Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Naked To Our Enemies

Clarice Feldman has a good article in American Thinker called Naked To Our Enemies about FBI Counter Intelligence and espionage - the article describes the 'ignorance of Silvestre Reyes' and the Hanssen & Leung cases and then makes a number of recommendations, including:
a) Take domestic counter/intelligence (CI) out of the FBI's purview. Sooner or later it may have to be done. While that measure alone won't make any difference or improve anything, it could possibly prevent other reform measures from going astray due to the engrained organizational/cultural issues at the Bureau.

b) Consider a revision to our present-apparently rather toothless-espionage laws and set up a Court and a division of the Department of Justice specially designated to handle such cases. As we know from the performance of the FISA Court this is not a perfect solution. There is a tendency of such courts and divisions to expand and over zealously protect their own powers and cling to old procedures, rather than acting with good sense to meet new threats. Nevertheless, there is a great value to having judges with expertise in these matters and the kind of uniformity not possible when the cases are spread out over courts with such varying degrees of approach as, say, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Ninth Circuit.

c) Take all counter intelligence employees and officials out of the Civil Service system which makes it impossibly hard to remove poor performers. We pay with our lives and security if they do a bad job. It's not too much to hold them really accountable when they fail to do their jobs.

d) Professionalize CI; it is too important to neglect. If we choose to retain a CI office in the FBI, we must change the training of FBI CI agents and improve the resources available to them. Many FBI careerists have little interest in national security and no expertise in it. They are frequently anti-intellectual and distrustful of non-criminal experts. It's time a centralized pool of linguists (particularly Arabic, Chinese and Russian) and political experts was created to serve as a continuing resource to the FBI. People who know Sunni from Shia, can read and understand foreign communications and who can shed light on what otherwise is not obvious. Additionally, since so much of the spying involves the theft of military technology, a pool of technology experts which can regularly be tapped should be set up.

e) Laws should be enacted, barring military, Department of State and CIA and FBI officials from working for foreign governments, and operations funded by them, upon leaving government service. The number of such people already working for the Chinese and Saudi governments is a scandal, and the road to such employment posits a danger to honest analysis and actions in our national interest while still in government service.
see sibel, here and here, for more of the same.

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