Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Panetta/Petraeus Shuffle

Obama is reshuffling his national security structure, and I found David Dayen's take on the matter enlightening. Dayen concludes:

Panetta was Chief of Staff under Bill Clinton and before that a US Representative from the Central Coast of California. He’s been CIA Director in the Obama Administration, which as I understand it now is basically the Secretary of Defense job, given all the covert operations. And then you have a military commander moving to the CIA. So the merging of the military and the intelligence community is complete. Within a few years it’ll just be one big black op. The good news is they can cut the military budget then, and put everything into the secret, off-the-books intelligence budget so as not to raise suspicion.

(Emphasis mine.)

Our Founders had the foresight to place the military under the command of the most powerful civilian in our government. But they surely had no notion of a military-industrial complex, no notion of literally waging war by a series of black ops, and no concept of a government agency with the mandate and secret budget of the CIA.

Perhaps this simplification by merging of functions will help the folks who merely pay for it all with their taxes to understand better: now there's just one big entity that does all this stuff, and it works behind the scrim.

Feel better now?


  1. Not at all. I am very upset that Petraeus is moving to Spook Central. It's worse than the KGB ever was...totally out of control.

  2. Oh God, the American version of the Stazi.

  3. CG, there was a time (or so I'm told) when intelligence services were a good thing, because they enabled some needless violence to be averted.

    Not any more...

  4. mandt, it does seem that it's turning into that, doesn't it. Extraordinary rendition, torture, indefinite imprisonment without trial, etc., techniques that would have horrified our Founders, have become commonplace... and who implements them? Right you are, on the first try. If they're different from the Stasi, I can't see the difference.



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