By: Sergeant Tim, Senior Editor, Outlaw Patriot News
Independent Contributor, Hagmann Report
I will probably catch quite a bit of grief from the independent media associates that I have for what I am going to write over the next few paragraphs, but as someone that has held top level security clearances for more than twenty years, served this country on 3 different continents, and that has firsthand knowledge of not only the information that these media darlings divulged to the public, but also has personally dealt with the fallout from these leaks, I can no longer keep my silence. Today it was announced that Barack Hussein Obama, recognized as the 44th President of the United States of America, would commute the sentence of Bradley (sorry, I will not enable his mental illness by using his transgender name) Manning.
For those that might have forgotten the particulars regarding Manning, he was a Private First Class serving in the United States Army as an Intelligence Analyst. In 2010, Manning stole and disseminated 750,000 pages of documents, including US diplomatic cables, and videos to Wikileaks. The materials included videos of a 2007 airstrike in Baghdad and 2009 Granai airstrike in Afghanistan, more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, and more than 480,000 Army reports. The video of the 2007 airstrike in Baghdad showed two American gunships fire on Reuters employees when they reportedly mistook their cameras to be weapons. Two children in the van the Reuters employees were in were also wounded and their father was killed. When Wikileaks revealed the video, it was under the name “Collateral Murder”.
When asked what the difference was between Manning, and fellow useful idiot, Edward Snowden, a source told CNN that the difference was that Manning had faced the consequences for his crimes and also noted the mental illness Manning suffers from as having influenced the Obama administration – not a big surprise there. Speaking of Edward Snowden, “he who shall not be named” of the intelligence community, let’s look at him and what he did, as well, before continuing on.
Snowden was a contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the premiere government contracting agencies, following employment with Dell and the CIA. Previously, Snowden had served 4 months in the Army Reserve before being discharged after breaking both of his legs in a training accident. Snowden worked for 3 years with the CIA before becoming disillusioned with the agency (totally understandable, in my opinion – there is good and bad in the CIA, but the bad seem to stink the place up considerably). Snowden would then work for Dell, servicing computers for the NSA for four years, before taking employment with Booz Allen Hamilton. Reportedly, he was offered a position with NSA in “Tailored Access Operations” (not touching explaining that with a ten foot pole – look it up) but declined it for the position with the contractor. This is pretty standard, depending on what the person is looking for, as contracting can earn you big paychecks but comes with little stability, and becoming a government employee generally means you earn less, but with more stability.
The true extent of the Snowden disclosures are still unknown by the intelligence community, but some estimates range from the tens of thousands to over a million classified documents. Snowden claims to have tried to use the correct internal process for reporting concerns, but when action was not taken, that is when he turned to releasing the documents to journalists. He grew to international fame for his release and subsequent run to Russia to escape prosecution. Snowden has risen to something of stardom by repeating the mantra that he did what he did in the public interest. He has stated that attempts to paint him as a low level analyst are wrong, and that he was trained in the classical sense of a spy – something of a James Bond stereotype that he sees himself as for living under cover with a cover job and name.
Despite these two individuals being held up as heroes by those in the corporate and independent media – I would say they are anything but. They both knew at the time they were doing it that what they were doing was wrong. Those of us with access to this kind of information have it repeatedly ingrained to us the importance of safeguarding that information and the damages that could result to our national security for doing so. We have seen our nation degraded and demoralized as a result of the actions of these two careless buffoons. I believe that Manning did it out of some kind of desire to be famous, as he bragged to someone he barely knew over the internet of what he had done, and after one video was released, even told a superior that the video resembled one on the classified system. Already having established that he is mentally unstable, it is entirely possible that played a role in his leaking of information.
In terms of Snowden…I am conflicted. Not in thinking that perhaps what he did was right – he compromised sources and means that set our collection methods back (but of course, everyone just loves to point out intelligence failures and embrace failures that work in intelligence). I am conflicted in what his true motive might have been. It is altogether possible that he truly does believe what he says and believes that what he did was in the best interest of the people. However, I tend to look at this a little differently, and whether a useful idiot or knowing player, I believe that all of this might well have been intentional, not just from him, but from the highest levels of the shadow government.
