17 September 2010

Top Secret America

When Washington Post writers Dana Priest and William Arkin published their three-part series on the U.S. intelligence-gathering complex (“Top Secret America,” 19-21 July), I happened to be in Washington visiting my mother. I read the articles with great interest, not just because the investigation covers a vital part of our country’s security—that would certainly be enough to interest most Americans—but because I had some little experience with that world. ROT readers will know, if they’ve read a few of my earlier articles, that I spent my Army service as a Military Intelligence officer and that I was stationed in West Berlin in the early 1970s as a counterintelligence agent. (See “Berlin Station,” 19 and 22 July 2009; and “The Berlin Wall,” 29 November 2009. There’s also passing mention of this episode in “Spook Museum,” 25 March 2010.) Now, let me state up front that I was engaged in intelligence at just about the lowest level there is, in a very limited corner of the field, for a very short time over 35 years ago. Nonetheless, I saw some of the same problems, albeit in microcosm, that Priest, national intelligence reporter, and Arkin, national security reporter, uncovered in their two-year investigation. I even spoke to my Berlin Station colleagues about what I thought I was observing, but there wasn’t much we could do. First, the situation had existed (and proliferated) for a very long time and was pretty well entrenched and, second, we were all just lieutenants and no one would pay much attention to our observations, or even appreciate hearing them. So, aside from the habitual griping of soldiers that’s part of the culture, this will be the first time I’ve voiced my observations and assessments.

Let me state at the outset that I’m not going to comment on either the Post reports or its investigation. I don’t have the access or sources to make a judgment, even if that was what I wanted to do. I’ll say that I have little doubt that the reports are fundamentally accurate and that the consequences are serious. But I’m not in a position to evaluate the work Priest and Arkin have done nor do I feel compelled to argue with them or support them here. I’m also not going to offer any solutions because I don’t have the expertise to do so. I found, however, that while I was reading the published articles in July, I flashed back on observations I’d made in the ‘70s that parallel or intersect what the Post journalists have written. Even though my experience was long ago and brief, I believe what I saw and felt was valid then and is still valid now. Put it this way: if li’l ol’ me saw these issues from my limited vantage point so long before the U.S. intelligence structure ballooned as Priest and Arkin demonstrate, then something inherent and systemic has probably been amiss for quite a while. I doubt Priest and Arkin need validation for their revelations, and surely not from me, but my experience does serve to ratify some of what they report from what you might call the ground level.

What I don’t have any experience with is the recent practice of contracting out intelligence work to private security firms. First of all, such companies didn’t exist to any degree in my Army days; second, the military and other government agencies like the FBI or the CIA wouldn’t have considered using non-sworn agents to perform their tasks because they wouldn’t have been considered trustworthy or secure. (As far as I can see, they’re still not, but the climate has changed—and so has the demand, I expect.) Within the military, there was still a draft until 1973, so there was always a ready supply of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen to fill the needs of most military duties, including intelligence and security. Many of us who weren’t actually drafted took reserve commissions in college or enlisted ahead of the Selective Service notification in order to gain some control of our military destinies, and this drew a large number of educated and intelligent young men (women, not being subject to the draft, weren’t compelled to sign up for the same reasons) into the service, making them eligible for higher-level duties such as intelligence. That’s how I ended up in Military Intelligence: I was an ROTC cadet in college because I knew I’d be draft bait as soon as I graduated. Many of my NCO and enlisted colleagues in Berlin had educations at least as good as my own, and several of them surpassed my mere bachelor’s degree. (One sergeant, our liaison with the Berlin police, had two master’s degrees and another, an agent in my section, was Phi Bet. These NCO’s, both of whom spoke German, were my subordinates.)

The closest to outside contractors I saw were the German legmen (that’s what they were called—because they did the legwork) who worked in our unit. They functioned as translators and interviewers for German-speaking sources and they were vetted as carefully (and as regularly) as U.S. personnel; furthermore, most had worked for MI since the occupation and knew more about our mission and responsibilities than any of us temporary agents who rotated in and out every 18-to-36 months. Of course, they were hardly mercenaries: I don’t imagine the job paid all that much—they were, after all, working for the Department of the Army, not Northrop Grumman or General Dynamics—and men of their abilities could certainly have found high-paying private-sector work in West Germany, by the ‘70s a very prosperous western democracy. Our legmen were working out of conviction and self-interest: Berlin Station’s sole purpose in the Cold War was to protect the West from hostile actions by the Warsaw Pact, and West Germany and West Berlin had more to lose in the event of hostilities than the U.S. did. Still, the legmen, who were as trustworthy and responsible as any colleagues I served with—not to mention knowledgeable and informative—were not entrusted with Top Secret material or the most sensitive information with which Berlin Station worked.

