A System for Bothering People

Interesting !!

The XX Committee

Even the most cynical critics of the Transportation Security Administration, perhaps the most unpopular organization in the whole U.S. government, must have been surprised by the recent revelations. According to a leaked internal report, TSA Red Team members, whose job is to test performance, were able to get past security with hidden weapons on 67 out of 70 occasions, or 95% of the time.

The shock of this leak has caused a ruckus inside the Beltway. The TSA’s acting director has been “reassigned” — a rare step for an administration that has difficulty firing anyone for anything.

If you’re asking why the TSA exists at all right now, you’re not alone. In the same week that the domestic surveillance component of the Patriot Act has been scaled back, it’s worth pondering whether the TSA, another post-9/11 creation, needs to be mended, or perhaps even ended.

Read the rest at the

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OSS: The Myth That Never Dies

Interesting and informative : Dr. Schindler is always worth a look !

The XX Committee

It’s now apparent to anyone with open eyes that the Islamic State is on the march in Iraq and is not being halted by American actions. Obama’s ardor to defeat Da’ish can charitably be called diffident, so people are seeking answers for what’s gone so wrong here. To anyone versed in how the White House and the Pentagon get along, it’s evident that what experts term “the civil-military dialogue” over Da’ish is in a bad way.

Reports of American aircrews and special operators, who are the pointy end of our spear in Iraq, being upset by White House micromanaging the campaign against Da’ish, to the detriment of military effectiveness, cannot help but echo President Johnson’s failed efforts to bring Hanoi to the peace table in the mid-1960’s through airpower. Then there’s the issue of strategy which, to the extent it can be detected at all in our pseudo-war against Da’ish…

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I Told You So

Dr. Schindler amazes with his crystal clear insights again !
Please read the original here.

The XX Committee

I can’t help but take some pleasure in seeing the mainstream media, however belatedly, explain that the NSA defector Edward Snowden is a very useful tool for Vladimir Putin and his intelligence services in what I term their Special War against the West. I’ve been pointing this out, since it’s obvious to anybody actually acquainted with the ways of Russian intelligence, in considerable detail for a long time, so I welcome anybody who joins Team Reality, no matter how long it takes them to get there.

Putin is growing less subtle by the day, and in his latest rant about the FIFA scandal, which seems likely to expose some dirty Kremlin deals, he put in a good word about his boys Edward Snowden and Julian Assange (what exactly is the relationship between the Russians and Wikileaks? well, I told you that too). For a former KGB counterintelligence officer…

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100 Years Ago: Italy’s Terrible Folly

Superb historical detail !

The XX Committee

I’ve made the point here more than once that it’s a serious error to view the coming of the First World War as some sort of mistake or accident. The European-wide conflagration that broke out in the summer of 1914 was the product of conscious, if terrible, choices, by more than one country. It was no mere error or misunderstanding.

Similarly, I’m regularly at pains to point out that the “lions led by donkeys” mantra that informs so much popular culture about the Great War is wide of the mark. There were bad generals in the 1914-1918 conflagration — there are in every war — but there were good ones too, and those tend not to get a lot of credit in popular memory. The wreckage of U.S. military decisions since 9/11 ought to remind that military incompetence didn’t stop a century ago and is not just associated with…

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Putin’s Macedonian Gambit

Re-blogged with humble pleasure !

Almost always something to discover at the XX Committee !!

The XX Committee

Macedonia, a small, impoverished Balkan state, has appeared in the newspapers lately, which it seldom does outside of Southeastern Europe. Macedonia was the only Yugoslav republic to escape the collapse of Tito’s federation in the early 1990’s without bloodshed, but its history since then has been a tale of woes. As everywhere in the Balkans, crime, corruption and ethnic politicking have rendered Macedonia a less than fully functional state, and all-out war between the Slavic Macedonian majority and the Albanian minority was narrowly averted in 2001. Diplomatic intervention by NATO and the EU cooled heads and a bloody conflagration was headed off, but only just.

Now Macedonia is in turmoil again. Earlier this month, a massive cross-border raid led to the deaths of eight policemen and fourteen terrorists, said by the government in Skopje to be Albanian radicals who infiltrated the border city of Kumanovo to perpetrate mass murder. The…

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Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?

Counter-intelligence is the part of the intelligence game we hate-because we sometimes have to acknowledge there are others in the game, who are just as good as we area—and we’ve been trying to pretend they are just a paranoid fantasy,

Learning the truth the hard way costs a whole lot more than an effective counter-intel program !

The XX Committee

For years I’ve warned the U.S. Intelligence Community to get serious about counterintelligence, the business of preventing penetrations of our side by hostile espionage services. Counterintelligence is actually a lot more than that — mastering its offensive side is the key to real espionage success — but Washington, DC, is still far off from mastering even the defensive part of this game. Ignoring CI, as we systematically do, has cost this country lives and treasure in abundance, and it will continue to right until the IC gets serious about counterintelligence.

However, what I’ve termed the counterintelligence imperative just doesn’t seem all that imperative to IC bigwigs, who continue to regard CI as a nuisance and an afterthought. This reluctance seems an immutable law of the vast, sprawling, and expensive Intelligence Community, having long ago been institutionalized. A dozen years ago, a former NSA director bemoaned American CI’s “dismal performance,” noting…

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The Right — and Wrong — Side of History

Well – and knowledgeably-said !

The XX Committee

Discussions of the right — and wrong — side of history have constituted one of the major memes of Barack Obama’s presidency. Indeed, the president is so fond of citing “sides” of history, always on his side of course, that the media have taken notice. While conservatives have castigated Obama’s frequent citations of this as an empty banality, even liberal outlets — Slate not being known for right-of-anything views — have asked if Obama is laying it on a bit thick.

There’s no doubt that Obama likes to cite his side on myriad issues, foreign and domestic, as being the “right” one, historically speaking, with the clear implication that others are on the wrong one. There’s not much new about this, at least in outline. An essentially positive and progressive look at the world’s forward movement seems hardwired into the American psyche, with a belief that things are getting better…

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