Mark Steyn on our ‘Failures of Intelligence’
Mark Steyn in National Review Online takes on the recent intelligence failures that gave us the ever-wonderful "Arab Spring."
Let us turn from the post-Thanksgiving scenes of inflamed mobs clubbing each other to the ground for a discounted television set to the comparatively placid boulevards of the Middle East. In Cairo, no sooner had Hillary Clinton’s plane cleared Egyptian air space than Mohamed Morsi issued one-man constitutional amendments declaring himself and his Muslim Brotherhood buddies free from judicial oversight and announced that his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, would be retried for all the stuff he was acquitted of in the previous trial. Morsi now wields total control over parliament, the judiciary, and the military to a degree Mubarak in his jail cell can only marvel at. Old CIA wisdom: He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB. New post–Arab Spring CIA wisdom: He may be an SOB but at least he’s not our SOB.
But don’t worry. As America’s director of national intelligence, James Clapper, assured the House Intelligence Committee at the time of Mubarak’s fall, the Muslim Brotherhood is a “largely secular” organization. The name’s just for show, same as the Episcopal Church.
Which brings us to Intelligence Director Clapper’s fellow intelligence director, General Petraeus. Don’t ask me why there’s a director of national intelligence and a director of central intelligence. Something to do with 9/11, after which the government decided it could use more intelligence. Instead it wound up with more directors of intelligence, which is the way it usually goes in Washington. Anyway, I blow hot and cold on the Petraeus sex scandal. Initially, it seemed the best shot at getting a largely uninterested public to take notice of the national humiliation and subsequent cover-up over the deaths of American diplomats and the sacking of our consulate in Benghazi. On the other hand, everyone involved in this sorry excuse for a sex scandal seems to have been too busy e-mailing each other to have had any sex. The FBI was initially reported to have printed out 20,000–30,000 pages of e-mails and other communications between General Allen, U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and Jill Kelley of Tampa, one-half of a pair of identical twins dressed like understudies for the CentCom mess-hall production of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Thirty thousand pages! The complete works of Shakespeare come to about three and a half thousand pages, but American officials can’t even have a sex scandal without getting bogged down in the paperwork. [...]
The four prettiest words in the English language: "I told you so."