Friday, December 19, 2008

Catching Up

Looks like Retired Adm. Blair is set to take over for McConnell as DNI...hopefully this leads to some important improvements in among other things, the official intelligence community's suspect chumminess with contractors although his history suggests conflict of interest is a foreign concept to him...

From the Washington Post:
While Blair is generally well regarded, his career has occasionally been marked
by controversy. He was forced to resign as president of the Institute for
Defense Analysis because of possible conflicts of interest after it was revealed
that he simultaneously served on the boards of defense contractors whose
products were being evaluated by the board.

This definitely requires further analysis and investigation. It is important to make sure Blair encourages, or at least doesn't impede, increased oversight over defense contractors in his tenure as DNI. At least, I guess, this experience didn't work out well for him and he had to step down from his government job. He certainly doesn't have the same intimacy that Brennan as chairman of the INSA had with McConnell as DNI and vice versa. So he is in that way a pick outside the status quo. I'm thankful for that.

The downside is that the same article forwards Kappes as the guy being most closely looked at for CIA chief right now.

While Obama has settled on Blair, there is far less certainty about his choice
for CIA director. Recent speculation has focused on Stephen R. Kappes, the CIA's
deputy director since 2006. Popular with the agency's rank and file, the former
Marine and longtime Soviet specialist was in charge of the agency's operations
division from 2002 to 2004 and would have presided over some of the CIA's most
controversial programs of the Bush era.

Since the Obama team is now pushing the line that they want to make a sharp break with Bush admin policies - particularly waterboarding (which is being used to innoculate Hayden against charges that he represents Bush admin policies). Hayden doesn't need to waterboard anyone to nonetheless be a symbol of all the terrible crap of Bush intelligence - destruction of CIA tapes, warrantless wiretapping, being a mess at Congressional hearings...oh yes.

So glad Obama feels "comfortable" with him.

Add: David Rose has written a great article for Vanity Fair. Torture doesn't work. And there's no ticking time bomb...take it from the CIA.

No comments: