May 7, 2007

A Devil's Deal I Would Eagerly Accept

Hatched by Dafydd

The Democrats have crafted an Intelligence Authorization Bill that diverts scarce intelligence resources into yet another insane attempt to "prove" anthropogenic global warming, a.k.a. "Globaloney."

And I very much support the bill. Have I gone mad?

Bah, ye of little lizardian faith! Yes, it wastes time, resources, and money on an absurdity (global warming has no significant national-security implications whatsoever). But it also dramatically increases funding for human intelligence (HumInt) operations... actual spies to infiltrate countries like Iran, Syria, and North Korea, instead of relying entirely on spy satellites and such... signals intelligence, or SigInt, in IntelSpeak.

The bill also increases funding for counterintelligence, which I would hope includes hunting down al-Qaeda sleeper cells and such inside the United States:

Mr. Reyes lauded his panel's work on the bill, noting that it will lead to "stronger, better intelligence," especially by adding money for human intelligence training and for sending analysts abroad.

For the first time, the bill will fund a "baseline" for intelligence activities related to terrorism and Iraq, he said.

He also said it will strengthen counterintelligence, enhance oversight and eliminate wasteful spending.

Quite frankly, I'm perfectly willing to make that trade-off, if that's what it takes to get the Democrats aboard.

If the Republicans can strip the Globaloney nonsense out of the bill and still get the Democrats to sign up, that would be wonderful. I'd love to have that. Of course, I'd also love to have a trail horse and a house on five acres of land here in Southern Cal; I think the odds of that are marginally better than the odds of getting Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-TX, 80%) to accept HumInt without GoreInt.

Theoretically, we could have gotten a lot of this in the 109th Congress (2005-2006); the Republicans were in charge, and the president is always eager to improve our intelligence-gathering capability. So... why didn't we?

Oh yeah, I forgot:

Last year, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass its Intelligence Authorization bill.

Along with failing to make permanent the tax cuts and failing to enact the federal budget.

Say... I wonder why we lost Congress?

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, May 7, 2007, at the time of 9:09 AM

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The following hissed in response by: Fritz

For a change I disagree with you. Yes, more human intelligence is needed, but what if the appropriation is not big enough to cover the silly part about global warming and includes nothing to improve our intelligence capabilities? While I can well imagine congress funding the global warming part the first years, as time goes on they would keep asking about global warming-particularly if there was less than complete agreement that the sky will soon fall-and start decreasing the funds for that part of the CIA's operation. Soon what is now spent on intelligence would have to be shifted to cover the global warming part and we would be worse off than we now are. Also, the type of minds needed to assess intelligence needs may not be the same as those needed to report to congress as to what effect global warming will have on national security.
Over the years congress has, on many occasions, authorized various agencies to do various tasks and then failed to adequately fund them, then complained loudly when the results were not quite what they had hoped. To think this one might be different is wishful thinking. They have also added tasks to various agencies and then complained when an agency, not designed to handle that type of task, failed to properly handle it. I have grave doubts that the CIA is particularly well suited to investigate global warming. So sorry Dafydd, I don't think this is a good idea.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2007 11:51 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Fritz, you can't deal with this in a vacuum: The question is not whether we should enact this bill, or an identical bill with the Globaloney stipped out. Of course the latter is preferable.

But the latter wouldn't pass; the Democrats would never go for it... and like it or not, they control the congressional agenda right now.

If the price for them to approve the other stuff is throwing money down the rathole of global-warming theory, that's still better than having them enact a bill that doesn't increase funding for HumInt -- or worse, cuts back on it.

There are no "solutions," only trade-offs; a good trade-off is when what you gain is worth more than what you lose. If in fact we gain significantly better human intelligence (I have yet to see an analysis of this bill, so I can't say for sure this is the case), that would clearly outweigh the negative of frittering some money away on nonsense.