Of the other main points reported by Priest and Arkin (and subsequently discussed by others as on PBS’s NewsHour), however, I had a glimpse back in the dark days of the Cold War in my little corner of the intelligence world, my peephole on Top Secret America.

Even though the intelligence apparatus of the United States has swelled since the 9/11 attacks—not counting the almost 2,000 private companies the Washington Post’s report identifies, there are now over 1,200 government agencies working in some aspect of intelligence, according to Priest and Arkin—the history of the intelligence network in the U.S. is one of proliferation and organizational sprawl. Part of my intel schooling included a survey history of the field, and the very fact that Military Intelligence Branch, the division of the Army in which I was commissioned, had only just become a separate branch of the Army is suggestive of how the field was already growing. (Intelligence had previously been a duty, but not a permanent assignment. My father, for instance, had been detailed to the Counterintelligence Corps—known as the CIC, MI’s predecessor—in Germany after VE Day—but he was still an artillery officer. I, on the other hand, was a Military Intel officer and wore MI brass for my whole tour of active duty.)

That’s how it was from the earliest days of the U.S. military: until the 1940s, intel work was a part-time assignment for people whose skills and expertise were needed. During World War II, the most sophisticated military operation in history up till then, the need for people with special training and knowledge, especially of the languages spoken by the enemy and in the Axis-occupied countries, made it necessary to establish organizations to conduct espionage and counterintelligence. The CIC was formed by the Army for military intelligence and the civilian counterpart was the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS. After the war, when the West was faced with a threat from our former ally the Soviet Union, which had occupied the eastern half of Europe when Germany surrendered, the OSS was reorganized as the Central Intelligence Agency (1947). The armed forces still maintained their own intelligence-gathering and security operations because they needed immediate access to information for use in the field. Even so, the Army didn’t establish a separate Military Intelligence Branch until 1967 (two years before I entered active duty). The Navy and Air Force equivalents are older, but both of them also originally handled criminal investigations as well as intelligence and security operations. (Criminal investigation in the Army is conducted by the CID, the detective division of the MP’s.) The newly-formed CIA was to be a clearing house, a collection point, for useful information gathered by the military agencies and the FBI (formed in 1908) as well as Foreign Service personnel and others working overseas so that it could be distributed efficiently to the service that needed it. Its original mission was not intelligence-gathering, but the Cold War pressures, the increase in U.S. interests beyond our own borders (where the FBI was not allowed to operate), and the effect of what is now known as “mission creep” soon turned the relatively benign task of the CIA into positive intelligence and security efforts—and the image of “The Company,” as it became known in popular lore in the ‘60s, was born.

(The now-famous NCIS—Naval Criminal Investigative Service—was originally known as the Naval Investigative Service from 1952 until ’92; it was initially part of the Office of Naval Intelligence, established in 1882. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations was established in 1948—the year after the Air Force separated from the Army to become an independent service—and still handles both kinds of investigations and operations. Berlin not having a coastline, I never dealt with NIS, but since Tempelhof Airport was also an important USAFE base, I worked often with OSI agents.)

The CIA having moved into active intelligence work, a new compilation and administrative center was needed to fulfill the agency’s former mission. The National Security Agency, which was originally tasked with overseeing the safety of the country’s growing communications network—already vast (and vulnerable) even before the advent of the Internet and cell phones—was established in 1952 and quickly became the super-secret intelligence giant it is now. In 1961, Congress established the Defense Intelligence Agency to act as the overall administration for information gathered by other agencies, the precise mission for which the CIA had originally been formed. It wasn’t long before mission creep developed again, and DIA became the less-well-known sibling of the CIA and NSA. Finally (and I’m outlining this history pretty superficially), in the 21st century, immediately following the terror attacks on 11 September 2001 and growing out of the fear and sense of vulnerability generated by them, came the Department of Homeland Security, formed by Congress in 2002, and the cabinet-level Director of National Intelligence, appointed in 2005. DHS absorbed many of the law-enforcement agencies that had previously been distributed among other departments and immediately became an intelligence-gathering and security organization because it was the parent department of numerous intelligence and counterintelligence agencies. The ODNI was the new clearing house, supposedly the center for accumulating information amassed by the constituent agencies under its control. It’s not supposed to be out getting information itself—but, then, neither was the CIA, the NSA, or the DIA before it. DHS already has a reputation for acting as a sort of super-FBI; who knows if the ODNI, which Priest and Arkin affirm began in a small office of 11 employees and now occupies its own building housing about 1,500 personnel, will be able to resist the same mission creep and penis-envy that propelled its predecessors into competition with the existing intelligence-gathering agencies?

