"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27,2010


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mr. Bureaucrat

Here is his resume –

• Politics and government   1966 -- 1976
• US congressman   1977 – 1993
• Director office of management and budget   1993 -- 1994
• White house chief of staff   1994 – 1997
• Political and professorial activities   1998 – 2009
• Director CIA   2009 – 2011
• Secretary of Defense   2011 –

Who is this bureaucrat? He is not just any bureaucrat, mind you. He is a bureaucrat’s bureaucrat. He is Mr. Bureaucrat.

We give you America's top bureaucrat:   Leon Panetta.

Leon is on the right. 

Our focus today is on one of his recent bureaucratic bungled adventures; this one at the CIA. He screwed this one up so badly that Obama did what any good bureaucrat would expect - move him to run even a bigger bureaucracy – the pentagon. But back to his 28 ½ months at the CIA and their debacle in Afghanistan. Last September (see: TheFundamentals September 13, 2011) we suggested you read Jody Warrick’s account of the CIA debacle at Khost, Afghanistan titled,  "Triple Agent."

This story will not go away as it well should not. There is more to read and we recommend these two recent articles – one coming from the family of the CIA station leader as they attempt to make good out of the situation (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/for-cia-family-a-deadly-suicide-bombing-leads-to-painful-divisions/2012/01/20/gIQAyJGVYQ_story_4.html ) and the other coming from a former CIA official about the story behind the story (see:  http://www.gq.com/news-politics/politics/201004/dagger-to-the-cia?currentPage=1 .) And, here is the reconstruction of just what happened that day in Khost: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/reconstructing-the-cia-bombing-in-khost-afghanistan/2012/01/27/gIQAwUkOWQ_graphic.html so that you can get a feel for the bungle.

Combined, these two opposing viewpoints, and the reconstruction, tell a tale we all need to grasp about how an out of control bureaucracy costing billions maintains itself by maintaining its mythology. But today, we are focused on the top bureaucrat running the show when the disaster occurred and the bureaucratic nonsense he employed to bureaucratically deal with the mess he oversaw. This bureaucrat, Mr. Bureaucrat, did exactly as scripted in the bureaucratic manual – he set up a task force (most call these committees.) Let’s use Mr. Bureaucrat's own words to take it from there (TheFundamentals comments are in parentheses):

‘I have approved 23 specific actions recommended by the task force, some of which I ordered implemented months ago. They provide for organizational and resource changes, communications improvements, tightened security procedures, more focused training, and reinforced counterintelligence practices. These include:

• Establishing a War Zone Board made up of senior officers from several components and chaired by the Director of the National Clandestine Service. It will conduct a baseline review of our staffing, training, security, and resources in the most dangerous areas where we operate. (Board = committee = responsibility avoidance. This is Leon’s pattern.  This is the pattern of any good bureaucracy and a good bureaucratic survivor.  Leon is a good bureaucratic survivor!)

• Assembling a select surge cadre of veteran officers who will lend their expertise to our most critical counterterrorism operations. (Surge cadre = committee = responsibility avoidance. See above.)

• Creating an NCS Deputy within the Counterterrorism Center, who will report to the Director of the Counterterrorism Center and ensure a more integrated effort across Agency offices. (One more Leon layer to avoid responsibility.  What the heck good is a more integrated effort?  How about a reduction in about 12 layers and see how that works?)

• Conducting a thorough review of our security measures and applying even more rigorous standards at all our facilities. (Then what? Hire more bureaucrats or appoint more deputies’s or just form committees? Anyone terminated Leon? Bureaucracies do NOT, we repeat Leon, DO NOT, live by, understand, embrace or wish to be judged by "more rigorous standards.")

• Expanding our training effort for both managers and officers on hostile environments and counterintelligence challenges. (Hire more trainers; build more facilities; add more costs. This, folks, is SOP in the world of the bureaucrat.  This is how the cost goes from millions to hundreds of millions to billions.)

• Creating an integrated counterintelligence vetting cell within our Counterterrorism Center that focuses on high-risk/high-gain assets, evaluates potential threats, assesses “lessons learned,” and applies the latest technology and best practices to counterterrorism operations. (What the he** does this mean?  Leon is lost in bureaucratic babbling with this one.)

• Designating a senior officer to ensure that all the recommendations are indeed implemented. (What does the boss do if he/she has all these “senior officers” doing his/her job?  Just how many bosses/layers/committees/task forces, etc. will be enough to implement meaningless recommendations?)

We’ve now taken a hard look at what happened and what needed to be done after the tragedy at Khost.”  (And so, Leon, sums it up.  Never again.  We are on top of it.  Problem solved (never really defined but solved.)  Leon, TheFundamentals suggest you hurry up and retire.  Trust us, you have solved nothing.  Get out before your Keystone Cops do it again.)  Source:  https://www.cia.gov/


TheFundamentals closing comments:  "Lots of Luck Leon is on the job! Hard Look Leon has done what needed to be done. On to the Pentagon. America's largest bureaucracy.  Sleep Well America. Good job Leon. Well done!"

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