Spy Games

1 secret agent

I grew up watching and reading James Bond movies and novels. I remember watching shows like Secret Agent Man, The Man From Uncle and Get Smart. As I got older I read a lot more on how real “intelligence” work takes place. When I was in the army part of my job was protecting our secrets. Then a few years ago I discovered that all that James Bond bullshit was exactly that – bullshit.

If you don’t believe me, read the Church Committee Reports. All those spy games didn’t win the war in Vietnam. All the covert activities in Iran, Cuba, Guatemala and Chile ended up going astray. Our own intelligences services may well have been involved in the assassination of JFK. The CIA missed the fall of the Soviet Union because they grossly overestimated the threat that union represented.

In this context “intelligence” means “information”. That’s what spies have always done – get information. Most of it is really basic. How big is another nation? How big is their military? Where are their cities, roads, and other important strategic resources. These days that’s easy to gather. Uncovering their intentions and plans is more problematic.

We spy on other nations. Not just our enemies either, we spy on our friends too. And they spy on us. Just like picking your nose in the car it’s one of those things everybody does and nobody admits.

Of course the more adept you get at obtaining other countries’ information, the less confident you become at protecting your own. You know you’re being spied on so you intentionally put out “misinformation”.

Spies can never get enough information. So they gather all the information they can possibly get. But all that information has to be processed. Computers can help, but someone still has to condense it all down and present it to the decision maker(s). A computer can do statistical analysis, but it can’t decide whether to unleash the dogs of war.

So you need people to process and evaluate the information you gather. The more information you gather, the more people you need to evaluate it. You can record a million phone calls a day, but how many can you actually listen to? How do you sort the information from the misinformation?

This whole NSA “metadata” concept is based on the idea that you can gather a huge shitpile of information and then run it thru a powerful computer using some complicated algorithms and it will predict the future. But it didn’t predict the Tsarnaev brothers setting off bombs at the Boston Marathon.

Here’s the kicker: You go out and gather information from diverse sources. You process it, evaluate it, condense it and prioritize it. You determine that something bad is about to happen. You put your conclusions and recommendations in a report. Then you take it to the Decider and he ignores it because his political advisors want him to do something different.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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90 Responses to Spy Games

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Ted Cruz is a Nazi sympathizer?

  2. driguana says:

    Awesome! Would love to see Palin vs Maher in the ring…the octagon! Mixed, martial arts even though Maher would try to bite. What a disgusting man.

  3. votermom says:

  4. driguana says:

    So let me see if I can get this straight now. Under Bush, the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) that was created and included data base mining of email messages and telephone call detail records within the NSA and warrantless wiretapping as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program were then considered a nefarious breach of personal privacy but is now being considered a positive approach because they “thwarted dozens” of potential terrorist incidents!!

    The hypocrisy has now reached medusian entanglements!

    • driguana says:

      And while they thwarted “dozens”, a couple of others like the Tsaernevs got through and managed to blow a few people up. Great surveillance program!

    • 1539days says:

      Some Democrats have been pro-spy for a while. Look at how outraged they were when Valerie Plame was outed by Richard Armitage, er, Dick Cheney. Oops, I mean Scooter Libby.

  5. DeniseVB says:

    From 2008, Shia Labeouf on Leno …. promoting a movie discussing his chat with an FBI consultant…..

    • myiq2xu says:

      When you have or can get access to the metadata, it’s a piece of cake to zero in on one person. It’s as easy as running a Google Bing search with a different database.

      • votermom says:

        Is there a log of searches? Coz that’s what I want to see – what are the most recent search terms?
        Is there an integrity algorithm to prevent data massaging?
        So many questions – but if anyone tells me the answers the NSA will have to kill them.

      • DeniseVB says:

        We used to have a Radio Shack police scanner that could pick up cell phone conversations which were more fun than the police calls. I can only imagine how easy it is today for the NSA to “bug” us without wiretapping.

        • myiq2xu says:

          If the cops illegally bug a drug dealer’s phone, how would you know? I believe they do stuff like that, wait until they hear him say something like “I just picked up the shit, I’m bringing it to you now” then they pull the guy over on some pretense. Their report doesn’t mention the phone call.

        • elliesmom says:

          Several years ago I bought some play walkie talkies for my niece and nephew for Christmas. They picked up all of the baby monitors on my street. The kids thought it was hilarious to listen in on our neighbors baby talking.

      • votermom says:

        We all have a PRISM record. That we never get to see.