One symptom of Potomac Fever is the compulsion to have, in a bigger and better form, anything that your neighbor, competitor, or rival has. “You can't be a big boy unless you're a three-letter agency and you have” all the toys, pronounced one insider. As a three-star general interviewed for the Post articles offered of personal security details, “’If [another general] has one, then I have to have one.’ It’s become a status symbol.” If she has a limo, I should have a longer and better-equipped limo. If he’s got an armored SUV, I should have a faster, more hardened armored SUV. If they’ve got an intelligence-gathering capability, I must have a larger, wider-ranging intelligence-gathering capability. As a contractor who builds secure, bug-proof rooms, another status symbol, put it, “They’ve got the penis-envy thing going.” When I was in MI, some of the officers I served with went to work for State Department Security after the Army. When that office was started, its responsibility was no more than the name implies—the safety and security of State Department personnel, a sort of Secret Service for U.S. diplomats and State Department officials. (The embassies themselves are famously protected by Marines.) Not anymore! My Army colleagues weren’t bodyguards; they were counterintel agents. (It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that officers from our sister unit, the positive intel MI station next door to Berlin Station, also got jobs at State Department Security—and they weren’t counterintel officers like my colleagues and me.)

There are different kinds of mission creep. In some instances, an existing collection agency takes on a wider area of concern in a kind of “coverage creep.” Little by little, the agency expands what it investigates, usually because at each turn, something develops beyond the original boundaries that the director deems important to the agency’s task. Often this happens without anyone really noticing until what was once a narrow operation has become something all-encompassing. Another form is “concept creep” (these are my own terms), where an agency redefines its responsibilities the way the original CIA and DIA did after they were established. While this can happen imperceptibly, it’s more likely to develop with malice of forethought because an ambitious agency director wants a larger role and sphere of influence. In either case, mission creep is a form of entropy, built into the system. I suspect it’s built into human nature—at least into the nature of homo gubernationis. If it was the case when I was engaged in my little corner of the intel biz, it can’t but be a greater force now, can it? And, of course, Priest and Arkin found that it’s operating as strongly as ever!

The expansion of the U.S. intelligence enterprise alone isn’t so much of a problem, of course. Mostly it would just mean more public employees creating more paperwork for other public employees to file away. Priest and Arkin explain that the paperwork has grown exponentially, of course, now amounting to some 50,000 reports a year—more than anyone can read much less absorb. The mushrooming of the intelligence bureaucracy, the authors point out, also means laying on hoards of new agents, operatives, and analysts, many right out of civilian schools and agency training. I know what that’s like, of course, since I arrived in Berlin after 18 months of Army schools (which followed immediately upon four years at a liberal arts college), but Berlin Station was small and new agents were surrounded by more experienced ones, including civilians who’d been there for years, some even since the Occupation; we were tutored and mentored and then supervised as we learned what the training programs couldn’t teach us. (My first unofficial mentor, the experienced agent who invited me to shadow her for several cases, was the station’s only female agent, an NCO who’d been at Berlin Station for several years and an active MI special agent for longer than that. My immediate superior, the SAIC of the section to which I was first assigned, was a captain at the end of his tour whose position I would eventually take over.)

