On occasions when I'd be a guest on a TV show regarding intelligence matters or even as a guest speaker as something like celebity spy, I would frequently be asked why we, America, didn't have better information about a certain country and its regime, or a movement and its participants. It's as though the inquirer believed we just routinely dressed someone in a trench-coat, sent a camera up in the sky or put on head-phones and listened in on the most strategic planning of state leaders or conspirators, and all knowledge necessary would find itself into the hands of our country's decision makers. It was not without appreciation that I would hear this; after all I watch the same TV, read novels and hear gossip, albeit with the experience, on some occasions, with knowing some of the back-story.
With appreciation for public frustration and anticipation, this would lead to a bit of divergence while I explained that most regimes hostile to the United States, perhaps at the time of the Cold War and even during the years since, maintained the counter-intelligence state. In addition I would add that even some allies maintained exceptional controls beyond the diplomatic exchange level. (Let me not slide by the duty of each government’s duty to maintain its security.) My exceptional controls within what I refer to in counter-intelligence states, I would like you to understand, are those beyond what the most minimal of democracies manifest. Take if you would, the Saudi Arabia's, Pakistan's, Peru's, to cite but a few (a very few out of many). My divergence, I hoped, would lead an audience to think about what common ideals we enjoy from day-to-day only because we are who we are, with a long history, sometimes arduous, of debates to guarantee the ideals and freedom that we enjoy and find little need to question. We find them in our "Bill of Rights", amendments to the Constitution and seriously deliberated openly in our courts. Mirroring backward can be a great means of understanding. I never felt satisfied that the complete mood of the counter-intelligence state really effected an identifieable image or atmosphere that I wanted to impose on the listeneres.
Actually, recalling such engagements seems to have been what I've been looking for to engage the topic of this writing.
In a recent article by (1) James Califano, "Security Gone Wild" and articles by (2) Walid Phares, “The Cells Are Already Here and..”, (3) Steve Emerson, whose books were prescient to the current crisis (es), (4) Douglas Farah “The Long Decline of Counter-Intelligence Capability”, (5) Jeffrey Imm, “Report: Muslim Brotherhood US Front Groups”, and (6) Bill West’s article, “Hizballah Moles Reflects the Depth of Threat” and (7) “Terrorists, Traitors and Citizenship,” to name a few, we come closer to visualizing the developing threat within the United States. As I suggested, to name but a few.
Citing the above is fine as Americans will do their wont and only consider the matter in the abstract and too much of a reach to grasp. It easier that way, won’t interfere with plans for the Super Bowl, Soccer practice, and Home Depot.
We are not a counter-intelligence state. We abhor exceptional controls. But, in finessing our legal system and the easements thus far superimposed upon it, those who would make us a counter-intelligence state are already implementing those tactics here and use exceptional controls provided by our own legal system. Our freedoms have become thier weapons.
We must remember that the other side is not a rational actor, and theoretical paradigms of behavior are thus non-binding. Proportionality bias of seeming importance is variable, and we must also avoid the presumption that behavior and description of individuals of the other side is uniform. Assumptions of priorities as well as the process of decision- making vary as well. The most important thing to remember is all rules have been suspended.