  6. votermom says:

  7. yttik says:

    We’ve really entered the realm of science fiction, except it isn’t fiction anymore. We aren’t collecting info like it’s evidence anymore, we’re collecting data like google does. We’re collecting trends and attempting to predict future events based on it. We’re a fraction of an inch from forming pre-crime units. Metadata is what enabled the IRS to abuse their authority and target conservatives/tea partiers. There were buzzwords in those applications, words like “patriot,” that triggered extra scrutiny.

    We’ve also entered the realm of Enemy of the State. I don’t know if anybody has ever dealt with identity theft or a computer error, but you are just screwed. One piece of false information can ricochet and impact your ability to get a job, raise your credit card rates, get your insurance canceled. It’s just staggering how quickly you can be rendered unable to function in society.

    • votermom says:


    • Constance says:

      “t’s just staggering how quickly you can be rendered unable to function in society.”

      One of my kids lost her drivers license two years ago about a month after she reached legal drinking age. She later finished professional school and started applying for jobs. One of her contacts told her to google her name. She googled her exact identity info and up came a list of charges, drunk, disorderly, assaulting a police officer, arrested and jailed overnight. These were on various information web sites that offered to take down the information if you paid a fee. These websites filled the first two pages of listings that came up when you googled her name. BUT they did not post the mug shot for some “privacy reason” which obviously was not my kid and could have cleared her. It did make it very difficult for her to find a professional job. Then, strangely, at some point ALL the false info just disappeared completely. I did have a lawyer working on it but he hasn’t taken any money from me or contacted me. So this could have been a very disastrous thing that happened with fake information and how do you tell fake information from real information?

  8. votermom says:

    Send Jason Chaffetz your FBI questions

  9. DeniseVB says:

    Meanwhile, over in Beckistan, loving the tinfoil unravelling, especially the speculation that John Roberts was blackmailed by some NSA uncovered embarrassing emails to make Obamacare pass. Here’s how that “bombshell” scenario plays out….

    Let’s say it is true. Roberts gets impeached for sure. The person who sent the email blackmailing him gets ruined. That person (the only person you could definitely prove was involved) is most likely a staffer who gets fired and then hired by a buddy of someone at the DNC in a few years as a reward for keeping his yap shut during the investigation. Obama nominates a replacement, who will almost assuredly vote to uphold Sebelius vs NFID. Let’s imagine that Obama was proven to be intimately involved and he gets impeached. Same story, but President Biden nominate the fifth vote to uphold. What if Obama AND Biden were intimately involved and both get impeached? President Boehner will nominate a new Justice who will be blocked by the Senate, meaning any new Obamacare challenge will be upheld by default because you’ll never get a majority (it’ll be 4-4). Anybody not definitely proven to be involved in the blackmail will deny involvement. It’ll be big, but won’t take down the whole power structure.

  10. votermom says:

    Hillary on State Dept Scandal


    CNN reported Clinton spokesman Nicholas Merrill issued a written statement saying, “We learned of it from the media and don’t know anything beyond what’s been reported.”

    She’s turned into Obama v 2.

    • votermom says:

    • DeniseVB says:

      Of course she wasn’t aware what’s going on, which means Obama was controlling the State Dept decisions with his re-election committee. Which is much, much worse than Hillary being inept.

  11. elliesmom says:

    Doing a morning blogaround before Ellie and I go walking. Lots of people questioning the integrity of the messengers, Greenwald and Snowden on both sides of the philosophical divide, but no one trying to dispute the integrity of their message. Too big to try to cover it up or a story that was meant to be leaked? Is the knowledge that our every person-to-person interaction, our every exchange of ideas, can be monitored by the government and action can be taken against us something the government really wanted us to know? What we’ve been told is “just the tip of the iceberg”, but if I told you the rest, they’d have to shoot us both? I’m running out of tinfoil.

    • leslie says:

      Tinfoil is the only hing I haven’t packed away while I’m doing the kitchen remodel. And I’ve already had to buy more!

    • leslie says:

      Does this mean The Guardian is party to this as well? It would make sense, wouldn’t it.

    • yttik says:

      What would be the purpose of a Gov conspiracy to deliberately leak this info? An implied threat or something? Make sure we all know we’re being watched? Other then that, I can’t even imagine what would motivate them, what they would have to gain.

