Thursday, April 13, 2017

Same Dickheads, Different Day

CIA Director Mike Pompeo made a speech.
Let me start today by telling you a story.


Philip Agee [was] one of the founding members of the magazine Counterspy, which in its first issue in 1973 called for the exposure of CIA undercover operatives overseas. In its September 1974 issue, Counterspy publicly identified Richard Welch as the CIA Chief of Station in Athens. Later, Richard’s home address and phone number were outed in the press in Greece.

In December 1975, Richard and his wife were returning home from a Christmas party in Athens. When he got out of his car to open the gate in front of his house, Richard Welch was assassinated by a Greek terrorist cell.
Tell us the story of State Dept. official Richard Armitage, who outed CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Today, there are still plenty of Philip Agees in the world, and the harm they inflict on U.S. institutions and personnel is just as serious today as it was back then.


The one thing they don’t share with Agee is the need for a publisher. All they require now is a smart phone and internet access. In today’s digital environment, they can disseminate stolen US secrets instantly around the globe to terrorists, dictators, hackers and anyone else seeking to do us harm.


[T]he false narratives that increasingly define our public discourse cannot be ignored. There are fictions out there that demean and distort the work and achievements of CIA and of the broader Intelligence Community. And in the absence of a vocal rebuttal, these voices—ones that proclaim treason to be public advocacy—gain a gravity they do not deserve.

It is time to call these voices out.


So I’d now like to make clear what CIA doesn’t do. We are a foreign intelligence agency. We focus on collecting information about foreign governments, foreign terrorist organizations, and the like—not Americans. A number of specific rules keep us centered on that mission and protect the privacy of our fellow Americans. To take just one important example, CIA is legally prohibited from spying on people through electronic surveillance in the United States. We’re not tapping anyone’s phone in Wichita.
So, that's just the NSA?
Moreover, regardless of what you see on the silver screen, we do not pursue covert action on a whim without approval or accountability. There is a comprehensive process that starts with the President and consists of many levels of legal and policy review and reexamination. Let me assure you: When it comes to covert action, there is oversight and accountability every step of the way.
I didn't see that on the silver screen, but if it starts with the president, it starts with a whim.
[W]e at CIA find the celebration of entities like WikiLeaks to be both perplexing and deeply troubling. Because while we do our best to quietly collect information on those who pose very real threats to our country, individuals such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden seek to use that information to make a name for themselves. As long as they make a splash, they care nothing about the lives they put at risk or the damage they cause to national security.


It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.
Actually, it's not. It's a clearinghouse for documents leaked directly to it. It doesn't do any intelligence collecting.
Assange and his ilk make common cause with dictators today. [...] Their mission: personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.
What Western values is Wikileaks out to destroy?
They do not care about the causes and people they claim to represent. If they did, they would focus instead on the autocratic regimes in this world that actually suppress free speech and dissent.
In reality, Wikileaks publishes whatever it gets.  You may disagree with that tactic, but that's what it does.   It just doesn't get much from non-English-speaking people. How can it focus on what it doesn't receive?
When [Edward] Snowden absconded to the comfortable clutches of Russian intelligence, his treachery directly harmed a wide range of US intelligence and military operations.
A claim completely contradicted by the evidence. For the umpteenth time, he did not "abscond" to Russia, he was stranded there by the USG, no doubt so it could constantly repeat this damning bullshit. And no one, not even the NSA, has shown any harm from anything that has been published from the files he stole.
True whistleblowers use the well-established and discreet processes in place to voice grievances; they do not put American lives at risk.
Only their own. As John Kiriakou. Ask Bill Binney. Ask Kirk Wiebe. Ask Thomas Drake.
Even those who often benefit from Assange’s leaks have called him out for his overblown statements. The Intercept, which in the past has gleefully reported on unauthorized disclosures, accused WikiLeaks in late March of “stretching the facts” in its comments about CIA. In the same article, the Intercept added that the documents were “not worth the concern WikiLeaks generated by its public comments.”
Following a recent WikiLeaks disclosure, an al Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula member posted a comment online thanking WikiLeaks for providing a means to fight America in a way that AQAP had not previously envisioned.
Sure. That sounds just like something a real al Qaeda "member" would do.
No, Julian Assange and his kind are not the slightest bit interested in improving civil liberties or enhancing personal freedom. They have pretended that America’s First Amendment freedoms shield them from justice. They may have believed that, but they are wrong.
That sounds a bit ominous.
So we face a crucial question: What can we do about this? What can and should CIA, the United States, and our allies do about the unprecedented challenge posed by these hostile non-state intelligence agencies?
1) Start by rebranding them as "hostile non-state intelligence agencies."
First, it is high time we called out those who grant a platform to these leakers and so-called transparency activists. We know the danger that Assange and his not-so-merry band of brothers pose to democracies around the world. Ignorance or misplaced idealism is no longer an acceptable excuse for lionizing these demons.
2) Call them demons and paint not only journalists who report leaks (give them a platform), but people who believe what Wikileaks does is good for democracy, with the same brush.
Third, we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.
3) Talk about free speech values as something that can be used against honest people, and therefore as something dangerous.
And finally—and perhaps most importantly—we need to deepen the trust between the Intelligence Community and the citizens we strive to protect.
That one's a little harder. But I'm sure the CIA is up to the challenge.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

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