Friday, February 7, 2014

U.S. intel. director: Earth is (still) a scary place

We're all gonna dieeeeeeeeeeeeee!  Aaaaaaaah!

Aw Lawdy, please save us CIA and NSA, save us!  

Let me quote Michael Cohen at length [emphasis mine] in his critique of the annual world threat assessment that the National Intelligence Director is obliged to give the Senate:

There is the habitually frightening adjective war front, "an assertive Russia, a competitive China; a dangerous, unpredictable North Korea, a challenging Iran." The sober-minded might look at these countries and conclude that a more accurate set of descriptors would be "an enfeebled and corrupt Russia, an economically slowing and environmentally challenged China, a contained and sort of predictable North Korea and an isolated and diplomatically-engaged Iran". But that would be a pretty lame threat assessment, wouldn't it?

Then there are the really scary sounding threats that aren't actually threats to Americans. Things like, "lingering ethnic divisions in the Balkans, perpetual conflict and extremism in Africa; violent political struggles in … the Ukraine, Burma, Thailand and Bangladesh." [...]  [B]ut the idea that any of these are serious "crises" or "threats" to America and its citizens is ludicrous.

This is what makes Clapper's argument – and indeed the entire process of writing a "worldwide threat assessment" so fundamentally unserious and distorting. America doesn't face a single truly serious security threat. We are a remarkably safe and secure nation, protected by two oceans, an enormous and highly effective military and dozens upon dozens of like-minded allies and friends around the world. Truly we have nothing to fear – except perhaps global climate change, which oddly merits a one-paragraph mention (pdf) in this year's threat assessment.

To listen to Clapper and others in the intelligence community one might never know that inter-state war has largely disappeared and that wars in general are in the midst of a multi-decade decline

And let's not forget that Clapper is the same guy who lied to Congress about not spying on U.S. citizens!:

The irony of all this is that Clapper has been under fire for months now because he allegedly lied to Congress over the extent to which the National Security Agency was collecting phone and e-mail records of individual Americans.

Yet, the yarn he spun on Capitol Hill last week was far worse than that: deceiving Americans about the nature of the world today and the threats facing the country. But in a political environment in which threat mongering and exaggeration is the norm rather than the exception, Clapper not only gets a pass – hardly anyone even noticed.

I've had enough of these obvious lies from "serious" spies protecting their administrative turf and bloated billion-dollar budgets.  There is no way that the U.S. is in more danger now than during the Cold War.  We have no enemies who can attack us, save Russia with its ICBMs. Terrorism is a mosquito on the list of actual threats to American citizens.

The James Clappers of the U.S. military-intelligence community might bamboozle and intimidate our Congressmen and journalists with their doomsday speeches, but not me.  What about you?

By Michael Cohen
February 6, 2014 | Guardian

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