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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 3, 2009 / 11 Sivan 5769

Intelligent but lacking intelligence, Obama is caught off-guard

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama made a surprise lunchtime visit May 29 to a Five Guys hamburger joint in Washington D.C., where he bought cheeseburgers for himself and for NBC anchor Brian Williams, who was filming a "day in the life" program at the White House.


While waiting for his burgers, the president chatted up a fellow named Walter, with whom Mr. Obama had this exchange:


Obama: What do you do, Walter?

Walter: I work at NGA, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Obama: Outstanding. How long you been doing that?

Walter: About six years.

Obama: You like it?

Walter: I do, keeps me…

Obama: So explain to me what this National Geospatial…uh

Walter: We, uh, work with satellite imagery.


The National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) is, after the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA, America's most important intelligence agency. It's hard to imagine a daily presidential intelligence briefing that doesn't include at least some slides from the NGA.


When Ben Smith reported the conversation in his column in the Webzine Politico, it set off a firestorm of comments.


"I teach an undergrad course on National Security," wrote Frederick. "Any student who has passed my course knows exactly what the NGA is and what they do. It is frightening that our president apparently has no clue."


If President Obama is as ignorant of the Intelligence Community as this anecdote suggests, he'll be a poor referee of the turf war that has broken out between his Director of National Intelligence and the CIA. A turf war was inevitable once Congress created the post of DNI — who is supposed to coordinate the activities of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies — in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Before the reorganization, that was the responsibility of the CIA director, who was also the Director of Central Intelligence.


During the Bush administration, his two DNIs assumed control over joint intelligence analysis centers, such as the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), where data from various agencies are analyzed.


The Bush DNIs also took from the CIA director responsibility for liaison with friendly foreign intelligence services.


As a result, the Central Intelligence Agency is no longer "central."


Most technical intelligence is gathered by NSA and NGA, and is analyzed in the joint centers. That leaves the CIA responsible, chiefly, for the gathering of human intelligence.


Now, according to a report May 23 by Pamela Hess of the Associated Press, Mr. Obama's DNI, retired Admiral Dennis Blair, wants to impinge upon that.


Admiral Blair, Ms. Hess wrote, wants "to choose his own representatives at U.S. embassies instead of relying only on CIA station chiefs."


This is a potentially mortal blow to the CIA, and Ms. Hess' sources — "former and current CIA officials" — are up in arms about it. The Blair plan, they told her, risked "creating competing chains of command inside U.S. embassies and potentially fouling up intelligence operations. They also worry it could complicate the delicate relationships between U.S. and foreign intelligence services, and leave ambassadors confused about where to turn for intelligence advice."


But "Ishmael Jones," a former CIA operations officer, told the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder: "Anything that can be done to break up the CIA's station chief system will lead to greater safety for Americans and our allies."


"The station chief's contribution to intelligence is weak," Mr. Jones said. "We don't have them at all in key target countries like North Korea and Iran, because station chiefs exist within embassies and we don't have embassies in those places. In countries like Russia and China which have aggressive spy services, the CIA station chief is almost confined within the embassy, a figurehead."


I think the CIA's system for gathering human intelligence desperately needs reform. But I doubt creating a duplicate chain of command within our embassies is the way to bring it about.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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© 2009, Jack Kelly

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