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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

rumsfeld's SS

Monday, January 24, 2005

defense secretary donald rumsfeld has moved beyond being a stooge screw-up for the bush administration. as reported in the washington post, rumsfeld has in the last two years created his own secret spy organization, with missions and activities that even congress doesn’t know about.

the so-called “strategic support branch” was created by rumsfeld to operate independently of the cia, without congressional oversight or authority. neither the house intelligence committee nor the senate armed services committee was aware of rummy’s secret adventure, and it’s hard to imagine that the committee members were amused.

sen. john mccain, a member of the senate armed services committee, said "i'm always sorry to read about things in the washington post when they affect a committee that i am a member of."

to sum up, rummy’s private security force, called by some in the pentagon “the secret army of northern virginia," is made up of “special mission units;" elite forces whose existence has not been publicly sanctioned. the post says they include “…two squadrons of an army unit popularly known as delta force, another army squadron -- formerly code-named gray fox -- that specializes in close-in electronic surveillance, an air force human intelligence unit and the navy unit popularly known as seal team six.”

think about what kind of troops those are. they’re stealth killers who leave no traces and take no prisoners. ordinarily i’m happy as hell to have them on “our side,” but under an ambitious mouth-breather like rummy (not to mention a president and attorney general who like torture), there’s no telling what activities might be beyond these people. the phrase “our side” suddenly doesn’t sound so comforting or appealing. kind of like another “SS” from days gone by.

A former senior intelligence official who left his post last year said he had known that the Defense Department was seeking a greater role in human intelligence. But he said he had not known that the Defense Department had begun any such effort, and said he did not believe that the Central Intelligence Agency had been notified.

"I was astounded, and it's the sort of thing I should have known about, given the perch I had," he said of the details reported by The Post.

apparently his perch had an obstructed view. or maybe he just suffered from a walleyed myopia on the lengths to which rumsfeld will go to consolidate his power.

navy vice adm. lowell e. jacoby, director of the defense intelligence agency, said in an interview that rumsfeld’s new unit has scored "a whole series of successes" that he could not reveal in public.

well, no. of course not. on the one hand such revelations might compromise the safety of the teams. on the other, it might cause freedom-loving and law-abiding americans to scream in outrage and demand accountability (a word not known by or associated with the bush administration).

is this concern unfounded? an overreaction? maybe. but then again, maybe not. especially when you learn that rummy’s people think u.s. laws don’t apply to them.

Pentagon officials emphasized their intention to remain accountable to Congress, but they also asserted that defense intelligence missions are subject to fewer legal constraints than Rumsfeld's predecessors believed.

Pentagon lawyers also define the "war on terror" as ongoing, indefinite and global in scope. That analysis effectively discards the limitation of the defense secretary's war powers to times and places of imminent combat.

could there be a scarier phrase than “pentagon lawyers”? sure, their job title is a punchline, and i’m in grateful for that, but when they start saying, “we have latitude to do whatever the hell we want, and it’s all legal,” suddenly the jokes aren’t so funny.

"Operations the CIA runs have one set of restrictions and oversight, and the military has another," said a Republican member of Congress with a substantial role in national security oversight, declining to speak publicly against political allies. "It sounds like there's an angle here of, 'Let's get around having any oversight by having the military do something that normally the [CIA] does, and not tell anybody.' That immediately raises all kinds of red flags for me. Why aren't they telling us?"

why aren’t they telling us? equally important, what aren’t they telling us? rummy has set himself up as a neo-con himmler, with his own little collection of SS forces. until he, and they, are reined in, no one should feel very comfortable.