Other problems occur, however, when all those agents and analysts focus on the same targets. Now, it may sometimes seem as if we’re surrounded by enemies and adversaries, but the truth is that our real enemies have always been relatively limited. In the ‘30s and ‘40s, it was pretty much Germany, Italy, and Japan; in the ‘50s through the ‘90s, it was the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, the PRC, and some proxies like Cuba, North Vietnam, and North Korea. In the 21st century, our targets are spread around the globe, but they’re still limited: the nations in and near which we have troops in combat: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan; adversaries like North Korea and Iran: and stateless Islamist militants like Al Qaeda and the Taliban and their clones. Of course, we still keep an eye on the PRC and Cuba and trouble spots like Somalia and Yemen, but for the most part, our list of objectives (not counting market rivals, of course) is still short.

So what happens when those hundreds of agencies and hundreds of thousands of intel workers (almost a million just with TS clearances, according to Priest and Arkin’s tally) focus their efforts on that short list? Duplication of effort—exactly what the Post report reveals. Of course, not all overlap is bad. Think of a military defense position where the commander places his riflemen and machine guns so that their fields of fire overlap. This prevents gaps in the coverage which would leave parts of the position unprotected. It works the same in intel ops: a little duplication allows one agency to cover the oversights of another, to pick of the occasional dropped ball so that our defense grid doesn’t have holes in it. Further, as Dennis Blair, former Director of National Intelligence, said: “Much of what appears to be redundancy is, in fact, providing tailored intelligence for many different customers.” It’s like two medical specialists examining the same patient, even looking at the same organs and cavities. They’re looking for different purposes because they need different information. Even just among the armed services, the Navy, Army, and Air Force all need different kinds of intel about the same target, sometimes even from the same source, because they each use it differently. As I noted earlier, I was in Berlin with an Army intel unit while just across town at Tempelhof A.F.B. was an OSI detachment doing pretty much the same work we were doing—and some of what we did certainly overlapped because part of both our missions was to protect the U.S. forces in Berlin; but our general missions were to provide information that was useful in preparing our services to protect NATO’s eastern front from an attack by Warsaw Pact forces. My unit and our sister Army unit next door were focused on ground forces and their needs; OSI was looking for information pertinent to air combat and defense against a Soviet air attack. Of course we covered the same territory—we’d have been fools if we didn’t.

The United States intelligence community is huge, there’s no doubt of that. We’re a big country with far-flung interests and, consequently, exposure. The job is just too complex, with too many specialized aspects, for a single agency to cover all the aspects of intelligence-gathering and security. Some duplication comes from the work of narrow-based agencies with specific tasks and areas of responsibility, such as BATF, the Treasury Department, the Secret Service, DEA, ICE, TSA, and even the U.S. Postal Inspection Services. Each of these agencies, just to name a few, has a narrowly defined mission which may nevertheless dovetail with more general intelligence organizations like the military services or the FBI, but the special expertise and knowledge of their agents make them necessary—though the danger that these agencies may expand their efforts into less limited fields is always present.

The problem with duplication of effort, of course, comes when the redundancy is real, especially when it’s persistent and widespread. The Post investigation found that this was abundant—and from my own narrow experience I can attest to the fact that it certainly was 35 years ago. The wasteful kind of redundancy has several causes, and I don’t have the expertise to quantify them in terms of which are the most responsible for duplicated effort. I can list the causes I observed, however, in no order of seriousness. First is non-communication—one agency not talking to another. We know this is still a serious problem because it was the topic of debate in Congress and the press right after 9/11: the different agencies charged with watching suspected terrorists who might be targeting the U.S. homeland didn’t share information. (It happened again in the case of the would-be Detroit underwear bomber.) If agencies don’t tell each other what they’re working on and what they’ve learned, it’s obviously going to lead to agencies’ investigating the same target and digging out the same information. I saw it happen more than once in Berlin; it was habitual.

When you’re dealing with intel ops, most of what you do is highly classified. People who work with Secret and Top Secret information—and believe me, that was our stock-in-trade—tend to be protective. We tended not to share information with others unless they needed to know it. That makes sense, of course, given what we did, but the difficulty comes in determining who needs to know what. It’s easier and safer to share with fewer rather than more outsiders. This inevitably leads to non-communication. Now, some organizations are more closed-mouthed than others, and circumstances also vary their openness. With our sister unit, the positive intel unit that was our opposite number, so to say, we shared quite a lot pretty freely. After all, they weren’t only another Army intel unit, but we were both units of 66th MI Group—like two platoons of the same company. (It was kind of funny, in a comedy-of-the-absurd sense, because we were an overt unit—brass name plate by the door, published contact phone number—but our counterpart was covert. When we exchanged information, an agent from one unit met an agent from the other in the basement where there was a gate made of an iron grid between the two offices and we spoke or passed documents through the metal slats.)