      • elliesmom says:

        When people know they’re being watched, a lot of them behave differently. Are most security cameras in stores to catch people who steal, or to discourage people from stealing in the first place? If the primary purpose was to catch thieves, they wouldn’t tell you they were there. If you knew you would be more likely to be audited by the IRS if you joined a certain group or sent a particular politician a donation, would it make you stop and think before you did it? I think for most people it would. I’m very careful about what I post to my FB page because I still hold a valid teaching license, and I might still want to use it. Other than that, I wouldn’t care, but I know what I post might have consequences.

        • 49erDweet says:

          You are right…….except that would mean they are really, really smart and well (even strategically) organized. The evidence doesn’t support that conclusion, IMO.
          I think they stumbled into office w/o realizing all the toys they would have, and like children everywhere got carried away because their parents wouldn’t say “no”.
          This is on us, the parents. Didn’t help that Auntie Press failed, too.

        • DeniseVB says:

          Dumb criminals. Haven’t enough survelliance clips been shown to i.d.these idiots?

          A young lady I know lost her teaching job for posting a photo of one of her students’ drawings of her naked with ginormous boobs. Just dumb on her part.

        • elliesmom says:

          I think we’re naive if we believe we’re smarter than the people pulling the strings in our government. If this would occur to me, it would occur to them. Getting other power hungry people on board to grab power isn’t as hard as you think it is. It’s the distribution of that power after you have it that gets you into trouble.

        • 49erDweet says:

          Yeah, I wasn’t trying to be flip. They have a certain number of smart people in their midst. Backtrack isn’t one of them. My definition of smart is upper 2% of IQ coupled with sense to come in out of the rain. They don’t always come together.

    • Constance says:

      Most people in the east coast government and media won’t be able to believe what Snowden is saying because he has not been properly Ivy indoctrinated. So in their minds, how could he be intelligent enough to hold his job or know what he was seeing. He is a non person to them.

      • 49erDweet says:

        Yup. Dropped outta MENSA decades ago (really) because of east coast types and their Ivy-biases. Life’s too short, and too much fun, to take it so seriously.

      • elliesmom says:

        There are three groups of kids who typically drop out of school. The lazy kids who don’t want to put in the effort and see no value in having an education. The kids who struggle in school every day of their lives and the struggle eventually gets the better of them. And the really bright kids who aren’t getting any added value from the school experience and don’t find the social life engaging enough to stay there. If the kids in the last group are “artsy”, they usually do pretty well. Actors, artists, and musicians are judged on their abilities, not their papered credentials so if those kids are truly talented, they usually do OK. If they’re the entrepreneur type, they go into business for themselves, no diploma needed. But if they want to work for a big company, some credentials are usually needed to get the job. It’s not unusual for a talented computer geek to make a lot of money w/o a college degree. It is for him to do it working for the government with only a GED.

        Few computer nerds graduate from the Ivy League, BTW. MIT, Cal Tech, maybe, but guys like Zuckerman aren’t successful because of their computer skills – most database designers could create FaceBook. He learned about successful business models at Harvard- not how to be a computer nerd.

        • Constance says:

          People can learn anywhere and at any school or they can self teach. From my observation Ivy Indoctrination narrows the mind.

  12. wmcb says:

    Myiq mentioned cops above.Here’s the deal on the cop thing: they have always done stuff like bugging drug dealers, or “Oops I hear a scream, I’m going in” . Since the beginnings of law enforcement.

    And so long as they pretty much focus on the bad guys, don’t do it too much, don’t go overboard, and most important – don’t try to claim that what they did was legal, and codify it as common and universal practice – the public will tolerate them quietly skirting the rules at times. Sorry to burst anyone’s perfect world bubble, but we will.

    That’s reality with police depts, that’s reality with the feds. I am not so naive as to think that the CIA and NSA have always operated strictly within the confines of the law. Everyone knows that. But if they broke the rules re:a citizen, they a) didn’t do it routinely, and b) they were potentially screwed if someone decided to make a big deal of it. We KNOW they have sometimes played fast and loose with the law. Usually carefully and discreetly, for a specific short-term end. Or disastrously, and got smacked down.

    There is a HUGE difference in tacitly giving the wink and nod to an agency that occasionally, of necessity, crosses the line, and codifying as new accepted and legal practice that the line no longer exists.

    So for those who think that because the NSA and CIA etc have always been nefarious spooks, what’s the diff? THAT is the diff. They have always crossed the line. Sometimes the public chose to ignore, sometimes we raised a stink. What they have never done before is erase the line, and declare that there BEING no line is the new legal normal. But that’s what they are doing now.

