New blog post up on The Future of CIA in a World of Mass Exposure.

Big spikes in funding don't result in smart spending. I saw that in the Counterterrorism Center after 9/11. People scramble to find ways to spend the money before the end of the fiscal year. Stupid decisions are made. Contractors swarm like flies. The pendulum always swings too far. I entered CIA during a big defense/intelligence spending spike in the early 80's. In the 90's the pendulum swung back in the other direction and the budget went flat. Those of us who came in in th...e 80's were the "pig in the python." We didn't have enough head room to advance and new people weren't coming in. This had big consequences on morale and on Agency flexibility. We needed to move resources from traditional geographic offices (particularly the office that followed the former Soviet Union) to transnational threats like terrorism. This would have been much easier with new people coming in. Instead we had people with a decade of expertise in their old accounts who were loathe to move with the times.

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A new post on The Perilous Aftermath of the Next Terrorist Attack.

by Diogenes Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent of Yahoo News, reported earlier this month what could become a worrisome trend that…
Michael Isikoff, Chief Investigative Correspondent of Yahoo News, reported earlier this month what could become a worrisome trend that could undermine the public’s faith in civil discourse. Here’s his article:

A new post on propaganda and K. Conway is up on

Time for all of us to practice everyday courage. We won't get it right every day, but we have to keep trying.

Everyday courage:
—Is not closing your doors to those in need.
—Is speaking up when it would be easier to be silent....
—Is taking the risk that you will be called names or threatened.
—Is not making decisions based on fear.
—Is opening your heart even though you might get hurt.
—Is pushing the thought “what will they think of me?” to the back of your mind.
—Is risking being wrong and willingness to admit it when you are.

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As someone who spent three years as speechwriter to the Director of Central Intelligence (I worked for Woolsey, Deutch, and Tenet), I have a few things to say about Trump's performance at the Memorial wall on January 21.

What kind of president lies to his intelligence service? The bigger question, of course, is what kind of president lies to the people, but I think it's instructive to look at the subset. CIA employees are a hard audience. They don't take anything at face valu...e. They tear apart and analyze everything. They look for hidden agendas. Did Trump truly think they would believe something just because he said it? Telling an obvious lie to someone who knows better is an insult, and Trump insulted his audience badly.

What were his lies? First, he claimed to be CIA's biggest backer after months of public complaints about the Agency. Everyone there was undoubtedly familiar with his statements, so why did he think he could get away with blaming the media for starting the feud? He demonstrated he knew nothing about the Agency by equating it to the military ("The military loves me"). CIA and the military have different missions and very different cultures.Then Trump lied about crowd size in front of people who know how to estimate crowd size. He said, "I bet everyone in this room voted for me." I would love to take that bet.

It was disturbing to see a speaker so insensitive to audience and the venue. CIA employees live and breath substance. They were hoping to hear what the new president expected from them. Instead, they heard empty boasting in front of a lot of people who can't tell their own families what they do. He whined about media unfairness in front of a memorial to people who died in service to their country. In sum, he acted like a tin-pot dictator in front of people who study tin-pot dictators for a living. He did a rhetorical belly flop and was seemingly unaware of it. Most speakers, especially if they possess empathy, know when they are failing. They can read the reaction of the audience and adjust their remarks accordingly. Perhaps he was too focused on his own cheerleaders. Perhaps the whole shameful show was a way of saying, "I tell you what's true and not the other way around."

Oh, and about his claim that he got a standing ovation. The area in front of the wall is too small to hold several hundred chairs. Most people have to stand. By default, every speaker gets a standing ovation.

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Memories from a year ago.

Here are 16 can't-miss stories by men and women with first-hand knowledge of spycraft.|By Doug Perry

Trans-Jesus is Turned Away from a Bathroom in North Carolina

I thought it was bad the first time around,
When He made me a Jew in a place ruled by Romans.
And by “He” I mean God of course,...

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Here is an article I wrote for CNN Opinion on the public response to terrorism.…/getting-terrorism-completel…/index.html

Susan Hasler says terrorists want to foster a global struggle between the West and Islam, and political candidates are giving credence to that false idea

Another giveaway, this one for signed copies of Project HALFSHEEP.

Enter to win one of 10 free copies available. Giveaway dates from Oct 05-Nov 05, 2015. Enter for a chance to win one of 10 signed copies of Project HALFS...

Thanks to participants in Goodreads giveaway. Sending copies to winners now.

For Shelby Wexler, being crushed by falling concrete is only the beginning of a bad afterlife. As a senior official of the CIA, he considered Congressional oversight committees the highest form of retribution. He never entertained the possibility of post-mortem accountability. Enter Virgil, an ob...

Goodreads giveaway of 20 signed copies of The Flat Bureaucrat ends tomorrow.

Enter to win one of 20 free copies available. Giveaway dates from Aug 05-Sep 07, 2015. A signed copy of The Flat Bureaucrat.For Shelby Wexler, being cr...

The Goodreads giveaway for The Flat Bureaucrat is in its final days.

Enter to win one of 20 free copies available. Giveaway dates from Aug 05-Sep 07, 2015. A signed copy of The Flat Bureaucrat.For Shelby Wexler, being cr...