Tag Archives: spy

I’m old enough to remember when “outing” our #CIA agents’ identities was a BAD thing…

spy-vs-spy-top-secret

If you’re not entirely sure as to what I’m referring with my headline, here you go:

“White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan”

(via the Washington Post) – “…The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops…” 

Whoopsie!

Considering the absolute dearth of coverage this has received thus far, you could be tempted to believe that it must be no big deal.

And of course, you’d be wrong:

Continue reading

The EYE is always watching (Part 2)

The eye.

It’s back.

—–

About 4 months ago we covered a story that made me tighten the straps on my tinfoil hat: a program to install permanent, stationary license plate scanners on the freeway. At the time, the government officials assured us that the information was only to be used to combat drug trafficking.  Feel free to go back and read the post: it was creepy, yet the official position was along the lines of “oh, you silly dears. We have only the purest of intentions for our fancy-schmancy privacy-invading technology. Don’t worry your little head about it“.

That was a scant 4 months ago.

Seems they’ve been workin’ some late nights over at ‘Big Brother Industries’ since then:

(***Video courtesy of John Galt over at YouViewed/Editorial blog).

Oh, yeah: this should work out just great.

You can either find out if this is going on in YOUR community, or you can shrug your shoulders and say, “Oh, well”.

Hey, it’s just freedom, after all. It’s not like it’s that important….

The EYE is always watching

It seems we’re waltzing towards the “creepy” side of the dance floor.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Everyone driving on Interstate 15 in southwest Utah may soon have their license plate scanned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA and two sheriffs are asking permission to install stationary license plate scanners on the freeway in Beaver and Washington counties. The primary purpose would be to catch or build cases against drug traffickers, but at a Utah Legislature committee meeting Wednesday, the sheriffs and a DEA representative described how the scanners also could be used to catch kidnappers and violent criminals.

The scanners would capture only the license plate, the GPS coordinates and the direction of travel, Newcomb said. If the DEA or another law enforcement agency has input a license plate number for a car to be stopped immediately, local police would be notified by email or a cell phone text message when that plate crossed the scanner.

—-

For long-term investigations, including those tracking people who grow marijuana on public land in Utah, the digital data would be routed through the police dispatch centers in Beaver and Washington counties to a DEA facility in northern Virginia where it would be stored for two years.

The stored data could be used only to research the movements of suspected drug traffickers or to help other law enforcement agencies investigating serious crimes, Newcomb said. The DEA would track who is accessing the data and why, he said.

The stored data would not be cross-referenced with other databases such as those with names, drivers license or car make and model information, Newcomb said.

“I can assure you there is no private information stored in association with these plates,” Newcomb told lawmakers.

Ummm, sure.

I’m not breaking the law, and I don’t have anything to hide, so why does this bother me so much? And why do I keep having flashbacks to the movie Enemy of the State?

I think it has to do with the presumption of innocence, and various steps that our law enforcement is taking which run counter to that presumption. Each step of “help” seems to come at the expense of the law-abiding citizen. Whether it is fear of the IRS, being groped by the TSA, spied on by drones in the sky, or worse: having those drones armed, you can’t escape the feeling that the government wants to keep tabs on us more than we are willing to keep tabs on the government.

And I wonder: how much more of our freedom do we have to lose before people shout “Enough”!?

Because obviously, we’re not there yet.

Spy vs. Spy

There are myriad examples of Left bias in the news every day. This particular one deserves your attention because it concerns life-and-death, as well as our national security.

And it involves spies, so what’s not to like??

The Power Line blog covered this on Monday, and this post from Libertarian Leanings came the next day. Read them both, but I believe ‘Leanings’ places this in the superior context.

Courtesy of Tom Bowler @ Libertarian Leanings blog:

.                               .                            .                          .

Power Line Remembers… 

Valerie Plame.  Valerie Plame, for those who may not remember, is the former CIA employee who was supposedly “outed” by the Bush White House in retaliation for a New York Times op-ed by her husband, Joseph C. Wilson.