    I want the fucking line. Even if I know I’m going to be a hypocrite and say they might need to cross it at times. I STILL want the line.

    • 49erDweet says:

      And the rest of it is the cops, et al, need the line. Children without boundaries go “bazook”.

      • wmcb says:

        Yep. I occasionally show forbearance and pretend I didn’t see my kid cross a line. Depends on situation.

        What I do NOT do is announce: “Hey! No more rule!”

  13. myiq2xu says:
    • 49erDweet says:

      Biased analysis from the SPLC accepted blindly and without adequate discussion by stakeholders results in over-reaction by weakened military commanders. WCPGW?

  14. wmcb says:

  15. wmcb says:

  16. swanspirit says:

    So, we have a community organizer , who gets elected to progressively higher and higher office by digging up any dirt on his opponents , and then having it revealed to the public , even having private sealed court documents unsealed and revealed
    . So now this guy is President , and he has an agency that can dig up dirt on anyone , and deliver it to him and he has the power to use it .
    But he is doing this for our “safety and well being” . Sure, I believe that ……..not at all.
    I do appreciate the irony of having this revealed by someone who used to believe in the community organizer .

  17. HELENK says:

    i have been reading at several different places the judge Roberts may have been blackmailed into his ruling on obamacare. something about the adoption of two of his children.

    one thing the backtrack bunch has done is erode trust in all branches of our government. I do not know if that can be changed now that the damage has been done

    • leslie says:

      If the information about Judge Roberts’ children’s adoptions was sealed, then I’d say “Yes”. This idea of blackmail has broncobama written all over it.

      • DeniseVB says:

        Makes me wonder what he has on Hill and Bill ? Uncovering something so horrific … even if Obama is frog marched … would cost the Clintons millions.

  18. votermom says:

    I’m biting my tongue so hard right now.

  19. votermom says:

  20. votermom says:


    Bill in Belgium proposes to allow euthanasia for children and for alzheimer’s pateints.


  21. HELENK says:

    Bill Clinton just fired the first shot across backtrack’s bow. says he looks like a wuss over Syria.
    maybe backtrack forgot when he doublecrossed the clintons over supporting Hillary, the Clintons do fight back. They have more to gain then they have to lose in coming out against backtrack

  22. votermom says:


  23. HELENK says:


    these people may have the book learning but they do not have one ounce of common sense.

    head meet desk

  24. votermom says:


  25. HELENK says:

    Sarah Palin coming back to Fox

    • HELENK says:

      On Striking a Balance Between Security and Freedom:

      “Obama asks us to trust that he’s using power judiciously. Under President Bush, liberals were never given reason to fear that government power was being used to persecute them. Enough said.

      “The president assures us that ‘no one is listening to our phone calls,’ and that may be true. But this administration also assured us that no sweeping data collection on American citizens was going on, that the IRS was not unfairly singling out conservatives, that the Justice Department had not attempted to prosecute journalists, and that the Benghazi attack was the response to a video.

      “It would be nice to trust the president, but it wouldn’t be wise.”

  26. myiq2xu says:
  27. votermom says:

    • SHV says:

      Sarah Palin unfortunately lets ideology and political agenda get in the way of facts. If she bothered to spend thirty minutes doing a little research on UNOS and organ allocation, she would understand that what she said is nonsense.

      As I understand it, the Federal judge over ruled the UNOS (a private organization) criteria that set the “age 14” rule. Good for the 10 yo girl for getting two adult lungs, bad for the two adults who didn’t gets one lung each.

      These are difficult decisions and IMO shouldn’t be decided by MSM media story of the day and political pressure. The media would have done a major public service if they had used that girl’s story to high light the lack of organ donors.

      • votermom says:

        Age 12.
        Fact – kid would be dead 4 weeks from now if judge hadn’t intervened.
        Fact – kid is got lung transplant less than a week after judge intervened
        Fact – kid was worse off (nearer death) than any adult on list
        Inference – another set of lungs will become available before next adult on list dies

  28. myiq2xu says:

    It’s funny what triggers memories. I made a tuna salad sandwich today for the first time since Baxter died. I found myself expecting her to suddenly appear and begin demanding some of the tuna.

    You could not open a can of tuna in the house without her knowing about it before you even got the lid off.

  29. wmcb says:

    LMAO! Good for them. Sauce for the goose….

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