Sunday, February 7, 2016
1012 C Street  •  Floresville, TX 78114  •  Phone: 830-216-4519  •  Fax: 830-393-3219  • 

WCN Site Search


Preview the Paper Preview the Paper

Preview this week's Paper
A limited number of pages are displayed in this preview.
Preview this Week’s Issue ›
Subscribe Today ›

Lost & Found

Found: Basset Hound, Hwy. 97 W./Hospital Blvd., Floresville. Call 830-391-2153 between 9 a.m.-11:30 p.m.

VideoREWARD. LOST CAT: Gray and white male cat, since Nov. 13, on C.R. 429, Stockdale, wearing a silver collar. Call 512-629-2005 with any information.
*Includes FREE photo online! mywcn.com/lostandfound
More Lost & Found ads ›

Help Wanted

Healthcare Services seeking Cook/Dietary Aide, full-time, (weekday and weekends), must pass background check. Call 830-393-1493 for more information.
Garrett Contracting is seeking CDL truck drivers, equipment operators with asphalt and/or site work experience, asphalt rakers and laborers. Also seeking individual with construction surveying experience. If interested call 210-336-9844.
More Help Wanted ads ›

Featured Videos





Video Vault ›
Richardson Chevrolet homeTNMCRE/MAX home
You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.

Section A: General News


Editorial: American ‘intelligence’ lacks judgment at top




E-Mail this Story to a Friend
Print this Story
December 4, 2013 | 1,399 views | 3 comments

By Herbert E. Meyer

Despite everything you’ve gleaned from spy novels and movies, the most important raw material for a successful intelligence service isn’t information; it’s judgment. If you don’t know what information is worth collecting, and if you cannot figure out what this information means soon enough and clearly enough for policymakers to use it -- you lose.

The latest case in point is the fuss over allegations in the German press that our country’s intelligence service has been listening in to Angela Merkel’s cell phone conversations. From the moment these allegations began to surface, American commentators and television talking heads -- a few of whom have actually served in U.S. intelligence, most of whom claim to be intelligence experts because they once, perhaps, were allowed to read a classified document -- have been pooh-poohing these allegations as much ado about nothing. “Everyone does it,” they pronounce, usually with a shrug and a wink. “So what’s the big fuss?”

Yes, it’s true that from time to time allies do spy on one another. France, for example, is infamous for running industrial espionage operations against America’s leading high-tech companies. (It doesn’t seem to have done the French much good; their economy is a basket case.) But just because our allies put more effort into spying on one another than spying on their real enemies, that doesn’t mean we should too.

In the real world of intelligence, it isn’t possible to know everything about everything. You can never have enough spies, enough satellites, or even enough bandwidth to monitor all humanity. And even if you had an unlimited supply of spies, satellites, and bandwidth, there aren’t enough analysts in the world, let alone in Washington, D.C., to make sense of what’s been collected. If you try to know everything about everything, you wind up knowing nothing about anything. An effective intelligence service must pick and choose its targets very carefully. And that’s a matter of judgment.

What could we possibly hope to learn from Angela Merkel’s cell phone conversations that’s worth the risk of offending one of our country’s most important allies? Is she likely to be calling China’s president to coordinate an invasion of Russia? Is she on the phone with the head of Pakistan’s army to secretly purchase one of that country’s nuclear bombs for the Luftwaffe? Are you kidding?

This is Angela Merkel, one of the world’s most capable, serious, head-screwed-on-straight leaders. There isn’t a chance she would do something to start a world war or fracture the Western alliance. It’s more than likely the most interesting call we’d pick up from the German chancellor is a conversation with her husband saying she’ll be home late for supper because a delegation of Greek bankers has unexpectedly arrived in Berlin to beg for yet another Euro loan. And you don’t need spies or wiretaps to have predicted this -- or to predict Merkel’s response to their pleas.

Meanwhile, it seems that none of our country’s senior intelligence officials thought it worth the time and effort to keep an eye on the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston before they exploded two bombs at the Boston Marathon -- even though both brothers were growing more radical by the week, had set up a terrorist-type website, and one of them had traveled to Dagestan, and after returning to the United States was the subject of a tip from Russian intelligence. And before that, our intelligence service completely missed all the warning signs flashing red from Maj. Nidal Hassan in Texas -- emails to and from al Qaeda operatives, overseas phone calls to known terrorists, personal outbursts that would have alerted your average high school guidance counselor, even calling cards with Soldier-of-Allah imprinted after his name -- before the Army psychiatrist killed 13 people and wounded 31 others at Fort Hood back in 2009.

No intelligence service can be perfect, and even the most brilliant, hard-working spy chiefs will suffer the occasional failure. But as the Angela Merkel dust-up and the other failures make clear, the problem with American intelligence today isn’t a shortage of resources needed to keep us safe, but a lack of judgment at the top.

Herbert E. Meyer served as special assistant to CIA Director Bill Casey from 1981-87. He is the author of How to Analyze Information and The Cure for Poverty.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
December 5, 2013 9:33am
 
American intelligence at the top, would that be what you educated folks call an oxymoron ?

 
Publius Valerius Publicola  
Rome, Tx.  
December 4, 2013 11:00am
 
Common sense seems to be beyond the capability of the current administration. Vote out all the socialists and impeach Obama.

 
Harold  
Equatorial Guinea, West Africa  
December 4, 2013 9:27am
 
The Merkel thing wasn’t espionage, it was just Obozo fishing for good ideas.

Share your comment or opinion on this story!


You must be logged in to post a comment.




Not a subscriber?
Subscriber, but no password?
Forgot password?

Section A: General News Archives


Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Agencies uncover $400K in stolen vehicles, parts (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. China Grove begins vote on tax rollback (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Clock running out for Floresville recall issue (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Connally expands high-tech health care (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Council action changes boards (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Court Update (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Deputies charge Floresville spurned lover with arson (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Deputies investigate recent thefts (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: The demand for villains (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Editorial: What’s in a city charter? Is it like a … Constitution? (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Eight-liner opponents face deadline (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. FELPS pools tornado damage claim with city, Floresville ISD (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Floresville USDA accountant resigns (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Free CERT disaster course (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Get a free heart health screening in Kenedy Feb. 12 (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Greater LV Chamber to meet (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. H-E-B recalls cookware (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Hold on for now (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. It’s all happening at Nixon-Smiley Elementary (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Kicaster area will have fire coverage (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Landfill welcomes China Grove junk (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Apple Pie author extends thanks (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Gonzales differs with writer’s conclusion (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Letter: Talamantez truly a man of the people (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Life Line Screening event set in Floresville Feb. 28 (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Mock Republican Debate Feb. 20 (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Nixon-Smiley livestock show set for March (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. One dead in game-room robbery (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pioneer Award honors Burnside (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Pirates Cove in Poth offers after-school care service (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Police Blotter (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Save the date for Lincoln Dinner (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. School district cops ink deal with city, county (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Second responders to meet (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Stockdale, La Vernia units respond to back-to-back fires (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Tanneberger is top agent (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Weigh in on Loop 410 changes (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. Wilson County Hermann Sons lodges meet new-member goal (February 3, 2016)
Full article available to Wilson County News subscribers only. Click here to subscribe. ‘Loving’ heart-shaped treats are for the birds (February 3, 2016)