Snowden in interviews and in his leaks maintains that the National Security Agency performs illegal and unconstitutional surveillance against US persons. According to EO 12333, which governs US intelligence activities, a US person is defined as “…a United States citizen, an alien known by the intelligence agency concerned to be a permanent resident alien, an unincorporated association substantially composed of United States citizens or permanent resident aliens, or a corporation incorporated in the United States, except for a corporation directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments.” Hmmm…interesting…but it also states in EO 12333 that the NSA can only collect information of FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE VALUE. It can also only operate its surveillance apparatus on foreign targets, outside of the US and its territories. Of course, there is an agency that does have the mission to conduct domestic surveillance…the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Could it be that the Snowden revelations came in order to divert the public interest from the true agency involved in domestic surveillance operations to one that does not, and also could probably overcome the releases of information and damage to sources and means through innovation that was already coming down the pipe?
In addition, the revelations by both Manning and Snowden had a profound effect on the way the American people view the intelligence community. Because of the nature of the community, it becomes very difficult for it to stand up for itself against attacks, because to do so could either confirm or deny certain capabilities. Politicians and those that do not understand the community, yet try to through observation, often point to intelligence failures such as the 9/11 attacks (though it was no failure of detection, but failure of superiors to actually pay heed to the information coming to them) or the lack of WMDs in Iraq (again, I am not touching any explanation on that one ) to say that the intelligence community doesn’t know what it’s doing. In more recent days, we have seen reporting saying the intelligence community says this or that about supposed Russian hacking and influence over the US election, and then many coming back and saying that they can’t trust the intelligence community after such failures and revelations from within. What I would advise here is for everyone to stop using that term intelligence community here. It is hardly the entire community that is talking about Russian hacks and influence over the US election, and the people many are angry with are not the intelligence community. In both cases, you are seeing the machinations of non-elected, political appointees and politicians using the information (as I have said before, all intelligence is IS information) to their political ends. It is not the IC, but political appointees.
As we saw toward the end of the election cycle, Steve Pieczenik came forward to talk about a silent coup going on within the US government to try and keep Hillary Clinton from getting elected. It is because the people within the intelligence community understood more than perhaps anyone else in this nation the corruption that Hillary Clinton represented and the crimes that she had committed. Perhaps the actions of these anti-heroes such as Manning and Snowden are less about exposing wrongdoing and more about discrediting the very people that are trying to not only keep this nation safe, but safeguard those principles of liberty for our posterity. You see, many of you reading this right now would put your hand over your heart and talk about how much you support the troops…but what you don’t realize is that the vast majority of those within the intelligence community are active duty troops or people that served their country with distinction and took the oath to defend this nation against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic. Please think about that the next time you tweet a pithy comment about intelligence failures, or hold up these media darlings as some kind of hero. Or the next time you say you support the troops out of one side of your mouth, and condemn the intelligence community out of the other side of it.
In conclusion, these two and people like them have done far more than what the “intelligence report” on Russian influence of the US election could have ever done as far as eroding the public trust in our government institutions. As my title says, they stole far more than valor, and in my mind, whether useful idiots or idiots looking for fame in an otherwise unglamorous and underappreciated (unless your name is Bond, James Bond…) career, they are traitors and should not be held up as heroes, but treated as traitors should be treated. By eroding the public’s trust to such a level that many openly talk about their disdain for the intelligence community, the only winner is the political elite, as it breeds a feeling of contempt on the part of the intelligence worker in the field, with no going home and talking about his day, no confiding in those around them after a hard day or night at work, and only drawing into themselves for any kind of solace. Instead of pointing to political hacks that head these agencies as the mouthpieces of the intelligence community, instead of holding up these scoundrels as heroes, think of those thousands of people that go to work every day and do what they can, not just to keep our nation safe from the likes of those that wish to destroy her, but do what they can to uphold the public trust and the laws that protect you from unreasonable search and seizure.