obama administration

Applied Intelligence

 James Biden

by  Lance Thompson


“It is the nature of an intelligence service that it must receive encouragement and support from the government of the day; if the government lacks interest in or expert understanding for its intelligence service, not even the best service will succeed in overcoming external prejudices against it.” These are the words of Reinhard Gehlen, chief of the German federal intelligence service , the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst), in 1971, in his excellent memoir, “The Service.” (English edition: World Publishing, New York, 1972). Gehlen brought invaluable intelligence assets to the United States regarding Russia after World War II, and founded the BND which continues its important work to this day.


Gehlen’s wisdom is alarmingly relevant today, as the American foreign intelligence service, the CIA, is battered by politically motivated attacks by Democrats and the Obama administration. The CIA, whose mission is to inform our leaders about the capabilities and intentions of our adversaries and allies, has always been a favorite target of liberals. But in recent weeks, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi accused the CIA of deceiving her when she was caught lying about briefings she received concerning interrogation techniques. When Pelosi’s false claims were exposed, she chose to denigrate the CIA rather than admit her deliberate deception.


Now, we learn that the House Intelligence Committee is investigating Democrat charges that former Vice President Cheney ordered the CIA not to inform Congress of a secret CIA plan to target al Qaeda terrorist leaders. This charge, of course, ignores the fact that the CIA reports directly to the President, is not under the command of the Vice President, and that both houses of Congress have independent intelligence committees who oversee the CIA.


Since the charge involves actions that took place years ago, under an administration that is no longer in power, it is evident that this is not a matter of urgency. Thus, it is obvious that this issue was chosen for other reasons–primarily to embarrass the previous administration. For such an exposure to be effective, the previous administration must be shown to have done something wrong.


The CIA is an intelligence agency, and many of its activities are effective only if kept secret. Therefore, the secrecy of the plans in question is not in itself questionable. Whether the vice president wanted greater secrecy or not is irrelevant–he did not have the authority or ability to demand what information the CIA revealed to congressional intelligence committees.


Therefore, the Democrats who want so badly to bring this investigation to light must believe that the plan itself–killing al Qaeda terrorist leaders–is wrong. They must believe that if Americans knew that the previous administration was studying ways of destroying our enemies who murdered thousands of Americans and were devising ways to murder thousands more, then it would bring shame and opprobrium upon that administration.


The Obama administration seeks closer ties to terrorist-sponsoring governments in Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela. They seek to extend the Constitutional rights of American citizens to terrorists who will sacrifice themselves in our destruction. The Obama state department won’t even call the war on terror the war on terror, or even call terrorists terrorists. So it is quite possible that Democrats believe that a plan to kill terrorists is not only contrary to current policy, but legally and morally wrong. So wrong, in fact, that if the American people discovered that the previous administration was planning such acts, that they would be filled with indignation and revulsion.


The Democrats, then, must believe that the oaths sworn by their president and congressmen to defend the United States are not only non-binding, but that any action or decision made to augment that defense is a transgression. Thus, the Bush administration, with its war on terror, its detention and prosecution of terrorists, and its covert efforts to expose and prevent further terrorists attacks, has been caught doing something that the American people won’t stand for. The Democrats believe that standing against the war on terror is the morally superior position, and using the CIA as a scapegoat is a politically smart strategy.


With this view, the majority party has succeeded in undercutting our efforts to counter the terrorist threat. In the few short months of the Obama administration, America has gone from the great arsenal of democracy to the great apologist for terrorism and the great enabler of tyranny. The Democrats believe this is what Americans want. Whether you agree or disagree, there is one place to let your voice be heard–the ballot box next year.


Whither Citizenship?

Citizenship is not something people think about, until its underlying attitudes are lost to the culture. Its notable that in socialist paradises like Canada and the U.K., governments are having to teach active citizenship in the schools to combat the natural lesson of socialism--citizenship is about entitlement.