Not everyone got the same degree of openness, of course, but we were freer than the CIA by a long shot. They did not play well with others. First of all, they used higher classifications than we did for the same information, which restricted access to anything they developed much more tightly than the same kind of information if we’d developed it. I know of at least a couple of instances when we provided them with reports from investigations we’d conducted and later I saw that they’d reclassified the same documents at least one level higher without making any changes. Apparently, the very fact that the CIA had laid their hands on the papers meant they were now more sensitive than they had been previously. (To be fair, the CIA wasn’t supposed to be in Berlin—it was part of the Occupation Agreement which also restricted the U.S. to a brigade of forces—so their presence was clandestine. That would explain why a document they had generated in Berlin might need to be classified more highly than the information itself might demand, since they weren’t supposed to be there to write any reports; but they treated documents we’d written—that I’d written myself—as if their very fingerprints warranted an increase in classification.) But beyond their higher classification, The Company was just less forthcoming as a practice than other intel agencies. (They were more than willing to take, of course.)

What the CIA engaged in was the tip of another iceberg that foiled info-sharing: overclassification. When I arrived in Berlin, there was already a DOD program underway to reduce overclassification. It was the second such effort of which I was aware, another one having been instituted while I was still back in the States. New regs were issued to keep unit commanders like mine from stamping everything TS because it was easier and seemed safer, no matter what was in the papers. No matter what the new regs for classification were, though, they were always given empty compliance—the form was observed but not the content—and everyone went on the way we had before. It’s not that there weren’t rules governing the level of classification a given document should get; it’s just that each hand through which a document passed raised the level a notch, just to be safe, and something that started out as unclassified would end up TS by the time it was filed away. The higher the classification, of course, the less accessible the reports would be for anyone else who might want to use the information in them. Restricted access was another form of non-communication: ‘We’d like to tell you, but you’re not cleared for this info.’

Overclassification, the Post report emphasizes, can be used to “protect ineffective projects.” It can also be used to protect people and units from embarrassment. That’s patently contrary to regulations—classification is a security measure, not a damage-control tactic—but it provides an impetus for overusing the TS stamp. The rule of thumb for classification is that a document should not be classified higher than the highest rating of any element in it. So if the highest classification for info in a report is Secret, the new document shouldn’t be rated higher than Secret. (Only rarely does the cumulative effect of compiled info justify raising the classification of a document.) That’s why the CIA’s practice of raising the classification of info we passed along was arbitrary and probably inappropriate.

I once started an investigation that turned out to center on the Deputy Provost Marshal of Berlin Brigade, the equivalent of the deputy chief of police. After I identified the subject and saw that the case was about a violation of Army regs and not security, I recommended that the case be turned over to the Provost Marshal’s Office (military police HQ) for action. (It was coincidental that the subject of the investigation was a high-ranking MP officer; the PMO was responsible for those kinds of violations.) I wrote up my findings and sent out the report marked “For Official Use Only”—the status of most non-classified info. When the PM found out that I’d sent it FOUO, however, he was furious. I’d sent potentially embarrassing information about a senior officer through Brigade distribution in an unclassified form. I pointed out that regulations had dictated that the info be unclassified and that classification wasn’t authorized to prevent embarrassment—and my CO affirmed not only that I had done what he’d instructed, but that I had been right under the regs not to classify the report. But you can see how hard it was for someone to abide by the restrictions. Abuse, as Priest and Arkin assert, leads to massive overclassification.

On top of the common classifications—Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret—which every organization uses, each agency, even sometimes offices or teams within an agency, have Special Access Programs which further restrict information to specially designated people, walling off operations and projects from colleagues in the next room or even at the next desk. The Post specifies some of these SAP’s create serious tensions because an officer might be working on one which even his superior can’t know about. I never saw any of that at my level, but we were often constrained from discussing ops with our fellow agents from another section. I had special clearances so far above TS I didn’t know what many of them meant. My clearances had so many acronyms and initials, I couldn’t remember them all and in some cases, the acronym itself was classified! That kind of super-secrecy, however necessary it may be, can’t help but generate non-communication and, thus, duplication of effort and redundancy.

