The cost of one agency hiding intelligence from others was made dismally clear in the recent Inspector General report on the performance of the C.I.A. before 9/11. The report revealed that in March, 2000, between fifty and sixty individuals within the agency had known that two future Al Qaeda hijackers were infiltrating America, but nobody at the C.I.A. had informed the F.B.I. ("THE SPYMASTER," by Lawrence Wright. THE NEW YORKER. January 21, 2008.)

Do you believe that the FBI didn't know what was going on before 9/11? Have you read about what the FBI did to block its own agents from digging into the whole affair before 9/11? Agents blocked other agents and those who did the blocking received the promotions. Now, if that doesn't tell you that dirty things were going on to aid the inside job (false-flag operation), you are in a deep, deep trance in Hell.

In 2006, the community adopted Intellipedia, a secure version of Wikipedia. Blogging is now permitted on internal servers, giving contrarian opinion a voice. There is a new "ASpace"- based on sites such as MySpace and Facebook-in which analysts post their current projects as a way of creating social networks. The Library of National Intelligence is an online digest of official reports that will soon provide analysts who use it with tips, much the way Amazon and iTunes offer recommendations to their customers. These innovations have not yet made their way to the analysts and agents in the field, however. Despite such attempts to bring together resources and staff, the community still relies on more than thirty online networks and eighty databases, most of which are largely inaccessible to one another.


Disney Imagineering also provided the O.D.N.I.'s first science-and-technology director, Eric Haseltine, who joined the N.S.A. after September 11th. He was dismayed by the lumbering pace of innovation, the absence of collaboration, and the lack of thought about how new products might be employed. "Insufficient attention was being paid to the end user," he said. Much of the intelligence community is technophobic and is also hamstrung by security concerns. Only recently have BlackBerrys made their way into some agencies, and many offices don't even have Internet connections.

This article goes on and on about how the so-called intelligence community is hamstrung by legal requirements, a lack of interagency cooperation, and not enough high-tech. However, they tapped into three of the four largest domestic telecoms backbones and analyzed every data packet. That doesn't jibe with the picture being painted by this article at all.

With the cyber-security initiative, McConnell is asking the country to confront a dilemma: Americans will have to trust the government not to abuse the authority it must have in order to protect our networks, and yet, historically, the government has not proved worthy of that trust.


Shortly after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came into office, in February, 2005, he issued an opinion endorsing the most brutal interrogation techniques that the C.I.A. had ever used. According to the Times, the agency had learned some of these methods from Egyptian and Saudi intelligence officials; others were drawn from old Soviet techniques. The methods included stripping a suspect naked and placing him in a cold cell; manacling him in a painful posture; subjecting him to deafening rock music; head slapping; and waterboarding, an act of simulated drowning that was used in the Spanish Inquisition.

This is pure propaganda. The U.S. has been the one teaching others about how to torture. The U.S. produced manuals on the subject and distributed them in Latin America so the dictators and the Contras could be more brutal and terrorizing against the general population. It's just pure sadism and it's tied to sexual deviance. It's for terror, because it doesn't even lead to real information.

Despite his missteps, McConnell has so far succeeded in winning every important point in the fisa debate. The bills that are now under consideration award the intelligence community nearly as much authority as it enjoyed under the President's secret wiretapping program, although with somewhat more supervision and with the stipulation that warrants be obtained to monitor Americans inside the country. The battle has harmed McConnell's reputation, however. "It is convenient to say, 'McConnell was a bad guy, McConnell broke faith'-it's easy to say that because they lost!" McConnell said. "We went to the mat, and they lost."


Moreover, by giving immunity to telecommunications companies for future actions, the legislation pressures them to turn over to the government any and all communication records, whenever they are asked for. Unfortunately, intelligence officials have a poor record of safeguarding civil liberties within the country, nor do Americans have any obvious recourse if they learn that they have been spied upon.


When McConnell and I first met, he defended the President's warrantless- wiretapping initiative. To many, the program seemed to violate the spirit of FISA, because Americans were clearly involved in the conversations. McConnell didn't see it that way. "There's no spying on Americans," he had told me. "The issue was if a known bad guy, somebody associated with Al Qaeda, calls into the United States, the President authorized the community to monitor that call. If you have a different political point of view, you turn that into 'spying on Americans.' " "Let me make a disclosure," I said. "I have been monitored." I told him that, while I was researching "The Looming Tower," a book about Al Qaeda, the F.B.I. had come to my house, in Austin, Texas, to ask about some calls that I had made from my home office. I also said that a source in the intelligence community had read a summary of a telephone conversation that I had from my home with a source in Egypt. "I'm not surprised at that," McConnell said. "Because you were getting a phone call from some telephone number that's associated with some known outfit-O.K., that's monitored. In my view, it should be." Actually, I had placed the call. On another occasion, at McConnell's prompting, I described more fully what had happened. After I published a Profile of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy of bin Laden, in this magazine, in February, 2002, I was asked by one of his relatives, a respected architect in Cairo who had been a useful source, if I could learn whether all of Zawahiri's children were dead. An F.B.I. source told me that they were, and that there was no reason the family shouldn't know that. I relayed the news to the architect. (The F.B.I. official turned out to be wrong.) Recently, a source in the intelligence community told me that a summary of that conversation was archived in an internal database. I was surprised, because the FISA law stated that my part of the conversation should have been "minimized"- redacted or rendered anonymous- because I am an American citizen. "He's a terrorist, or he's associated with terrorists," McConnell said of my Egyptian contact. "Now, if I'm targeting, I'm looking at his number. If he places a call, I listen. If he gets called, I listen. I don't know who is going to call him, but once I got it, I gotta deal with it. Turns out it is Larry Wright. You would have been reported as 'U.S. Person 1.' You would never have been identified, except if the F.B.I. learns that this unidentified U.S. person is talking to a known terrorist. Then the F.B.I. would go in and request the identity of U.S. 1. The N.S.A. would have to go through a process to determine if the request was legitimate. So here's what I think-I'm guessing. You called a bad guy, the system listened, tried to sort it out, and they did an intel report because it had foreign-intelligence value. That's our mission." I then told him about the F.B.I. officials who visited my house. "They were members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force," I said. They wanted to know about phone calls made to a solicitor in England who represented several jihadis I had interviewed for my book. "The actual calls involved her telling me, 'Please don't talk to my clients,' " I said. "Now if you ever became a target for surveillance, they would go get a warrant and tap your telephone," McConnell said. "But they would have to have probable cause to do that." "What bothers me is that my daughter's name came up in this," I said. The agents had told me they believed that she was the one making the calls. That was ridiculous, but it placed her on the F.B.I.'s link chart as an Al Qaeda connection. "Her name is not on any of our phones," I continued. "So how did her name arise?" "I don't know," McConnell admitted. "Maybe you mentioned her name." "That troubles me," I said. "It may be troublesome, it may not be," McConnell said. "You don't know."

Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.