Damage Control

A few random stories that I'm too lazy to look at really in depth:

Intelligence policies shift - Pentagon spy chief rolling back some of Rumsfeld's strategies

As previously noted
, the new Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI), Jim Clapper, is trying to undo some of the damage done by Rumsfeld and his number two, Stephen Cambone. Now this is expanding beyond merely undoing policies (like TALON) and moving towards a greater cooperation with the rest of the Intelligence Community.
Retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. is aligning the Pentagon's intelligence initiatives with those of the director of national intelligence, John M. McConnell, and will begin to count McConnell as his boss - a significant shift from the autonomy the office enjoyed under Rumsfeld.
Hopefully the end result will be a greater unity of effort. Michael Tanji:
USDI was more oversight/coord than command element. This "fixes" that.
However it seems to me that, since this is a "memorandum of understanding" rather than any substantive change (which I think would require an Executive Order), it could be ended at any time by the USDI, whether Clapper or someone in the future.


Cheney Attempting to Constrain Bush's Choices on Iran Conflict: Staff Engaged in Insubordination Against President Bush

Bureaucratic infighting in the White House - Cheney versus everyone else.

The Pentagon and the intelligence establishment are providing support to add muscle and nuance to the diplomatic effort led by Condi Rice, her deputy John Negroponte, Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, and Legal Adviser John Bellinger. The support that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and CIA Director Michael Hayden are providing Rice's efforts are a complete, 180 degree contrast to the dysfunction that characterized relations between these institutions before the recent reshuffle of top personnel...
This White House official has stated to several Washington insiders that Cheney is planning to deploy an "end run strategy" around the President if he and his team lose the policy argument. The thinking on Cheney's team is to collude with Israel, nudging Israel at some key moment in the ongoing standoff between Iran's nuclear activities and international frustration over this to mount a small-scale conventional strike against Natanz using cruise missiles (i.e., not ballistic missiles).

When people call Cheney and Bush "warmongers," it sounds very cliche and trite, but really John Oliver is correct: the Vice President does "mong a good war. Who knows where he'll mong next?!"


Finally, Al Gore has a good essay on the wastage of our moral authority. This is related to Wes Clark's recent speech that I mentioned earlier.

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