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DNI has made several substantive mistakes , former spy Robert David Steele Vivas

OSS CEO Robert David Steele Vivas, former spy and author-speaker on intelligence reform, has posted a web commentary on DNI John Negroponte's six major mistakes to date. This release contains highlights only. Details, and a full-page Op-Ed,
are available at

Here is the complete information available from OSS

The DNI has made several substantive mistakes in the early days. While some recovery is possible, the general trend line is not positive. We support the DNI, we want to see the DNI succeed, but he is surrounded by people who are unwilling to change their ways or confront the harsh realities. If one accepts DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military, Economic) as the foundation for strategic success, then the DNI can be said to be the dot of the I, completely berefit of the foundational pillar that is the I itself. This is an emperor wearing no clothes--all he has on is his crown.

Mistake #1: Obsessing on doing the daily briefing to the President. The DNI should be the strategic leader, the DDNI should be the operational leader, and the ADDNIs should be doing the heavy lifting. This is not happening (see M#3).

Mistake #2: Locating at Bolling AFB. Unless the DNI immediately announces that this is a temporary measure, and that he is seeking $100M from Congress for a complete refurbishment of the three building campus at the South-Central location between USIP, State, and the Kennedy Center, the DNI is destined for oblivion.

Mistake #3: Pedestrian deputies. Sorry, but these are button down bureaucrats without an original idea among them. This is a business as usual crew.

Mistake #4: Failing to invite the several OSINT pioneers to a seance. With the possible exception of one person, the DNI is not getting the best available advice on creating an Open Source Agency outside the IC, using State as the lead (State foolishly resists greatness) and following the civil affairs model. Absent truly informed and objective advice, which excludes all CIA-related personnel, he is going to fail twice: first in not having an independent base that can keep the classified IC honest; and second, in not having the outreach to the millions of minds that could otherwise make up for the lack of imagination among those with clearances.

Mistake #5: Failing to invite public commentary. A really innovative DNI would have posted a Request for Comments to FedBiz, and established an honest independent working group to evaluate and integrate "wild card" ideas from the outreach crowd. The DNI is getting advice largely from the insiders--this tends to produce, as incest usually does--albino mutants and deviants, not healthy diversity.

Mistake #6: Failing to focus on bottom up dots. It is our view that 50% of the dots needed to detect and prevent the next 9-11 will be bottom-up dots coming from county-level observations by local law enforcement and concerned citizens including loyal immigrants who do not share the radical disdain for our great Republic. Absent Community Intelligence Centers (a generic form of Joint Inter-Agency Information Sharing and Collaboration Centers) in each of the 50 states, and nodes or at least dedicated focal points in each county across America, all that we do with classified and open sources from a top-down perspective will be insufficient.

Bottom line: no joy. The next 9-11 will take 7,000 to 10,000 lives, will probably be maritime in nature, and will be neither detected in advance nor prevented. Meanwhile, we will continue to fail at grand strategy, with all the trillion dollar mistakes that entails. We can do better.

Intelligence Affairs: Evolution, Revolution, or Reactionary Collapse?

A recent RAND document purporting to discuss the revolution in intelligence affairs has been making the rounds, but most who have praised it clearly did not read it first. Upon close examination, we have found that the document is reactionary rather than revolutionary. Indeed, the footnotes are completely focused on what has been said by those who failed to protect America from 9-11, and completely ignorant of any—literally any—of the many sources on intelligence reform available to those who are open to ideas from the outside.

We decided to look at this situation more closely, and we have identified three competing approaches to the eradication of intelligence incompetence such as the Americans have displayed so profoundly since the end of the Cold War. The reactionary approach, reflected in both the RAND study and the recent selections of deputies to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) who cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered anything other than “business as usual” choices, is one we will dismiss right now. The DNI will fail. He will fail because he was not willing to consider external solutions or external deputies. Drawing on a very weak and shallow bench, he has fielded a group of second and third stringers who will not prevent another 9-11, and will soon embarrass the White House in multiple ways.

An intelligent examination of the potential for evolution or revolution within intelligence affairs must begin with an understanding of these two terms. Evolution is a gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. We emphasize here both “different” and “more complex” or “better.” An evolutionary approach to intelligence reform would, at a minimum, expand the concept of national intelligence to embrace what the Swedes are calling M4 IS: multinational, multiagency, multidisciplinary, multidomain information sharing at all level of classification, and to embrace what we call the “seven tribes” of intelligence—not only national and military, but law enforcement, business, academic, ground truth (nongovernmental organizations and media), and citizen (including labor unions and religions). Such an approach would retain the capability to collect and exploit secrets, but it would establish a new national Open Source Agency as the 9-11 Commission has recommended, and it would emphasize sharing over secrecy, with open source intelligence (OSINT) as the baseline for sharing, rather than a cosmetic after-thought, as is now the case.

A revolution in intelligence affairs (RIA), in contrast to an intelligent evolution, is a drastic (that is to say, sudden, and far-reaching) change in ways of thinking and behaving. Such a revolution would be characterized by a true sense of national crisis, such as occurred after Pearl Harbor, or Sputnik. The Global War on Terror (GWOT) is a political affectation today in America, not a true national endeavor, our earnest defense endeavors not-with-standing. Indeed, while the Americans play at GWOT, the Chinese, Indians, Iranians, and Russians are eating our lunch in South America and taking over Africa, at the same time that Latin America is being invited to invest in Africa and trade with Asia. Behind the scenes, the common agenda among these players, with Europe sitting foolishly on the sidelines, is the displacement of America as a super-power—the relegation of America to co-equal status with that lonely island called England. A true revolution in intelligence affairs would radicalize and internationalize American education overnight, shifting billions from guns to brains; it would democratize US politics (electoral reform, so that every American’s vote counts, which is not the case today); it would eliminate US support for the 44 dictators that pretend to support GWOT while raping and pillaging the commonwealth of billions whose poverty threatens America vastly more than any terrorist gang; and it would strive for nothing less than a cultural revolution, a revolution of the American mind, a restoration of American ideals of informed democracy and collective intelligence at home first, then globally. Now that is a revolution. St.


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