The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

In Support Of DNI Clapper

Posted on | March 7, 2012 | 4 Comments

by Smitty

Kerry Patton, over at, ought to know better: chess is not poker.

On February 16th, Director Clapper released yet another intelligence gap-laden threat assessment for the Senate Committee on Armed Services. In the thirty-one page threat assessment, not once does it mention the terrorist group Hezbollah or any of Iran’s asymmetric militant entities within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) or Al Quds.
This comes during a time when Hezbollah operatives were recently arrested in Thailand. Last month, Hezbollah and IRGC operatives were arrested in Azerbaijan for plotting attacks against foreign targets. Inside the United States, one Iranian-controlled asset was recently arrested for plotting an assassination attempt against the Saudi Ambassador.

Read the whole thing if you like, but the gist is that Patton can’t grasp why the U.S. government would issue a “gap-laden threat assessment” to the public. As though our intelligence assets, like chess pieces, should be on the board, publicly visible.

Real world situations are more like five card stud. The cards are held close to the chest. Diplomatic calls for clarity are exceeded only by the clandestine instances of cheating; the integrity of international discourse, like resistance in parallel, is just a little lower than the lowest bastard on the scene.

Which, in a wildly tangential way, is related to this post over at The Cigarette Smoking Blog (for all my tobacco use is limited to the very occasional cigar), emphasis mine:

Wilson was able to make such a claim because both movements were expressions of the thing he really wanted to write about: the political attitude he called amateurism. “The amateur politicians sees the political world more in terms of ideas and principles than in terms of persons,” goes the introduction. “He sees each battle as a ‘crisis,’ and each victory as a triumph and each loss as a defeat for a cause.” His polar opposite is the professional, who “tends, by contrast, to develop a certain detachment toward politics and a certain immunity to its excitement and its outcomes . . . the same way that a mortician develops a professional attitude toward death, a scholar a professional attitude toward knowledge, and a prostitute a professional attitude toward love.” The professional Democrat’s short-term goal is to please enough constituencies to win the next election; he has no long-term goals. The last-ever boss of Tammany Hall, Carmine De Sapio, once declared in a speech that “there is no Mother’s Day behind the Iron Curtain,” and Daniel Patrick Moynihan judged this pronouncement to be “the extent of his ideological commitment.” Carmine De Sapio was a professional.

Thus, Clapper can be seen as a professional, rationally playing a fool where INTEL is concerned in public, in spite of the loud, hormonal reaction to an unclassified report. Broadening the point, the Tea Parties need to strive for a ‘managed passion’, balancing the energy to get off the couch and demonstrate with the knowledge that the freshman have to go through the learning curve and graduate before the alumni will view them seriously.

Or is it? You can’t write a post like this without acknowledging that these points are well known to Patton, and he’s merely allied with a Clapper rival interested in supplanting the sitting DNI. “Wheels within wheels, in a spiral array, a pageant so grand and complex. . .”


4 Responses to “In Support Of DNI Clapper”

  1. Finrod Felagund
    March 7th, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

    the integrity of international discourse, like resistance in parallel, is just a little lower than the lowest bastard on the scene.

    This statement is made of win.

  2. Adjoran
    March 7th, 2012 @ 7:21 pm

    The Iranian activities are hardly unknown and top secret.  They aren’t mentioned in the public summary for political reasons, not security.  There could be security concerns over how much you say publicly, but there is no security risk in acknowledging what everyone already knows.

  3. smitty
    March 7th, 2012 @ 8:18 pm

    Yeah, but it runs the risk of becoming a slippery slope. Hence the choice of the deer in the headlights pose.

  4. richard mcenroe
    March 7th, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

     Where would Senator Leaky Leahy be if he’d taken your advice, Smitty?