobbs to President: Do you take us for fools?.

Well, yes he does, Lou, and you’ve imbibed enough Koolaid over the years for him to believe you’ll accept anything he says. For example, Lou, when you state” “Only a fool, Mr. President, Senator Kennedy, Senator McCain, would believe you when you speak of new legislation. You don’t enforce the laws now.”

Lou, Senator Kennedy is a Democrat and has no power in the current government. The Executive is charged with enforcement, so if enforcement is your issue, it’s the Shrubbery alone that you should be haranguing. You are so well trained that even when what you hate is obviously a Republican problem, you have to haul in a Democrat for “balance”.

May 10, 2006   Comments Off on Get a Clue, Lou

The Letter

No, not the song by The Box Tops or the cover by Joe Cocker, the letter by Iranian President, Mahmoud Amadinejad, is finally being read by someone other than the government and the media.

James Wolcott calls his take on the letter, Stirring the Crackpot, and highlights many of the points that occurred to me, but his writing is far superior to mine, using a scalpel where I would wield an axe.

You really should read the letter and I’m converting it to straight text, rather than PDF, with American rather than British spelling.

In general the letter has a great deal in common with the recent performance by Stephen Colbert, covering many of the same points. Actually it read like something you would hear from the pulpit of an old-time, fire & brimstone Baptist church. Amadinejad has the pacing down and the requisite quotes from the Book.

Unfortunately, Amadinejad overestimates the historical knowledge of the Shrubbery and his cronies when he makes references to anything that occurred more than two weeks ago.

May 10, 2006   3 Comments

The Military and The CIA

The Central Intelligence Agency was formed from the Office of Strategic Services, which was originally parceled out to the Defense Department and the State Department. While the Agency itself wasn’t formally created until the passage of the National Security Act of 1947, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency came into existence in 1946.

The first four men to hold the office were active duty military officers, reflecting the nature of those who were recruited to create the agency, veterans of World War II and they were all appointed and served under President Truman. Since the appointment of Allen Dulles in February of 1953, no active duty officer has been the Director.

Only two retired officers have been the Director, both Navy Admirals. William Raborn was Director for 14 months under President Johnson, and Stansfield Turner was the Director for his Naval Academy classmate, President Carter.

Director Term
Rear Adm. Sidney Souers, USNR 01/23/1946 – 06/10/1946
Lt. Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USA 06/10/1946 – 05/01/1947
Rear Adm. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, USN 05/01/1947 – 10/07/1950
Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, USA 10/07/1950 – 02/09/1953
Allen W. Dulles 02/26/1953 – 11/29/1961
John McCone 11/29/1961 – 04/28/1965
Vice Adm. William Raborn, USN (Ret.) 04/28/1965 – 06/30/1966
Richard M. Helms 06/30/1966 – 02/02/1973
James R. Schlesinger 02/02/1973 – 07/02/1973
William E. Colby 09/04/1973 – 01/30/1976
George H. W. Bush 01/30/1976 – 01/20/1977
Adm. Stansfield Turner, USN (Ret.) 03/09/1977 – 01/20/1981
William J. Casey 01/28/1981 – 01/29/1987
William H. Webster 05/26/1987 – 08/31/1991
Robert M. Gates 11/06/1991 – 01/20/1993
R. James Woolsey 02/05/1993 – 01/10/1995
John M. Deutch 05/10/1995 – 12/15/1996
George J. Tenet 07/11/1997 – 07/11/2004
Porter J. Goss 09/24/2004 – 05/05/2006

No Republican has ever appointed a military officer to head the CIA, and no President since Truman has appointed an active duty military officer. That’s why this is a big deal.

I would note that Stansfield Turner really screwed up the CIA by shifting the emphasis away from gathering “human intelligence” towards a heavier reliance on technology, as was the military custom. This was caused in some part by the Church Commission, but it was also a military bias for technology.

As a former Director of NSA, Hayden would obviously have the same bias, which is not a good idea when dealing with terrorists who do not use technology, but are more apt to use human messengers.

May 10, 2006   6 Comments