Nowadays we discuss democracy in terms of elections, but its power lies in the the personal sense of ownership, the individual's sense of responsibility towards the community. The famous tale of Thermopylae in which three hundred Spartans defended their country against thousands of invading Persians is really a demonstration of the relative power of citizens over royal subjects. The Persians were willing to kill for their emperor, but the Spartans, Thespians and Thebans were willing to die to defend their communities, Moreover, the Greeks elevated their sacrifice to a supreme expression of democratic virtue. The citizen had transcended the ancient tribal paradigm. A man would naturally give his life to protect his family, but the Greeks sense of family was transformed--their countrymen were now their family.

The Romans understood the power of this concept and incorporated it into a symbol of the Roman Republic--the Fasces. Its symbolism is obvious--strength through unity. The Romans forged a durable empire less through conquest (which of course every transient empire had done until then...), then by extending Roman citizenship to conquered people. The concept was so powerful, it has been copied universally, although imperfectly every since. American national symbolism is replete with fasces (the arrows in the eagles claw, the pillar's of Lincoln's throne within his monument, 'E Pluribus Unum" on our money...)

Yet symbols are only reminders of abstract facts. When the facts disappear, the symbol becomes meaningless--or worse, available for hijacking. The Swaztika used to be a good luck charm and was used on maps to mark temples, but its modern meaning is altogether different these days.

This is a long, but necessary prelude to understand something Dallas News columnist Rod Dreher wrote.

Dave was hot. And Dave was pretty much right on the money. We talked for a while longer about Bernie Madoff, AIG, the government bailouts, how the responsible are going to have to bear the burdens for the irresponsible – and how those most to blame for this catastrophe are likely to get away with it.

"My dad, he's in his 80s now," Dave said. "He's only got a fourth-grade education and has been a working man all his life. Even now, he can't wait to get up in the morning and get out to work on appliances. I talk to him every night, and we talk a lot about this economic mess. Sometimes he'll get to crying, saying he doesn't know where this country is going, and it scares him."

My wife came outside with a check. Dave put it in his overalls pocket, picked up his toolbox and went to his next job. I thought about him all day long. Dave is just one ordinary working stiff, but he was onto something, and he was onto something big.

What happens when people like him become convinced that the system is set up to reward lobbyists, lawyers, rent-seekers, developers, corporate interests, special-pleaders and sundry freeloaders lining up to nuzzle the ever-expanding government teat – all at their expense? What happens when the repairman loses faith in the institutions of government, of commerce, of civil society? When the kind of man who makes up America's backbone concludes that nobody else seems to believe in the common good anymore, so why should he?

I fear we're going to find out before too much longer. And we're not going to like it.

We may find three hundred men to stand in the breech to defend their countrymen with their lives, but we will consider them suckers rather than heroes. AIG employees, many of them no longer with the company, received "retention" bonuses, and for all the grandstanding by Barney Franks etal, the Democrats knew about it, in fact, they engineered it. Rome was looted by its "citizens" long before Alaric and his Visigoths appeared at the gates, and so it is with this country as well. The top to bottom corruption of our democratic institutions has destroyed the real source of our power--our unity.


The Congressional Presidency

Historically, it is not very frequent that we see an incumbent United States Senator get elected President of the United States.  It is even rarer that we see a U.S. Senator elected to both the Presidency and the Vice Presidency.

Bucking this historic tradition, our President-elect and Vice President-elect are incumbent United States Senators.  And now, Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel has been offered the Chief of Staff position in the Obama administration.

This development that we are witnessing is largely unprecedented: a Presidential administration filled with incumbents from Congress.

So why is this a big deal? Well, we all know from elementary school history that the founding fathers built this great nation with three separate branches built into our Constitution: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial.  This level of participation by legislators in the executive branch will serve to eliminate the barriers between the executive office and the Congress – already low due to the Democrats’ increased control of both Houses – threatening the entire premise of separation of powers that has helped make this country so great.

Thus, this begs the question, "How many more Congressional officials will we see in the Obama administration?"  Regardless of the answer, in seeing an Obama administration composed of Democratic officials from the previous Congress, we are witnessing President-elect Obama's mantra of change get thrown out the window.

This entry has been cross-posted at NextGenGOP.com.

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