A further repercussion of all this concealment and the “need to know” restrictions is that some ops that should have ended are still running. “Like a zombie,” one of the Post sources described such an operation, “it keeps on living.” When I became OIC of one of Berlin Station’s sections, I inherited several zombie cases that had been dormant and unproductive for months or even years. After reviewing my zombie cases and determining that none held any real current interest, I closed them all. I could do that, of course, because Berlin Station was small and I could just walk up to the Ops Office and say, “Close these cases,” and the OO’d say, “Good idea,” and it was done. You can imagine, however, in today’s huge agencies how much unnecessary effort ops that were supposed to have been terminated but weren’t can cost, not to mention the money and wasted human resources.

Another cause of non-communication is straight-out agency rivalry. My experience in Berlin suggested that the CIA didn’t share information because it just didn’t want to. The rest of us just weren’t good enough to play in their sandbox. It was a little like the sentiment expressed by comedian Chevy Chase in the early days of Saturday Night Live: ‘We’re the CIA . . . and you’re not!’ Other organizations behaved the same way—and all of them could do so if unchecked. Sometimes this attitude is prompted by the desire to retain the credit for an operation for your own agency, sometimes to keep another agency from encroaching on your territory, and sometimes it occurs because funding appropriations and budget share depend on demonstrating how much work your agency does and how many operations you have running. Furthermore, some funding is withdrawn in the coming fiscal year if an agency doesn’t spend all it received in the previous cycle. No agency or department head wants to give up funds or authority by relinquishing ops or personnel. "Sometimes,” said a former counsel to the DNI, “there was an unfortunate attitude of bring your knives, your guns, your fists and be fully prepared to defend your turf." The system, in other words, can generate a sense of turf warfare and the agency heads know how to game the system to guard their territory. The New York Times reports that former DNI Dennis Blair complained that the CIA did “end runs around his office to advance its agenda” and the Post confirms that The Company had raised the classification of some information so that ODNI staff couldn’t see it.

The simplest reason for the lack of communication and info-sharing, though often the hardest to combat, is the lack of coordination between agencies—something the 9/11 Commission especially singled out for remedy. It’s not necessarily venality or rivalry that causes this, it’s just the lack of communication protocols and standard procedures between one agency and another. That little scenario I described before, an agent from Berlin Station going down to the basement of our building and meeting an agent from next door at the gate, was our ad hoc inter-unit comm routine because no more formal method had ever been established—and we were sister units of the same military command. This difficulty has been exacerbated today by technology. We didn’t have many comm systems to use: paper, telephones, TWX’s, radios (mostly for field commo); everything was relatively simple and it was all compatible. Today, with the advent of cell phones, various forms of computer commo, and other sophisticated technology, an additional problem has blossomed that has made inter-agency communication hard and even sometimes impossible: incompatible tech. Agencies on different IT systems can’t share information because their systems can’t talk to one another. Priest and Arkin report that even the lowest level communication, such as e-mail, between one office and another is a victory.

Dana Priest asserted in an interview on PBS after the first article came out that the problems with redundancy, lack of communication, and lack of both budgetary and operational oversight developed—or increased substantially—when the intelligence bureaucracy exploded after 9/11. (The Post report identified more deficiencies in the system than I’ve addressed. As I said at the beginning, I’ve discussed only the ones whose embryonic antecedents I saw when I was working in this field.) Clearly, the immense expansion since the terrorist assault has provided many more opportunities for inefficiency of all kinds, but my experience suggests, at least, that the seeds for the current dysfunctions Priest and Arkin identify were present 35 years ago (and almost certainly much earlier). If I could see them at the lowest level of the intelligence system, they must have been visible to the men (there were few women in management positions then) who ran the institutions. If Priest and Arkin are right—and I can’t see many grounds to believe they’re not—the probable reason is that no one did anything about it when it was manageable. It didn’t just burst forth full blown like Athena from Zeus’s head; it started small somewhere and could have been squashed before it grew. Robert Gates, Secretary of State, and James Clapper, newly confirmed DNI, have both declared that they plan to confront these problems—as had Dennis Blair, Clapper’s predecessor. (At the same time, Clapper has rejected the Post’s conclusions as “breathless” and “shrill.”) Now, however, it’s no longer Athena, but Hydra. Good luck!

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