The alternative is far, far worse.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2007 1:13 PM

The following hissed in response by: snochasr

I think we've got the Democrats over a barrel, here, and ought to take everything we can get. Any "intelligent" assessment of global warming will conclude that it's a good thing, and that we ought to have more of it. If humans actually CAN make that happen, let's have at it! The Democrats will fume and bluster, but how can they argue with getting what they asked for? They can cut the funding for any more of it, but so what? With luck, the GOP will own Congress at that point.

What's even funnier is the assumptions of this planning exercise, wanting to know what the effects of global warming will be on our NAVY. Let's see... higher sea levels, more water, ships float... I'm thinking the Navy will be just fine.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2007 2:40 PM

The following hissed in response by: Athos

Last year, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to pass its Intelligence Authorization bill.

The reason it failed to pass was because an anonymous Republican senator placed a block on the bill because it contained 3 controversial (to that Senator at least) amendments added by Kerry & Kenndy under the approval of the Committee Chair Sen. Pat Roberts.

So, the question that comes into play is - isn't it just as likely as a block / hold being placed on this bill unless the 'Globaloney' is stripped out and we end up with the same non-action?

There are times when we are our own worst enemies - particularly with the 'quality' of the Republican leadership....I think your approach is a good trade-off - but I doubt the Republicans in the Senate will see it that way. They lack not only the apparent imagination - but the strategic vision.

The above hissed in response by: Athos [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2007 4:03 PM

The following hissed in response by: Mr. Michael

Everybody's vote is for sale in Washington D.C., even the pundits who aren't even there, like Dafydd. Think of it this way: Funding the CIA's HumInt budget is a Pork program meant to buy the votes of Conservatives in order to pass a Study on Global Warming.

Hey, that's Pork I can defend. Nay, I can use it to advertise my campaign! Put funding CIA HumInt up against the 'Bridge to Nowhere' or an Onion Museum or some other such usual Pork and you can see where this is going.

Of course, you COULD look at it in such a way that funding the Global Warming Study is a Pork project to get funding for the CIA's HumInt budget. Fine... just put in a caveat that the Study must actually adhere to proper Scientific Standards and I'm onboard with that, too!

Hey, time to try something new, right?

The above hissed in response by: Mr. Michael [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2007 4:35 PM

The following hissed in response by: Fritz

Dafydd, it is not that I don't understand your point. And yes, it is likely that for a year or two there may actually be an increase in human intelligence working on attaining intelligence on things we need intelligence on, but over the longer term I think it go the way I described with a continual demand for more on global warming coupled with less funding actually making the problem worse than it now is.

The above hissed in response by: Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 7, 2007 10:39 PM

The following hissed in response by: hunter

Is it just me, or is there something inherently silly about an openly debated bill that will fund more covert spies?
I think this entire effort is moot. The dhimmies will just leak anything important to the national security tot he NYT for immediate publication anyway.
And if you think the CIA screwed up in Iraq, just wait until they get through with clilmate change.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 8, 2007 4:21 AM

The following hissed in response by: Ymarsakar

But the latter wouldn't pass; the Democrats would never go for it... and like it or not, they control the congressional agenda right now.

I think that is the real reason Repubs lost the Senate. Because the Repubs are willing to compromise to get along, to output the votes, but the Democrats weren't. So the Repubs couldn't get enough votes when the Demons kept sabotaging the works and using every favor they could pull to cause fragmenting of the REpublicans. Whereas as we see now... Repubs wish to make deals and get along to go along. They're willing, apparently, to compromise to get what they want by giving what the other side wants. But the Demons isn't like that, are they.

The above hissed in response by: Ymarsakar [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 10:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


In my opinion, the Republicans lost for four reasons:

  • The voters (accurately) believed the Republicans were seduced by the siren lure of spending other people's money;
  • The voters were (falsely) persuaded that we were "losing" the Iraq war, and Americans hate to lose;
  • A series of high-profile GOP corruption cases made voters (falsely) think that they were inherently more corrupt than Democrats.
  • The way the Mark Foley case unfolded made voters (falsely) think Republicans had "covered up for a child molester;"

Change any two of those, and I believe they will win in 2008. Foley is already gone... so change at least one, preferably all three, of the others.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 11, 2007 12:48 PM

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