I have to share this

There is a fantastic blog I read called the Streetwise Professor.  The professor in this case is Craig Pirrong of the University of Houston.  He writes some wonderful stuff and has a wonderful turn of phrase.

In a recent post, the Professor wrote about the hostile relationship between President Elect Trump and the 17, yes 17 separate intelligence agencies of the US (Federal) Government.

It seems that there are those who think the US president reports to the intelligence agencies and not the other way around.  You know like how bureaucratic advice from Canberra must be followed and implemented by elected officials without deviation.

Anyhow, writing about how it is apparently verboten to criticize the CIA because CIA officers risk their lives, Pirrong writes the following:

Other defenders of the CIA react to Trump with outrage: How dare he attack those who risk their lives defending us?!?!? First, the operational element of the CIA that actually faces any prospect of mortal danger is rounding error in its personnel count. The vast majority sit all day long in front of a computer screen in a huge building, and the biggest risks they face are sciatica, paper cuts, and bureaucratic backstabbing. Second, when I look at Syria, and other misadventures of the CIA where CIA lives have been at risk, I have to say: don’t do me any more favors by defending me.

What a wonderful line.  I wonder how many intelligence agencies there are in Australia and what proportion of the employees of the Department of Defence actually sit all day long in front of a computer screen in a huge building, and the biggest risks they face are sciatica, paper cuts, and bureaucratic backstabbing.

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31 Responses to I have to share this

  1. .

    The vast majority sit all day long in front of a computer screen in a huge building, and the biggest risks they face are sciatica, paper cuts, and bureaucratic backstabbing.

    DHS, USMS, CIA, DIA, NSA, FBI, USDS, USSS, NCIS, ATF, ICE…

    Just ridiculous.

    The Commonwealth structure of a spoke and hub system is better – MI-1 – MI-6, as we use with the British, albeit with different three letter and four letter names.

    An amazing thing about the US is despite their pretensions to laissez faire, is how absurdly bureaucratic they are.

  2. stackja

    Lindbergh kidnap and gangsters led to FBI.
    Pearl Harbor led to CIA.
    9/11 led to DHS.
    DT might sack many.

  3. C.L.

    Fantastic stuff.
    I see Fairfax loony Paul McGeough’s latest column is all about the “intelligence” agencies ganging up to investigate Russia’s “hacking” of America – which a proxy war, of course, for their campaign to remove Trump from the Oval Office. McGeough is thrilled by this dirty Gestapo war against the elected President.

    I hope smashes these agencies into a million splinters.

  4. C.L.

    which IS a proxy war …
    I hope TRUMP smashes …

  5. mareeS

    My husband came home from Vietnam on December 12, 1967. We have helped lots of families there. You are talking through your hat.

  6. Richard H

    I wonder how many intelligence agencies there are in Australia. Five: ASIO, ASIS, AGO, ASD and DIO (if you also count ONA you get to six, although it only does analysis, not intel collection).

  7. Louis Hissink

    And if you are a watcher of the Jason Bourne series of movies, being a CIA field operative is not that it’s cracked up to be either, especially when it’s your own “asset” that terminates you (And it isn’t Bourne but Dewey’s “asset” who seriously reduced CIA ops field staff in the latest movie).

    I wonder how close to the bone that portrayal of the CIA is…………….

  8. Piett

    I don’t know what the % is for the Defence organisation, but I do know that in corporate finance — that’s your industry, right, Spartacus? — 100% sit all day long in front of a computer screen in a huge building, and the biggest risks they face are sciatica, paper cuts, and bureaucratic backstabbing. (Not to mention the unbearable stress of worrying about how big their end of year bonus will be.)

  9. .

    I don’t know what the % is for the Defence organisation, but I do know that in corporate finance — that’s your industry, right, Spartacus?

    Let’s not call NSA analysts or CIA agents working for the DNC the same as front line servicemen.

  10. Piett

    Can I be Devil’s Advocate here? I’m not at all convinced that there’s any intel community conspiracy to get Trump. Some random points:

    1) I can’t see why the intel community would have any beef with Trump. Some people claim it’s because of Russia, but I see no certainty that Trump will be nicer to Russia than Hillary would have been. Certainly, a bunch of Trump’s cabinet appointees are tough on Russia. (Furthermore, Obama was very weak on Russia, particularly during the Georgia crisis, and many Republicans criticised him heavily about that.)

    2) Trump’s declared focus on destroying ISIS should be music to the ears of the intel community: it no doubt entails more resources and less constraints on their activities. Likewise, Trump building up the military; whenever defence spending goes up, defence intel can cream some off.