When George Bush said in a State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein had been trying to acquire large quantities of uranium from Africa, Wilson countered in his editorial that in his opinion the African country of Niger could not possibly have gotten away with selling uranium to Iraq.  Therefore George Bush was lying.

The couple have been glorified by Hollywood, but the glory isn’t sticking so well.

“Fair Game” starred Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. It grossed $9.4MM domestically,  against a production budget of $22MM. Fewer Americans than anticipated,  it seems, wanted to view the sweeping drama of a couple of D.C.  mediocrities sipping poorly selected wine at the Four Seasons Georgetown  and falling backwards into a glorious victimhood.

As you may or may not remember, it was not the Bush White House who leaked the identity of Valerie Plame.  A higher up State Department official, Richard Armitage, was the leaker.  I don’t think I ever knew exactly why, but he revealed to the late Robert Novak that Wilson’s wife had helped to arrange the trip her husband made to Africa upon which he based his Times op-ed.  Armed with that information Novak looked up the double top-secret name of Wilson’s wife in “Who’s Who in America” and published it in a story of his own about Wilson’s trip and his editorial.  A witch hunt ensued.

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald conducted a grand jury inquisition into possible violations of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act.  Fitzgerald learned early in the investigation that it was Richard Armitage who revealed the identity of CIA “operative” Valerie  Plame, but he concluded that no crime had  been committed.  Still, he kept the investigation going until he finally netted Scooter Libby, Vice President Richard Cheney’s chief of staff, for lying.

In grand jury testimony Libby said he thought he had first heard of Valerie Plame from the late Tim Russert of Meet the Press fame.  He later amended his testimony, based on notes he had showing that he must have heard her name earlier, but he said hadn’t recalled the notes, nor the meetings in which they were made.  Patrick Fitzgerald argued that he did, too, recall them.  Libby was convicted of lying.  Lying about a non-crime, actually.

So why does the subject of Valerie Plame resurface?  Just recently another agent — this time a real honest to god covert agent — was outed.  But this time, news outfits tripped all over themselves celebrating an Obama administration intelligence coup.

WASHINGTON — The suicide bomber dispatched by the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda last month to blow up a United States-bound airliner was actually an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia who infiltrated the terrorist group and volunteered for the mission, American and foreign officials said Tuesday.

In an extraordinary intelligence coup, the double agent left Yemen last month, traveling by way of the United Arab Emirates, and delivered both the innovative bomb designed for his aviation attack and inside information on the group’s leaders, locations, methods and plans to the Central Intelligence Agency, Saudi intelligence and allied foreign intelligence agencies.

Officials said the agent, whose identity they would not disclose, works for the Saudi intelligence service, which has cooperated closely with the C.I.A. for several years against the terrorist group in Yemen.

Apparently there are a couple of problems with that narrative.

As the story broke, the establishment media was more than happy to attribute the intelligence coup to the CIA and the Obama administration, describing the mole as a “CIA informant.”

It turns out that wasn’t true. The double-agent hadn’t been recruited and placed by the CIA, but by British intelligence, who also managed the operation. In fact, the Americans had only recently been made aware of the joint British-Saudi effort.

The leaks about the operation from the American side have infuriated British intelligence officials, who had hoped to continue the operation. The leaks not only scuttled the mission but put the life of the asset in jeopardy. Even CIA officials, joining their MI5 and MI6 counterparts, were describing the leaks as “despicable,” attributing them to the Obama administration.

Compare press coverage of this blown cover to the trumped-up case over Valerie Plame, a CIA employee who commuted to an office at CIA headquarters in Langley every day, and whose name was listed in “Who’s Who in America.”  Ms. Plame, who was in no way endangered by publication of Novak’s story, became a media celebrity, victim of an imagined retaliatory leak from the Bush White House.

This time, though, the life of a British agent is threatened, opportunities for more intelligence have been thrown away, and from all outward appearances it’s because of the Obama administration’s compulsion to score political points wherever they may be had.

And this time the press is too busy touting Obama’s supposed “evolution” on gay marriage to report on anything else.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 10:28 AM