Today's Downsizer Dispatch
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Subject: Stop the gang that can't shoot straight
The next few days will be crucial for the preservation of the Bill of Rights.
It is vital that you forward this message to anyone you know who cares about the Constitution, and who distrusts the competence and honesty of the federal government.
We need as many people as possible to help us stop the latest self-destructive federal power grab.
Relevant to the present crisis are two new histories of the C.I.A. -- "Legacy of Ashes" by Tim Weiner and "Safe for Democracy" by John Prados. These books paint a grim picture. The American intelligence services are almost completely incompetent, and always have been.
The C.I.A., and U.S. intelligence as a whole, have had an almost perfect record of failure. And even operations that "succeeded," such as the 1953 coup in Iran, have had disastrous long term consequences for American security. Our current problems with Iran began with that "successful" 1953 coup.
Please, Lord, let us have no more successes like that.
We would assert that any citizen of moderate intelligence with the ability to read could do better than the federal government has done in many areas of international intelligence.
Several former agents have pointed out that most of what the U.S. intelligence services know could be learned by reading a handful of newspapers.
We would point to just one example from our own organizational history. We successfully predicted in advance, at TruthAboutWar,org, that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. How did we do this? We read the reports of the weapons inspectors. You would think that the C.I.A. could have done the same.
It is almost impossible to overstate the incompetence of the U.S. intelligence services. They truly are the gang that can't shoot straight.
Worse still, they are being led by President Bush and Vice President Cheney who have themselves assembled an almost perfect record of incompetence and error in the field of national security. We truly are dependent for our security on, forgive the cliche, the "blind leading the blind."
But, as usual, the political solution for every government failure is to give the people who failed more power and more resources. The result from this is predictable -- there will be more and bigger failures.
Prados and Weiner both make it clear that U.S. security has suffered from an over use of technology, and an under use, or incompetent use, of human intelligence. And yet . . .
The President, and many in Congress, want to expand federal powers to use electronic surveillance, in violation of the Bill of Rights. This is the intent of the so-called FISA "modernization" act currently before Congress.
And, as usual, the politicians are manipulating and exploiting fear in order to advance this latest bid for heightened powers of incompetence.
The Republicans are threatening to blame the Democrats for the next terror attack if they do not pass this bill. And the Democrats are showing signs of fear that the charge will stick.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration has been making efforts to also instill fear in the American people. They have presented us with Chertoff's "gut feeling" that a new terrorist attack is coming, and also with false reports about ice packs and Wisconsin cheese being used for terrorist "dry runs" in airports.
We must not give in to this manipulation. We must not give in to fear. Instead, we must insist that the federal government do a better job using the powers and resources it already has.
It is a central contention of DownsizeDC.org, in this area and in others, that the federal government could perform better if it DID LESS AND FOCUSED MORE
. The federal government does not need new powers or resources. It merely needs to start making competent use of what it already has.
The so-called FISA "modernization" act would empower the federal government to waste its time listening to American phone calls when it should be focused on recruiting Arabic speakers to infiltrate Islamist cells around the world.
We need human intelligence aimed at foreigners, not illegal electronic surveillance of Americans!
The gang that can't shoot straight needs to be taught to aim at the right target! And it is up to us to do the teaching.
It is absolutely essential that the so-called FISA "modernization" bill be stopped dead in its tracks before Congress recesses in a couple of days. Please send Congress a message telling them to kill this bill.
Tell them you will not be manipulated by fear mongering. Tell them instead that they should fear you, the American voter and taxpayer. You can use any of the points made in this message in your personal comments.
You can send your message here.
And then, please follow-up with a phone call issuing the same instructions. You will see the numbers for your elected representatives when you log in (or register for the first time) to send your message.
And then, please, please, please, forward this message to other people who may feel as you do about this issue. We need all the help we can get. The vote will happen soon. This bill must be stopped NOW.
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.