Friday, July 23, 2010

No Tell Intel: Oliver North On The Washington Post's Series "Top Secret America"

Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North wrote an interesting column about The Washington Post's series on the intelligence community, Top Secret America.

In North's column he notes we are at war and explains why we can't fight this war without contractors and good intelligence.

You can read North's column via the below link:

Although The Post used public sources for the series and didn't use classified information, I believe they did the country a disservice by performing the leg work for any criminal, spy and terrorist who wishes our country harm.

As one who performed security work for the U.S. Navy and the Defense Department for more than 37 years - man and boy, sailor and civilian - I'm well aware of government redundancies and inefficiencies. They exist in the government, sure, and they should be corrected. But they also exist in business and they even exist in non-profit organizations. I'll bet they exist at The Washington Post.

As for outsourcing intelligence, I'd prefer to keep it in-house in the military and the civilian intelligence agencies, but often the technical ability resides in the public sector. And lets not forget that defense contractors have aided the military in all of America's wars. This is not a new concept.

The Post series does not acknowledge that the government's intelligence community, bloated and redundant as they are, managed to thwart dozens of terrorist plots against the United States. The intelligence community deserves America's thanks.

I also think some attention should be given to one of the authors of The Post's series. Bill Arkin is hardly an objective reporter. Arkin is notoriously left-wing and anti-military. His bias should be noted if and when you read this series.

Below is a partial transcript from a Fox News exchange between Brit Hume and Bill O'Reilly on the subject of Bill Arkin:

O'REILLY: Now, on the Arkin front, William Arkin, unbelievable left wing bomb thrower, page 1, "New York Post" story, along with Dana Priest.

HUME: "The Washington Post."

O'REILLY: Oh, "Washington Post," I'm sorry.

HUME: Right.

O'REILLY: "Washington Post" story, along with Dana Priest. I thought it was decently reported. I don't have a beef with it as I said. But Arkin, I have a huge beef with it. How do you see it?

HUME: Well, I just am surprised at the way "The Post" characterized him. They treated him on this front page story. You know, this is not, you know, the front page of their outlook section, which is their opinion and commentary section. This was the front page of the newspaper today. This story had been promoted and hyped for days ahead of time. And side by side with Dana Priest, who is, whatever you may think of her, is a veteran correspondent in Washington. She is a reporter in the sense -- in the standard conventional sense of that word. Bill Arkin has never been that. He came out of Human Rights Watch, Green Peace, the Institute for Policy Studies, all left wing organizations. He has been a defense intellectual of the left for many, many years. He has written -- "The Post" said he'd been a reporter and columnist for them. He may have written columns for them. To my knowledge, he's never been a reporter for "The Washington Post" or any other newspaper. And among the things he said, for example, this was when we were about -- in the onset of the war in Iraq. "And I can't help but feel cynical about the fact that we're going to war to enhance the economic interests of the Enron class". That's pretty strong medicine for somebody who is to later be treated by the "The Washington Post" as a, "reporter". I don't think so.

O'REILLY: Okay, so why would the "The Washington Post" risk its reputation by giving this guy this kind of platform and assignment?

HUME: Well, my guess is that he was kind of the guide on this story. Now look, say this for Bill Arkin--

O'REILLY: That's what Bernie said, right.

HUME: --he's not -- he is ignorant of what goes on in the defense committee. He knows a lot. And he's deeply interested in it. And he studies it. And undoubtedly, he has contacts. And he picks up things in the defense and intelligence areas. The problem with him is not that he doesn't know a lot. The problem is that he has an ax to grind. Now what you do if somebody like this comes, you know, to you with a story, if you're a, you know, ordinary garden variety reporter is you check it out, you make it your own eventually, you develop sources of your own to verify what he's saying. What you don't normally do is make him your co-reporter and share a byline with him. That's very unusual by the standards that I came up with.

O'REILLY: All right. Now the Obama administration didn't like this story. Obviously, it doesn't reflect well on them to have this huge out- of-control intelligence apparatus. And that's the main thrust of the story, that cost a fortune. And nobody knows, you know, what they're doing. And they can't crosscheck them. And it's completely out of control. So Arkin actually turned on his own by making the Obama administration look like they can't handle the U.S. intelligence apparatus.
HUME: Well, look, I don't know, you know, whether he voted for Barack Obama or not, or whether he's an Obama sympathizer. What I do think about Arkin is that he is a person who has been a very strong critic of the U.S. military and intelligence establishments. And that is where his opinions and his feelings run. He is, you know, broadly, loosely speaking, anti- military.

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