National Intelligence

Home » Domestic Issues » National Intelligence

News Roundup – Edward Snowden, Malaysian Airlines, Scott Brown, Best Apps for Android

Whistleblower Edward Snowden showed up at the TED conference a couple of days ago. Of course, he didn’t show up in person. He showed up via the Internet. I’ve stopped trying to figure out whether Edward Snowden is a good guy or a bad guy. He is simply a guy. Instead, I’ve tried to focus on the Internet, privacy, cyber security and terrorism. When all is said and done, is he making the Internet a better place for you and me? I don’t know.

Let’s be honest. Over the last two weeks, we’ve learned almost nothing about this Malaysian airliner. Yes, I understand that the media is focused like a laser on this airliner, but we really learned nothing over the last couple weeks. We’ve seen a satellite image of something in the water, which has caused another media frenzy. It could be nothing, it could be Gilligan or it could be a piece of this missing airliner. The one thing that this whole story has told us is that the United States a different place. We’ve spent money on infrastructure so that it is nearly impossible to lose a plane without any radar contact for hours. Let me say this again. The United States is a different place. We spent money… on infrastructure!

EU and Ukraine have penned a deal.

The best 100 apps for your Android phone.

Nice story on the healthcare law and Scott Brown who has moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, which is a little bit more conservative. He lost his Massachusetts Senate reelection bid to the fabulous Elizabeth Warren, as you’ll recall. From Joan

Scott Brown is as hapless a Senate candidate in New Hampshire as he was in Massachusetts. Even in a crowd of friendly fellow Republicans, he can’t seem to keep his foot out of his mouth, particularly when it comes to Obamacare.

Brown found that out on Saturday, when he stopped by the home of Herb Richardson, a Republican state representative. Sitting in Richardson’s home, Brown called Obamacare a “monstrosity” that members of Congress didn’t even bother to read before they passed. At that point, according to the Coos County Democrat, Richardson chimed in to explain that the law had been a “financial lifesaver” for him and his wife. From the piece (page 14 [pdf]):

Richardson was injured on the job and was forced to live on his workers’ comp payments for an extended period of time, which ultimately cost the couple their house on Williams Street. The couple had to pay $1,100 a month if they wanted to maintain their health insurance coverage under the federal COBRA law.Richardson said he only received some $2,000 a month in workers’ comp. payments, however, leaving little for them to live on.

“Thank God for Obamacare!” his wife exclaimed.

Now, thanks to the subsidy for which they qualify, the Richardsons only pay $136 a month for health insurance that covers them both.

Who knew Obamacare helped Republicans, too? Certainly not Scott Brown. The reporter told Huffington Post that Brown didn’t respond to the revelation that Obamacare might not actually be a monstrosity, even for a Republican, and the conversation moved on.

By |2014-03-21T20:50:32-04:00March 21st, 2014|Economy, Foreign Affairs, Healthcare, National Intelligence|Comments Off on News Roundup – Edward Snowden, Malaysian Airlines, Scott Brown, Best Apps for Android

News Roundup – Leaks, Edward Snowden, Jobs (Update – Chad goes to jail)

Edward Snowden

Leaks and who gets to leak – Snowden and many others have now said that these leaks are important and justified because the public needs to decide whether this is being done in their name. Basically I disagree with that (the justification for the leak). But it does raise a basic point that it is inherently difficult for the public to make fully informed decisions about intelligence work done in its name. Yet, who gets to do this? Snowden says it’s up to the public. But it’s really more like Snowden and Greenwald have made that decision on the public’s behalf.

Edward Snowden is the source – The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request. From the moment he decided to disclose numerous top-secret documents to the public, he was determined not to opt for the protection of anonymity. “I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong,” he said. (more…)

By |2013-06-12T22:11:59-04:00June 10th, 2013|National Intelligence, Sports|4 Comments

9/11 – The Sweet Deception

When the twin towers fell, the Pentagon was on fire as the fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania and the Bush administration had a huge problem on their hands. On one hand, they had to convince the American public that they weren’t asleep at the wheel. On the other hand, they had to convince America that they were on the job in keeping us safe. It is somewhat like that old Richard Pryor routine where he asks, “Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?” America could clearly see that the Bush administration failed to keep us safe. We could see the smoldering Pentagon and the 24/7 news coverage of the fallen twin towers. Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Advisor, famously stated, “I don’t think that anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.” Although these words are strong, seeing Condi Rice deliver these words are even more powerful.

On the surface, this seems reasonable. If you’re a guy who works on the assembly line and doesn’t follow the news extremely closely, this makes perfect sense. You can’t recall any time that someone was trying to use a passenger jet as a missile. This was a deliberate attempt to throw you and the American people off the trail. The goal is not for you and me to imagine this or that, the goal is for the Bush administration to use all the information at their disposal to try to prevent something catastrophic like 9/11.

In 1994, Algerian terrorists tried to fly a plane into the Eiffel Tower. The plot was foiled by a French SWAT team while the plane was being refueled in Marseille. The plane was getting three times as much fuel as it needed, which tipped authorities off to their real intent. The Bojinka Plot, which I mentioned yesterday, also included one of the 12 planes to fly into the Pentagon and another of the planes to fly into CIA headquarters in Langley. Abdul Hakim Murad trained at a flight school in Norman, Oklahoma. He became an informant when he was captured in Manila. He told police that the plan was to board an American aircraft as a passenger, hijack it and then fly the plane into CIA headquarters. He specifically said that it was a suicidal mission. Remember that this plot was foiled in 1995. In August 2001, US officials intercepted intelligence suggesting that terrorists wanted to bomb the US Embassy in Nairobi. They were either going to bomb the embassy using a plane or using the plane as a missile.

In light of this information, Condoleezza Rice’s statement seems less genuine. It seems more crafted to throw the American people off the scent of incompetence. Now, to be fair, the FBI and the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community together form a huge and unwieldy beast. The one thing that 9/11 has taught me is how difficult it is to get information to those who can really use it. Still, the Bush administration could’ve admitted to us that they were truly focused on Al Qaeda, bin Laden and terrorism. That kind of honesty, I would’ve respected.

9/11 has taught me that our government can be extremely deceptive. Before 9/11, I thought that our government basically gave us the straight scoop. Maybe I was naïve. Now, everything that comes out of our government I question. Basically I say, prove to me that you’re telling the truth. What are the lessons that you learned from 9/11?

A lot of the information from this post comes from the fabulous book, Intelligence Matters, written by Senator Bob Graham.

By |2011-09-05T13:51:12-04:00September 5th, 2011|9-11, National Intelligence|Comments Off on 9/11 – The Sweet Deception