    3) Conspiring to destroy a President is enormously risky for intel people: it could result in career annihilation, prison, and the restructuring or even abolition of their agencies. So why, again, would they take that huge risk?

    4) If they did want to destroy Trump, then they’d have released that salacious bullshit (the Russian ‘dossier’) before the election, right? But the only information released before the election was news that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Hillary’s email mishandling, which hurt the Democrat campaign greatly. If the intel agencies were trying to help Hillary, they had a funny way of doing it.

    5) For what it’s worth, history shows that the US intel community has generally tried to stay out of politics: for example, the CIA and FBI refused Nixon’s request to spy on Democrats, forcing him to set up his own team of operatives (the ‘Plumbers’, who were caught trying to sneak into the Watergate building).

    In conclusion, much writing on this issue is uncomfortably reminiscent of left-wing conspiracy theorising in which intel agencies are malign right-wing monsters constantly interfering in democracy. The right should avoid such silliness.

  11. Bruce of Newcastle

    Trump is risking his life more than they are. There’s already been one confirmed assassination attempt foiled, and a second unconfirmed attempt.

  12. iampeter

    Second, when I look at Syria, and other misadventures of the CIA where CIA lives have been at risk, I have to say: don’t do me any more favors by defending me.

    I thought this was a pretty good line too.

    Has there ever been a more over-budgeted and at the same time underachieving intelligence apparatus in human history. Nothing but fail.

  13. Zatara

    The intel community per se has no beef with Trump.

    The management of those intel agencies however, all of who are Obama political appointees or careerists who drank his coolaid to remain employed for the last 8 years, do.

    Their time in the sun is over and the wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, etc. as they are booted from their offices come Monday morning will be a joy to behold.

    Which is a primary reason why they are getting in their licks against Trump now.

  14. Piett

    Which is a primary reason why they are getting in their licks against Trump now.

    So why didn’t they do so before the election, when they could possibly have swung the outcome?

  15. I Am the Walras, Equilibrate and Price Take

    Yes, Streetwise Professor is great fun and v. informative.

    His feud with Zerohedge is fun to watch.

  16. .

    ZH can be terrible, but at times they cough up some gems.

  17. TheDAwg

    Another professor with a litany of written garbage now seeing the wind has changed and writing for the new crew. As soon as anyone saw the word “professor” they should have ignored this complete bollocks. The same thing happened when Abbott got in until they saw the way the media were leaning. Trumpy has destroyed the media so now you have the conga line of suckholes that recognise they need that academic appointment more than ever because they could never survive in the real world and write appropriately.
    Pathetic drivel from another non entity. One academic referring to another. That is all you need to know. Blithering idiots the lot of them.

  18. .

    TheDAwg
    #2267264, posted on January 19, 2017 at 6:36 pm
    Another professor with a litany of written garbage now seeing the wind has changed and writing for the new crew. As soon as anyone saw the word “professor” they should have ignored this complete bollocks. The same thing happened when Abbott got in until they saw the way the media were leaning. Trumpy has destroyed the media so now you have the conga line of suckholes that recognise they need that academic appointment more than ever because they could never survive in the real world and write appropriately.
    Pathetic drivel from another non entity. One academic referring to another. That is all you need to know. Blithering idiots the lot of them.

    What a load of shit.

  19. struth

    I’ve just got to add dot, that for many years I was a tour driver all over Australia.
    We would look down our manifests at the start of each tour, Mr, Mrs……Mr,….Mrs, Mrs…. Mrs…. Mrs……
    (husbands dead or prefers to stay home) …Miss….Yay.
    And then oh, no…..A Prof.

    Normal people knew that when you take a professor out of his usual world, he is as thick as two short planks, generally speaking.
    Theoretical (not practical) expert in one chosen field at the expense of a well rounded life education.
    Generally speaking.
    Well that’s being nice.
    Just saying.

  20. Dr Faustus

    I see Fairfax loony Paul McGeough’s latest column is all about the “intelligence” agencies ganging up to investigate Russia’s “hacking” of America

    Paul McGeough won’t be in line for a Pulitzer Prize. His piece in today’s SMH paraphrases the original article by McClatchyDC and the earlier BBC piece, linked to by McClatchy.

    He has clearly been at some pains to avoid being sprung for actual plagiarism by copying the original sources verbatim. But unsurprisingly he doesn’t link to the sources he cites.

