Conspiracy Theory (and Practice)

|

Salon's Eric Boehlert writes on the secretive Office of Special Plans. Critics within the intelligence community allege that the group was established by Donald Rumsfeld to produce intelligence that dovetailed with the administration's goals.

NEXT: Paging Preston Brooks

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I’m trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with the idea of producing intelligence that is relevant to what you want to do. Unless the claim is being made that this is merely a fraud factory, or a dossier massage clinic, and that the information it produces is uniformly discreditable, then this seems like a completely hollow criticsm. If the information is accurate, how is it unseemly that it be generated with the expressed purpose of actually being used?

  2. The claim is that the group cherry-picked information that supported their position, supressed reports that contradicted it; there’s more in the article.

  3. Problem is, Sage, it ain’t accurate. Every accusation made about Iraq’s imminent threat to the US or the region in the last five years was “uniformly discredited”.

  4. These factions within the intelligence community that take their internecine bureaucratic bickering public make me very suspicious. There are a lot of people in the intelligence community who are just run-of-the-mill bureaucrats interested more in protecting turf than anything else. These folks have put together a string of spectacular intelligence failures (they missed 9/11, they can’t find bin Laden, Omar, or Hussein, etc.) and are now engaging in typical bureaucratic ass-covering.

    Intelligence is all about producing estimates, which someone has to winnow throught. This means that after any major intelligence project, there will be hurt feelings (from those whose estimates were discarded) and a pile of estimates that can be said, in hindsight, to be more accurate that were discarded for political reasons. That’s the way it works, folks, and it provides a rich pasture to plow for those who seek, after a very successful war, to rehabilitate the damage they did to their careers and credibility in opposing the war.

    Use a grain of salt, that’s all I’m saying.

  5. Keep that sycophant stuff on Julian’s personal blog please Rex. 😉

  6. Oh, and by the way, bureaucrats that are seeing their fifedoms diminished or are retired and have nothing better to do usually bitch and moan about how the new guys are handling things. That’s the bottom-line with all these reports impugning Rumsfeld.

  7. True enough, Eric. Thank God for bureaucratic infighting and inefficiency. However bad Ridge’s police state may get, at least it’ll be carried out by federal employees. They’ll probably have about the same rate of success in finding the right doors to kick in as the Post Office has in delivering mail to the right address. As Newman said, “You tipped them off when you crossed the seventy percent barrier.”

    And libertarians will probably be a lot more motivated in hacking and monkey-wrenching any surveillance system than the State is in getting around their interference.

  8. Julian, When do you sleep?
    Sounds like Special Plans is just arguing the side they’re working for, like a defense lawyer, or a prosecutor. If it’s ethical for an attorney to argue a one-sided selective interpretation or events, rather than collaborating with the prosecutor to discover the “real truth”, why is arguing one interpretation of intelligence data unethical ( assuming the other side is being argued by someone else)?

  9. “Julian, When do you sleep?”

    Plenty of time for that when I’m dead.

  10. “Plenty of time for that when I’m dead.”
    Eternal Vigilance the price of Liberty, eh?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.