Posted on RemarQ 6/16/00


   Jun 16, 07:36 AM
T. Bankson Roach
   Message 3 of 3
Re: no "accountability" for SECRET
I can't resisting putting in my two cents. I feel fairly confident that my wisdom will be dismissed because I choose not to sound pompous and erudite. I hope you will make an exception because I believe what I say has more than a grain of truth.

For many years people have rightly complained that it cost too much to "manage" all the absurd amount of material the government has classified. In fact, the highest levels of classification produce so much material that there is often NO documentation whatsoever! This actually makes sense. The purpose of a clearance from TOP SECRET and "above" is to ensure only trustworthy people have access to these documents. You check the person's sobriety, drug taking habits, alcoholic intake level, "honesty" [probably abolished during the Clinton years], and their sex lives and habits. Now as we know, Monica Lewinsky was cleared for TS Codeword level AFTER she was obviously a superb target for black mail. As for Clinton, well he's cleared for EVERYTHING by popular vote. So, we get what we deserve. No amount of regulations, threats, investigations, or whatever will stop the likes of Ames, Pelton, Howard, the Walker gang and a string of traitors that dates back to before WW 2.

Last time I checked the revelation of SECRET material would result in "serious" damage to the nation; TOP SECRET "grave damage", and CODEWORD level [apocalypse now!]. This is silly nonsense as we can demonstrate by example. Breaking in to an embassy and stealing their codebooks, machines, ciphers, and whatever is classified beyond the moon. That doesn't mean that it isn't common knowledge that we routinely have and will do that, or anything else, if somebody thinks this is what is required. So after it has happened, it is wise to be circumspect until years after the incident.

I recently heard G. Gordon Liddy reveal on his nation wide radio some fascinating details of how the FBI did black bag jobs on various embassies using a very clever method of determining to help, them unlock the safes of various foreign government embassies, consulates, or whatever. Liddy claims the "fat mouthed" CIA blew the operation by leaking it to somebody that shouldn't have known. I am sure there were numerous regulations which forbid this, but in my dealings with the CIA, I found them quite cavalier about security and whom they could tell what. I know for a fact we were absolutely careful not to tell the CIA anything we felt was really sensitive. I am fairly certain that smart bureaucracies still follow this rule of thumb. In certain cases we would even deliberately lie. I certainly had no qualms about not letting the "wrong person" or agency know something that we didn't trust them with. I doubt this has changed. We established our own "need to know".

The bureaucrats have created a monster. It is a monster almost nobody can deal with. Can you imagine the political damage that would result if somebody actually tried to do something about all this madness? This is said regardless of party or politics. The supposed current attempts to declassify the absurd amounts of material we have created merely created jobs for self-serving old fogies from the CIA. Talk about the fox guarding the chicken coop. So now they sift through this morass of useless information, at great cost to the taxpayer, to determine what can be seen by a public so stupid as to not call to account a president who has made a mockery of security. As if most of this public cared. Sorry, I'm getting a bit long in the tooth after 20 years in the armed forces followed by another 13 years in and around the spook world. My hobby of keeping up with "security" and happenings in the intelligence world has made me even more cynical. The real truth is the most incredible secrets were routinely known by the Soviets during the Cold War. See the Mitrokhin [sp?] archives for endless examples. While I'm not sure if we won the Cold War, the Soviets sure as heck never were able to use this vast rupture of classified information to destroy us, although what Walker provided them might have really put a dent in us if we had gone to war.

I don't know what the answer is except for a well educated and caring public that has some respect for the Constitution, freedoms, and most of all personal responsibility. That is TRUE security and we have gone a very long way in losing it. At the end of my access to the super secrets I saw no more or less reason for a contractor to have access to so called NORCON material, or whatever absurd acronym they may be using now, than most government employees. The real source of security is in people's basic common sense, patriotism and honesty, not some idiotic bureaucrat's CYA mentality or new regulations and laws. I'll be long dead before we ever have that kind of security.

As for the missing [?] nuclear secrets, well, I'm not too worried. It is possibly, maybe even likely, that they were misplaced. I think that if someone wanted these secrets to get in the wrong hands, they could have been a bit more discreet. Still, after the Ames debacle and with an ex-CIA director keeping the highest classification material of supposedly the most sensitive nature on his home computer, who knows. Do we ever see anybody but some low level nonentity go to jail or get their career ruined for this level of idiocy? Not that I can remember. I remember the ex-ambassador to South Vietnam had his car stolen while he had illegally filled the trunk with Top Secret Codeword COMINT material. I am sure he thought this was fine since he wanted to write his memoirs and play 'got you'. When the state trooper recovered this same car a long time after it was stolen, the documents were blowing about from the popped open trunk. I think the government sent the ambassador a nasty-gram for his outrageous breach of security. Whoops, I forgot, unless a witch hunt is on, if you have enough juice you can do ANYTHING.

I am sure that after all the things I saw in my long career, that anybody else who had a career in that top secret Alice In Wonderland world could go on for hours about security breaches that make the case of the missing nuclear security disks sound like a silly joke. Of course we can't tell anybody because such breaches are TOP SECRET. We are still on top of the world heap, but things could change and it won't be because we adopt some ghastly overwrought new security rules after the horse is out of the barn.

Security lies in our basic values and respect for the Constitution and the wisdom of our forefathers, now routinely dismissed because of their skin color, ethnic background, and the fact that they owned slaves. I haven't met any government servant or current American citizen who could even come close to being able to creating our Constitution or Bill of Rights. Today, the future custodians of what we once honored and respected are too busy learning to sing Kumbaya and saving the whales while "dissing" men who in their worst moments of human failure can't approach the horror of what routinely in a day of the life of your average air head, dot com, MP-3 downloading, drug sniffing, jerk. As I type, the boob tube is offering me the wisdom of Nick Nolte who has decided after years of drugs, booze, and tobacco that he'll reach the age of infinity in the glow of health by injecting some folic acid and maybe a pinch of queen bee royal honey into his veins. "Houston, we have a problem".

Tom Roach © 2000