    And it is clear that he either doesn’t understand the material reported by the ‘grownups’, or has very poor transcription skills, or his personal hopes are showing through. The spook investigation is not about “”sweetheart” business deals offered to Trump by rich Russians connected to the Kremlin” – it’s about how Russia might have used its pension system to channel funds to hackers in the US.

    What we get as ‘news’ in Australia is second-hand reportage of a story published by another news organisation, itself reporting a story published a week earlier by a third news organisation.

  21. .

    Normal people knew that when you take a professor out of his usual world, he is as thick as two short planks, generally speaking.

    Yes well, he is writing a blog on his specialised field.

    After pleasantries, academics will prefer to be called by their first name.

    Theoretical (not practical) expert in one chosen field at the expense of a well rounded life education.

    How the hell do you know he isn’t a practical expert you presumptuous git?

    David Ricardo became exceptionally wealthy during the end of the Napoleonic wars on bond trading, which he wrote a book about, for example.

  22. WolfmanOz

    Thank you Spartacus.

    I’ve been reading the blog StreetwiseProfessor most of the day (I’m on holiday in Cambodia beside a pool).

    What an incisive read – very impressive – highly recommended for others to check out.

  23. Zatara

    So why didn’t they do so before the election, when they could possibly have swung the outcome?

    They did try it then but it didn’t gain much traction. Further, it exposed the Dems to having to talk about the content of those e-mails which is the last thing they wanted to do. Instead it was set aside until they needed it in their current de-legitimization campaign.

    As to why Obama’s Agency heads supported the meme, they have been bastardizing their intelligence products to fit Obama’s view of the world for 8 years now. They do what he tells them, until noon on Friday that is.

    Since all of this rigamarole is supposedly about the concept of influencing foreign elections one wonders why the Dems and the MSM are so silent on a case of that actually happening?
    Senate subcommittee: Obama used taxpayer dollars to influence outcome of Israel election.

    .

  24. Boambee John

    Open to correction by the ADF people here, but, except for the Air Force, where the majority of aircrew seem to be officers, the combat elements of the ADF comprise large numbers of other ranks and relatively few officers.

    Reform in Defence for around 25 years has focussed on increasing the combat forces, and cutting back the bureaucracy (civilian and uniformed). This should lead to fewer civilians and proportionately fewer officers (except possibly in Air Force).

    What were the numbers of Defence civilians, and, for each Service, the numbers of officers and other ranks, in 1991 and 2016? I wonder how successful those reform attempts have been.

  25. Muddy

    You used to be able to download for free the CIA history “Legacy of Ashes” from their website, but I can’t seem to find it there at the moment. It’s an interesting read though, for people with some spare time of course. There is also a decent amount of other documents available to peruse via their website.

  26. Sydney Boy

    Unfortunatelay BJ, the % of ADF pers who are front-line versus those who are shiny-arses is not easy to define. I can’t speak for the Navy or Air Force, but I’ve got a pretty good grasp on Army.

    Essentially there are 3 combat brigades, consisting of about 3,500 soldiers each. There is a mix of officers and NCOs and soldiers in each, but pretty much most of the personnel (90%?) in each combat brigade is deployable and regularly undertake field exercises and training. In Army terminology, running around out bush driving tanks and firing guns, and shooting targets and blowing up mock enemy positions is still called “training” – even though it is doing the job. Just not being shot at.

    There are also 2 helicopter regiments (about 600 each), 3 special forces regiments (SAS, Commandos and Engineers – again about 600 each), 3 specialist engineer squadrons (150 each), 2 deep logistic regiments (about 800 each), 2 specialist communication regiments (about 400 each), etc. There are also all the staff who run the various army training establishment, such as recruit training, infantry school, tank school, mechanic school, radio and communications school, etc.

    So really hard to put a figure on the percentage of combat-ready and capable versus the shiny-arses. With one exception. If you are in the Army and you are posted to Canberra (Duntroon excepted), you are a shiny-arsed cubicle dweller.

  27. Trumpy has destroyed the media so now you have the conga line of suckholes that recognise they need that academic appointment more than ever because they could never survive in the real world and write appropriately.

    Craig Pirrong is ex-US Navy. He’d do just find outside academia.

  28. sabena

    I endorse Spartacus’s comments-Cat readers will enjoy the site.Posts are not made everyday,however,but at least once a week or more.

  29. Boambee John

    Thanks Sydney Boy.

  30. Boambee John

    PS, I suspect that a high proportion of the shiny arsed cubicle dwellers are officers at the rank of Major and above, who have little or no expectation of ever getting mud on their boots again, the targets of the various reforms I mentioned.

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